Papa Don't Preach

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

Bristol Palin, the 17-year old daughter of GOP veep candidate Sarah Palin, getting off the Straight

Bristol Palin, the 17-year old daughter of GOP veep candidate Sarah Palin, getting off the Straight Talk Express. Source: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Source: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Yesterday looked like it was going to be all about the the arrival of Hurricane Gustav — but there was one other impending arrival that abruptly sucked up some news energy (and a little air at the GOP convention in St. Paul). GOP veep choice Governor Sarah Palin's 17-year old daughter, Bristol, is about to become a mom, and marry the teen father. Looking at the Republican ticket, it's a tough call on whether or not this hurt or helps the GOP. On one hand, she's making the decision to have the baby and make it legal — pro-life, and pro-family. On the other, out-of-wedlock pregnancy isn't exactly the kind of baby mama drama the Republicans like. Many evangelicals have rushed to Governor Palin's defense, while some conservatives privately wonder if her shaky explosion onto the national stage has hurt the ticket. Beyond the pregnancy, there's an abuse of power scandal, a short resume, and rumors that she belonged to a party that supported Alaska's secession. Still — she's got gun totin' middle class cred, and some women are overjoyed to see a gal on the Republican ticket. What do you think?

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

What does it mean that Sarah Palin is a real person? I hear republican supporters (mostly female) say that she is real (down to earth) now that it is revealed her daughter (Bristol) has a baby at 17. I must have missed the part concerning her qualifications to lead our country.

Sent by Lemar | 2:05 PM | 9-2-2008

The tide has changed and people on the right sound alot different from the way they sounded when Britney Spear little sister Jamie Lynn Spear had the same problem.

Sent by Donala in SF | 2:09 PM | 9-2-2008

Palin is a facinating choice, this race could not be more interesting.
Sad to hear there is another teen pregnant, it shouldn't be an issue but it really does matter.

Sent by Joy | 2:11 PM | 9-2-2008

As a woman, regardless of my party affiliation, I feel Gov Palin has shown poor judgement as a woman and a mother. She has five childrem one of whom is a baby, another a pregnant teenager. Both of them, are going to need their mother now more than ever, not to mention her other 3 kids. She needs to put family first. Her time will come, but not now. I can't imagine what she was thinking to take on a job such as this with a family that large. You are a mother first before all else, and that should have been the place from which she made her decision. I think if you start polling women 35+ you are going to hear this opinion. They have greatly underestimated women's opinions on this matter.

Sent by Angie Cook | 2:14 PM | 9-2-2008

There seems to be a common thread of hippocracy in preaching abstinence as the only method of birth control that Mrs Palin and the political right believes in. The fact that even her own daughter can't heed those words concerns us, clearly this policy does not work, and in fact endangers a generation to STDs and unwanted pregnancy.

There is also the question of how Mrs. Palin could find the time in the day to provide her own children a mother and give advice to a nation that is much more complex than her experiences and personal beliefs can deal with. Unlike JFK, she would put her personal beliefs ahead of the nation's needs.

Sent by Stephen | 2:21 PM | 9-2-2008

Isn't Jamie Lynn Spears one of the speakers this year at the Republican Convention?

Sent by Jess Armstrong | 2:23 PM | 9-2-2008

I'm not a Republican, but speaking as a Democrat, all my Democrat friends are rejoicing at this selection. I also don't think her pregnant teenager as big an issue as her Downs Syndrome baby: I know McCain doesn't think much of the office of vice president, but I imagine it will keep her busy and wonder how someone in such a position will be able to care for a special needs baby.

Sent by Richard Anderson | 2:24 PM | 9-2-2008

I don't know of Palin belonged to the AIP, but she certainly did record a video while governor telling them to keep up the good work. They have it on their web site and it's impossible to miss.

Sent by Jim Satterfield | 2:25 PM | 9-2-2008

I think this hurts the GOP ticket. I think it calls into question McCain's judgement in picking someone to be "a heartbeat away" who he doesn't know well and who was not well vetted. Also, I think it shows poor judgement of Gov. Palin and her husband to allow their daughter and her boyfriend's privacy to be thrown out the window. They had to know it would be out there -- Bristol will be in her 3rd trimaester but not old enough to vote on Nov. 4th.

Sent by Amber Pinter | 2:26 PM | 9-2-2008

I can't help but think that whether or not Palin becomes VP this whole incident regarding her daughter will be good for the nation. When I was growing up there was a stigma against pregnant teenagers, sometimes they were even separated from their peers. This incident should go a long way to help erase some of that stigma - and to think that it's the social conservatives that are leading the way!

Sent by Bill Ship | 2:27 PM | 9-2-2008

I agree that Bristol's life should remain private, but her pregnancy does perhaps reflect a failed approach of "abstinence-only" programs that avoid teaching kids to be informed, responsible, and safe about sex. And that's a policy issue.

Sent by Allison | 2:33 PM | 9-2-2008

I am curious how this affects Sarah Palins views on abstinence only education in schools. While I agree that family should be left out of a campaign, I see in regards to sex education, a policy she may want to revisit

Sent by Christina Menning | 2:34 PM | 9-2-2008

My feeling is that Gov. Palin's policies of abstinence only sex education and no contraception is a failure. This has nothing to do with the abortion debate, I'm personally against most abortions, but when a 17 year old who should have known better gets pregnant than you have to ask yourself if she was taught correctly and by whom.

Sent by George | 2:42 PM | 9-2-2008

Your guest is wrong about her gay rights position. She may have said she was pro gay rights in the past, but after the McCain camp got to here Wikipedia page on Friday her resume has enormously. And there's a laundry list of her positions on social issues; she is NOT pro gay rights.

Also, Fri. morning she only had a BA in Journalism.

There's tons of stuff out on the internet tubes that should be in print about her style of governing. This is NOT partisan; it's what the public deserves to know. Remember WMD and the Pentagon mouthpieces? I was hoping you would.

Another fine tidbit is the memo she wrote back in 2005 regarding Troopergate. Knowing that her brother-in law is an alcoholic and reckless, why would she allow her children to be left alone with him? It's all out there folks, lots available at the Anchorage Daily News website. Unless of course the McCain got to them too.

Sent by Margaret | 3:02 PM | 9-2-2008

I have not read so many women belong in the home comments in years. What people are in essence saying is that women with families have to consider their families first and should not be involved in the work force. Pretty hypocritical position from the left.

Sent by Clifford | 3:10 PM | 9-2-2008

It still surprises me that so many of your viewers feel qualified to comment on Ms. Palin's parenting abilities based on the little snippet of info. her campaign has released. She apparently served up this personal info. to refute a nasty internet rumor circulating. How the truth improves on the rumor is another question. What I would like to know is if this marriage solution came before or after the campaign's need to do media damage control and would these two children (we don't know the age of the baby's father) be getting married now were it not for mom's political ambitions.

Sent by Brian Benkel | 3:18 PM | 9-2-2008

Of course, Sarah Palin's daughter's life should remain private. But the pregnancy raises questions that *are* fair game for the media, namely Palin's views on abstinence-only sex education, which every study shows to be a dismal failure. Abstinence only = More abortions. Teenage pregnancies = More abortions. It's that simple. That is the issue the media should be asking about.

And: Yes, yes, we're all thrilled that Bristol is keeping the baby. We all wish the abortion numbers were lower. "Gov. Palin, what should be done about our country's woeful problem of babies born out of wedlock and dreadful abortion rates?" We're waiting for an answer.

Sent by Kelly | 3:20 PM | 9-2-2008

Teen pregnancy has implications far beyond religion or morality questions.

Teen pregnancies directly contribute to poverty, have serious welfare/socioeconomic consequences, and increase the risk for complications such as premature labor which consequently raises health-care concerns/health costs.

Further, the baby and the mother are at risk in the major phases of their lives such as school failure, poverty, and physical or mental illness.
Obviously, these issues are less of a concern for wealthy families, like the Palin's.

Sent by Ame' | 3:26 PM | 9-2-2008

What if the situations were turned. How would the republicans react... I can only imagine. As an independent voter and thinker I really resented the fact that I had to explain to my daughter this morning why it is not a good thing to be pregnant at 17. Why are the Palin's making this a celebration. It is not a good thing for a child to be thrusted into marriage and parenthood at the age of 17 and 18. This poor girl. I say shame on her parents for being so out of touch. This screams to me this is not someone not in touch with her own family and yet want to convince the American public that they are in touch with them.... WOW!!! I resent the republicans for thinking that we are that stupid. Just based on how they handled this situation would make me run to the left.... The families involved with this campaign should be left out of this, but how they have handled it is quite a hypocracy.

Maybe Sarah Palin's political life should pale in the face of her own personal challenges....

Sent by B. Mackarey | 3:30 PM | 9-2-2008

Governor Palin and her husband state they support their daughters' decision to have this baby. Both McCain and Palin are pro-life and want to appoint judges who will overturn Roe Vs Wade. Governor Palin's daughter would not have a choice if Roe Vs Wade was overturned.

Also, McCain and Palin oppose sex education in the schools and support abstinence. I wonder how the country can have a discussion about teen pregnancy and it's prevention now that a major political figure has a teen who is pregnant. It is rather indelicate to talk about this issue now, but it does need addressing.

Sent by Martha Kelley | 3:31 PM | 9-2-2008

In reply to Bill Ship's 2:27 PM comment that "This incident should go a long way to help erase some of that stigma":

I wish you were right Bill, but remember that these are Republicans we're talking about, and their overriding principle is "It's Alright If You're A Republican". In other words, Sarah Palin's situation will have absolutely no effect on the reaction when a Democratic candidate is in the same position.

Sent by Brian in Tallahassee | 3:32 PM | 9-2-2008

Has anyone pointed out that Sarah Palin had another way to dispel the rumors about Bristol being Trig's mother? She could release her own medical records regarding the pregnancy. So why throw her daughter and her soon-to-be son-in-law to the media wolves?

Sent by Brian in Tallahassee | 3:43 PM | 9-2-2008

Hypocrisy on part of Republicans: the drumbeat mantra about teen abstinence, no sex education (it only encourages them), no contraceptives (also encourages) - all flies in the face of this most public of situations. Having lived in that most staunch of Republican strongholds - Midland, TX - teen pregnancy is commonplace (check the numbers)..no wonder the evangelical base finds Ms. Palin a kindred spirit. I've seeen it far too often. Yes, hypocrisy is alive and well. The Palins will be able to support their grandchild and child, what is the message to those less fortunate families that are stressed to the breaking point financially?

Sent by Cynthia | 3:50 PM | 9-2-2008

I agree with the comments about Sarah Palin's teenage daughter and the disconnect with her advocacy of abstinence only education. The fact that the right-wing does not seem to care is that they were looking for any reason to support McCain. They never cared what happened to pregnant teens so long as they didn't have an abortion or go on welfare. I would like to see the media point out the obvious about the mother without judging the actions/inactions of the daughter.

Sent by Joanna | 4:06 PM | 9-2-2008

Sarah Palin needs to withdraw from the race.

The republican conservative principles are now at question and who does it apply too.

Sent by Lyle K. Deere | 4:20 PM | 9-2-2008

I can't believe how much attention this getting with regards to the presidential election. It is disgusting. It just shows the obsession we have with the soap-opera side of the election and how blind we are to things like voting records, donor records and PAC contributions.

I don't plan to vote for McCain or Obama because both parties are two corrupt to take seriously. I had been rooting for Obama, but every time I hear about this poor girl's pregnancy, part of my hopes the republicans wins just so that girl doesn't think that this girl doesn't think she cost her mom the chance to be Vice President.

With regards to political experience, I don't care how experienced any of these people are. I'm not sure anything prepares you for being the presidency. Being a senator just seems to teach you how to be corrupt and manipulate the system. Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz? Those guys had tons of experience and they were the biggest disaster ever. Reagan had no foreign policy experience and I think his dealings with the Soviets were as good as anyone's.

Sent by Dave Henning, Chandler, AZ | 4:27 PM | 9-2-2008

It is the double standard of the Conservative Right that really shines through today. When one of their own transgresses, an apology and plea for forgivness, or a united family front and show of consolidarity is all that's needed to garner fierce support from this group. They all stand firm together. But when it's a Democrat who makes a similar blunder, an extra marital affair, a gay lover revealed, a teenage pregnancy or drug problem, the pundits foam at the mouth and run the Democrat into the ground. The Conservative group aggresively attacks the Democrat Candidtate, the family members, the nannies, the gardeners, you name it-- anything to smear their opponents. And the media buy into it, and air the discussions as if the arguments are legitimate. Why doesn't the Democratic Party learn from the successes of the Republican Party: namely that smear works every time. The American people love it, they eat it up, and are pursuaded by it. Why are the Dems afraid to attack back? Why don't they stand in unison and push back against the hypocracy of the "Religious Right"? Palin's daughter should not be an issue in this election (Palin's experience IS an issue) BUT, the Republicans have attacked other Candidate's kids in the past. They have already opened that door, and why not step through it?

Sent by Tiffany Gibbs | 4:35 PM | 9-2-2008

Sarah Palin is being described as charismatic, attractive and a "real" person who isn't afraid to stand up to those who are making the wrong decisions for our country. But, where was she when her daughter was about to make the wrong decision about become sexually active? Did they talk about the impact of becoming sexually active would have on her life? Was she there for her daughter? In the same way she was for her newborn, special needs son, heading back to work 3 days after his birth?! It's repulsive that diehard Republicans can so quickly change their tune when their bad decision on a VP candidate is living the morals they so often refute. This is who we should want for a VP? Not me.

Sent by Andy | 4:45 PM | 9-2-2008

As an Obama supporter, I couldn't be happier about McCain's unfortunate choice, or the hamfisted way in which it was bungled. It's nice that history gets a second (Democrats did this first with Ferraro) female running-mate in the same year as Clinton's historic almost-there bid, and better yet that it's a running-mate who adds absolutely nothing to help McCain defeat Obama-Biden. The more I look into her, the more I see an interesting person I'd like to meet - as well as a completely hopeless VP candidate and a serious misstep by John McCain. Perhaps not Eagleton bad, but certainly worse than Quayle.

Looking forward to November. :)

Sent by Kasreyn | 4:46 PM | 9-2-2008

Our foreighn policy allocates international aid and only sends money to people who agree to absinance only as the approach to family planning, and dare I say population control.

The absinance only approach failed in the home of a privaleged westerner - the Govenor of Alaska's. This should be a learning experience that would lead most people to change the approach regarding birth control and family planning.

Please ask the candidates if this personal experience will affect how the allocate international aid. Will they start endorsing the use of condoms and other contraceptives in third world countries?

Sent by Christopher M. Brown | 4:51 PM | 9-2-2008

This raises an entire host of issues for me as a liberal Democrat who leans small-L libertarian on social policy. I don't care that Bristol Palin is pregnant. I don't care that Sarah Palin has a special needs child. I don't think these things are anyone's business but her own.

What I do find relevant is her positions on political issues that RELATE to these matters. She's against abortion -- even in cases of rape and incest! She's vindictive and petty, another Cheney in the making (he shot someone in the face, she tried to fire the town librarian for NOT banning books, and attempted to get town officials to resign as a 'test of loyalty').

She belonged to an Alaskan separatist political party before switching to the GOP for expediency.

She exaggerates for effect (stopping over on the way back from the Middle East at Shannon Airport does NOT count as a 'visit to Ireland' nor does being the titular head of the AK National Guard make you a 'commander in chief').

In short, she is a hypocrite, a terminal exaggerator and a card-carrying member of the "It's OK If You're a Republican" club. She's on the ticket because she's young and pretty, and panders to a certain portion of the base.

She hasn't got the executive-level economic experience of someone like Romney, and McCain is terrible on economics as it is. Who cares about her personal life? What is she going to do to pull us out of the tailspin created by the Bush tax cuts? She's not going to have her own personal oil wells to tax whenever she wants money to pay for something (she recently raised taxes on oil and gas companies in AK to finance handing out a $1200 check to Alaskans hit by high energy prices, something she WON'T be able to do on a national level to gain popularity points).

Sent by Shannon | 4:57 PM | 9-2-2008

I'm really thinking Palin is just a distraction.

She will not be VP for too long if elected... for obvious "personal issues".

She is also not here to distract the woman vote. She is here distract people like my father. An old school "Truman" republican who grows more and more indifferent to the party that left him for Jesus. Hobbyist toy boys who can't help but admire a nice set of legs.

Sent by daniel | 5:00 PM | 9-2-2008

It is disappointing that so many people just repeat the left wing mantras. Someone above wrote "As an independent voter and thinker I really resented the fact that I had to explain to my daughter this morning why it is not a good thing to be pregnant at 17" Well you should be doing that anyway. What I resent is explaining to any child that a cigar is not to be used on certain parts of the female anatomy or that the presidential libraries most popular exhibit is a stain on a blue dress. The fact that a 17 year old had a moral failure in moral atmosphere created by our anything goes society should not discredit attempts by abstinence programs to shore up our values. And to say "every study" shows abstinence programs do not work is not true.

Sent by Cliff | 5:06 PM | 9-2-2008

Of _course_ there is a stigma attached to teenage mothers. Teenage mothers (and fathers) are at a disadvantage mentally, emotionally, and financially, when compared to those who become parents after they become adults. The stigma of teenage pregnancies exists because teenagers are not yet adults, and are wholly unprepared to be parents. It's perfectly reasonable to attach a stigma to things universally identified as bad behavior.

Sent by Solomon Ford | 5:12 PM | 9-2-2008

Estimates for usa teen pregnancies for 2008 have now been revised to 750,001.

It's estimated 80% are unintended.

The estimated annual cost in public funding for 2004 was $9.1bn. That's billions with a capital B.

(Statistics courtesy of: CDC and PAI.)

Add the cost of Iraq and it's no wonder we're broke. Palin's solution to the problem is painfully ass backwards.

May the press have a field day!

Sent by justgeorge | 5:13 PM | 9-2-2008

I am outraged by the choice of Sarah Palin to be John McCain's running mate.

This is a woman with a thin resume, parochial experience, and a lack of sophisticated analysis or even awareness of foreign affairs, economics, or culture. Her experience as a mayor of a town of <9,000 and slightly more than 1 year as governor of a state less than half the size of the city I live in, provides little consolation.

Perhaps at first blush she appears to be, like John McCain likes to see himself, a fighter against corruption, although the truth of this is yet to be confirmed, nonetheless, this is hardly what the America and the world needs at this point in history. Someone who hasn't paid that much attention to Iraq in the vice presidency? Someone who needs to have it explained to her what the vice president does all day? Someone who is a creationist, doesn't believe in evolution, doesn't understand about global warming. What's more, a person who subscribes to abstinence only birth control, who is anti-choice, who has a child with special needs and then returns to work within a week, who professes to be a proponent of "family values" and yet apparently is so neglectful that she hasn't taught her daughter to protect herself from an unplanned pregnancy and subscribes to the notion that the daughter's boyfriend must therefore marry her (one might ask why he hadn't married her already if that was his intention, one can only conclude that he may not be so enthusiastic about abandoning his plans, whatever they may, be to marry this young woman, but that her mother's political ambitions leave him and her daughter no way out ).

Why is Sarah Palin's personal life, her life as a mother important here? Because it speaks to public policy and it speaks to her character. She revels in her daughter's choice to have the child...forgetting that that assumes a choice which she opposes. She opposes preparing children with the information and instruments to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy and disease, and assumes a passive stance "life happens" when , in fact, she has been neglectful. Again, she wants someone to explain to her what a vice president does all day---doesn't she read the paper, didn't she take an 8th grade civics class, can't she do a little investigation herself? Do we need another un curious person in high office? Do we need to have a woman in such a high position with great influence with such low expectations for herself and her children: neither of the oldest ones pursuing higher education, forced into a early marriage because of the impulses of teenagers in love. This may be fine in little Wasilla, Alaska, but this is not a good model for a competitive world economy.

When commentators have compared her experience to Barack Obama, I am floored. This is a man from a modest background, who attended the best college and graduate school in the country and was elected president of Harvard Law Review. She went to the University of Idaho and has an undistinguished record. He has lived in and visited different countries and has therefore even as a child been able to have a more thorough understanding of America's place in the world. He has an overarching analysis of the needs of society rather than an impulsive scattershot so called crusade against corruption. We have already had a president whose privilege , like McCain's, got him into a prestigious school and who did not perform well, we don't need another president and vice president without self awareness or intellectual rigor.

Sent by janet leder | 5:21 PM | 9-2-2008

To Cynthia above who wrote "what is the message to those less fortunate families that are stressed to the breaking point financially" Why the message from the left is kill if your going to be stressed financially. Why stop there? Hey a kid wants to go to college and it will cause financial stress, have em killed. There now were all sleeping better at night. Killing children is a practice of primitive societies equivalent to burning virgins alive to please the gods

Sent by Clifford | 5:32 PM | 9-2-2008

How can Sarah Palin's daughter's pregnancy be considered a private affair? I agree it should be private... but with the decision to bring it into the public eye, people should be aware that it's the Republican folks who are exploiting it for votes. Not to mention, that it is the media who cannot leave it alone. It is very sad to see how low the political machine will go and I am disturbed to see Republican women only too happy, almost zealous, at the prospect of exploiting Bristol Palin for their cause.

Sent by Dee | 6:04 PM | 9-2-2008

To Clifford and Brian B, especially: You would undoubtedly call me "liberal" and a feminist. You see, I have name issues--my birth name, my children's father's name, and now my second spouse's and his kids' name. So "feminism" would be my label for you black-and-white followers of self-selected "-isms".

But, I actually consider myself socially responsible and conservative. I am a professional woman with 4 great kids I have raised nearly on my own, having divorced their alcoholically disabled father when I realized he was no more than a 5th child and high maintenance at that--who, incidentally, left me bankrupt. I have worked very hard in and for my profession, Architecture (I am registered in 2 states), which I then took into education because it became a better fit for responsibly raising my kids. You see, I'm all about thoughtful, critical, and sustainable design. And I thought: What is more important than contributing the best possible future generation to the world of tomorrow? Thus, when I observed my 14-15 year-old daughter (my youngest) was drfiting off-track, I took some time out of my own professional career to substitute teach in the middle school she was attending so I could keep an eye on her world. And as far as I am concerned, this is the ultimate feminism: to be empowered to watch out for our children. I am humbly able to report 4 college graduates and 4 more currently in college; that youngest daughter starts her 2nd year in one of the top design colleges in the country/world. And me? I finally finished my graduate work in architecture--20+ years after the first professional degree!

Sarah Palin is an ambitious calculating opportunist who apparently does not even realize she is dropping critical pieces of her life in her race to....what? Fame and Power? If she had arranged her life so that she were indeed the center of her universe, I would say--okay, her choice and it's between her and her Maker (God, for me). However, she made other choices and those other choices must define her priorities. My mother taught me a long time ago that we can't have it both ways. Choices have consequences. If Ms. Palin chooses to ignore the consequences of her life choices, she is irresponsible and cannot be trusted as a leader. Others will only be left to pick up the pieces she will inevitably drop along the way, as is already happening in the Wooten affair.

80% approval? It's been 20 months! Alaskans are still in the honeymoon stage with her. Been there, done that; and so have we all at least seen it unfold as the realities set in. That will fade and the news I hear indicates the bright lights are already having that effect.

Who is Sarah Palin? Their governor or their self-avowed "soccer mom" (my sister is a full-time "soccer mom" w/ 3 kids and she is as busy as I am!)--sorry, it can't be both, at least not at the same time. It's childish and immature to think so--come to think of it, a very teenage world-view, actually!

Sent by Jean G. | 6:23 PM | 9-2-2008

I have never commented before about any candidate; yet I cannot remain silent now. As a woman and mother of three, I have serious concerns about Sarah Palin and her run for VP. Unlike Ms. Palin, I only had three children. When our middle child incurred birth trauma, our lives changed dramatically. I gave up my love of teaching in public school to dedicate my time helping a mildly mentally retarded child grow into the fullest person she could. Our oldest and youngest are very, very bright adults, and yet all of us sacrificed much in our personal lives to care for this mentally challenged child, now adult. We had the full support and assistance of my in-laws, opening avenues in special education and providing extra help whenever needed. Thankfully, she now can function (with assistance from her family), and holds a job in food service. Had we not all given up a great deal of our personal desires and goals, and had my husband not worked both as a professor and held a second job at night, this child would be on the welfare rolls, or even institutionalized. If I could not teach because of these serious, family-demanding responsibilities until she was of school age, I seriously question how someone with five children, one with Downs, can possibly serve as vice president. God help us if anything ever happened to the president! Just as there are vows of caring in marriage, so too are there vows at the birth of a child for any Christian woman. If she claims to be a Christian, has she forgotten those vows to God agreed upon at the moment of conception?

Sent by Joan | 6:29 PM | 9-2-2008

Yes Sarah Palin with all her family troubles, only a B.S. in communications and lack of time to think about little issues lie the War in Iraq is "remarkably unremarkable." But is that what we want some average Josie in the White House. You know she will have to make very complex decisions and face up to some of the top intellects (an manipulators) in the world on decisions that will affect all of us.

Sent by NB | 6:47 PM | 9-2-2008

I fail to see that a teen being pregnant or the fact that the candidate has a special needs infant has any baring on being a Vice Presidential candidate. I am much more concerned what she brings to the office of Vice President and it seems a little new blood in Washington would be a good shot in the arm. I also take issue with those who want a Mother to be solely responsible for the nurturing of the offspring and voice the concern that because she wasn't at home became the judged reason her teenage daughter became pregnant. I submit that many families that had stay at home Mothers still faced this very same issue. Even Obama stepped forward to say leave family members out of the picture and listen to the hard questions and the answers our candidates put forth and then choose the one you feel can move us in a positive direction.

Sent by Gail | 7:25 PM | 9-2-2008

Given our national birth rate and its importance to the future of the nation and its economy, teen pregnancy is far less serious than automatic and persistent habitual contraception, a behavior we seem intent on instilling in women. And by the way, teen pregnancy is *not* dangerous to health; on the contrary, pregnancy at any age is more health enhancing for women than abortion, and seems to inoculate best against later breast cancer.

Sent by Janet Baker | 8:01 PM | 9-2-2008

My fear is that they are going to win, and then get all smug about being the first party to put a woman in the White House. Never mind all the work Democrats have done to make it happen. The Republicans never in a million years would have put a woman on the ticket if they weren't desperate. Regarding the drama around her family: I like what Obama suggested - that families should be off-limits for comments. Too bad that can't extend to the rest of us. I'll stop paying attention to her family when she and those like her stop telling me how to run mine.

Sent by Kim | 8:03 PM | 9-2-2008

Interesting Palin has admitted that this war is about OIL. Has anyone questioned the fact that oil is a commodity, is a public ASSET/RESOURCE. It should be developed for the public benefit. The price is up, the corporate officers are salivating, and people are desperate enough to give it away in the hope of reducing the cost of a tank of gas. Wake up people. They are rooking us big time, attacking this resource for profit, not to ease the price of oil or our "dependence" on foreign oil. AND, if we develop an infrastructure that isn't oil based, the value of our resource will go down.

Sent by maureen iversen | 8:38 PM | 9-2-2008

According to CNN Palin fessed up about Bristol and was specifically told that the information would probably get out. Did she still want the job? Mom said 'yup'.

What kind of parent throws a child to the wolves like that? If she was concerned about privacy she would have said, "thanks but no thanks, how about Secretary of the Interior instead?"

Sent by Mama Rose | 8:59 PM | 9-2-2008

As a father and now grandfather, I know that nothing is more important than transferring an integrated understanding of family, love, sexuality, restraint, and family planning (yes, birth control, male and female condoms for prevention of transfer of sexually transmitted disease etc., other methods as are appropriate) as our children grow into fecundity and ultimately maturity. If only we and our children did not become sexually capable, decide to drive, drink and vote before our brains fully matured, then discussions of sex education and family planning in early grades would not be so critical, truth about condoms not so vital, and dissemination of the statistics on the 15 century failure of abstinence training (an oxymoron if ever) would not be so beneficial to the public good.

Humans teach humans birth control, and practice birth control, out of love and compassion for one another, most especially our children who have not yet matured to control their powerful and fecund impulses. Failure to teach birth control honestly compounds ignorance with contempt of human nature and of our beloved children and teen agers.

Listening to Republican Convention, I had a momentary experience of the Dark Ages, of an America without the separation of Church and State, and saw McCain/Palin in the beard of Osama Ben Laden urging rocks heaped on the unbelievers. And rocks will be the least of it with the Supreme Court they imagine.

Sent by ron cohen | 9:00 PM | 9-2-2008

Please, get a life, there must be more important things to talk about, like when are American Gladiators coming back to prime time television.

Sent by Pat | 9:41 PM | 9-2-2008

Sarah Palin and the lack of vetting the Republicans gave to her background -PRICELESS- Thanks John MCCain!

Sent by patricia | 10:16 PM | 9-2-2008

Last time I checked, sex with a 17yr. old is rape. What would Sarah Palin do if she didn't agree with her daughters sexual partner?

Sent by lisa | 10:24 PM | 9-2-2008

Teen Pregnancy commonly leads to high school drop-out, no college, lower paying (if any) job- Public Assistance...

Hey, wait a minute- I thought that the Republicans wanted Less people on Welfare...?

Has this young lady (Bristol) even finished high school?
What about the boyfriend/father?

...and Where's the Engagement Ring?

You can bet - if this were a democratic candidate, the Repubs would be 'all over' this!

Another thought- If you do not have sex education, how do you even know what abstinence means?

I am not "pro-abortion" -but I do believe that it should be left up to the individual, not illegal!

Sent by Donna | 12:58 AM | 9-3-2008

Most teenage girls who are pregnant don't have the access to the kind of healthcare, housing and money that bristol and her baby will have. sarah palin had really better re-think her stand on universal healthcare, subsidized housing and daycare. the major reason women seek abortions is because they do not have the resources to raise a child, mainly they fear they cannot keep them healthy or figure out a way to pay the bills and care for the child. i work at a poverty center where many of the moms who seek services have children with disabilities. those poor women just fall through the cracks. i am just appalled at the hypocrisy and disconnect of the extreme right. also, if you think palin's so nice, take a listen (on you tube) to her giggling away at a call-in radio show as some shock-jocks in alaska make fun of her political opponent's weight and (hold on to your hats) having cancer! she's a creep.

Sent by Jane Wilson | 1:02 AM | 9-3-2008

That her daughter has a teenage pregnancy out of wedlock does not disqualify her- only makes Republican seem ridiculous if they start to preach "family values" and "abstinence".

But the question real is, why didn't she fully disclose this upfront (while they were changing her Wikipedia entry, e.g.). Did they calculate that that this was the best way to spin it? What does that say about openness and honesty?

Sent by D Wild | 5:15 AM | 9-3-2008

It is amazing how the Palin announcement threw the media off track of the real story - the day last April when her water broke while she was attending an "energy forum" in Texas, a closed-door meeting of 9 Republican governors and five energy industry CEOs. Not only did she stay and give her 30-minute speech after her water broke, she also refused to go to a Texas hospital, insisting on flying back to Alaska, then driving another 43 miles to the hospital of her choosing.

It was this story, along with her lack of "showing" - even at 7 months when she surprised everyone with the announcement of her own pregnancy, along with her daughter's absence from school, that started rumors about whose baby Trig was.

Now, the Governor's announcement about Bristol's pregnancy in response to those rumors, has completely distracted away from the original story, which is worth investigating.

In my article "Sarah Palin and the Closed-Door Energy Forum Where Her Water Broke", at OpEdNews, I propose a shift in focus from the whole pregnancy/childbirth issue, TO THE MEETING.

Sent by Barbara Bellows-TerraNova | 6:43 AM | 9-3-2008

10:1 odds that the child born to Bristol will be named Billabong.

Palin's acceptance of VP with all the distractions in her life reek of polarizing values.

Her failings to meet all the demands over the next two months will become overly apparent to either the American people or her family. I would guess her young children and husband will "take one for the team".

Sent by Todd | 9:13 AM | 9-3-2008

Sarah Palin could not influence 1 person (under her own roof) to refrain from sexual intercourse thus proving that abstinence education does not work. Why should an entire country side with her ideals?

This person is not qualified to lead in sexual health and education matters when her own policies don't work for those in her own home.

Is it healthy to deny natural urges which once acted upon haphazardly will without the proper foresight result in pregnancy?

Now this child is betrothed to marry the boy that got her pregnant? Whether the child herself believes this is the "right thing to do" or not is irrelevant due to her mother's direct influence over the past 17 years.

I can't begin to see why people would like to view this as a "private family matter" and sweep it under the conservative stage?

This issue exemplifies that lack of sex education in exchange for suppression has not proven to yield desired results.
Between unplanned pregnancies and people marrying out of obligation to concepts of 'should' - this attitude towards sex, which people will always be drawn to engage in, is a huge step backwards.

Palin's daughter should not become a subject for dissection; however considering her mother's political views, the pregnancy and plan to wed is Exhibit A - against Palin's judgment on sexual health matters.

Sent by Jillann Hertel | 10:03 AM | 9-3-2008

I'm a male who generally votes Democrat, but the reactions against Sarah Palin have gotten ridiculous even demeaning. Her Family is not the issue.
One picture posted on TV news from the Print media that really irritated me was posing her with Bush's wife and McCains wife. Sarah Palin is a Candidate for Vice President of the United States. NOT just somebody's wife. Treat her with the respect due to the office she is running for.

Sent by Tom Popp | 10:17 AM | 9-3-2008

while i do hate to see family brought into an individuals politics, when sarah palin joined those that preach abstinence as the only way to educate our youth due to her religious/moral beliefs, I think the failure of this idea within her own family does warrant a closer look at her platforms and her family.

And on a similar note I have heard many stories citing evangelical pro-life groups applauding her "choice" to keep her child. They themselves are acknowledging her right to choose- it just happens to be one that supports their agenda so it is ok with them- but let us not forget it was her choice that is important. While I am Pro-choice, excluding extenuating circumstances, I would also CHOOSE life- but the fact of the matter is it is mine to make. The moral right tends to seek out those making a choice on a daily basis to chastise them so why should those questioning this situation not want to bring her daughter under similar scrutiny? Bringing a child into this world is a very mature thing to have to face and you must become an adult very quickly-truly you can no longer hide under the title of child and being an adult means coming up against all types of hardship not just those of your choosing.

Sent by Heather | 10:18 AM | 9-3-2008

I am listening to the pro-life folks and wondering why War is not an issue of Life for them. Why don't they just call themselves anti-abortion instead?

Sent by Will Kimbrough | 10:40 AM | 9-3-2008

I don't care about Ms. Palin's family issues, but I do have a big problem with her lack of experience. No matter how they try to spin it, 10 months as governor of Alaska following a stint as mayor does not qualify you to be a possible next President. John McCain's choice looks exactly like a wild gambit to counter the excitement of Barack Obama's candidacy and the disappointment of Hillary supporters. Without that, Sarah Palin would never have been chosen, John McCain's reputation as a maverick notwithstanding. Such a political choice does not enhance women in politics. For me, it makes her the political equivalent of a trophy wife.

Sent by JKB | 10:53 AM | 9-3-2008

I feel concerned about Gov. Palin's pregnant daughter. She should be resting, eating well, and the like. Instead, Gov. Palin is dragging her around in a bus, making her carry the weight of a 5 month old baby, and therefore putting at risk the teenager's health as well as the unborn child. Have you ever seen Gov. Palin holding her 5 month old? I can only deduct that the teenage daughter is the one raising the children.

Sent by Marina | 11:03 AM | 9-3-2008

I am just a little bit younger than Ms. Palin, am highly educated, with a young family. If push came to shove, I WOULD NOT be the one to stay at home with the kids - my husband would as 1) he is the better choice temperamentally speaking and 2) I am the primary bread winner. People- are we still stuck in the 1950s? From what I have read, Ms. Palin's husband is currently at home with the kids, and has been since the baby was born. And yet, everybody seems to be on the bandwagon that SHE's the cause of her older daughter's pregnancy and she's not a good mother for not staying home with her baby. People may not like to admit it, but I will - I consider myself to be a good mother, but I would make a HORRIBLE stay-at-home mother. My husband has a LOT more patience (I'm "Type A", he's not) and I suspect that's the case for MANY successful women. I thought we were through with this crud by now. Funny how everyone is pointing the finger at Ms. Palin, but nobody in the media is pointing out 1)there is a stay at home parent and 2) I haven't heard anyone question what impact the presidency would have on Mr. Obama's two young children. Oh, wait, I forgot that having a stay-at-home mom (Michelle Obama) is apparently better than a stay-at-home dad. This is a double standard and absolute sexism at its worst.

Sent by Laurel | 11:10 AM | 9-3-2008

I'm hearing a rumor that Palin is a Creationist, but even further than that she's a believer that Jesus gave the USA the power to rule over the world. Anyone heard of that and know what that belief system is called? And how scary is that. Sounds a bit like an American religious extremist organization.

Sent by Ananda | 11:18 AM | 9-3-2008

For those of you who believe that Bristol Palin's pregnancy is relevant to the Presidential Campaign of John McCain, I have one question only...How relevant is it to Obama's Presidential Campaign that his mother was pregnant with him before she was married to his father? I also have one last statement: It's a pretty good bet that Obama is happy that his mother did not believe in (or at least practice) late term abortions or abortions for unwed pregnant women...

Sent by Joe Flynn | 12:25 PM | 9-3-2008

You will notice that many voters who identify with Republicans are very dogmatic about one issue: abortion.

Why do we see a cheer squad at the announcement of Gov. Palin as McCain's running mate? Because the lowest common denominator for a religious fundamentalist is the value of life. Not to put any connotation in the word "value," but what I am stating is; abortion is all that matters.

Conservative voters will deal with McCain or scandal or even a mother that decides being the VP is more important than her daughter's rights or her soon-to-be-son-in-law's rights.

It's all about that single issue and I know whole families that feel that way.

Side note to all of you, this is the nail in the coffin for McCain. Young voters will be deciding this election. Not Hispanics or Blacks or female voters, but all YOUNG voters.

Any race, religion, sex, ethnicity or background.

Sent by PoliticalHick | 12:57 PM | 9-3-2008

Does the Republican Party remember Dan Quayles comment about Murphy Brown (a fictional character BTW) choice to raise a Baby out of wedlock? Isn't Palins daughter making her own lifestyle choice?

Sent by paul | 1:44 PM | 9-3-2008

We should discuss the real issue which is Palin's ties with big oil. The reason the republicans are happy with her is because she is in favor of drilling in ANWR and she doesn't believe in global warming. I wonder where all those contribution came from after McCain announced he was nominating her for VP....MAYBE OIL COMPANIES

Sent by Agustina | 2:03 PM | 9-3-2008

My issue with Sarah Palin is her lack of experience. I live in Colorado, and have a first term Governor, Ritter, who has served 2 years so far. Prior to that he was a Prosecutor. I don't think HE would be qualified to be VP either----- regardless of gender-----regardless of "family circumstance". They just don't have the experience yet.

Sent by Tina | 3:36 PM | 9-3-2008

How people can question Palin's experience when in fact their canidate's experience consists of being a community organizer is amazing. And this group seems to know Palin's motives. They even know that Palin did not tell McCain about the daughter's pregnancy. They know why McCain picked Sarah Palin. They seem to know everything about why the Republican's do anything. And it seems Republicans always do things for bad reasons. People who ascribe such motives to other people many times are revealing more about themselves than about the people they are talking about.

Sent by Clifford | 5:00 PM | 9-3-2008

I want to start out by saying that I am a liberal democrat who is a strong supporter of Barack Obama. I think that Sarah Palin is being unfairly criticized for what is going on within her family. I think that if she were a man her family situation would not be called into question. The thing that bothers me about McCain's choice to make her his VP pick is that they have been criticizing Obama for his lack of experience since the beginning. It is true that she has been running an entire state since 2006 and that Obama only represents a state. I would like to point out that the 13th district of Illinois where he was a state representative has a greater population than the entire state of Alaska. I would also like to say that her lack of experience on the national level does not discredit her ability to be a great VP. I just think that this is another example of how the Republican party doesn't practice what it preaches.

Sent by Amy Russell | 11:34 PM | 9-3-2008

I personally don't really care about the pregnant teen-ager myself,except on thelevel that it exposes the hypocracy of the religious right. What bothers me is the idea that a biblical literalist who advocates teaching creationism (Christian religion) in public schools would be anywhere near the White House.

Sent by P Miller | 12:10 AM | 9-4-2008

This is scary people. It has nothing to do with her being a woman, that's fine, but there are plenty of better qualified republican women that could and should have been chosen, if that's where the elephant party wants to take it. Palin=Scary What is even more scary is that that poor old man thinks his choice was good judgment and good for the country. Wake up people really.

Sent by Fantomas | 11:25 AM | 9-4-2008

Lack of experience is what concerns you? Does a "community organizer" have more experience than a govorner? " lowest common denominator for a religious fundamentalist is the value of life" No, that would be the highest common denomiantor. Even scientifically life begins at conception. Is it that the baby is not a person until born? That's the same argument used to support slavery. The black dude is not a person so slavery is OK. Or the wife is the property of her husband, and not a full person. In America all people are CREATED equally with rights granted by the creator namely life,liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Life is first because without it, no other right matters.

Sent by Clifford | 1:31 PM | 9-4-2008

I am baffled by the hypocritical reaction of the Christian Right to the news that Sarah Palin's unwed daughter is pregnant. The Republican vice-presidential running mate touts conservative values including abstinence before marriage. Now that it has been revealed that her own daughter was not practising what Palin has been preaching regarding abstinence, Palin has been embraced even more by the Right. Her family resembles the ordinary American family, warts and all. "She is one of us, " so say the Christian Right. I have heard no admonishments from them about personal responsibility and morality with regard to this now infamous pregnancy. This high-profile pregnancy along with the so-called pact among high school girls in Gloucester, MA to get pregnant shows that suburban girls are not the paragons of virtue they are often portrayed to be. They are no less sexually active or promiscuous than their inner-city counterparts BUT the consequences of their behavior are less evident for they are more likely to be on the pill and to have abortions.

For years, conservatives have blamed liberals for the rise in unwed teen mothers. I do not know whether liberalism has anything to do with increased sexual activity among teenagers, but this is one teen pregnancy that the Right cannot blame on Liberals

Sent by Carolyn | 11:02 AM | 9-6-2008

Do not be baffled. One of the basic beliefs of Christianity is that All have sinned. Human beings are not perfect. All people make mistakes. Every one of us do things we know are wrong. This comes from what Christians call temptation. When another Christian fails, we understand because we have been there. Our children fail just like we have. We are not saying it is right to fail. Our failure does not change what we think is the ideal of sex after marriage. Someone running a stop sign does not change the fact that they should have stopped. Another basic tenant of Christianity is forgiveness. It allows us to be free of grudges and situations from the past to face the future. There is more but hopefully this can get you started to a more full understanding of why, generally speaking, Christians are pro-life. Hopefully this will be allowed to be posted.

Sent by Clifford | 10:59 AM | 9-9-2008