Sarah Palin: Boon or Bust for McCain?

Here's how the McCain campaign is spinning the Palin pregnancy problem: she's a normal mom with normal problems just like all those working-class-former-Hillary-voters-who-don't-like-Barack.

But here's the thing: how many working moms with a four-month-old baby, who has special needs, and a teenage daughter—who now also has special needs—could also be in a position to run the most powerful nation on earth?

Slate's XX Factor says the Republicans are elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary.

Which raises the question — why do we need our leaders to at least pretend that they're ordinary?



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.

Women have been handling multiple roles and responsibilities for at least the last 50 years!! Where have you been as a woman? It's this type of sexist attitude/beliefs from both men and women in this country that defeated Sen. Hillary Clinton. I truly hope the media gives up their "google eyed love affair" with Obama and actually starts delving into this background. I could be mistaken but I do believe that his parents were not married when he was conceived nor were they ever married. His father abandoned him. Let's try not to let the double standard continue to be our benchmark for women's abilities to lead a nation. Palin has more experience than Obama. Obama did not help break the glass ceiling, in fact he maintained the sexism in this country with comments and remark about Sen. Clinton. Biden is part of the old established so where is the change? The change is in having a woman, not another man, or two men, in the White House. The Republicans and in particular Senator McCain has my admiration, and my vote! If there are any journalists out there versus the media talking heads I do hope they do their job without bias and actually investigate Obama's background, his politics and his lack of experience. Where is the media coverage on the first female in the Republican party as VP candidate? By the way, Shirley Chisholm and Jesse Jackson received no acclaim or "thanks" from Obama and his crew. Obama is not Kennedy, nor is his Martin Luther King. He's just another guy taking advantage of the moment, spreading his own brand of fear, and stepping on the necks of all the real statespeople who came before him. He needs to go back to Illinois and keep his commitment there, get some experience and be honest with the American people by stating "I'm not ready, I made a mistake". Palin and McCain get my vote for experience, honesty and integrity!

Sent by Karen A Duncan | 12:58 PM | 9-2-2008

I think by putting herself forward as a "hockey mom" Sarah Palin is being disingenuous. She is obviously not a regular gal; she a very ambitious woman who believes she can have everything. I think she has put her family forward as part of her resume and because she has, we have the right to review her choices to see what it says about her. Certainly every parent can sympathize with her angst over her 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy. What shocks me is that she would appear to be pushing her 17-year-old daughter into MARRIAGE as a consequence. I can't think of a worse reason to marry. This is a decision that calls her judgement into question. Is the push for her daughter to marry partially a political decision?

Sent by Mary Lee Gambone | 1:04 PM | 9-2-2008

Lets pretend that Barack Obama's daughter was 17 and engaged in pre-marital sex that resulted in a teen pregnancy. Now, lets pretend that Karl Rove and the social conservatives got to comment on the ???ordinariness??? of that problem. I somehow believe that an unplanned pregnancy of a minor from a Democrat???s family would elicit screams from the right of the proof of the moral laxness and permissiveness of the Democrats, not ???oh, its so nice that the African-American family, whose father is running for President has problems just like me???. I don???t believe teen pregnancy is ???ordinary???. I think that teen pregnancy results in the diminished future for the minor and the child.

Sent by Sloane Mann | 1:37 PM | 9-2-2008

I wonder if Dr. James Dobson and the social conservatives would have been nearly so generous in their comments if Obama or Biden had a 17 year old daughter who was pregant? I'm sure not - "see, it's those godless liberals". There is an incredible double standard here.

Sent by K McConnell | 1:39 PM | 9-2-2008

What I think the pregnancy of Palin's daughter primarily highlights are Palin's and the Republican's emphasis on abstinence only sex education for teenagers. Abstinence-only education has been proven over and over to not work, and so this situation is doubly ironic. I feel deeply for Ms. Palin's young daughter, just as I feel for any young woman who is deprived of education about her own sexuality and who is deprived of the opportunity to control her own fertility and who ultimately has to pay a steep price in diminished educational and vocational opportunities.

Sent by nancy baker | 1:40 PM | 9-2-2008

We don't need a "mom", we need a VP! McCain is probably one of the most likely presidential candidates to become incapacitated in office...hence my total perplexity about her nomination. Do we really want a VP who has to put country ahead of her handicapped baby (as would be required of any VP)??

Sent by Melissa Bolz | 1:43 PM | 9-2-2008

I don't feel the need for candidates for national office to appear that they are ordinary. Much more important to me is for the candidate to demonstrate intelligence, competence, and demonstrate respect for the intelligence and competence of the electorate.

As a woman voter who was undecided, the nomination of Sarah Palin pushed my vote to the Democrats. McCain's surprise choice for the person "a heartbeat away from the presidency" is insulting to the intelligence and competence of the electorate. The very candidate (McCain) who decried the popularity of his opponent (Obama) as a star, is clearly seeking to create a star of his own.

Not only is Sarah Palin lacking in educational background, and world experience, but what experience does she have of any of this country's major cities?

Sent by V.M. | 1:47 PM | 9-2-2008

I think the issue is more about hypocracy and the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do attitude of Republicans in general and the Republican party and officials/politicians specifically.
Don't tout your Family Values and abstinence only "sex education" policies when you're own family situations can't support your stance or stances.

And totally related - McCain and his camp can never again speak of Obama's lack of international expience and experience in public office. Palin's experience is less than Obama's.

Sent by Nathan Larson | 1:48 PM | 9-2-2008

I'm just concerned about how this brings out the hypocrisy of Republicans and that of their strong Evangelical base. Why is it when something questionable comes up on the Democratic side, they showcase it as proof of how wretched the "liberal" way of life is and how it's "destroying" America's "family value" structure (i.e., Clinton's indescretions). Yet, whenever they experience "issues" among their party members, they seem to minimize it. It's not only Democrats who see Sarah Palin as a rather odd choice for VP, but even Republicans are puzzled, so that should speak volumes. If this had been a Democrat, you know what they'd be saying.

Sent by Karen | 1:48 PM | 9-2-2008

I don't know what McCain was thinking when he nominated Palin. Was he having a 'senior moment?' My first thought was that other politically savvy women in the Republican Party should be upset. Was this the best that he could do? I'm sure there are several more qualified VP candidates out there. She's been compared to Hillary, but Palin can't hold a candle to Hillary's accomplishments. Now, we find out about her pregnant teenage daughter! And, of course, Republicans are invoking their routine hypocritical spin. After all of the harsh criticism concerning teenage pregnancy among minorities, suddenly this becomes an admirable quality! If the shoe were on the other foot, as it were, Republican strategists would burn up the airwaves with non-stop criticism about Barak Obama. You have to be from another planet to believe this does not adversely affect the McCain/Palin ticket.

Sent by Sarah F. | 1:53 PM | 9-2-2008

Absolute BUST!!!
Here's what I know:
1. The McCain campaign is too impulsive and did not fully vet out their candidate.
2. Sarah Palin is selfish and egotistical. The only person this VP candidacy helps is herself. This is a time in which the Palin family needs their hockey mom to support them. It will be impossible to keep her family out of public scrutiny at this point. If she wants to keep her state and her family from being the the laughing stock of the world, she'd be wise to pull away now.

Sent by Lily Lee | 1:54 PM | 9-2-2008

The politicians may feel like they are projecting an ordinairy family in a common situation, but I wonder how Bristol Palin is feeling about now. How could any parent let her daughter go through a teenage pregnancy on such a public stage? Chelsea Clinton did not get into any trouble but was always open for scrutiny - even on her appearance. It is not going to get any easier for Bristol

Sent by Susan | 2:06 PM | 9-2-2008

What excites me the most about Palin is she is the most 'normal' candidate I have seen in a long time for either president or vice president. Granted, for the last 1 1/2 years she has had all the government perks and benefits, but not too long ago she was a woman who bought the milk her family drank. Not long ago she sat down and paid family bills with money that she and her husband earned with the sweat of their own brow. Not long ago they filled the gas tank of their cars and shook her head at the price she had to pay.

The point is, for a very long time everyone else that has gotten to this level in politics (president or VP of a major party) has lived in the pseudo-reality of Washington or a governor's mansion or has at least come from a lifestyle of money (nothing wrong with money). Even Obama, who came from humble beginnings, has been living in luxury for most of his adult life. Ordinary is what the vast majority of America is! It is THAT is experience what I am excited about this candidate having.

Sent by David Child | 2:07 PM | 9-2-2008

P.S. Also because the MAJORITY of us are ordinary. Duh.

Sent by David Child | 2:08 PM | 9-2-2008

We need leaders who have superior judgment and can also relate to everyday Americans. I am not voting for a drinking buddy. But understanding how the economy is destroying the middle class (those making way below 5 million a year), must be a factor in electing the president.

Sent by Manju Howard | 2:10 PM | 9-2-2008

It is my opinion Sarah Palin is just ordinary. Elevating her to extraordinary status based on family issues is beyond belief.

Palin speaks with a hollow message on abstinence to Alaska and now the Nation. If her message doesn't resonate in her home, why should she expect the Nation to listen to her message now.

Her family situation is inconsistant with conservative principles.

Sent by Lyle K. Deere | 2:43 PM | 9-2-2008

It's the hypocrisy of the Republican party that offends me. They preach against premarital sex yet celebrate this child's pregnancy as wonderful. They preach that mothers should stay home to raise their own children, yet draft a woman with five children--two with special needs, and celebrate that. They preach about the qualifications of any Democrat as being unfit for the presidency, yet choose a woman with no meaningful credentials. I am a woman who feels very much pandered to by this selection. I voted Republican half my voting life, but no more. Their banter is nothing but hypocritical.

Sent by judith sturgess | 2:44 PM | 9-2-2008

I don't need my leaders to be ordinary or to pretend that they are ordinary. I want my leaders to be competent and capable, able to think on their feet and to do what is right and fair. I want them to treat all people equal, regardless of their religious beliefs, if any, or their lifestyles.

Sarah Palin scares me. If John McCain is elected, she will be one heartbeat away from being president and making life and death decisions that will affect millions of people, even the whole world. I have several friends who were Hillary Clinton supporters (I am an Obama supporter) and there is no way they would support Sarah Palin. The only way Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton are alike is that they are both female. That does not make her capable of running this country.

Sent by Beth Coger | 3:06 PM | 9-2-2008

Spinning seems to be what the republican party does best. How else can you frame the very troubling phenomenon of teen pregnancy as just a "normal everyday problem" that we all see.?! I hear republican women say "it's none of our business" but how many of them said that when clinton's "family affair" arose? Please don't be hypocritical here.

Why is it important to seem normal and in touch with avg joe? Because washington and the nation's wealthy elite are ever distancing themselves from mr. joe, but they won't be in power if the millions of joes actually know that.

Sent by Andrew Mahowald | 3:41 PM | 9-2-2008

Many, including Barack Obama, believe that the pregnancy of the unmarried teenage daughter of Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is not relevant to the presidential campaign. I agree in general but respectfully disagree in this case.

This issue is a very good example of why religious fundamentalists make bad leaders. As Governor of Alaska, Palin has opposed any form of sex education other than that sanctioned by her religious beliefs, abstinence only, which science has shown does not work to prevent unwanted pregnancies. If she wants to enforce this policy in her own home, and force her family to face the consequences, that is certainly her right. However, to ignore the science and prevent all teenagers in the public schools of her state from receiving sex education proven to help prevent unwanted pregnancies, simply because of her own religious beliefs, is grossly irresponsible for any leader, woman or man.

This is doubly so for one who also favors overturning Roe v. Wade, again on religious grounds. Palin's position would force those children to keep the offspring of the unwanted pregnancies that her fundamentalist-inspired policies actually encouraged. This is the type of damaging leadership a modern United States can do without.

Sent by Ken Perkins | 3:41 PM | 9-2-2008

Why do we insist our leaders be everything, including a foreign policy expert and a nursing mother? I, for one, do no want my Vice President to be "ordinary". If I want ordinary, I will walk across the yard to chat politics with my middle class neighbor. I want my vice president to be fully prepared to take over the office of the president. I want to have confidence the Oval Office has the expertise to lead the world - not the soccer team. As a lifelong Republican, I will be voting for the "real deal" this fall with Obama.

Sent by Shelley | 3:48 PM | 9-2-2008

my opinions are unfailingly in the minority, however, i am appalled by the rush of affection for this woman who has been pregnant and/or lactating during most of her time in high office. would she agree to totally prevent any further reproduction for the entire length of her time in national office?--no matter what!! no matter even if her husband demands his marital rights, no matter if she is raped, etc.
and is she willing to completely and totally forever drop her adamant stance in favor of 'abstinence only' when it comes to public funding of education for everyone else's children. i, for one, do not have a huge extended family waiting to care for the results of poor judgement on the part of my daughter, nor to look after any severely disabled 'caboose children' that might be sent along to me as a gift from the divine.

Sent by therese day | 3:55 PM | 9-2-2008

Madeleine, this assumes that we believe Sarah's assertions that (a) Trig is her, not Bristol's child and (b) Bristol is currently pregnant and not post-partum-- (see the photo in the link below) and this pregancy is Bristol's first, not her 2nd (her first alleged at age 16). I do hope NPR reporters are up in Wasilla, Alaska getting their own facts as there are many "holes" in stories and blogs that question Palin's creditiblity and judgment (more so than she being an ordinary Mom), ie. taking a long flight/drive to small town birth center to deliver a high risk birth, photos removed from offical sites, no listing of birth at the hospital, photos not depicting Sarah pregant, Bristol's traffic violations when afficted with Mono, etc.
I want to learn the news from mainstream media, not just the partisan blogs, so please investigate!

Sent by Karen du Four des Champs | 3:57 PM | 9-2-2008

"Normal" moms question their roles in any non-traditional path their children take; however, it seems that there is only celebration that the young woman is having a baby, not an examination of what led to her having the child or whether or not she really felt a choice to have this child and marry the father, a seemingly "young" teen judging from his "My Space." How will this personal experience affect Palin's view on schools for teen mothers (she kept her daughter home, presumably), health care for teen married moms who may not have health care, her narrow views on sex ed. It seems that she would at least think about how other children and teen mothers , those without the same choices/connections could be impacted with programs she influences. However, we are only hearing celebrations of the baby without any reality check to how challenged such lives are. Since when did we celebrate teen pregnancy? On a similar note, can other mothers with Downs Syndrome children expect the federal government to have adequate health care? Many people have applauded her sincerity, but unless she adjusts her policies, in my mind, it makes her more cruel.... I am surprised that few people are questioning the choices that led to the young woman getting pregnant....

Sent by Sue Wilkinson | 4:22 PM | 9-2-2008

I'm not sure I addressed the question in another post, but I will try now. I think leaders shouldn't be ordinary or at the least be willing to be questioned when they aren't. An "ordinary" parent would be ridiculed, whether fair or not, if her daughter became pregnant, and "ordinary" people would blame themselves, whether they should or not. You can't be ordinary and exceptional, and most "cultural" conservatives I know haven't accepted teen pregnancy as "ordinary." In fact, in their minds, its only "bad" kids who get pregnant, but when one of their own does, as long as they have the baby, it has to be celebrated, regardless how ordinary and primitive that decision might be. I expect leaders to do more than pull their kids out of school when they're pregnant; that's an ordinary thing to do. I expect people to learn from choices and have them.

Sent by Sue Wilkinson | 4:30 PM | 9-2-2008

It surprises me that ultra-conservatives like James Dobson have now decided that it will be okay to vote for McCain. Palin does not seem to exhibit the "family values" that fundamentalist Christians claim to espouse. I would think they would question her choice to be a politician rather than staying home with her children -- especially a special needs child!

Sent by Kat | 4:43 PM | 9-2-2008

We can carry on this debate for ever. In one hand "denying chances of high office to this lady would be sending a wrong message to the women across the world that America is not ready for a wife and a mother as a leader". Please remember Golda Meir, Benazir Bhutto, Indira Gandhi...On the other hand when her newborn will be facing health challenges would she be dropping his side to answer the red phone in the white house?
I believe we should let go of this discussion and focus on whether she is qualified for the job. Whether she wants to stick by her family 24/7 or not is her choice. This much agitation over Palin's family is distracting us from the main question "her qualifications and her favorite policies". Let's not digress 2 months before the election. The main question is which ticket would be best for this country and the world in the years to come "Red or blue"? Sarah Palin's ovulation calendar is irrelevant to this discussion.
A victory is twice itself when the achiever brings home full numbers (Shakespeare -- Much ado about nothing)

Sent by Nicole Khanlou | 4:58 PM | 9-2-2008

Wanting to relate to leaders as being "ordinary" must be a uniquely American desire. It is similar to people confusing the issue of "you don't know what you WOULD do" which is a statement an "ordinary" person would make. We expect leaders to help us see what we should do, not what we do.....And now lots of young women are writing into CNN (according to them) with stories of how they can relate to Sarah Palin's daughter because she's pregnant. I wish Palin could garner that support for a more "heroic" pattern, not the ordinary pattern of the fifties.

Sent by Michael Khirallah | 5:00 PM | 9-2-2008

I've been following NPR's coverage of Sarah Palin, and have heard the Republican on the street/Democrat on the street views of her, but I'd really like to hear how the selection has impacted other swing voters/independents. I vote based on a candidate's political positions and choices, and hadn't made up my mind until Friday morning when Palin's candidacy was announced. That sealed the deal: I'm voting for Obama because I don't think McCain made a prudent choice, nor would I want Sarah Palin to be our president in the event that anything happens to McCain. Please, NPR, follow up with the voters who are going to matter: the independent and swing voters! Thanks!

Sent by Bea B. | 5:28 PM | 9-2-2008

Let's face it. Because Sarah Palin is a Republican she is a responsible mother, a moral paragon, and a capable politician with the experience to be possibly the next President of the United States.
If she were the Vice Presidential nominee of the Democratic party she would be branded as an irresponsible mother - how can you run around the country campaigning and neglecting your five children, especially a four month old special needs infant. If she had been spending more time with her children raising them properly, her daughter would never be pregnant.
I believe that within limits we should leave politicians personal lives alone. I personally don't care if Sarah Palin's daughter is pregnant out of wedlock. However, the Republican party's double standard on moral issues is truly galling. Please, don't tell me the Republicans and the conervative values voters would be singing the praises of a Democratic nominee in the same situation. When the shoe is on the other foot.......

Sent by JoAnne Day | 6:42 PM | 9-2-2008

While the nation grieved over the death of John Kennedy at least the could find comfort that his sucessor was a highly competant man with exraordinary political skills and a track record of legislative experience. I see tremendous arrogance and poor judgement in a man who would entrust our possible future to a woman or man who has yet to demonstrate any of these qualities. After 8 years of being subjected to the sub par intelligence of George Bush, the ordinary guy who some felt they could drink a beer with while he mangled the language, tanked the economy,curtailed our freedoms,lied to Congress and us citizens conning us into a war that cost 10s of thousands of lives, and showed a subhuman/ordinary response to the desparate citizens of the Katrina ravished gulf.There are no indications that we are headed into an era where we can have a president or vice president without extraordinay aptitude.

Sent by A..R Lynch | 7:07 PM | 9-2-2008

Talk about "shooting from the hip" McCain has just demonstrated yet another cowboy mentality Bush-like move by putting Sarah Palin in the V-P position. If I am flying in a plane, I want an experienced pilot at the wheel, not Sarah Palin negotiating with President Putin on East-West relations. McCain and Palin would be sitting too close to the red button. Hearing women gush about relating with Sarah Palin just frightens me more. Is this a Sci-fi TV show?

Sent by Judy Schoon | 7:48 PM | 9-2-2008

First of all, I am an Independent and a woman. I am not a single issue voter, I look at all the candidates and decide who I want to hire for the job of president. I consider this process a sacred right and duty. John McCain was excluded from the job months ago for many reasons; his decision to hire an understudy whose rhetoric does not match her behavior just reinforces my decision. I am a staunch woman's rights advocate but I am also a realist. My son was born with special needs, my husband and I BOTH had to make sacrifices in our careers in order to care for our son's developmental needs for the first four years of his life. I quit my job and my husband used many family leave days. We chose to put our son before our careers. Besides the fact that Palin's choices don't match the Evangelical 'family values' rhetoric, the practical reality of caring for a special needs child requires a much time, attention, and sacrifice and so does the position of VP , the two together would be overwhelming. After all she is a human being and I believe the cognitive dissonance this creates would interfere with her ability to do a top-notch job as vice-president. Of course I realize no one really cares what I think but I do believe this is a legitimate issue to consider.

The double-standard of the extreme religious-right is also another issue that should be examined. Since James Dobson has publicly endorsed Palin I do think the media has a duty to expose the double-standard behind this endorsement. So far I have not heard this issue discussed in the media.. The Republicans want to claim they are the party of "family values" but I have not been fooled by this manipulative political strategy, their real goal is to attract the religious right. Their actions are often in conflict with their rhetoric and the last few days are just another example. Dobson's endorsement of Palin is at odds with everything he preaches about family. The following statements are from his book Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide and the journal Pediatrics (January 1987).

'Unbelievably, it has become politically incorrect to have babies and to devote a few years to raising them. That is foolish and insulting. There is no more important job in the universe than to raise a child to love God, live productively, and serve humanity. How ridiculous that a woman should have to apologize for wanting to fulfill that historic role!" "You can't pay an employee in a child-care center enough to care for children like their own mothers will do....No job can compete with the responsibility of shaping and molding a new human being. That statement is not particularly politically correct in this cultural environment, but I believe it to be true" "A bonding is more likely to occur between parents and children when the developmental milestones are experienced firsthand. Families should be there when the first step is taken and the first word is spoken and when fears and anxieties arise." "My wife Shirley and I did have that option (although we sold and 'ate' a Volkswagen initially to make it possible), and she stayed at home as a full-time mom. Neither she nor I have ever regretted that decision. Now that our kids are grown, we would not trade the time we invested in them for anything on earth. Looking back today, we feel it was especially important for Shirley to be at home during our kids' teen years." "Many will not agree with my opinion on that subject, but it is borne of experience with thousands of families. All things being equal, I believe Mom is still needed at home as the kids grow. Why? Because the heavy demands of child rearing do not slacken with the passage of time. In reality, the teen years generate as much pressure on the parents as any other era. An adolescent turns a house upside down - literally and figuratively. Not only is the typical rebellion of those years a stressful experience, but the chauffeuring, supervising, cooking, and cleaning required to support a teenager can be exhausting. Someone within the family must reserve the time and energy to cope with those new challenges. Mom is the candidate of choice. Remember, too, that menopause and a man's midlife crisis are scheduled to coincide with adolescence, which can make a wicked soup! It is a wise mother who doesn't exhaust herself at a time when so much is going on at home. Let me illustrate why moms are needed at home during the teen years. A good military general will never commit all his troops to combat at the same time. He maintains a reserve army that can relieve the exhausted soldiers when they falter on the front lines. I wish parents of adolescents would implement the same strategy. Instead, they commit every moment of their time to the business of living, holding nothing back for the challenge of the century". (like being vice-president!)

I suppose as long as Palin can move the "pro-life" agenda forward nothing else matters. Republicans say Democrats shouldn't make Palin's daughter's situation an issue in the campaign HOWEVER they are allowed to use it to support their campaign by setting her up on a pedestal as an example of the "pro-life" agenda-seems like another double standard to me. Did they consider than young girls all of the country often look up to such high profile teens, in a sense this whole situation glamorizes teen pregnancy and makes it acceptable. She is getting lots of positive attention and many teenage girls crave this kind of attention, especially those from dysfunctional families. I have heard repeatedly on the local right wing Republican radio stations in Cincinnati that black teenage pregnant girls are the cause of our societies downfall but now it's admirable and heroic, as American as apple pie-wow what a dichotomy! Last not George Bush said in his speech, "all human life has value, all life is precious", I totally agree yet we can send our young living sons and daughters to die in a very unproductive war, aren't their lives precious too?

Sent by Ali Harrod | 1:36 PM | 9-3-2008

Do we really think Palin could sit down in diplomatic efforts with Putin or Medvedev, Jintao, or Ahmadinejad? Do we want a person who wants to ban books and who cuts 20% from the one facility for single moms, but wouldn't have given them the information on how to not get pregnant, and who thinks our fiasco in Iraq is Gods work. And this Governor with all of this "executive experience" can't even run a car wash!
Palin has put the "mom" discussion on the floor by running as a "hockey mom". I'm really surprised that women think she's a good mom by spending all of her time campaigning for the VP spot when her family obviously needs the full attention of her AND her husband with at least 2 important family issues going on right now. I mean, she has an infant!
It's complete hypocrisy that she would cut money to a program for teens in crisis including young mothers. Seriously what loving compassionate person could do that, or support a person who does that?! Especially in a money rich state. And then she says she just a "hockey mom". That is definitely not a mission from God.

Sent by Ann Perry | 1:37 PM | 9-3-2008

As background, I am a Hillary supporter who was very disappointed with the primary results and the maled dominated media slant/unfairness to Hillary. If we were talking about who is "prepared" for the job, she would be the best candidate to lead our country. Without her, we are left to a bunch of second choices. However, all along, I did like McCain personally. Regarding his choice of Sarah, I say give her a chance. While I don't agree with Sarah Palin on her stands (at least what the media is saying), I am pleased with many things and am looking for more information when she talks tonight. Her experience of managing a career in politics with managing a "real life" family is something that is sorely missing in our other presidential/vice candidates. Her family is less "Hollywood" and glamor like the Bush clan. I am pleased that in Alaska she has focused her efforts on improving the lives of everyday people through economic improvements instead of getting caught up in social conservative issues. Some might question her readiness/experience to take over if something would happen to McCain, but ask yourself this "Could she be any worse than Bush?" No one could be less prepared to lead than him and we kept him around for 8 years! At least she has experience, people like her across both parties in her state, she takes a common sense pragmatic approach to getting things done, and she would be smart enough to get help. Men never stop to ask for directions!
While the pregnancy of her daughter is something I am sure she didn't wish for at least her family is dealing with it head on, not quietly advocating an abortion like most other republican men would suggest to their wives and daughters while publicly pushing the conservative anti-abortion platform they are expected by their base. I myself am pro-choice, but respect her for taking her public views and actually following them in her real life.
Please while you are talking ear marks, lets list all the ones from both parties. Many listners might hear your one side list and assume that only she and McCain are the only politicians to use them when that is patently not the case.

Sent by sally | 1:37 PM | 9-3-2008

The Republicans do a lot of preaching on high moral standards and fall as flat as the rest of us imperfect mere mortals.

Sent by Marlene Looney | 1:39 PM | 9-3-2008

I am a demorcrat who is going to vote Republican for the first time ever. I admire McCain's bold step, something that the elders in the Democratic Party were so vehimently against. I like Sara Palin because she reminds me of Hilary Clinton. As a democrat, I believe Sara Palin is more qualified than Obama. The Obama campaign should not touch the "experience" factor at all because they will be opening a can of worms. But then he might just get away with it with the backing of the media.

Sent by Rugi | 1:40 PM | 9-3-2008

Sarah Palin is hardly ordinary. How many suburban soccer(or hockey) moms can field dress a moose? How many can shoot an AK-47? How many have participated in their state beauty pageant? How many have even run for public office? How many have dabbled in far-right-wing politics(the group promoting the secession of Alaska from the Union?) How many have been able to attempt to get their sister's low-life ex-husband fired from his job (some of us might see this as enviable, but unattainable!). Most importantly, how many are in or have ever been in a position to put their teenage daughter into the intolerable position of exposing her accidental pregnancy to the entire world?

I just heard a Republican NPR guest say that Sarah Palin didn't realize what she would be doing to her daughter by agreeing to be John McCain's running mate. This is an astounding conclusion. How could any reasonably intelligent person who lives in this country and on this planet in this time, not realize that this would be the case? It doesn't matter whether the parent involved is the mother or the father; the result would certainly be the same.

I consider myself a feminist, but I am also a mother of grown children. These individuals are the most important people in the world, not only to myself, but to my husband, their father, too. We agreed that this was outside of what we would be capable of doing for career advancement.

I don't see Ms. Palin as ordinary at all; she is a shrewd person who has done whatever she had to in order to promote herself into an extraordinary position, one for which she is very poorly qualified.

Sent by Beverly Stiles | 1:51 PM | 9-3-2008

I am very disappointed by the choice John McCain has made for VP. Although I am a Democrate, if John McCain wins, I would feel comfortable about his ability to govern, even though I strongly disagree with his politics. However, his choice of Palin really scares me and makes me wonder if he really loves this country. How could he potentially leave the country in the hands of someone so unsuitable for the position? Unless, the plan--- if something happens to McCain,is the Republican Party will govern the country,just as George Bush is not a leader or deep thinker, but a puppet of those behind the scenes.

Sent by Sandra M. | 1:52 PM | 9-3-2008

Here's the genuine bombshell. Palin is a creationist and an opponent of the truly alarming scientific evidence which points to global warming as very likely our most urgent issue and as such she has no business being anywhere near the oval office. Forget her failure to protect her daughter from an the perils of teenage sex with the ineffectual 'abstinence only' gamble. While the unfortunate consequence is more teenage pregnancies, vd, etc., the issue isn't anywhere near the top of the list of our real problems and we had better elect someone who listens to scientists who aren't paid by industry to do their bidding.
Are the media afraid to bring this up during a convention so dominated by the religious right?

Sent by John Charbonneau | 1:55 PM | 9-3-2008

The comments on "what if Obama's daughter was pregnant" are unfair on too many levels to count. Neither candidate's family should be gorged on by the media. There was a time where journalism meant reporting facts and not "what-ifs." I am saddened that even NPR, which I normally respect, has sunk to raking a teenage girl over the coals. Robin - I just listened to your interviews where you clearly were on the offensive. Should we now infer that Obama is racist because he made the mistake of attending a church with a racist Pastor ? Journalism equates to non-fiction. Throwing out open ended speculation equates to fiction. Please get it right.

Sent by Tim Kita | 1:55 PM | 9-3-2008

How nice it is for Sarah Palin's daughter to have not only the emotional support, but the financial support to allow her have her child with all the trappings that would be afforded the daughter of someone with means. Isn't it also nice that the father of the child is "willing" to marry the daughter of the governor of the state of Alaska. Any bets on how difficult it will be for him to find a job once he gets out of school? Unfortunately we all do not live in an Ozzie and Harriet world. I live in a world where a single mother's ten year old child was beaten and raped. How do you handle that kind of pregnancy?

Everybody does not have the choices afforded to a child of means and I find it not only hypocritical but mean spirited that the Republican Party is happy to rescind those choices for others who do not have the financial or family support.

Sent by Lee | 1:57 PM | 9-3-2008

I really do not think Sarah Palin is an "ordinary" American at all. Has she ever spent any substantial time in the continental United States, where the real problems are? I confess, I have never been to Alaska, but it's vast size, small population and tremendous natural resources distinguish it greatly from, oh, let's say, small, northeastern states. I am not denying that Alaska has problems, but I'm not sure they are the problems that the rest of the country faces. I look at her there as living in a bubble, not experiencing what real Americans, and real American women, experience. I do not know of any woman who was back on the job three days after giving birth, as she was. That sort of behaviour is almost robotic. She is so unlike me that I would not expect her to understand me or have any empathy for my struggles as a working mother. On a final note, I would like her to address the assertion that some of her supporters are making that she has foreign policy experience because Alaska "borders" Russia. Has she ever spoken with any Russian leaders? If not, those assertions have to stop.

Sent by Beth Hendry | 2:02 PM | 9-3-2008

It does not matter to me her gender, or that she has children at home including one with special needs. What matters is that Sarah Palin is NOT qualified to be Vice President. A term as Mayor of Wasilla, a town of fewer than 10,000 people. Followed by less than two years as Governor in one of the least populated of the United States does not qualify one for the Vice Presidency. Her legacy as Mayor included cutting Library funding, as our Governor she ignores science and is challenging the listing of Polar Bears as endangered. Sarah also reneged on her campaign promise that Todd Palin would leave his job with British Petroleum if she was elected to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. America needs someone strong in International politics, a field Sarah Palin has no experience in. Yes, she beat Frank Murkowski to get elected Governor of Alaska, a feat almost any sentient being could have accomplished. His approval ratings made George Bush's look great. Her children should be off limits, but her daughters pregnancy coupled with Sarahs abstinence only beliefs show how even her basic home policies would fail.

Sent by Mark Tuovinen (39 year Alaskan) | 2:05 PM | 9-3-2008

The Palin family is a family that is stressed and may be in crisis. The fact that Sarah Palin's 17 year old child is pregnant for the same number of months of her last child speaks to the lack of communication and involvement this "hockey mom" has had with her family, especially a daughter who is in most need of her mother while going through the transition of being a teen and pregnant. The family also has a son who has gone to Iraq and a new-born baby with special needs. Any of those conditions would be a signal to be more involved with the family, not less. I question Gov. Palin's judgment and her decision-making. She appears to be more concerned about her own personal agenda and career than her family's needs. No matter how they try to dress it up, she is a poor choice. There are far more qualified Republican female candidates that could have been selected. It's an insult to women voters to think that any woman candidate will do, no matter what her qualifications. Palin's resume is too thin and it is too scary to think of her being a step away from the presidency of a 72 year old man who isn't that healthy. People need to look long and hard at both Palin and McCain. They will see that it is not "country first" for either of them.

Sent by Linda Moore | 2:07 PM | 9-3-2008

I do not want my leaders to be ordinary. I want the "leaders of the free world" to be remarkable. I want my leaders to be smarter than I am. It is not elitist to want exceptionally bright, competent, well-educated, and principled leaders who have shown they can govern without abusing power.

We are voting for world leaders, not class favorites for a high school yearbook. To minimize the weight of that role is to ignore what is at stake in this election.

I am a conservative evangelical Christian, and I will not be voting for McCain and Palin.

Sent by Ellen Clarke | 2:11 PM | 9-3-2008

Sarah Palin is, without doubt, an exceptional woman; however, she is not qualified to be the Vice President of a Middle School - let alone the most powerful country in the free World.

Sent by Phil Lloyd | 2:21 PM | 9-3-2008

I thihk we all agree that McCain's choice of Mrs. Palin for his VP was purely politically motivated. It's his way of attempting to garner as many female votes from disenfranchised Clinton supporters. I'm not sure how similar Palin's personal qualities are to Clinton's but I certainly know their politics differ dramatically. So I have to ask, what would be the motivation of women who change from Clinton supporters to McCain supporters when their platforms are so divergent?

I would really like to think that an elected official could have a private life if he/she chose to. However, national politics, regrettably, shines the public spotlight on everyone associated with the elected officials. In politics you give up the right to a private life, especially at the national level. Public and media scrutiny of elected officials, their families and friends is a national pasttime and everyone who's been or aspires to be elected knows it.

Experience to be in the White House? Who has ever had the experience to become the most powerful person in the free world? I care not so much about Palin's experience than her ability to surround herself with intelligent, thoughful advisors that can allow her to lead without making decisions for her. I'd much rather see someone in the oval office who can think for themselves instead of being the mouthpiece for special interest groups.

I'm a social liberal and fiscal conservative expecting my elected officials to be compassionate, caring, frugal and efficient. My choice to vote for Obama/Biden resonates those values without compromising them for other less important reasons.

Sent by Wayne Turner | 2:43 PM | 9-3-2008

Why is it Republicans think women do not have minds? That must be what they believe - why else would they nominate Palin as their VP?

"They wanted a woman - so let's give them a woman - any woman."

Motherhood and marriage is hard enough for an adult and yet her mother seems to somehow condone it at 17??
As a divorced mother of three myself, you cannot even begin to explain to me why it is a "good thing" her daughter is pregant and getting married. I am not judging her daughter, I am judging her! Palin wants to be Vice President and she has 5 young children -get real her children will suffer and so will America!
She is a mother of 5 - if she is as sharp as the Republicians say, then she would know this already!

She is being tossed around like a rag doll! I have serious doubts about this woman's judgement!

Do not even get me started on her postion on Roe vs Wade, her killing animals, and her loving guns!

STOP pandering, Republicans have not "cared" about anything but money and oil for the last 8 years!

Republicans are so out of touch, it's just insulting when they pretend to "care"!

Sent by Melvina Hill Holmes | 2:43 PM | 9-3-2008

I fully agree with the opinion of Sloane Mann. If the cards were turned the republicans would have had a feast on Obama.

How can people even think that Palin is capable of being the second in command to a more "mature" and not in the best of health candidate.

Makes me want to donate even more to the Obama campaign.

Sent by Camille Renk | 3:00 PM | 9-3-2008

I fully agree with the opinion of Sloane Mann. If the cards were turned the republicans would have had a feast on Obama.

How can people even think that Palin is capable of being the second in command to a more "mature" and not in the best of health candidate.

Makes me want to donate even more to the Obama campaign.

Sent by Camille Renk | 3:02 PM | 9-3-2008

I fully agree with the opinion of Sloane Mann. If the cards were turned the republicans would have had a feast on Obama.

How can people even think that Palin is capable of being the second in command to a more "mature" and not in the best of health candidate.

Makes me want to donate even more to the Obama campaign.

Sent by Camille Renk | 3:04 PM | 9-3-2008

I fully agree with the opinion of Sloane Mann. If the cards were turned the republicans would have had a feast on Obama.

How can people even think that Palin is capable of being the second in command to a more "mature" and not in the best of health candidate.

Makes me want to donate even more to the Obama campaign.

Sent by Camille Renk | 3:06 PM | 9-3-2008

I fully agree with the opinion of Sloane Mann. If the cards were turned the republicans would have had a feast on Obama.

How can people even think that Palin is capable of being the second in command to a more "mature" and not in the best of health candidate.

Makes me want to donate even more to the Obama campaign.

Sent by Camille Renk | 3:08 PM | 9-3-2008

I tend to agree that if one of the Democratic candidates had an unmarried, pregnant teen daughter, especially if it was Barack Obama, an African-American, conservatives would not offer the same praise they are showering on the Palin family. However, I also think that Bristol Palin's pregnancy is completely irrelevant in this election.

As for the "ordinary" candidate, I never understood the appeal. If I wanted an "ordinary" candidate, I'd run for office myself!

Sent by Jenn | 3:30 PM | 9-3-2008

I think it would be a huge setback for women to allow a strong conservative to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. To elect her simply for her gender would erase a century of equal opportunity efforts. And I hope we don't underestimate the power of middle aged Republican men being enamored with a gorgeous "she can do it all" female. Most woman have learned we can't do it all- and shouldn't have to unless we want to. To say she's "just like us" implies there are other groups who are the "other". That reveals a basic philosophical difference between the two parties. We are all "just like us', and I think Obama is reflecting that truth in his respectful comments- or lack of comments- about the Gov.'s personal life. I look forward to a campaign that exposes that difference.

Sent by sharon f. | 3:40 PM | 9-3-2008

OK, McCain chose a woman, good for him, not a qualified woman true, but one who is obviously supposed to impress the far right wing, most conservative wing of the republican party. They will be happy with her.
Yes, a mother can work. I too wa a working professional mother. However, I haven't known any women who do work professionally with five children. Now to be honest, Gov. Palen does not have to really provide the care for her children, I am sure she has and will continue to have support and help with the day to day care of the children. I am more concerned about continuing the attitude toward governing in which someone who doesn't agree with you gets fired. I am concerned about someone who could be at the head of our government believing that God wants her to drill for oil in Alaska. This means to me, more of the same. We have listened to Bolton defend the war in Iraq as if it was unrelated to the other problems in the United States, and our powerlessness in negotiating with other countries. But everything is related, and our financial and our moral stanting have been injured by the hostility with which we faced the world, and the use of torture. Bolton himself was not exactly helpful to the people in Iraq.
But to get back to Gov. Palen. Obviously she is in her active child bearing years and she had a child while she was the governor. How many more children would she like to have, and does she think God will give them to her? An interesting thought.

Sent by Laraine Walker | 3:45 PM | 9-3-2008

I am dumbfounded by the nations obsession with finding a 'regular' person to hold the most important job. Are we a country of narcisists?

Wouldn't putting our country first entail finding the most qualified? (Maybe Palin is qualifying, but her being an everyday person is not the qualifying factor)

I am not looking for another leader who I want to have a beer (or non-alcholic) with.

Sent by Kerry | 3:48 PM | 9-3-2008

I have no idea who Palin is, but I am suspicious of her qualifications. I'm an independent, a single parent of a child with a disability and grew up in a strong pro-life family (most of whom still only vote on that 1 issue). She has no credentials with me. What has she - or the republican party - ever done for people with disabilities, teens or other single parent families or any of the other family situations average people live with every day. Will her Trisomy 21 child need diminishing early intervention services, wil he benefit from a private education or have to depend on dismal services barely provided through No Child Left Behind? Will her teen, soon-to-be husband and child be supported solely by family? How fortunate for them. Her choice moves the focus away from the most important issues - and focuses on her. I couldn't care less that she is a woman - she's the wrong woman for the job.

Sent by Lisa | 4:00 PM | 9-3-2008

I am a democrat with a libertarian lean, but what I'm most bothered by regarding Senator McCain's choice to name Governor Palin his running mate doesn't have anything to do with partisan or sexual politics, let alone politics at all; instead, what I'm most concerned with are the voters who claim to be comfortable or confident with Governor Palin because, and I'm paraphrasing, she reminds them of their lives, or she's a 'normal American' (whatever that is).

It seems that for so many of us, our standards for our leaders are fairly mediocre and misguided: that it's more important that we identify with our leaders (ie., the 'kind of person I'd want to have a beer with' standard), than be impressed or surpassed by them.

I don't want a leader working at my level, I want a leader who operates 20 steps ahead of me, a leader so intelligent and so elite that he or she can deal with the incredibly complex, daunting and weighty issues pervading our world.

I may like my beer buddy, but I would be insane to vote for him to run a country. I may like my girlfriends, but I'd be insane to vote for them to run a country.

Let's turn the word 'elite' back into a compliment. After all, if it's good enough for our fighting forces, our schools and our scientists, why can't it be good enough for our commander in chief, our chief executive?

Sent by Clay Weis | 4:09 PM | 9-3-2008

It is really sad the way even NPR is handling the nomination of Sarah Palin. You have not been fair with her nor her family. I wish you would listen to your own coverage. You have given Obama and Biden such breaks, and now you are holding Palin to a different standard. Think about the message you are giving people. Why don't you stop theorizing about Palin and her family and just listen to what she has to say. I honestly believe that the media feels like they were cheated by the surprise announcement of this VP nomination! Palin is going to be the best thing for John McCain's campaign! Fantastic pick!

Sent by Jill in Hudsonville, Michigan | 4:12 PM | 9-3-2008

Remember the days when we didn't celebrate unwed teenage mothers? Read the tabloids? America judges the parents of these kids - not the kids themselves. Not that this is a cause for shame but certainly, discretion. Shouldn't Ms. Palin be looking at the situation and say perhaps now isn't the time and I need to focus on my family?

Sent by Katie | 4:20 PM | 9-3-2008

In what way does the condition of being a forty-four year old female, a mother of five, a soon-to-be-grandmother,a lifelong gun enthusiast from Idaho, and later Alaska, serve to qualify a person to become vice-president, and possibly president of the USA?

How have so many Americans been able to voluntarily suspend disbelief, and take part in this grandiose fantasy, which is being promoted and given credence by the GOP in a most shameless manner.

Given the complexities of her family's particular challenges at this time; it would be the more wise choice for Palin to be a full-time wife, mother, and hunter, rather than to take part in this absurd pretense of her competence to be president.

Sent by Greg Duch | 5:08 PM | 9-3-2008

One excellent feature of Palin? She's not Cheney. Or is she? Hmmm.

A question for her on right to life?
Where did she stand on the Terry Tschiavo controversy?
(Some of the most radical voices now proclaiming her for her "right to life" stance advocated killing Michael Tschiavo to prevent him pulling the plug on his many-years-brain-dead wife.)

Sent by Rosalie V. Grafe | 5:23 PM | 9-3-2008

I agree most women are able to handle multiple responsibilities and should be able to have a career while raising a family--acutally most have to do this in today's economy. I am now 70 years old and went back to full time work and developed a great career once the youngest of my 4 kids was in gradeschool and I know personally how difficult it is to achieve balance. There'sis a big difference between holding down a full time job and assuming the back up role for president of the USA, especially a 72 year old man with a history of skin cancer. The actuarial tables work against him. Why cant Sarah wait until she has fulfilled her term as Governor? Where is her common sense and selflessmess? Her 17 year old daughter is going throught the most traumatic crises in her young life and it looks like she will be pretty much forced to marry an 18-19 year old who certainly doesnt appear to be ready to be a father and life partner but Sarah is apparently going to leave her to handle her emotional and physical rollercoaster on her own. Anyone see Levi's MySpace page before it was removed? I dont think I would welcome him as a son-in-law so quickly. Also, I truly think a mother's special nurturing is needed for the first year of a special needs infant's life. Obviously Sarah doesnt nurse the baby! Instead she is only thinking of ambition and putting her family's needs on hold while she travels the country campaigning and then learning to deal with all the nation's and world problems she has never focused on before. Give me a break, can't she wait at least 4 years before she puts herself first. Sounds to me like very poor judgement and a "me first" philosophy which is not what this country needs in a V.P.

Sent by Carolyn Priest | 5:35 PM | 9-3-2008

I was listening to Day to Day in my car on my way home when you aired an interview with "Rhonda" an American living in Germany. Rhonda praised Sarah Palin for "holding to her beliefs." How can that be considered any kind of substantive quality? Even Hitler and Stalin "held to their beliefs." Holding to one's beliefs tells nothing about a person. But this is the typical kind of rationale that Republicans use when they can't think of anything rational to say. And I can't believe you gave so very much air time to Rhonda, whom I believe had nothing of substance to say. Palin is extremely inexperienced (far less than Obama) and the fact that her daughter is pregnant (I wish them all well and good) just demonstrates that Republican policies don't work -- from social security "reform" to reproductive education to national defense (we were attacked on 9/11 under a Republican administration, and then attacked a country that had nothing to do with 9/11). Please NPR, don't give lengthy air-time to folks with nothing of rational substance to say on an issue.

Sent by Angela Ross | 6:26 PM | 9-3-2008

Does Palin's experience as the governor of Alaska trump McCain's experience as a US senator? The GOP argument against Obama about his lack of executive experience suggests she's better qualified to lead than McCain. So who is the actual presidential nominee and where's the logic for the GOP's VP pick?

Sent by Alex | 10:06 AM | 9-4-2008

Illegal misappropriation on bridge to nowhere? As Sarah Palin continues to bend the truth to "breaking," I believe it is important to understand the facts. She supported the earmark, along with many others for the state. Once the "bridge to nowhere" became a controversy she then said the state did not need it. Did she return the money appropriate for that purpose? No. She used it for other purposes which she determined were a higher priority. Simply put...she broke the law. Once Congress appropriates money for a specific purpose, no amount over $250,000 can be used for a different purpose without the express approval of Congress. Why isn't anyone investigating this? Why does the media and public accept what she and John McCain say without checking the facts and holding them accountable for the truch?

Sent by Mary Martin | 12:30 PM | 9-4-2008

She's married to a guy who was in a group that wanted to succeed from the USA. Now tell me how that equates to a love of country that John McCain talks about incessantly to the lack of any real issue. If Palin really loved her country she'd divorce her husband and find someone that wanted Alaska to remain a part of the USA

Sent by jimh | 2:24 PM | 9-4-2008

Please don't get sidetracked by all the Palin hype! She's only a distraction from the real issues of the economy, the war, healthcare, education, gas prices and jobs. Once again, Karl Rove is doing his spin thing, this time spinning so many side issues that the American public forgets to pay attention to the really important issues, and that's because McCAIN CAN'T RUN ON THE ISSUES!! So don't be fooled. Ignore Palin. That's what McCain will do if he's by some miracle elected.

Sent by Dorothy Shinn | 5:54 PM | 9-6-2008

I have watched and listened to Ms. Palin's performance. I am convinced that her famous ''authenticity'' is the epitome of the Karl Rove/Republican/NRA/Evangelicals gang's fabrication, a complete robot - and sadly, an evidence of a total lack of judgment on the part of the old man on the ticket, and a sign that he too is being manipulated. My observation of her stridencies also leads me to suspect that she actually suffers from hysteria -- in the clinical sense. Signs of this will begin to appear in short order; we might soon see her in tears, or laughing very, very nervously, or uttering total ineptitudes, given that her condition comes with being as dumb as a bell. Sadly, that certainly explains why she ''connects'' so well with the extremely large populace that is of equal stupidity. To think that such a monster could some day have a finger on the nuke-them-all button, is absolutely terrifying. But don't the evangelical nutcases delight at the thought that Armageddon will come soon? I ask you...

Sent by Robert Pierre | 2:18 AM | 9-10-2008

I am just disspointed in Gov. Palin. She refuses to cooperate with the Alaska Investigation and yet claims to be a strong Christian. If she is a strong Christian should she not be liable to face the same responsibilities as normal citizens. I have not heard her even share her faith I wonder what she is hiding.

Sent by Roger Saltee | 4:47 PM | 9-20-2008