Election 2008

VP Nominee Says Teen Daughter Is Pregnant

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John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin says that her 17-year-old unmarried daughter is five months' pregnant. Palin says her daughter Bristol will keep the baby and marry the baby's father.


We have news from the McCain campaign that Sarah Palin's 17-year-old unmarried daughter Bristol is pregnant. In a statement released by the McCain campaign, Sarah Palin and her husband Todd say they're, quote, "proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby, and even prouder to become grandparents." NPR's Scott Horsley is with the McCain campaign in Philadelphia. Scott, tell us more about this statement from the Palins. What else is there?

SCOTT HORSELY: Well, this is something that had been rumored in the, oh, 72 hours or so since John McCain announced his choice of Governor Palin to be his running mate. There have also been other rumors about the governor and her daughters, and the campaign says they wanted to set the record straight. As you say, Sarah Palin and her husband Todd put out a statement today confirming that their 17-year-old daughter Bristol, who is not married, is expecting a child. It's a Labor Day surprise. It's not something that was revealed that she was announced as a running mate. But Governor Palin and her husband went on to say that as Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows that she has their unconditional love and support.

CHADWICK: Elsewhere, this statement does say that the daughter Bristol is planning to marry the young man who is the father of her baby-to-come.

HORSLEY: That's right, and that, I'm sure, will be reassuring to a lot of social conservatives, who as we just heard John Dickerson say, have really been rallying around Governor Palin as the vice-presidential nominee.

CHADWICK: So Scott, here's a question. Do you know, did governor Palin know about her daughter's condition when she accepted the vice-presidential nomination?

HORSLEY: Well, of course, that was the first question everyone was asking because there has been some suspicion about just how thoroughly the McCain campaign had vetted Sarah Palin. She and the senator for only the first time back in January, and Senator McCain had only one face-to-face meeting with Governor Palin last week before he offered her a spot on the ticket. John McCain's spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker told NPR the senator was aware that Governor Palin would become a grandmother when he chose her. The campaign says McCain didn't view that as a disqualification for the spot on the ticket, and another McCain adviser says McCain views this as a private family matter.

CHADWICK: What about the likely political impact of the news that's just broken there? What's going around there in the press scrum?

HORSLEY: Well, as we say, social conservatives may continue to rally around Governor Palin, and in particular, Bristol's decision to keep the baby and to marry the young man who is the child's father. On the other side of the fence I'm sure there will be people pointing out that Governor Palin has been a strong advocate for abstinence-only sex education in school, and this will merely add to their argument that such programs are not tremendously effective.

CHADWICK: NPR's Scott Horsley with the McCain campaign in Philadelphia on the news that his vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's daughter is now pregnant with a child. Scott, thanks.

HORSLEY: My pleasure, Alex.

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