Sarah Palin and family

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Sarah Palin and family

Postby doug » Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:44 pm

Palin is McCain's boldest gamble
Will potential appeal to women voters outweigh the risks?

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain introduces his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in Dayton, Ohio, on Friday.
By Tom Curry
National affairs writer
MSNBC
DENVER - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is as dramatic a contrast as one can envision with Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain.

The differences between the presidential candidate and his running mate are so stark that it’s hard to assess which one is boldest: age (she’s nearly 30 years younger than McCain); sex (she’s the first woman ever to be on a Republican ticket); political experience (she’s been a governor for less than two years; he’s served in Congress for 25 years); or geographical remoteness (no Alaskan has ever appeared on a national ticket).

She represents the most audacious gamble in McCain’s career and a gamble with the fortunes of the Republican Party.

She’s untested on the national stage and unknown to political insiders in Washington and in the national news media.

Democratic consultant Chris Kofinis called the Palin pick "a bold and historic move for the Republican Party that clearly targets women and conservative voters, but does little to change the fact that McCain's Bush-like policies would be disastrous for all Americans — especially women."

And Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton warned that McCain had "put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency."

But McCain's gamble may be worth it if he can get more women to back the Republican ticket.

In her debut speech in Dayton, Ohio, on Friday with McCain by her side, Palin noted the historic nature of her candidacy.

“It is fitting that this trust has been given to me almost 88 years to the day after the women of America first gained the right to vote,” she declared.

Palin made a pitch directly to women and especially Democratic women voters by lavishing praise on 1984 Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro and Sen. Hillary Clinton, who lost the Democratic nomination to Sen. Barack Obama.

Clinton “showed such determination and grace in her presidential campaign,” Palin told the cheering Republican crowd.

“It turns out the women of America are not finished yet and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.”

There was surely something strange and unprecedented to see a candidate for vice president speak to the Dayton crowd as one of her daughters nestled Palin’s five-month old baby son in her arms right behind her.

Palin told the crowd that her older son, Track, had enlisted in the Army on Sept. 11, 2007.

“As the mother of one of those troops and as commander-in-chief of Alaska's National Guard," McCain is "the kind of man I want as our commander in chief," she said.

An appeal to women?
What’s sometimes forgotten or misunderstood about the 2004 election is that the majority of married women voted for President Bush over Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

Bush won 55 percent of married women, according to exit poll interviews. Among women with children, Bush and Kerry split their votes about equally.

Palin offers McCain the opportunity to strengthen this Republican edge.

If modern presidential elections are partly or even mostly an attempt to get voters to believe a candidate understands them, then mothers all across the United States could see their lives in Palin’s.

With five children and a state government to run, she’s the epitome of the high-energy working mom.

But the extreme age contrast will remind voters of just how old McCain is. The Arizona senator celebrates his 72nd birthday today.

When Palin was born on Feb. 11, 1964, McCain was already well launched on his career as Navy aviator. When he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1982, she was still a teenager.

“This would be a pretty shrewd pick, but one not without risk,” said Republican consultant Jason Roe, a few hours before McCain revealed his choice.


Roe asked a question sure to be repeated in the coming days: “How will she perform in the debate with Sen. Biden on foreign policy? He has a command of foreign policy details that few people in Washington have. She will have to cram like it’s her college finals.”

The image of the gray-haired, 40-year Washington insider, Biden, battling against the 44-year old governor of Alaska as they spar over Iran’s nuclear weapons or Islamic radicalism in Pakistan is an intriguing one.

Palin represents a decisive break with Republican spending habits and the political insider culture of the past.

In his introduction of Palin, McCain portrayed her as a McCain-like maverick and an ordinary mother who understood the struggles of other parents.

“The person I'm about to introduce to you was a union member and is married to a union member and understands the problems, the hopes and the values of working people, knows what it's like to worry about mortgage payments and health care and the cost of gasoline and groceries,” he said.

He added that “she's not from Washington” and that “she's fought oil companies and party bosses and do-nothing bureaucrats and anyone who puts their interests before the interests of the people she swore an oath to serve.”

“She's exactly who I need. She's exactly who this country needs to help me fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second," he argued.

She has been an opponent and critic of her state’s senior senator, Ted Stevens, who is now under indictment for concealing payments he allegedly received from political patrons.

She defeated Alaska governor (and former senator) Frank Murkowski, another gray-haired veteran of Washington D.C., in a primary in 2006.

She meets the standards that most Republican activists expect in her anti-abortion and pro-death penalty views.


MSNBC commentator Pat Buchanan, himself a former Republican presidential contender in 1992 and 1996, said, “She’s an NRA (National Rifle Association) lifetime member, she’s a right-to-life feminist, she has every credential as a conservative, she is young, she's exciting, she’s a mom with five kids.”

But, he cautioned, “The huge gamble is that John McCain is 72, he’s had a couple of bouts with cancer.” If McCain wins the election, but then were to die or become disabled, Buchanan wondered, “Can this woman be President of the United States?”


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Postby doug » Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:48 pm

McCain praises VP choice Palin's 'tenacity'
Alaska governor to be first female Republican vice presidential nominee

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin waves next to her daughter Piper after being introduced as vice presidential candidate to Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
MSNBC and NBC News
DAYTON, Ohio - Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain introduced his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, at a raucous rally Friday, praising her "tenacity" and "skill" in tackling tough problems.

"She is exactly who this country needs to help us fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second," McCain told supporters in Dayton.

Palin, who becomes the first woman to serve on a GOP presidential ticket and the first Alaskan to appear on a national ticket, echoed McCain's appeal to battle the status quo in Washington.

"This is a matter when principles ... matter more than the party line," she said to the cheering crowd of 15,000.

Palin made an immediate play for support from Democratic women, mentioning that she followed in the footsteps of Geraldine Ferraro, who was the Democratic vice presidential running mate in 1984.

She also referred favorably to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who drew 18 million votes in her unsuccessful run against Obama for the Democratic nomination.

"But it turns out the women of America aren't finished yet and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all," she said.

Surprising choice
Palin's selection was a stunning surprise, as McCain passed over many other better-known prospects, some of whom had been the subject of intense speculation for weeks or months.

At 44, she is a generation younger than Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, who is Barack Obama's running mate on the Democratic ticket.

She is three years Obama's junior, as well, and McCain has made much in recent weeks of Obama's relative lack of experience in foreign policy and defense matters.


Unlike Biden, who attacked McCain sharply in his debut last week, Palin was indirect in her initial attempts to elevate McCain over Obama.

"There is only one candidate who has truly fought for America and that man is John McCain," she said as the Arizona senator beamed. McCain was a prisoner of war for more than five years in Vietnam.

Palin has a strong anti-abortion record, and her selection was praised warmly by social conservatives whose support McCain needs to prevail in the campaign for the White House.

"It's an absolutely brilliant choice," said Mathew Staver, dean of Liberty University School of Law. "This will absolutely energize McCain's campaign and energize conservatives," he predicted.

Palin was elected Alaska's first woman governor in 2006, defeating Gov. Frank Murkowski in the GOP primary.

“I've been blessed with the right timing here,” Palin said before the election. “There's no doubt that Alaskans right now are dealing in an atmosphere of distrust of government and industry.”

She has proven to be a popular leader. Eighty percent of the state's voters gave her a "somewhat favorable" or "very favorable" rating in a July 2008 poll.

On Aug. 1, Palin scored a major victory when the Alaska Legislature passed a bill that authorizes her administration to award a license to TransCanada Alaska to build a 1,715-mile natural gas pipeline from Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope to a hub in Canada.

The pipeline would be the largest construction project in the history of North America. If completed as hoped within 10 years, it would ship 4.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. The United States imported about 10 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in 2007.


Under investigation for firing
But Palin’s seemingly bright future was clouded in late July when the state Legislature voted to hire an independent investigator to find out whether she tried to have a state official fire her ex-brother-in-law from his job as a state trooper.

The allegation was made by former Department of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, whom Palin fired in mid-July.

“It is a governor’s prerogative, a right, to fill that Cabinet with members whom she or he believes will do best for the people whom we are serving,” Palin told CNBC’s Larry Kudlow in an interview on Aug. 1. “So I look forward to any kind of investigation or questions being asked because I’ve got nothing to hide.”

Palin also reacted to the indictment of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens by calling it “very dismaying.” She added, “Hopefully though, this won’t be a distraction and get people’s minds off what has to be done in the grand scheme of things.”

As for the prospect of her being vice president, Palin told Kudlow that she could not answer the question of whether she wanted the job “until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day. I’m used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we’re trying to accomplish up here.”


'Hail Mary pass'
Democrats pounced on the news that McCain chose Palin, characterizing the move as a gamble.

"After the great success of the Democratic convention, the choice of Sarah Palin is surely a Hail Mary pass," New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said. "Certainly the choice of Palin puts to rest any argument about inexperience on the Democratic team."

But conservatives praised her anti-abortion credentials.

"Sarah Palin is a pleasant surprise for those of us who had hoped that Senator McCain would pick a principled and authentic conservative pro-life leader," former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said.

Huckabee also used the Palin pick to reach out to women.

"Governor Palin ... will remind women that if they are not welcome on the Democrat's ticket, they have a place with Republicans," he said.

Palin is married to Todd Palin, a lifelong Alaskan who is a production operator on the North Slope and a four-time champion of the Iron Dog, which is described as “the world's longest snow-machine race.”

They have five children. Their son Track enlisted in the U.S. Army on Sept. 11, 2007. He is scheduled to be deployed to Iraq.

"He's a good American kid serving in the army for the right reasons," Palin said in a Friday interview with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo. "His Stryker brigade will be deployed Sept. 11. That's coming up here shorty."

Palin gave birth to their fifth child, Trig, last April. The baby boy has Down syndrome, a genetic abnormality that impedes a child's intellectual and physical development.

"When we first heard, it was kind of confusing," Palin said, according to an account in the Anchorage Daily News. She called the news "very, very challenging."

But she also related what she thought God would say to her family about her son: "Children are the most precious and promising ingredient in this mixed-up world you live in down there on Earth. Trig is no different, except he has one extra chromosome."

Palin made a name for herself in Alaska politics by serving as mayor of Wasilla for six years and going on to run unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in 2002.

After her unsuccessful run, Palin received an appointment to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, where she ended up serving a role in an ethics probe into Republican Party Chairman Randy Reudrich, who was questioned about conflicts of interest with the oil industry.

The investigation ultimately forced Reudrich to resign from the commission.

Palin's role in the investigation left her a party outsider, but she was able to win the 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary against Murkowski, going on to win the general election by 7 points over her Democratic opponent.

During one debate before the primary, Palin said she was in favor of capital punishment in especially heinous cases such as the murder of a child. "My goodness, hang 'em up, yeah,” she said. Palin opposes abortion rights.

Born in Idaho, Palin moved to Alaska with her parents in 1964, when they went to teach school.

She received a degree in communications and journalism from the University of Idaho in 1987.


NBC News, msnbc.com and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Postby doug » Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:07 am

Fineman: Palin's Exurban connection
Just-settled edges of U.S. cities could be central to GOP ticket's success

Sen. John McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin campaigned Saturday in Washington, Pa., in a state that will be a key to Republican chances in the November election.
ANALYSIS
By Howard Fineman
MSNBC
WASHINGTON — I don’t know Sarah Palin, but I know her type and I know where she comes from. It isn’t exactly (or only) Alaska.

The young governor with the beehive 'do and the conservative beliefs comes from a place called Exurban America. Republicans have prospered there; Sen. John McCain must do the same this fall if he is to have a chance of defeating Sen. Barack Obama.

Palin is literally from the fringes of ExAm — which is why McCain and his strategists think she will have widespread appeal there. We will soon find out, whether, in views and background, she is simply from too far out. But McCain’s eyes are on the right prize.

What is Exurban America? Palin’s hometown — the Anchorage bedroom community of Wasilla — is a classic, if slightly exotic (by Lower 48 standards), example.

The town is representative of the type: the ever expanding, just-settled fringe our cities, especially new ones in the West and South — where the streets end in desert or forest or mountain foothills, on the outskirts of cities such as Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, Salt Lake City, Spokane and Anchorage.

I have spent a fair amount of time in Alaska, from Denali to Homer and to places in between. I have seen first hand what the statistics show: that metropolitan Anchorage is one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States. Wasilla is part of that.

In Exurban America, you can buy a new home with a driveway and enough bedrooms for a big, traditional family. You can be near to nature, and big playgrounds and spaces. You can be far away from the fears and fractiousness of an old downtown, but close enough to go t0 the zoo or a concert or take in a ballgame.

And (assuming gas prices aren’t insane — a fateful assumption, of course) you can buy a big home on less than a six-figure family income. You can therefore get close as to “Leave it to Beaver" America as most middle-class folks can afford or even find.

ExAm is where the country that traditionalists think existed decades ago still exists – and where people fervently want it to exist.

That makes it, on balance, more socially conservative than other, closer-in suburbs, not to mention core cities. Eager for a settled, traditional life amid the hustle and chaos of modern, 21st century economic competition, ExAm families tend to favor rule-setting religion, old-fashioned family values — and ample but efficient government that has no ties to old arguments over Business and Labor.


Palin is pure ExAm: a fierce foe of government waste; a former union member who took on Big Oil (raising taxes on production in the state); yet a foe of high taxes and “big government generally.” She is a hunter and fished commercially, and her first-dude husband is a champion long-distance snowmobile racer. They have five kids.

She sports the style of a former beauty queen gone traditionalist homemaker, hiding her good looks behind glasses and a pile of hair.

But there are risks for McCain in having chosen her — besides the obvious one of her lack of foreign policy and national experience.

In ExAm, they like their cultural traditional, but they don’t like government telling them what to do. That is why they moved there in there in the first place. If Palin comes off as censorious or extreme — something she has managed to avoid in Alaska, for the most part — she puts at risk her appeal in the very region she is from.

Let’s see how she performs. It’s a long snowmobile race from here to November.


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Postby doug » Sun Aug 31, 2008 3:53 pm

Sarah Palin
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

------------------------------------------------------------------

11th Governor of Alaska
Incumbent
Assumed office
December 4, 2006
Lieutenant Sean Parnell
Preceded by Frank Murkowski

------------------------------------------------------------------

Chairperson, Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
In office
2003 – 2004
Preceded by Camille Oechsli Taylor[1]
Succeeded by John K. Norman[2]

------------------------------------------------------------------

Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska
In office
1996 – 2002
Preceded by John Stein
Succeeded by Dianne M. Keller

------------------------------------------------------------------

City Council Member, Wasilla, Alaska
In office
1992 – 1996

------------------------------------------------------------------

Born February 11, 1964 (1964-02-11) (age 44)
Sandpoint, Idaho, United States
Political party Republican
Spouse Todd Palin (since 1988)
Children Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, Trig
Residence Wasilla, Alaska
Alma mater University of Idaho
Profession Politician
Religion Christian (non-denominational)[3][4]
Signature


Location of Wasilla, Alaska
Sarah Louise Heath Palin (pronounced /ˈpeɪlɨn/; born February 11, 1964) is the current governor of the U.S. state of Alaska, and is the presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee in the 2008 United States presidential election.

In 2006, Palin was sworn in as the 11th governor of Alaska, becoming the first woman and youngest person to hold the office. She defeated incumbent governor Frank Murkowski in the Republican primary and former Democratic governor Tony Knowles in the general election. Palin was elected to two terms on the Wasilla, Alaska, city council from 1992 to 1996, then won two terms as mayor of Wasilla from 1996 to 2002. She lost her bid for lieutenant governor of Alaska in 2002, then chaired the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission from 2003 to 2004 while also serving as Ethics Supervisor of the commission.

On August 29, 2008, Republican presidential candidate John McCain announced he had chosen Palin as his running mate. She is the second female vice presidential candidate representing a major political party, after Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984.

Contents
1 Early life and education
2 Pre-gubernatorial political career
2.1 City council and mayorship
2.2 2002 run for Lieutenant Governor
2.3 Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commissioner
3 Governor of Alaska
3.1 Energy and environment
3.2 Budget
3.3 Public Safety Commissioner dismissal
4 2008 vice-presidential campaign
4.1 Reaction
5 Political positions
6 Personal life and family
6.1 Religion
6.2 Family
7 Visits to countries other than the USA
8 Electoral history
9 References
10 External links


Early life and education
Palin was born Sarah Louise Heath in Sandpoint, Idaho, the daughter of Sarah Heath (née Sheeran), a school secretary, and Charles R. Heath, a science teacher and track coach.[5][6] She is of English, Irish, and German ancestry.[5] Her family moved to Alaska when she was an infant.[6] She and her father would sometimes wake at 3 a.m. to hunt moose before school, and the family regularly ran 5K and 10K races.[6]

Palin attended Wasilla High School in Wasilla, Alaska, where she was the head of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at the school[6] and the point guard and captain of the school's basketball team. She helped the team win the Alaska small-school basketball championship in 1982, hitting a critical free throw in the last seconds of the game, despite having an ankle stress fracture at the time.[6] She earned the nickname "Sarah Barracuda" because of her intense play[6] and was the leader of team prayer before games.[6]

In 1984, Palin won the Miss Wasilla beauty contest, then finished second in the Miss Alaska pageant,[7] at which she won a college scholarship.[6] In the Wasilla pageant, she played the flute and won "Miss Congeniality."[8][9]

Palin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in communications-journalism from the University of Idaho, where she also minored in political science.[10][11] Palin briefly worked in broadcasting as a sports reporter for local Anchorage television stations and with her husband in commercial fishing.[6]

Pre-gubernatorial political career
City council and mayorship
Palin began her political career in 1992 when running for Wasilla city council, supporting a controversial new sales tax and advocating "a safer, more progressive Wasilla".[12] She won and served two terms on the council from 1992 to 1996.

In 1996, she challenged and defeated incumbent mayor John Stein, criticizing wasteful spending and high taxes.[6] In January 1997, Palin fired the Wasilla police chief, citing a failure to support her administration[13]. In response, a group of 60 residents calling themselves Concerned Citizens for Wasilla discussed attempting a recall campaign against Palin, but decided against it.[14] The fired police chief later sued Palin on the grounds that he was fired because he supported the campaign of Palin's opponent, but his suit was dismissed when the judge ruled that Palin had the right under state law to fire city employees, even for political reasons.[15]

Palin followed through on campaign promises to reduce the salary of the mayor, and to reduce property taxes by 40%.[6] She increased the city sales tax to pay for construction of an indoor ice rink and sports complex.[16] At this time, state Republican leaders began grooming her for higher office.[17] She ran for re-election as mayor against Stein in 1999, winning by an even larger margin.[6][18] Palin was also elected president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors.[19]

2002 run for Lieutenant Governor
In 2002, Palin made an unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor, coming in second to Loren Leman in a five-way race in the Republican primary. After Frank Murkowski resigned from his long-held U.S. Senate seat in mid-term to become governor, he considered appointing Palin to his Senate seat but instead chose his daughter, Alaska state representative Lisa Murkowski.[20]

Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commissioner
Governor Murkowski appointed Palin to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, where she chaired the Commission from 2003 to 2004, and also served as Ethics Supervisor.[21] She resigned in protest over what she called the "lack of ethics" of fellow Republican members.[22][6]

After resigning, Palin filed formal complaints against the state Republican Party's chairman, Randy Ruedrich, and former Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes. She accused Ruedrich, one of her fellow commissioners, of doing work for the party on public time and working closely with a company he was supposed to be regulating. Ruedrich and Renkes both resigned and Ruedrich paid a record $12,000 fine.[21]

Governor of Alaska

Palin with Lt. Governor Sean ParnellIn 2006, running on a clean government platform, Palin defeated then-Governor Murkowski in the Republican gubernatorial primary.[6] Her running mate was State Senator Sean Parnell.

In August, she declared that education, public safety, and transportation would be the three cornerstones of her administration.[23] Despite spending less than her Democratic opponent, she won the gubernatorial election in November, defeating former Governor Tony Knowles 48.3% to 40.9%.[6]

Palin became Alaska's first woman governor and, at 42, the youngest in Alaskan history. She is the first Alaskan governor born after Alaska achieved U.S. statehood and the first governor not inaugurated in Juneau. She chose to have the ceremony held in Fairbanks. She took office on December 4, 2006.

She has challenged the state Republican establishment. For example, not long after taking office, she auctioned Murkowski's state jet on eBay.[24] She endorsed Parnell's bid to unseat the state's longtime at-large U.S. Congressman, Don Young.[25] Palin also publicly challenged Senator Ted Stevens to come clean about the federal investigation into his financial dealings.[26]

A poll published by Hays Research on July 28, 2008 showed Palin's approval rating at 80%,[27] while another Ivan Moore poll showed it at 76%, a drop which the pollsters attributed to the controversial firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.[28] A subsequent Rasmussen Reports poll from July 31, 2008 showed 35% of Alaskans rated her performance as excellent, 29% good, 22% fair, and 14% poor.[29]

Energy and environment
See also: Alaska Gas Pipeline
Palin has strongly promoted oil and natural gas resource development in Alaska.[30] She also helped pass a tax increase on oil company profits.[26] Palin has followed through on plans to create a new sub-cabinet group of advisers to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions within Alaska.[31][32] However, when asked about climate change after becoming Senator McCain's presumptive running mate, she stated that it would "affect Alaska more than any other state", but she does not "attribute it to being man-made".[33]

Shortly after taking office, Palin rescinded 35 appointments made by Murkowski in the last hours of his administration, including that of his former chief of staff James "Jim" Clark to the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority.[34][35] Clark later pleaded guilty to conspiring with a defunct oil-field-services company to channel money into Frank Murkowski's re-election campaign.[36]

In March 2007, Palin presented the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA) as the new legal vehicle for building a natural gas pipeline from the state's North Slope.[37] This negated a deal by the previous governor to grant the contract to a coalition including BP (her husband's former employer). Only one legislator, Representative Ralph Samuels, voted against the measure,[38] and in June, Palin signed it into law.[39] On January 5, 2008, Palin announced that a Canadian company, TransCanada Corp., was the sole AGIA-compliant applicant.[40][41] In August 2008, Palin signed a bill into law giving the state of Alaska authority to award TransCanada Pipelines $500 million in seed money and a license to build and operate the $26-billion pipeline to transport natural gas from the North Slope to the Lower 48 through Canada.[42]

In response to high oil and gas prices, and the resulting state government budget surplus, Palin proposed giving Alaskans $100-a-month energy debit cards. She also proposed providing grants to electrical utilities so that they would reduce customers' rates.[43] She subsequently dropped the debit card proposal, and in its place she proposed to send Alaskans $1,200 directly, paid for from the windfall surplus the state is getting because of the high oil prices.[44]

In May 2008, Palin objected to the decision of Dirk Kempthorne, the Republican United States Secretary of the Interior, to list polar bears as an endangered species. She filed a lawsuit to stop the listing amid fears that it would hurt oil and gas development in the bears' habitat off Alaska's northern and northwestern coasts. She said the move to list the bears was premature and was not the appropriate management tool for their welfare.[45]

Budget

Governor Palin in Kuwait visiting soldiers of the Alaska National GuardShortly after becoming governor, Palin canceled a contract for the construction of an 11-mile (18-kilometer) gravel road outside Juneau to a mine. This reversed a decision made in the closing days of the Murkowski Administration.[46] She also followed through on a campaign promise to sell the Westwind II jet purchased (on a state government credit account) by the Murkowski administration. In August 2007, the jet was sold for $2.1 million.[47]

In June 2007, Palin signed into law a $6.6 billion operating budget—the largest in Alaska's history.[48] At the same time, she used her veto power to make the second-largest cuts of the construction budget in state history. The $237 million in cuts represented over 300 local projects, and reduced the construction budget to nearly $1.6 billion.[49]

In 2006, Ketchikan's Gravina Island Bridge, known outside the state as the "Bridge to Nowhere," became an issue in the gubernatorial campaign. Palin ran on a a "build-the-bridge" platform,[50][51] but later decided to use the bridge funds for other projects.[50] Palin directed state transportation officials to find the most "fiscally responsible" alternative for access to Ketchikan's airport.[26][52] Although Alaska kept the federal money, Palin stated that Alaska should rely less on federal funding.[52] Palin now claims that, "I told Congress, thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere."[50]

When on June 6, 2007, the Alaska Creamery Board recommended closing Matanuska Maid Dairy, an unprofitable state-owned business, Palin objected, citing concern for the impact on dairy farmers and the fact that the dairy had just received $600,000 in state money. When Palin found out that the Board of Agriculture and Conservation appoints Creamery Board members, she replaced the entire membership of the Board of Agriculture and Conservation.[53] The new board reversed the decision to close the dairy, but later in 2007, with Palin's support, the unprofitable business was put up for sale. There were no offers in December 2007, when the minimum bid was set at $3.35 million,[54][55] and the dairy was closed that month. In August 2008, the Anchorage plant was purchased for $1.5 million, the new minimum bid; the purchaser plans to convert it into heated storage units.[56]

Public Safety Commissioner dismissal
Main article: Alaska Public Safety Commissioner dismissal
On July 11, 2008, Palin dismissed Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan, saying that he had not adequately filled state trooper vacancies, and that he “did not turn out to be a team player on budgeting issues.”[57] She instead offered him a position as executive director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which he turned down.[58][59]

Her power to fire him is not in dispute, but Monegan alleged that his dismissal was a retaliation for his reluctance to fire Palin’s former brother-in-law, Alaska State Trooper Mike Wooten, who had been involved in a divorce and child custody battle with Palin’s sister, Molly McCann.[60] Wooten was suspended in 2006, for ten days, after an internal police investigation found "a serious and concentrated pattern of unacceptable and at times, illegal activity." After the union protested it, the suspension was reduced to five days. [61] On July 28, 2008, a bipartisan committee of the Alaska Legislature voted 12-0 to hire an independent investigator to investigate Palin and her staff for possible abuse of power surrounding the dismissal.[62]

2008 vice-presidential campaign


Campaign US presidential election, 2008
Candidate John Sidney McCain
(presidential)
Arizona Senator
1987-incumbent
Sarah Louise Heath Palin
(vice-presidential)
Governor of Alaska
2006–incumbent
Affiliation Republican Party
Status VP presumptive nominee
August 29, 2008
Headquarters Arlington, Virginia
Website
www.johnmccain.com
Main article: John McCain presidential campaign, 2008
See also: Republican Party (United States) vice presidential candidates, 2008
On August 29, 2008, Palin was announced as presumptive Republican presidential candidate John McCain's vice-presidential running mate.[63][64][65][66] Palin's selection surprised many Republican officials, several of whom had speculated about other candidates[67][68] such as Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, United States Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, and former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge.[69]

According to ABC News, McCain was originally thinking of selecting Lieberman, but was told that the Republican base would never accept Lieberman because of his moderate-to-liberal social views. Although Palin had been on the list as an "unconventional" choice for some time, she was not seriously considered for the number-two spot on the ticket until just a few days before the announcement.[70] On the morning of August 28, McCain invited her to his home near Sedona, Arizona and formally offered her the spot.[71] This offer was later confirmed after further talks later that night in Dayton, Ohio; site of the event where McCain formally introduced Palin the next morning.[70]

A month previously, Palin had said:[72]

But as for that VP talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day? I’m used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we’re trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the U.S., before I can even start addressing that question.

Palin strongly supports drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), which McCain has opposed.[73] They also disagree on her belief that global warming is not caused by human activity.[74] On August 4, 2008, Palin put out a press release praising portions of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's energy plan including the call for completion of the Alaska Gas Pipeline and proposal of $1,000 rebates for families struggling with energy costs, although she took exception with its call for a windfall profits tax on oil companies. The press release in question appears to have been removed from the governor's website, but can still be accessed through Google's cache.[75][26][76]

Palin is the second U.S. woman to run on a major party ticket, after Geraldine Ferraro, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee of former vice-president Walter Mondale in 1984.[66]

Reaction
Palin's selection came as a surprise to many people. McCain had met Palin six months earlier at a meeting of the National Governors Association. He'd spoken with her about the position only once, on the Sunday before he formally offered it to her.[71] After announcing Palin as the presumptive vice-presidential nominee, the McCain campaign received US$7 million in contributions in a single day.[77] Zogby International reported that the announcement pushed McCain/Palin ahead of Obama/Biden, with 47% to 45%[78] while Gallup in a poll taken August 27-29 mostly before the announcement of Palin's selection, showed Obama ahead of McCain 49% to 41%.[79]

Alaska Republicans had mixed reactions to the news of Palin's selection. State Senate President Lyda Green, a Republican who has often feuded with Palin, remarked, "She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president? Look at what she's done to this state. What would she do to the nation?".[80] Alaskan Attorney General Talis Colberg, a Palin appointee, remarked that, "It's wonderful. It was an emotional thing to see the governor walk out with her family and I say, wow, I work for her".[80]

Senator Joseph Lieberman, former vice presidential nominee for the Democrats, stated that McCain made a "bold choice" in picking a "maverick who has done exactly the same thing at the state level that he's done at the federal level."[81] Camille Paglia, a feminist social critic, stated "As a Democrat, I am reeling...(t)hat was the best political speech I have ever seen delivered by an American woman politician."[82]

Republicans from other states expressed support for Palin's selection, including support from Governor M. Jodi Rell of Connecticut, who said of Palin, "She is strong. She is capable. She is articulate." and suggested opponents should not underestimate her.[83]

On the other hand, some conservative pundits have not received the choice favorably. Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post wrote: "The Palin selection completely undercuts the argument about Obama's inexperience and readiness to lead.... To gratuitously undercut the remarkably successful 'Is he ready to lead' line of attack seems near suicidal."[84] David Frum of the National Review wrote: "The longer I think about it, the less well this selection sits with me.... If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?".[85] (She is currently a governor rather than a mayor.) In Alaska, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner published an unsigned editorial that opined Palin "is not ready for the top job."[86]
In a 60 Minutes interview, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama was asked to comment on Palin and said:

Well, I don't know Governor Palin, I have not met her before. I had a brief conversation with her after she was selected to congratulate her and wish her luck - but, not too much luck! - on the campaign trail. And she seems to have a compelling life story. Obviously, she's a fine mother and a up-and-coming public servant. So, it's too early for me to gauge what kind of running mate she'll be. My sense is that she subscribes to John McCain's agenda. And ultimately, this [election] is going to be about where I want to take the country and where Joe Biden wants to take the country, and where John McCain and his running mate want to take the country.[87]

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said that Palin is more qualified to be president than Obama, citing Palin's executive experience, saying of her, "She's vetoed legislation, she's taken on corruption, and in her party, and won. She took on the oil companies and won. She administered a budget successfully," and of Obama, "He's never run a city, he's never run a state, he's never run a business, he's never administered a payroll, he's never led people in crisis". [88]

Political positions
Main article: Political positions of Sarah Palin
In 2002, while running for lieutenant governor, Palin called herself as "pro-life as any candidate can be."[23] She opposes abortion for rape and incest victims,[89] supporting it only in cases where the mother's life is in danger.[90] Palin is a prominent member of Feminists for Life.[91] However, Palin has said she is in favor of the death penalty.[92]

Palin opposes same-sex marriage[23] and supported a non-binding referendum for a constitutional amendment to deny state health benefits to same-sex couples.[93] Palin has stated that she supported the 1998 constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.[23]

In a televised debate, Palin supported teaching both creationism and evolution in public schools. The next day she clarified her position to one of allowing the debate of alternative views and not of having it in the curriculum.[94]

She does not support re-legalizing of marijuana in Alaska, stating concerns about the message re-legalization would send to her children.[23]

Palin has strongly promoted oil and natural gas resource development in Alaska, including opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to drilling.[30] She does not believe that global warming is man-made.[33] She opposed listing of the polar bear as an endangered species,[95] and supported a controversial predator-control program involving aerial hunting of wolves.[96]

Palin is a life member of the National Rifle Association, and is popular among gun rights activists. She is a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, and supports gun safety education for youth.[97]

According to Time, Palin's foreign policy positions were not clear at the time she was picked,[98] but she has called for an exit strategy to bring the troops home from Iraq.[51][99]

Personal life and family
Religion
Palin was originally baptized as a Roman Catholic, but her parents later switched to the Wasilla Assembly of God, a Pentecostal church, where she was rebaptized at age 12 or 13.[100][101] When she is in the capital, she attends Juneau Christian Center, another Assemblies of God church. Her current home church in Wasilla is The Church on the Rock, an independent congregation.[102] Although initial reports described her as the first Pentecostal ever named to a major party's presidential ticket, Palin describes herself as a non-denominational Christian. The National Catholic Reporter described her as a "post-denominational" Christian.[103]


Palin family members at the announcement of Palin's vice presidential candidacy. From left: Todd, Piper, Willow, and Bristol, holding Trig.Family
She married her high school boyfriend, Todd Palin, on August 29, 1988.[6] The Palin family lives in Wasilla, about 45 miles (72 km) north of Anchorage. The Palins have two sons (Track, 18, and Trig, four months) and three daughters (Bristol, 17; Willow, 14; and Piper, 7) [ages as of August 2008].[104] Todd Palin has said Track's name came from the interest Sarah's parents had in the sport and the fact that he was born in the sport's season; Bristol was named after Bristol Bay in Alaska, where Todd grew up and where he does commercial fishing; Willow was named after Willow, Alaska; Piper got her name because it is uncommon and "a cool name"; Trig's name is Norse for "strength".[105]

Palin gave birth to her youngest child, Trig, in April 2008 while in office as governor.[106] Though she announced that she was pregnant only during the start of her third trimester and one month before Trig was born, her pregnancy is reported to have surprised Alaskans, including her staff.[107] After her water broke, on the day of Trig's delivery, Palin delivered a keynote address in Texas and then flew 8 hours to Alaska.[108] Palin returned to office quickly, just three days after delivering Trig.[26][109] The baby has Down syndrome; Palin's decision to have the baby was applauded by the pro-life community.[110][111]

Track enlisted in the U.S. Army on September 11, 2007, subsequently joining an infantry brigade, and Palin has said he will be deployed to Iraq on September 11, 2008.[112][113]

Todd Palin[114] works for the oil company BP in a non-managerial position and owns a commercial fishing business.[115] He is a world champion snowmobiler, winning the 2,000-mile (3,200 km) "Iron Dog" race four times.[6] Neither her husband nor her son Track are registered Republicans, and neither have ever registered with a political party.[116]

Palin hunts, goes ice fishing, eats hamburgers made from moose-meat, rides snowmobiles, has run a marathon, and owns and pilots[citation needed] a float plane.[117] She has said that she has smoked marijuana. “I can’t claim a Bill Clinton and say I never inhaled”, she said.[118]

Visits to countries other than the USA
According to her spokeswoman, Palin has traveled outside the USA twice: once to Ireland, and in 2007 to Germany and Kuwait, where she met with members of the Alaska National Guard.[119]

Electoral history
2006 Gubernatorial Election, Alaska
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Sarah Palin 114,697 48.33 -7.6
Democratic Tony Knowles 97,238 40.97 +0.3
Independent Andrew Halcro 22,443 9.46 n/a
Alaskan Independence Don Wright 1,285 0.54 -0.4
Libertarian Billy Toien 682 0.29 -0.2
Green David Massie 593 0.25 -1.0
Write-ins 384 0.16 +0.1
Majority 17,459 7.36
Turnout 238,307 51.1
Republican hold Swing 4.0
Alaska Republican Gubernatorial Primary Election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Sarah Palin 51,443 50.59 n/a
Republican John Binkley 30,349 29.84 n/a
Republican Frank Murkowski, Incumbent 19,412 19.09 n/a
Republican Gerald Heikes 280 0.28 n/a
Republican Merica Hlatcu 211 0.21 n/a
Majority 21,094 20.75 n/a
Turnout 101,695 n/a n/a
2002 race for Lieutenant Governor (primary)[120]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Loren Leman 21,076 29% n/a
Republican Sarah Palin 19,114 27% n/a
Republican Robin Taylor 16,053 22% n/a
Republican Gail Phillips 13,804 19% n/a
Republican Paul Wieler 1,777 2% n/a
1999 race for Mayor of Wasilla[121]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
n/a Sarah Palin 909 73% n/a
n/a John Stein 292 24% n/a
n/a Cliff Silvers 32 3% n/a

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External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Sarah PalinOfficial Campaign Website for McCain/Palin 2008
Alaska Office of Governor Sarah Palin
Family photo
Profile from The Almanac of American Politics
Profile from the National Governors Association
Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
Issue positions and quotes at On The Issues
Palin 2006 campaign contributions from Follow the Money
Follow the Money - Palin/Parnell 2006 campaign contributions from Follow the Money
News and commentary from The New York Times
National Center for Policy Analysis Press Release by NCPAS via PRNewsNow
Anchorage Daily News Nov 4 2006
"Palin's Way" — Cover story ("America's Hottest Governor") for Alaska Magazine, February 2008: Text only/ PDF file (including cover and photos)
Political offices
Preceded by
John Stein Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska
1996 – 2002 Succeeded by
Dianne M. Keller
Preceded by
Frank Murkowski Governor of Alaska
2006 – present Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dick Cheney Republican Party vice presidential candidate
(presumptive)
2008 Incumbent
Order of precedence in the United States of America
Preceded by
Janet Napolitano
Governor of Arizona United States order of precedence
(when outside Alaska) Succeeded by
Linda Lingle
Governor of Hawaii
Preceded by
Dick Cheney & Lynne Cheney
Vice President & Second Lady United States order of precedence
(within Alaska) Succeeded by
Mayors of Alaskan cities if present, then Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
[show]v • d • eGovernors of Alaska

District Kinkead • Swineford • Knapp • Sheakley • Brady • Hoggatt • Clark

Territorial Clark • Strong • Riggs • Bone • Parks • Troy • Gruening • Heintzleman • Hendrickson • Stepovich • Hendrickson

State Egan • Hickel • Miller • Egan • Hammond • Sheffield • Cowper • Hickel • Knowles • Murkowski • Palin

[show]v • d • eUnited States Republican Party Vice Presidential Nominees

William L. Dayton · Hannibal Hamlin · Andrew Johnson · Schuyler Colfax · Henry Wilson · William A. Wheeler · Chester A. Arthur · John A. Logan · Levi P. Morton · Whitelaw Reid · Garret Hobart · Theodore Roosevelt · Charles W. Fairbanks · James S. Sherman · Nicholas M. Butler · Charles W. Fairbanks · Calvin Coolidge · Charles G. Dawes · Charles Curtis · Frank Knox · Charles L. McNary · John W. Bricker · Earl Warren · Richard Nixon · Henry C. Lodge, Jr. · William E. Miller · Spiro Agnew · Bob Dole · George H. W. Bush · Dan Quayle · Jack Kemp · Dick Cheney · Sarah Palin (presumptive)

Current governors of states and territories of the United States

AL: Bob Riley (R)
AK: Sarah Palin (R)
AZ: Janet Napolitano (D)
AR: Mike Beebe (D)
CA: Arnold Schwarzenegger (R)
CO: Bill Ritter (D)
CT: Jodi Rell (R)
DE: Ruth Ann Minner (D)
FL: Charlie Crist (R)
GA: Sonny Perdue (R)
HI: Linda Lingle (R)
ID: Butch Otter (R)

IL: Rod Blagojevich (D)
IN: Mitch Daniels (R)
IA: Chet Culver (D)
KS: Kathleen Sebelius (D)
KY: Steve Beshear (D)
LA: Bobby Jindal (R)
ME: John Baldacci (D)
MD: Martin O'Malley (D)
MA: Deval Patrick (D)
MI: Jennifer Granholm (D)
MN: Tim Pawlenty (R)
MS: Haley Barbour (R)

MO: Matt Blunt (R)
MT: Brian Schweitzer (D)
NE: Dave Heineman (R)
NV: Jim Gibbons (R)
NH: John Lynch (D)
NJ: Jon Corzine (D)
NM: Bill Richardson (D)
NY: David Paterson (D)
NC: Mike Easley (D)
ND: John Hoeven (R)
OH: Ted Strickland (D)
OK: Brad Henry (D)

OR: Ted Kulongoski (D)
PA: Ed Rendell (D)
RI: Donald Carcieri (R)
SC: Mark Sanford (R)
SD: Mike Rounds (R)
TN: Phil Bredesen (D)
TX: Rick Perry (R)
UT: Jon Huntsman (R)
VT: Jim Douglas (R)
VA: Tim Kaine (D)
WA: Christine Gregoire (D)
WV: Joe Manchin (D)

WI: Jim Doyle (D)
WY: Dave Freudenthal (D)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AS: Togiola Tulafono (D)
DC: Adrian Fenty (Mayor) (D)
GU: Felix Camacho (R)
MP: Benigno Fitial (Covenant)
PR: Aníbal Acevedo Vilá (P)
VI: John de Jongh (D)




2008 United States presidential election

Results template • Candidates (Comparison) • Debates • Congressional support • Fundraising • Ballot access • Timeline • Super Tuesday • Potomac primary • Super Tuesday II • Straw polls • General polls • Statewide general polls

Democratic Party
Convention • Straw polls • Primary polls •
General polls • Debates • Primaries •
Primary results • Superdelegates Nominee: Barack Obama (campaign) (positions)
VP Nominee: Joe Biden (positions)
Former candidates: Evan Bayh • Joe Biden (campaign) • Hillary Rodham Clinton (campaign) • Chris Dodd (campaign) • John Edwards (campaign) • Mike Gravel (campaign) • Dennis Kucinich (campaign) • Dal LaMagna • Bill Richardson (campaign) • Tom Vilsack (campaign)

Republican Party
Convention • Straw polls • Primary polls •
General polls • Debates • Primaries •
Primary results Presumptive nominee: John McCain (campaign) (positions)
VP presumptive nominee: Sarah Palin (positions)
Former candidates: Sam Brownback • Hugh Cort • John Cox • Dan Gilbert • Jim Gilmore (campaign) • Rudy Giuliani (campaign) • Mike Huckabee (campaign) • Duncan Hunter (campaign) • Alan Keyes (campaign) • Ray McKinney • Ron Paul (campaign) • Mitt Romney (campaign) • Tom Tancredo (campaign) • Fred Thompson (campaign) • Tommy Thompson (campaign)

Constitution Party
Convention Nominee: Chuck Baldwin (campaign)/Darrell Castle
Former candidates: Daniel Imperato • Alan Keyes (campaign)

Green Party
Convention Nominee: Cynthia McKinney (campaign)/Rosa Clemente
Former candidates: Elaine Brown • Jesse Johnson • Kent Mesplay • Kat Swift

Libertarian Party
Convention Nominee: Bob Barr (campaign)/Wayne Allyn Root
Former candidates: Mike Gravel (campaign) • Daniel Imperato • Steve Kubby • George Phillies • Wayne Allyn Root • Mary Ruwart • Doug Stanhope

Minor parties Boston Tea Party: Charles Jay/Thomas Knapp • Prohibition Party: Gene Amondson/Leroy Pletten • Party for Socialism and Liberation: Gloria La Riva/Eugene Puryear • Socialist Party: Brian Moore/Stewart Alexander • Socialist Workers Party: Róger Calero/Alyson Kennedy

Independent John Taylor Bowles • Alan Keyes (campaign) • Ralph Nader (campaign)/Matt Gonzalez • Jonathon Sharkey

Draft movements Democratic Party: Al Gore • Mark Warner (movement) • Republican Party: Newt Gingrich • Condoleezza Rice (movement) • Independent: Michael Bloomberg (movement)

Those listed following the "/" are the party's vice presidential nominee
Other 2008 elections: House • Senate • Gubernatorial

Persondata
NAME Palin, Sarah Heath
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Heath, Sarah Louise; Palin, Sarah Louise
SHORT DESCRIPTION Governor of Alaska
DATE OF BIRTH February 11, 1964
PLACE OF BIRTH Sandpoint, Idaho
DATE OF DEATH
PLACE OF DEATH

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Palin"

Categories: Future election candidates | 1964 births | Living people | Sarah Palin | Alaska Republicans | American beauty pageant contestants | American fishers | American hunters | American journalists | American women mayors | American women state governors | American Pentecostals | Americans of English descent | Americans of German descent | Americans of Irish descent | Bonner County, Idaho | Conservatives | Governors of Alaska | Mayors of places in Alaska | Parents of Down syndrome people | People from Idaho | University of Idaho alumni

This page was last modified on 31 August 2008, at 20:33.
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Postby doug » Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:58 am

GOP VP candidate Palin's daughter is pregnant
17-year-old Bristol to keep the child and marry the father
The Associated Press
ST. PAUL - John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin said Monday that her 17-year-old unmarried daughter is five months pregnant, an announcement campaign aides said was aimed at rebutting Internet rumors that Palin's youngest son, born in April, was actually her daughter's.

A statement released by the campaign said that Bristol Palin will keep her baby and marry the child's father. Bristol Palin's baby is due in late December.

"Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents," Sarah and Todd Palin said in the brief statement.

The disclosure of the pregnancy came on the opening day of the Republican National Convention, scaled back because of Hurricane Gustav, and three days after McCain named Palin as his running mate. The other news was likely to overshadow the disclosure.

The first-term Alaska governor was in Minnesota preparing for her acceptance speech when the campaign issued the statement; her family was home in Alaska.

"Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family," they added.

The father was identified in the statement as Levi, but the campaign said it was not disclosing his full name or age or how he and Bristol know each other, citing privacy.

Sarah Palin's fifth child, a son named Trig, was born in April with Down syndrome. Internet bloggers have been suggesting that the child was actually born to Bristol Palin but that her mother, the 44-year-old Alaska governor, claimed to be the mother.

Palin spokesman Bill McAllister emphatically denied those rumors, and McCain adviser Mark Salter said the campaign announced the daughter's pregnancy to rebut them.

'Life happens'
"Senator McCain's view is this is a private family matter. As parents, (the Palins) love their daughter unconditionally and are going to support their daughter," said McCain spokesman Steve Schmidt.

"Life happens," he said.

"An American family," added Salter.

The advisers said Palin told them about the pregnancy during lengthy discussions about her background. At several points during the discussions, McCain's team warned Palin that the scrutiny into her private life would be intense and that there was nothing she could do to prepare for it.

Advisers said Palin's daughter should be afforded privacy like the other candidates' children. Said Schmidt: "If people try to politicize this, the American people will be appalled."

Family is 'off limits'
In Monroe, Mich., Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama condemned rumors involving the children of candidates and echoed the McCain campaign argument. Said Obama: "I think people's families are off limits, and people's children are especially off limits." Obama adamantly denied anonymous claims that his campaign helped spread the rumors.

"I am offended by that statement," Obama said. "Our people were not involved in any way in this, and they will not be. And if I ever thought that there was somebody in my campaign that was involved in something like that, they'd be fired."

Prominent religious conservatives, many of whom have been lukewarm toward McCain's candidacy, predicted that Palin's daughter's pregnancy would not diminish conservative Christian enthusiasm for the vice presidential hopeful, a staunch abortion opponent.

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson issued a statement commending the Palins for "for not just talking about their pro-life and pro-family values, but living them out even in the midst of trying circumstances." He added: "Being a Christian does not mean you're perfect. Nor does it mean your children are perfect. But it does mean there is forgiveness and restoration when we confess our imperfections to the Lord."


Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition of America called the pregnancy private. "It's a matter that should stay in the family and they have to work through it together. My prayers go out to them."

Added Combs: "We're excited about the governor and think she's going to do well."

Mathew Staver, dean of Liberty University School of Law, said: "We're all sinners."

"We all make mistakes. Certainly, the ideal is not to get pregnant out of wedlock. But she made the right decision after her mistake," he said.

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Postby doug » Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:42 am

Advisers craft Palin's introduction
VP pick likely to focus on policy expertise rather than biography or gender
NBC News
Sarah Palin takes the stage to rehearse for her RNC speech Wednesday.
By Juliet Eilperin and Robert Barnes
The Washington Post
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Since Sunday night, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been holed up in her suite in the Hilton Minneapolis while a parade of Sen. John McCain's top advisers have briefed her on the nuances of his policy positions, national politics and, above all, how to introduce herself to the national audience she will address Wednesday night at the Republican convention.

Sitting around a dining room table, the McCain team has talked to her about Iraq, energy and the economy, but has focused on what she should say in her speech, struggling almost as hard as she has to prepare for what will be, along with a debate in October, her main opportunity to shape the way she is viewed by voters. Not anticipating that McCain would choose a woman as his running mate, the speech that was prepared in advance was "very masculine," according to campaign manager Rick Davis, and "we had to start from scratch."

By all accounts Palin has thrown herself enthusiastically into preparations for her prime-time debut as well as for her first campaign trip without McCain, expected to be next week. On Tuesday afternoon, she practiced her first run-through of the speech before an audience that included strategists Steve Schmidt, Nicolle Wallace and Mark Salter, who all offered suggestions.

"She's very engaged, she's very enthusiastic," said Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella, who has attended some of the briefing and speechwriting sessions. "She clearly wants to absorb as much information as possible."

Aides to McCain and Palin were still debating elements of the speech, according to several GOP sources familiar with the process, including whether the governor should make reference to her 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy. On Tuesday, Levi Johnston, the high school student Palin has said her daughter plans to marry, left Alaska to join the Palin family at the convention.

In the speech, Palin is likely to emphasize her areas of policy expertise -- particularly energy and political reform -- rather than focusing on her biography or gender. An initial version of the address, which speechwriter Matthew Scully started crafting a week ago for an unnamed male vice-presidential pick, included plenty of attacks aimed at Democratic nominee Barack Obama along with ample praise for McCain, aides said. But they said Palin's speech will focus more on substantive matters.

"There's an expectation that she doesn't have a depth of knowledge on issues," said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds. "That's absurd."


'Got to prove she can handle the job'
The stakes for Palin are much higher than they were for her Democratic counterpart, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has run for president twice and has served in the Senate for 35 years. Several GOP strategists said Palin, who has been governor less than two years, needs to establish herself as someone who is credible as a potential president. "She's like any new person or product on the scene -- she's got to prove she can handle the job, that she's got the presence and suppleness of mind to be a heartbeat away from the presidency," said Ben Ginsberg, who was a senior adviser to McCain's GOP primary rival Mitt Romney.

In an effort to prevent any damaging mistakes, the McCain campaign is orchestrating Palin's public introduction carefully. Except for an interview with People magazine the afternoon her selection was announced, she has not taken a single question from a reporter, and it remains unclear when she will speak to the national news media.

McCain and his allies are hoping to present his running mate as a like-minded reformer who will pursue the same approach to governing. Campaigning with her over the past few days, McCain presented her time and again as a fighter.

"A lot of candidates talk about reform, changing the failed policies of the past, but often they find after they're elected they leave things as they are," McCain said. "Not Governor Sarah Palin -- not Sarah Palin."

In her own remarks on the trail, Palin has worked to burnish her leadership credentials, repeatedly referring to her time in the governor's office. After listing McCain's national security attributes at one point, she declared, "As the mother of one of those troops and as the commander of Alaska's National Guard, that's the kind of man I want as our commander in chief." At another point, she heralded his willingness to cut wasteful spending, noting that she had done it herself: "Senator McCain promises to use the power of the veto in defense of the public interest, and as a chief executive, I can assure him: It works."

Series of questions
Still, Palin will take the stage Wednesday night amid a series of questions about her political résumé that have, at a minimum, created distractions from the convention message the McCain campaign has sought to present.

On Tuesday, the McCain campaign angrily countered reports that Palin was a member of the Alaska Independence Party, producing records showing that she has been a registered Republican since the early 1980s. Later in the day, media reports revealed that her husband, Todd Palin, was registered as a member of the party until 2002.

Alaskans continued to question her position on the "Bridge to Nowhere," a nearly $400 million span connecting the small town of Ketchikan with a remote island to make transportation to its airport easier. Palin seemed to indicate that she supported the bridge while campaigning for governor in that region in 2006, but last fall she ended the project because cost overruns far exceeded the initial $223 million that was allocated.

While McCain's backers are comfortable that Palin's record meshes neatly with his when it comes to challenging the status quo -- Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said the governor "has shown guts and toughness on a central theme in this campaign in a way that will resonate with the American public" -- they are working on how to bolster her foreign policy bona fides.


Rarely traveled overseas
Palin has rarely traveled overseas: Last summer, as governor, she journeyed to Canada on one trip and to Germany, Iraq and Kuwait on another, and Comella said she may have traveled to Mexico once on a personal trip.

"Obviously the governor of Alaska spends very little time on foreign policy," Davis said, though he added that if something were to happen to McCain, "I think she's got the judgment to do the things as commander in chief that John McCain would think are the right things to do."

Graham, who lobbied hard for McCain to choose their mutual friend Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) as his running mate, said Palin would be able to handle foreign relations in McCain's absence as long as she relied on his staff.

"She can do fine in foreign policy because of the infrastructure we have around us. She's smart and she will learn over time," he said, adding that when it comes to selecting a vice president, "there is no perfect person. If we could have found someone who's an expert in everything, we would have picked 'em, right?"

Staff writer Paul Kane contributed to this report.


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Postby doug » Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:22 pm

Scoop: Readers dump Us Magazine over Palin

Republican vice presidential candidate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin speaks to the Republican National Convention (RNC) in St Paul, Minnesota on September 3, 2008.
By Courtney Hazlett
The Scoop
MSNBC
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Three celebrity weeklies — OK!, People and Us Weekly — featured Sarah Palin on their cover, but one of those magazines is reportedly losing subscribers because of it.

Us Weekly, which unlike People and OK!, chose a rather caustic cover line (“Babies, Lies and Scandal”) is said to have lost thousands of subscribers in just the first 24 hours following the printing of the issue.

“I’m hearing it’s 5,000, maybe more,” says one well-placed source in the industry. Another source claimed that as many as 10,000 readers have already cancelled their subscriptions. A spokesperson for Wenner Media, which publishes Us, says “it is completely false that we are losing 10,000 subscribers.” As for the 5,000 estimate, the spokesperson only said “that is false, too,” but wouldn’t comment further.

Five thousand might not seem like a large number at first glance, but it’s significant in the context of Us’s printing schedule. The magazine goes to press Monday night, which means subscribers don’t receive their issues until Friday or Saturday. In other words, the cancellations are coming from subscribers who, in many cases, haven’t even gotten their hands on the actual issue.

“When Us went to print Monday night, it looked like the ticket was falling apart," says one magazine editor. “They went to print thinking Palin was dead in the water, and their mistake was thinking everyone who reads Us is a Democrat, when they’re not. Readers are loyal, but the base of a political party is more loyal. They don’t need to read the magazine when there’s so much press around it to know to be upset.”

Upset might be an understatement: One Us advertiser has admitted that they’ve received calls from angry former subscribers threatening to boycott their products. “(Us publisher) Jann Wenner supports Obama, Wenner media decided to follow the buzz around Palin before her speech, and now subscribers feel like a vote has been cast on their behalf," says another magazine editor. “It’s going to be tough to bounce back from this one. Especially if the advertisers get involved. If they get nervous, that can hurt all of us.”

Meanwhile, Oprah Winfrey has issued a statement responding to a report that she'll have Palin on her show. “The item in today's Drudge Report is categorically untrue,” Winfrey's statement read. “There has been absolutely no discussion about having Sarah Palin on my show. At the beginning of this presidential campaign when I decided that I was going to take my first public stance in support of a candidate, I made the decision not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates. I agree that Sarah Palin would be a fantastic interview, and I would love to have her on after the campaign is over.”

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Postby doug » Fri Sep 05, 2008 8:16 pm

And from Alaska a man who is a very serious cynic about all things political here is my take on Sarah.




I met and spoke with Sarah Palin about two years ago at our downtown Park Strip. It is a place for walking, carnivals, political outdoor things and such. She was cooking hotdogs at a fund raiser and introducing herself to the public as a Governor hopeful.




She came by and said the usual "Hi, I'm Sarah Palin and I am running for Governor"...and I expected her to keep on to the next person but she asked me who I was and what I did in Alaska and we ended up talking for 15 minutes about me, Air America (she was all agog!) and my career in the Army and AAM. She is a pilot (Super Cub) I'm told although all she told me about that was that she loved flying.




As I watched her over the next six months as she successfully ran for Governor I was really impressed. I was impressed greatly even before that after she resigned a good position (Alaska Gas and Oil Regulatory Commission) because a fellow Commission member (Chair of the Alaska Republican Party) misused their office and position. He was using the FAX, computers, printing room and all to promote the Republican endeavors while in a State job. That is a huge no-no in any government employment position.



She resigned and made her point and within weeks Randy Ruderich (the above bad guy) found his ass out on the street and a subsequent investigation found him guilty and he was fined $12,000. Small change actually but a giant point was made.



Next she went after our most horrible Governor ever, Governor Murkowski, and damned if she didn't beat him! All of us here in Alaska , except the Democrats, are sick of our State's corruption. That fact was shouted to the heavens after she was elected with an overwhelming point spread.




After she got into office she started after corrupt legislators and with the FBI's help we've put four of them in prison, indicted six more and the "Corrupt Bastard's Club" as they arrogantly called themselves (even had hats made with CBC on the front!) suddenly found it no fun anymore. Club membership is now in the toilet!!




The current flap which has cost her a ten point loss of popularity (she's still 82%!) was over firing a popular Commissioner of Public Safety who is responsible for our Alaska State Troopers. She fired him for no STATED reason which was her prerogative as the Gov. He served entirely at her option. She and her whole family had a bad, bad experience with a rogue Trooper who was married to Sarah's sister. His name is Trooper Wooten. This dimwit Trooper had threatened Sarah's father (death threat!), threatened Sarah ("I'll get you too"), tasered his 12 year old stepson, drove drunk in his AST cruiser, got a pass by a fellow Trooper who stopped him for erratic driving a second time while in civvies and just a host of other things not yet released to the public. He got away with it and got another pass by the Commissioner's appointed AST Trooper Internal Affairs investigator with a tiny slap on the wrist. Five days off without pay to be exact!!




This maverick Trooper is still on the payroll but only just. The Union intervening saved his malcontent ass. He'll yet get his I'm sure. Incredible heat is being heaped on the Troopers. Public heat, not the Governors office.



The Democrats had the audacity to appoint a obviously biased investigator, Rep. "Gunny" French (so called because he lied about being in the USMC while running for the Legislature) is a staunch liberal and under the orders of Senate President Lyda Green who hates Sara. She hates Sarah because after being elected Governor Sarah told the whole Legislature in one of her first meetings with them that, quote; "All of you here need some Adult Supervision!!!". Sarah was seriously pissed and not afraid of anyone there.That played wonderfully well with Alaskan's after all of our corruption and after all of her successful battles against a seriously entrenched corrupt government here in Alaska . It pissed off the whole Legislature though! They have stayed pissed but also afraid of her because of her popularity.




She reminds me personally of our Alaska wolverine which will fight anything in it's path if it see's fit to do so. No respect at all for size or position. Wife Cindy is in this category too. Unfortunately.




In closing I must tell you that she is the best, most moral and most focused leader I've seen since President Reagan. I feel, really strongly, that like Alaska the rest of our country will love her within a few weeks. Put simply, she represents middle America like NO leader we've ever had. I think McCain made a totally brilliant move in choosing her. She's a maverick who is probably tougher and more focused than McCain himself....and she won't be a total "Yes Man" or more appropriately, woman. McCain will love her.




In 2012 she will be President.



My best to all of you in the hurricane belt. I hope you are all OK. We just had another mini Air America reunion here in beautiful Soldotna , Alaska along the Kenai river. We'll be doing this every year now I guess. Like our Flying Tiger pal's before us there are not that many Air America guys left. I'm 71 myself this September 16. Where the hell did the years go so fast?




My best to you old buddy


Semper Fi,


George W. Murray
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Postby doug » Sat Sep 06, 2008 5:04 am

Poll: Partisanship sways opinions on Palin
Poll finds positive reception of VP pick, but political opinion a large factor
By Jon Cohen and Jennifer Agiesta
The Washington Post
Republicans and Democrats have deeply contrasting first impressions of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, suggesting partisanship, not gender, is paramount in the initial public reviews.

Overall, Palin, the governor of Alaska and the first woman to run on a Republican presidential ticket, gets positive marks in a new ABC News national poll, despite broad skepticism that she has the necessary experience to serve as president. Most Americans approve of her selection, and six in 10 of those polled said she made the right call to join the contest.

"I think it's great that we finally have a woman candidate that can be vice president," Margaret Brown, a 22-year-old Texan, said in a telephone interview. "She's likable, and she's not like a Washington insider."

Half of all those polled view Palin favorably and 37 percent hold negative opinions. Men are somewhat more apt to view her favorably, but that is mainly because women are far more likely to be Democrats.

"I think she's a likable person and says a good speech," said Gale Roy from Knoxville, Tenn., who supported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries. "But I can't think of anything in favor of [Palin]. I'm just of the opposite party."

In the new poll, it is underlying political attitudes that appear to dominate, just as they do in ratings of Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic vice presidential nominee. Eighty-five percent of Republicans view Palin favorably, and nearly nine in 10 approve of her selection as Sen. John McCain's running mate. Among Democrats, 24 percent view her favorably and 57 percent disapprove of her selection.

For Elizabeth Seaburg, 23, another Clinton voter from Albuquerque, there's interest in Palin as a woman but little chance Seaburg would support McCain on Election Day: "I'm not really aligned with her values. I'm not going to vote for McCain just because he picked a woman. Her values are polar opposite of mine.

"Her rhetoric sounded very, very much like what I'm used to hearing from Republicans," said Seaburg, who, like others interviewed for this article, participated in a previous Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Palin's ratings are highest among the groups already likely to be in the Republican camp, limiting the potential impact of the choice. Among conservative Republicans, 89 percent view her favorably, as do 81 percent of white evangelical Protestants. In both groups, large majorities hold "strongly favorable" opinions.


The poll, conducted the night after Palin accepted the second slot on the GOP ticket at the party's national convention in St. Paul, Minn., finds that 55 percent of all Americans said the Palin pick makes no difference in their support for McCain. Even more -- 67 percent -- said so of Democratic nominee Barack Obama's choice of Biden. In both cases, those who said the vice presidential choices would increase the odds of supporting one of the newly minted presidential nominees are those who were already predisposed to supporting that candidate.

Among independents, 53 percent have favorable views of Palin, and about two-thirds approve of McCain's choice. However, independents are only evenly divided, as are all Americans, as to whether the surprise pick makes them more or less confident -- 44 to 37 percent -- about the decisions McCain would make as president.

Partisan lenses also color views of whether Palin has the necessary experience to serve as president if that became necessary and whether the news media have treated her fairly in her first week in the spotlight. Forty-two percent of all Americans think she is sufficiently prepared. Among Republicans, however, 74 percent believe she is, a figure that is more than three times higher than among Democrats.


For Susan Chambers, 65, of Phoenix, the difference is stark: "I just wasn't real impressed with her. If anything happened to McCain, I don't think this woman would be able to take over as president of the United States. On the other hand, we have Joe Biden, who would be able to step into that position. That's important for the whole country, whether you're a Republican, Democrat or independent."

Biden's qualifications are in little doubt in the poll, as majorities across party lines said Biden has the necessary experience to be an effective president, if need be. The Delaware senator's favorably rating stands at 54 percent in the new poll.

But some questioned whether the vice president needs

extensive experience, particularly with regard to foreign policy. "The vice president doesn't really have to have a lot of that," said Carol Kirk, 65, of Buckeye, Ariz. "A lot of that can be learned on the job."

Kirk said that someone with atypical experience could be beneficial to the country. "I think that she would think more about women's issues than would a man," she said. "It's about time that the women had someone looking after their issues."

The new poll indicates that Palin's positions on hot-button issues may sway more voters than details of her family life. In particular, her stances on abortion and gun control, along with her role in securing federal funds when she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, all appear to have a greater impact on public opinion than her decision to have a fifth child while in office or her 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy.

Americans are divided about whether the media, which have focused early coverage on personal matters, have treated Palin fairly or unfairly. Half called the coverage fair, while 41 percent said it has been slanted. Most Republicans said it has been biased; two-thirds of Democrats disagree. Among those who fault the coverage, more see political bias, not sexism, as the root cause.

A gender difference emerges on this question, although the partisan divide remains far more prominent: Men are more likely than women to think Palin has been treated fairly, and women who find the media coverage problematic are somewhat more likely than men to highlight sexism as the main cause, but more still point the finger at political bias.

With the swirling coverage of Palin's family, six in 10 of those polled said she made the right decision to join the ticket, given what they know of her personal life, with men and women saying so in similar proportions. Nearly nine in 10 Republicans said she made the right call, a view shared by just over a third of Democrats. Two-thirds of independents, including 68 percent of independent women, said she made a good decision.


"As a new mother, I think that's kind of unfair," Lynnette Liston, 34, of Marshalltown, Iowa, said responding to criticism of Palin. "She can balance anything she wants. If you plan it out and juggle it well, everything can work just fine."

To Juanita Moody, 67, of Paulding County, Ga., it was simply Palin's choice to make: "I don't think she would've accepted it if she didn't think she could handle it. She seems like a pretty strong person, and I think she thought she could do the job, and that's why she accepted."

In all, the ABC poll included telephone interviews with a random national sample of 505 adults. Interviews were completed before McCain's speech started, and the results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Assistant polling analyst Kyle Dropp contributed to this report.


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Postby doug » Sat Sep 06, 2008 9:51 pm

Tale of the Tape: Sarah Palin vs. Barack Obama

Don't forget, by the way, that they're running for different positions




Sarah Palin

Barack Obama


Office being sought
Vice President

President of the United States and Leader of the Free World

Full name
Sarah Louise Heath Palin

Barack Hussein Obama II

Nickname
Sarah Barracuda

Barry Obama; "The One"

Public opinion
Smoking hot in a "naughty librarian" sort of way

May be The Messiah

Age
44

48

Children
5: two sons, three daughters

2: two daughters

Religion/Church attendance
Evangelical Christian;
attends Juneau Christian Center when in Juneau and grew up attending Wasilla Assembly of God

Attended Trinity United Church of Christ for 20 years, a "black liberation theology" church formerly led by Rev. Jeremiah Wright and governed according to the Black Value System

Current Job
Governor of Alaska

Junior Senator from Illinois

Previous Public Jobs
Mayor of Wasilla, AK (1996-2002); President of Alaska Conference of Mayors;

City Council member (1992-1996)
State Senator (1997-2004);

Community Organizer

Executive Experience
Governor for 2 years;
Mayor for 10 years

None

Foreign Relations experience
Governor of state that borders two foreign countries (Canada and Russia)

Chaired Senate subcommittee on Europe but never called it into session; Foreign Relations committee member

once gave a speech to 200,000 screaming Germans

Military Affairs experience
Commander in Chief of Alaska National Guard;
Son is enlisted Infantryman in U.S. Army

None

Private Sector Experience
Sports reporter;
Salmon fisherman

Associate at civil rights law firm;
Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) . William Ayers was an ex-officio board member.

Speaking ability
Beautifully executed initial stump speech in Dayton, OH hockey arena without a teleprompter

An enter...wait--did you say without a teleprompter??

Spouse's name
Todd Mitchell Palin

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama

Spouse's occupation
Salmon fisherman;
Former North Slope production supervisor for BP Oil

Vice President for Community and External Affairs at University of Chicago Hospitals;
former Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago;
former Executive Director for the Chicago office of Public Allies;
former Assistant to the Mayor of Chicago;
former associate at Sidley Austin law firm

Reaction to spouse's political success
Quit 17-year BP oil job when BP became involved in natural gas pipeline negotiations with wife's administration

Promoted and given 160% pay raise by UofC hospitals within months of husband's election to U.S. Senate;
Employer received $1,000,000.00 federal earmark, requested by husband, after her promotion

Coolest thing about Spouse
Tesoro Iron Dog Snowmobile race champion (longest snowmobile race in the world);
In 2008, while defending his championship, was injured when he was thrown 70 feet from his machine. He was sent to the hospital but still finished in fourth place

Sister of Oregon State University head basketball coach Craig Robinson

Most Courageous Moment in Public Service
Resigned in protest from position of Ethics Commissioner of Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in order to expose legal violations and conflicts of interest of Alaska Republican leaders, including the former state Attorney General and the State GOP Chairman (who was also an Oil & Gas Commissioner), who was doing work for the party on public time and supplying a lobbyist with a sensitive e-mail.

Gave an anti-Iraq war speech to a crowd of anti-Iraq war demonstrators in Hyde Park in 2002

In Current Office Because...
Upset sitting Governor in GOP primary due to public support for her efforts to clean up corrupt government establishment

Republican opponent, who was leading in the polls, was forced to leave race after unsealing of divorce records exposed a sex scandal

Theme:
Change and Clean Government

Hope and Change;
"Bringing Change from Outside Washington"

What they've done to live that theme:
Replaced entire Board of Agriculture and Conservation because of conflict of interest;
Resigned from position of Ethics Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in order to expose corruption among members of own party

Selected 36-year incumbent Senator as running mate

Family Affairs
May have removed State Public Safety Commissioner as part of effort to protect sister in messy divorce and child custody battle

Often says, "I am my brother's keeper";
Brother lives in a hut in Nairobi, Kenya on $12 per year

Union affiliation
Union member, married to Union member

Endorsed by a union

Iraq and Troop Support
Formerly (pre-surge) critical of apparent lack of long-term strategy for Iraq;
Visited wounded U.S. soldiers in Germany;
visited AK National Guard soldiers deployed to Kuwait;
Son deploying to Iraq on 9/11/08 as Army infantryman

Gave an anti-Iraq war speech to a crowd of anti-Iraq war demonstrators;
almost visited wounded troops in Germany, but decided to go shopping in Berlin instead

Bipartisan/"maverick" credentials
Married to a non-Republican;
Exposed corruption within own party;
Campaigned for Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell against corrupt GOP congressman Don Young;
Called out Sen Ted Stevens (R-AK) to "come clean" about financial dealings that are under fed investigation

Talks about bipartisanship

Legislative Record
Passed a landmark ethics reform bill;
Used veto to cut budgetary spending;
Prevented "bridge to nowhere" that would have cost taxpayers $400 million dollars.

Voted "present" over 100 times as IL state senator

How they dealt with corrupt individuals in home city/state
Exposed legal violations and conflicts of interest of Alaska Republican leaders;
Campaigned against corrupt GOP Representative;
Ran against and defeated corrupt incumbent governor in GOP primary

Launched political career in home of unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers (and still refers to him as a part of "mainstream Democratic Chicago";
Purchased home with help of convicted felon Tony Rezko

Guns
Lifetime member of NRA and avid hunter;
video can be found on YouTube of Palin firing an M4 at a military firing range

Worked to pass legislation in Illinois that would prevent all law-abiding citizens from owning firearms

Earmarks
Opposed "Bridge to Nowhere" project;
Said Alaska should avoid relying on federal money for projects;
Campaigned against porker Don Young (R-AK) in 2008 primary

Secured federal earmarks for wife's employer and for campaign bundlers

Abortion
Pro life;
gave birth to 5th child knowing that he would have Down's syndrome

Pro-choice;
only IL state sen. to speak against the Born Alive Infant's Protection Act, which required medical care to be given to live infants who survived abortions

Energy
Believes energy independence is a matter of national security;
For drilling in ANWR, which is in her state

Says Americans should "get tune-ups" and "check tire pressure";
Says "we can't expect the world to be okay with" our use of heating and air conditioning

Environment
Chair of Alaska Conservation Commission (2003-4);
Announced plans to create sub-cabinet group of advisors to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in AK

Talks about the environment a lot

Athletic prowess
Runs marathons

Has reporters tailing him to the gym
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doug
 
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Postby doug » Sun Sep 07, 2008 4:08 am

Family's place in Palin's politics
Role as wife, mother are central to her appeal but generate controversy
By Karl Vick and James V. Grimaldi
The Washington Post
One Friday in June, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin joined the chief of the state prison system on a tour of the Point MacKenzie Correctional Farm, a 90-minute drive north of Anchorage. It was a routine visit but for the presence of the governor's infant son, Trig.

Palin held her baby in her arms as the warden drove a short distance around the facility, said corrections director Joe Schmidt, who sat next to Palin. A few days later, the governor got a warning from her public safety commissioner that someone had complained that she did not strap Trig into a car seat for the ride.

Palin dismissed the complaint as petty, and the commissioner, whom she appointed, took no formal action. But the incident shows the degree to which family and politics are bound together in Palin's career.

Of the many striking images of Palin -- sportswoman, beauty queen, populist -- in Alaska the most iconic is working mother, a perfectly coifed professional woman balancing public duties and child-rearing in a charismatic blur of multitasking. The governor shops at the Wal-Mart superstore off Parks Highway and drives the family Suburban herself. Under "business relationships" on a state disclosure form, she listed "family carpooling to youth basketball" because one of the parents is a lobbyist.

Long before she burst onto the national scene last month, Palin made politics a family affair in Alaska. Her role as a wife and mother shaped her entry into politics, proved central to her appeal to supporters and generated the greatest controversies in her abrupt ascension to the GOP ticket. From her children's names to her husband's public celebrity and role as unofficial adviser, Palin has created a reputation among Alaskans less as a rugged individual than as a maverick with a large and colorful family in tow.

Husband Todd, a celebrity in his own right as a champion snowmobile racer before becoming known as "First Dude," confers with Cabinet officials and is copied on the governor's e-mails. Her teenage daughter's pregnancy became a touchstone for a national debate on unwed mothers. And her sister's bitter divorce from a state trooper generated the first scandal in an administration built on vows of openness and rectitude amid a massive corruption investigation then rocking the Republican establishment.

Family offered a human touch as Palin, the mayor of an obscure municipality, positioned herself as a populist reformer against Alaska's notoriously staid and dynastic political order.

Then came the McCain campaign.

"I call her," said former aide Larry Persily, "the victor of circumstances."

Ultimate Valley Girl
In the Alaskan context, which until a week ago was the only context that mattered, it was enough to say that Sarah Palin was the ultimate Valley Girl.

The Matanuska-Susitna Valley yawns between Fairbanks and Anchorage, and the working-class sensibilities of the homesteaders who settled there half a century ago have defined the region even as it swelled into an Anchorage exurb.

"That growth happens to parallel Sarah Palin's growth," said Mike Chmielewski, a family friend and city council member in nearby Palmer.

Palin both claimed the area's heritage and rode the change. As mayor, she presided over a city whose coffers swelled with sales tax revenue from the big-box stores lining a highway once known for ramshackle trailers. She named a marketing company "Rouge Cou" -- "Red Neck" in French.

And through her husband, she could lay claim to much of Alaska.

Todd Palin arrived in Wasilla from Dillingham on Bristol Bay in the early 1980s, and cut such a figure at the high school that girls inked T-O-D-D on the back of their fingers, Kaylene Johnson wrote in her admiring biography of the governor. The newcomer chose Sarah Heath, daughter of a popular science teacher, and flirted with her from a two-way radio on the open boat his family used when the salmon ran up Bristol Bay.

Todd Palin claims Yupik Eskimo blood through his grandmother. When he took a job on the North Slope, working Arctic Circle oil pads for British Petroleum, the family's life assumed a rhythm familiar in Alaska: a week or two at home, a week or two on "the Slope."


And when he won the Iron Dog, he basically owned the state. The endurance race involves six days of steering a snowmobile at 80 mph. From its start in Wasilla, the course runs across two mountain ranges to Nome on the Bering Sea, then back down the Yukon River to Fairbanks.

The terrain is so rough that some days drivers pull their hands out of mittens bloody from blistering, and so dangerous that drivers must move in teams. With Scott Davis, who sells concrete block in Soldotna, Palin has won the race four times.

"He's always trying to give someone else credit," Davis said.

It's a useful quality in a political spouse. And long before Todd Palin followed his wife to Juneau, he was a fixture in her career.


Guests summoned to the governor's office often find Todd Palin sitting in on the meeting.

Tom Whitstine, a fellow Wasilla-based oil worker and friend, recalled raising concerns to Todd Palin about legislation that would impact the oil industry.

"I talked to Todd sitting on the couch in his house there on Safari Lake, in April 2007," said Whitstine, who expresses disappointment with Palin's performance. "It's a known fact Todd was right there when those kind of policy decisions were being made."

Said a Bristol Bay politician who asked not to be named: "He's someone you could call and get the lowdown."

The children were always in the picture -- Piper close by at a native first-fish ceremony, Trig snuggled in a baby pouch as the governor posed with wounded vets, Bristol confessing to spending $30 on a leg waxing while an Alaska magazine writer took down the exchange: "You have razors," her mother said.

The family still lives in Wasilla most of the time, in an airy wood-frame house on the shore of Lake Lucille, upscale by Alaskan standards. The governor's mansion in Juneau, the state capital, is home only when the legislature is in session, and even then to only some of the family. The Palins enrolled the two youngest girls in Juneau schools, but Bristol went mid-school-year to live with her aunt in Anchorage, finishing at the city's West High School.

All of this complicated the Palins' child care matrix. In Wasilla the couple relied heavily on Sarah's parents, retired teachers whose two-story log home is a few miles away, a mound of moose antlers in the yard. Chuck and Sally Heath, who moved to Alaska when Sarah was 2 months old, routinely took the kids when Todd was on the Slope and Sarah politicking. Sarah's sisters Molly and Heather pitched in as well.

"The Palins and the Heaths operate as one unit," said Karen Rhoades, a family friend in Wasilla. "They are not individuals."

Todd Palin works less on the Slope lately and more with the governor. She works most often out of an office in Anchorage, sometimes bringing in one of the children.

In Alaska, they no longer need introduction. Track, 19, was named after the course of the sockeye salmon the family fishes off Dillingham. As his mother frequently mentions on the campaign trail, he joined the Army in 2007 on the anniversary of Sept. 11.

Bristol, 17, was a reference point for environmental concerns long before she became an icon for the antiabortion movement. When reporters asked Palin about a proposed mine that might imperil the world's largest salmon fishery, she signaled her sensitivity to the matter by pointing out, "We named one of our children after Bristol Bay."

She is often photographed with 14-year-old Willow -- like the state bird, the willow ptarmigan, and a nearby town -- and Piper, 7, who shares a name with the bush plane parked at the dock outside the family's house.


"Wonderful family," said Ben Harrell, who pours the governor her skinny white chocolate latte at the Mocha Moose in Wasilla. "Just cool. Even-flow type of personalities."

The April birth of Trig, Norse for "brave victory," turned out to be a powerful credential for the national Republican base, delighted that Palin delivered a child who tests foretold had Down syndrome.

But Palin's abrupt elevation to a presidential ticket also demonstrated the challenges of highlighting family in public life. On Monday the McCain campaign announced that Bristol was five months pregnant by boyfriend Levi Johnston, a thin secret in Wasilla.

"My kids knew about it, like, the day she found out she was pregnant," said Rani Roby, 37.

Charting new waters in disclosure, the campaign first identified Johnston only as "Levi," and pleaded for privacy. Two days later the local high school hockey star was seated in the VIP box of the Republican National Convention as a newly minted fiance.

Reporters next questioned Todd and Sarah Palin's story of their 1988 elopement -- to save their parents the cost of a wedding after a slow fishing season. They noted that Track was born less than eight months later. Todd's 1986 DUI arrest surfaced. And at midweek, the campaign denied a report of a Palin affair that the National Enquirer had not yet published.

"From the inside, no family ever seems typical," Palin told the convention, to thunderous applause. "And that's how it is with us. Our family has the same ups and downs as any other."


The state investigation now dubbed "Troopergate" is also a family affair.

In 2000, while she was Wasilla's mayor, Palin wrote a hearty letter of recommendation for her sister Molly's boyfriend, a state trooper named Mike Wooten.

"I wish America had more people with a grace and sincerity that mirrors the character of Mike Wooten," she wrote.

The couple married the next year. But by 2005, the marriage was falling apart, and Palin became her sister's defender.

After a panicked phone call from Molly suggesting that Wooten was on the verge of violence, Palin and her son Track drove to their relatives' house and peered through a window to watch an argument. Describing the scene later to a police investigator, Palin said: "Mike said that 'if your dad helps you through this divorce, he will eat an f'ing bullet.' "

Wooten said he never made the threat. But over time, members of Palin's family filed more than two dozen complaints against him. An investigation showed that he misused state equipment by demonstrating a Taser on his 10-year-old stepson, drank a beer in a patrol vehicle and shot a moose illegally.

By the time Palin became governor, Wooten had been suspended for five days. But Todd Palin asked then-Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan for a briefing. And Sarah Palin inquired by phone and in person, and at least three times in e-mails.

Palin fired Monegan in mid-July. His replacement, the former Kenai police chief, lasted just two weeks, resigning after a previous sexual harassment complaint surfaced that had slipped by the governor's vetters.

Clouded judgement?
John Cyr, executive director of the Public Safety Employees Association, which represents Alaska's law enforcement officers, said the governor's grudge against Wooten clouded her judgment and led her to hold down trooper salaries and other funding.

"The trooper budget was held hostage because they wouldn't fire Mike Wooten," Cyr said.

An investigation of Monegan's firing ordered by the state legislature complicated Palin's arrival on the national stage.

Palin's allusion to her dual role as "hockey mom" and "pit bull" in her convention speech struck a chord in Alaska, where several political observers noted how long the nickname "Sarah Barracuda" survived beyond her high school basketball years. Along with a public gift for retail politics, Palin privately displays a steely brand of righteous judgment, they said.

Baptized at age 12 by the Assembly of God church she attended with her mother, Palin often said her solidly conservative views on social issues were guided by religious belief. "Her faith wasn't a fad for her. That was very clear," said the Rev. Paul Riley, who founded the church in the 1950s. "When I baptized her, she gave a clear testimony of her faith in Christ."

When Todd's stepmother, Faye Palin, ran in 2002 for the mayoral job Palin was vacating, the incumbent withheld her endorsement. Locals noted that her mother-in-law supported abortion rights.

And last year she fired her top legislative aide, John Bitney, after he confessed to an affair with the wife of a friend of Todd's.

"When you fall out of favor with Palin, it's a pretty quick off-with-your-head," said Persily, the former aide. Bitney went to school with Sarah Palin and worked in her gubernatorial campaign before following her to the governor's office. He now serves as chief of staff to the speaker of the state House. He said he blames himself for surprising his former boss.


"Her Christianity is an important part of her and what she represents, and then that, combined with personal relationships -- she said, 'You disappointed me. You weren't forthright with me,' " said Bitney, now married to the woman with whom he had the affair.

Trig's birth
The episode that has generated the most stubborn questions about Palin remains her account of Trig's birth. She and Todd were in Houston in April, a month before the child was due. Palin said she awoke around 4 a.m. to find amniotic fluid leaking and some mild contractions.

She did not seek medical treatment but said she consulted with her Wasilla doctor by telephone that day. She also delivered a lunch speech to the energy conference of a Republican governors group, giving no clue of her medical condition.

Then the couple headed for the airport. They changed planes in Dallas and again in Seattle, and landed in Anchorage at 10:30 p.m. local time. Then came the 45-mile drive to the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, where Trig was delivered at 6:30 a.m.

Six pounds, two ounces.

To a curious nation, Palin's account inspired astonishment, as well as an Internet rumor -- that the governor had rushed home not to deliver her own child, but to pretend to deliver her daughter's -- that was so powerful the McCain campaign said it was announcing Bristol's condition to knock it down.

But Alaskans had been content with Palin's explanation, offered to reporters at her Anchorage office, where she showed up for work with baby in tow three days after his birth.

"She loves Alaska," said Haylee Davison, who delivered a daughter the same day and watched her governor pace the hospital hallways to encourage labor. "She wanted her son to be born here, not Texas."

Staff writer Kimberly Kindy and research editor Alice Crites in Washington contributed to this report.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company
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Postby doug » Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:54 am

NYT: Palin's fusion of politics, motherhood
Palin’s youngest son has had an unexpected effect on her political fortunes

Republican U.S vice-presidential nominee Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin holds her son, Trig Plain, on stage during the Republican National Convention at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., on Sept. 3
By Jodi Kantor, Kate Zernike and Catrin Einhorn
The New York Times
This article was reported by Jodi Kantor, Kate Zernike and Catrin Einhorn and written by Ms. Kantor.
Sarah Palin’s baby shower included a surprise guest: her own baby. He had arrived in the world a month early, so on a sunny May day, Ms. Palin, the governor of Alaska, rocked her newborn as her closest friends, sisters, even her obstetrician presented her with a potluck meal, presents and blue-and-white cake.

Most had learned that Ms. Palin was pregnant only a few weeks before. Struggling to accept that her child would be born with Down syndrome and fearful of public criticism of a governor’s pregnancy, Ms. Palin had concealed the news that she was expecting even from her parents and children until her third trimester.

But as the governor introduced her son that day, according to a friend, Kristan Cole, she said she had come to regard him as a blessing from God. “Who of us in this room has the perfect child?” said Ms. Palin, who declined to be interviewed for this article.

Since that day, Trig Paxson Van Palin, still only 143 days old, has had an unexpected effect on his mother’s political fortunes. Before her son was born, Ms. Palin went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that his arrival would not compromise her work. She hid the pregnancy. She traveled to Texas a month before her due date to give an important speech, delivering it even though her amniotic fluid was leaking. Three days after giving birth, she returned to work.

But with Trig in her arms, Ms. Palin has risen higher than ever. Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee for president, says he selected her as his running mate because of her image as a reformer, but she is also making motherhood an explicit part of her appeal, running as a self-proclaimed hockey mom. In just a few months, she has gone from hiding her pregnancy from those closest to her to toting her infant on stage at the Republican National Convention.

No one has ever tried to combine presidential politics and motherhood in quite the way Ms. Palin is doing, and it is no simple task. In the last week, the criticism she feared in Alaska has exploded into a national debate. On blogs and at PTA meetings, voters alternately cheer and fault her balancing act, and although many are thrilled to see a child with special needs in the spotlight, some accuse her of exploiting Trig for political gain.

But her son has given Ms. Palin, 44, a powerful message. Other candidates kiss strangers’ babies; Ms. Palin has one of her own. He is tangible proof of Ms. Palin’s anti-abortion convictions, which have rallied social conservatives, and her belief that women can balance family life with ambitious careers. And on Wednesday in St. Paul, she proclaimed herself a guardian of the nation’s disabled children.

“Children with special needs inspire a special love,” Ms. Palin said, echoing the message she had shared at the shower.

A new turn
By last winter, Ms. Palin seemed to have everything she had ever wanted. She had raised four children while turning herself into a rising star of the Republican Party of Alaska and then the national one. But then the still-new governor discovered she was pregnant. Piper, the youngest of the Palin brood, was 6. The family had long since given away their crib and high chair.

A few weeks later, after an amniocentesis, a prenatal test to identify genetic defects, Ms. Palin learned the results. Some abortion opponents decline such tests, but as her older sister, Heather Bruce, said, Ms. Palin “likes to be prepared.” With her husband, Todd, away at his job in the oil fields of the North Slope, Ms. Palin told no one for three days, she later said.

Once they reunited, the Palins struggled to understand what they would face. Children with Down syndrome experience varying degrees of cognitive disability and a higher-than-average risk of hearing loss, hypothyroidism and seizure disorders. About half are born with heart defects, which often require surgery.

The couple decided to keep quiet about the pregnancy so they could absorb the news, they told people later.

And there were political factors to consider. “I didn’t want Alaskans to fear I would not be able to fulfill my duties,” Ms. Palin told People magazine last week.

The governor, thin to begin with, began an elaborate game of fashion-assisted camouflage. When Vogue photographed her, five months pregnant, for a profile in January, she hid in a big green parka. At work, she wore long, loose blazers and artfully draped accessories.

“All of a sudden she had this penchant for really beautiful scarves,” recalled Angelina Burney, who works across the hallway from the governor in Anchorage.

As Ms. Palin’s clothes grew tighter, Alaskans began to talk. She told several aides that she was pregnant, and a week or so later, her parents and her children, who called other relatives.

On March 5, as she was leaving her office for a reception, she shared the news with three reporters.

“We’re expanding,” the governor said brightly, said the deputy press secretary, Sharon Leighow.

“You’re expanding state government?” one of the reporters asked.


“No, my family’s expanding,” she said. “I’m pregnant.”

The trio fell silent, dropping their eyes from the governor’s face to her belly.

“You’re kidding,” one finally mustered.

She assured them she would not take much time off: she had returned to work the day after giving birth to Piper. “To any critics who say a woman can’t think and work and carry a baby at the same time,” she said, “I’d just like to escort that Neanderthal back to the cave.”

There was no mention of the baby’s condition. Instead, she joked about giving her child the middle name Van, since Van Palin would sound sort of like the hard rock band Van Halen.

The next day, her office issued a minimalist masterpiece of a press release, conveying the news in three curt sentences.

In private, the Palins slowly started to share the Down syndrome diagnosis. They wrote a long letter to Ms. Bruce, Ms. Palin’s sister, who has an autistic son, explaining how they had come to embrace the challenges their baby would bring.

In mid-April, Ms. Palin and her husband flew to Texas for an energy conference with fellow Republican governors. Days before, Ms. Palin, a little-known governor from a faraway state, was asked to speak to her peers.

Pressing ahead
Around 4 a.m. on the day of her presentation, Ms. Palin stirred in her hotel room to an unusual sensation. According to The Anchorage Daily News, she was leaking amniotic fluid. She woke her husband and called her doctor back home. Go ahead and give the speech, said the doctor, Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, who declined to comment for this article.

So Ms. Palin marched through the day. At a news conference, a reporter asked the six Republican governors present to raise their hands if they would refuse to serve as Mr. McCain’s vice-presidential nominee. Ms. Palin was one of two who kept their hands down.

In her lunchtime speech, Ms. Palin held forth on the trillions of cubic feet of gas in the Alaskan Arctic, competitive bidding over pipeline construction and natural gas combustion. As she left the podium, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas joked, “You’re not going to give birth, are you?”

Ms. Palin just laughed.

“Nobody knew a thing,” said Gov. Linda Lingle of Hawaii. “I only found out from my security detail on the way home that she had gone into labor and that she had gone home to Alaska.”

In fact, Ms. Palin was not in labor, and her doctor thought she had time. So the governor flew to Seattle, continued to Anchorage and then drove to a small hospital near her hometown, Wasilla — a journey of at least 10 hours.

“She wanted to get back to Alaska to have that baby,” said a friend, Curtis Menard. “Man, that is one tough lady.”

A woman with symptoms like Ms. Palin’s should be examined to determine her condition, said Dr. Laura Riley of Massachusetts General Hospital. The long trip home could have posed a risk, “but the odds were still in her favor that everything would be O.K.," said Dr. Susan E. Gerber of Northwestern University.

When Ms. Palin arrived at the hospital, she was still not in labor, so her doctor induced it, Ms. Bruce said. Trig was born early the next morning, weighing 6 pounds 2 ounces.

Parents who were in the next delivery room said the scene looked like any other, with no security detail in sight. The three Palin daughters came and went, and as Todd Palin passed through the corridors, he stopped to accept congratulations.

A discovery
Inside Ms. Palin’s room, her daughter Willow, 14, immediately noticed her new brother’s condition, according to People magazine. “He looks like he has Down syndrome,” Willow said. “Why didn’t you tell us?”

Ms. Palin had wanted to let the news of the pregnancy sink in first, said Ms. Cole, her friend. She had intended to tell her family more after she returned from Texas. Then the baby arrived.

Her hesitation gone, Ms. Palin glowed with maternal pride. “Sarah was absolutely ecstatic,” said a friend, Marilyn Lane. After months of reflection and prayer, friends say, the Palins, who are Christians, had come to believe God had sent them Trig.

Later that day, Ms. Palin sent an e-mail message to her relatives and close friends about her new son, Ms. Bruce said. She signed it, “Trig’s Creator, Your Heavenly Father.”

“Many people will express sympathy, but you don’t want or need that, because Trig will be a joy,” Ms. Palin wrote. She added, “Children are the most precious and promising ingredient in this mixed-up world you live in down there on Earth. Trig is no different, except he has one extra chromosome.”

Ms. Palin’s three-day maternity leave has now become legend among mothers. But aides say she eased back into work, first stopping by her office in Anchorage for a meeting, bringing not only the baby but also her husband to look after him.

Many high-powered parents separate work and children; Ms. Palin takes a wholly different approach. “She’s the mom and the governor, and they’re not separate,” Ms. Cole said. Around the governor’s offices, it was not uncommon to get on the elevator and discover Piper, smothering her puppy with kisses.

“She’ll be with Piper or Trig, then she’s got a press conference or negotiations about the natural gas pipeline or a bill to sign, and it’s all business,” Ms. Burney, who works across the hall, said. “She just says, ‘Mommy’s got to do this press conference.’ ”

Ms. Palin installed a travel crib in her Anchorage office and a baby swing in her Juneau one. For much of the summer, she carried Trig in a sling as she signed bills and sat through hearings, even nursing him unseen during conference calls.

Todd Palin took a leave from his job as an oil field production operator, and campaign aides said he was doing the same now.

At her baby shower, Ms. Palin joked about her months of secrecy, Ms. Lane said. “About the seventh month I thought I’d better let people know,” Ms. Palin said.

“So it was really great,” she continued. “I was only pregnant a month.”

Kitty Bennett contributed research.


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Postby doug » Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:31 am

Palin's expense reports under scrutiny
Officials defend reimbursements, but trips with children raise questions
By James V. Grimaldi and Karl Vick
The Washington Post
ANCHORAGE - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.

The governor also has charged the state for travel expenses to take her children on official out-of-town missions. And her husband, Todd, has billed the state for expenses and a daily allowance for trips he makes on official business for his wife.

Palin, who earns $125,000 a year, claimed and received $16,951 as her allowance, which officials say was permitted because her official "duty station" is Juneau, according to an analysis of her travel documents by The Washington Post.

The governor's daughters and husband charged the state $43,490 to travel and many of the trips were to and from their house in Wasilla and Juneau, the capital city 600 miles away, the documents show.

Has campaign on reform message
Gubernatorial spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said Monday that Palin's expenses are not unusual and that, under state policy, the first family could have claimed per diem expenses for each child taken on official business but has not done so.

Before she became the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee, Palin was little known outside Alaska. Now, with the campaign emphasizing her executive experience, her record as mayor of Wasilla, as a state oil-and-gas commissioner and as governor is receiving intense scrutiny.

During her speech at the Republican National Convention last week, Palin cast herself as crusader for fiscal rectitude as Alaska's governor. She noted that she sold a state-owned plane used by the former governor. "While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the governor's office that I didn't believe our citizens should have to pay for," she said to loud applause.

Speaking from Palin's Anchorage office, Leighow said that Palin dealt with the plane and also trimmed other expenses, including foregoing a chef in the governor's mansion because she preferred to cook for her family. The first family's travel is an expected part of the job, she said.

"As a matter of protocol, the governor and the first family are expected to attend community events across the state," she said. "It's absolutely reasonable that the first family participates in community events."


Strict regulations don't cover governor
The state finance director, Kim Garnero, said Alaska law exempts the governor's office from elaborate travel regulations. Said Leighow: "The governor is entitled to a per diem, and she claims it."

The popular governor collected the per diem allowance from April 22, four days after the birth of her fifth child, until June 3, when she flew to Juneau for two days. Palin moved her family to the capital during the legislative session last year, but prefers to stay in Wasilla and drive 45 miles to Anchorage to a state office building where she conducts most of her business, aides have said.

Palin rarely sought reimbursement for meals while staying in Anchorage or Wasilla, the reports show.

She wrote some form of "Lodging -- own residence" or "Lodging -- Wasilla residence" more than 30 times at the same time she took a per diem, according to the reports. In two dozen undated amendments to the reports, the governor deleted the reference to staying in her home but still charged the per diem.

Palin charged the state a per diem for working on Nov. 22, 2007 -- Thanksgiving Day. The reason given, according to the expense report, was the Great Alaska Shootout, an annual NCAA college basketball tournament held in Anchorage.

Thousands spent on children's flights
In separate filings, the state was billed about $25,000 for Palin's daughters' expenses and $19,000 for her husband, Todd Palin.

Flights topped the list for the most expensive items, and the daughter whose bill was the highest was Piper, 7, whose flights cost nearly $11,000, while Willow, 14, claimed about $6,000 and Bristol, 17, accounted for about $3,400.

One event was in New York City in October 2007, when Bristol accompanied the governor to Newsweek's third annual Women and Leadership Conference, toured the New York Stock Exchange, and met local officials and business executives. The state paid for three nights in a $707-a-day hotel room. Garnero said the governor's office has the authority to approve hotel stays above $300.


Asked Monday about the official policy on charging for children's travel expenses, Garnero said: "We cover the expenses of anyone who's conducting state business. I can't imagine kids could be doing that."

But Leighow said many of the hundreds of invitations Palin receives include requests for her to bring her family, placing the definition of "state business" with the party extending the invitation.

One such invitation came in October 2007, when Willow flew to Juneau to join the Palin family on a tour of the Hub Juneau Christian Teen Center, where Palin and her family worship when they are in Juneau. The state gave the center $25,000, according to a May 2008 memo.

Leighow noted that under state policy, all of the governor's children are entitled to per diem expenses, even her infant son. "The first family declined the per diem [for] the children," Leighow said. "The amount that they had declined was $4,461, as of August 5."

The family also charged for flights around the state, including trips to Alaska events such as the start of the Iditarod dog-sled race and the Iron Dog snowmobile race, a contest that Todd Palin won.

Meanwhile, Todd Palin spent $725 to fly to Edmonton, Alberta, for "information gathering and planning meeting with Northern Alberta Institute of Technology," according to an expense report. During the three-day trip, he charged the state $291 for his per diem. A notation said "costs paid by Dept. of Labor." He also billed the state $1,371 for flight to Washington to attend a National Governors Association meeting with his wife.

‘She flies coach’
ov. Palin has spent far less on her personal travel than her predecessor: $93,000 on airfare in 2007, compared with $463,000 spent the year before by her predecessor, Frank Murkowski. He traveled often in an executive jet that Palin called an extravagance during her campaign. She sold it after she was sworn into office.

"She flies coach and encourages her cabinet to fly coach as well," said Garnero, whose job is equivalent to state controller. "Some do, some don't."

Leighow said that the governor's staff has tallied the travel expenses charged by Murkowski's wife: $35,675 in 2006, $43,659 in 2005, $13,607 in 2004 and $29,608 in 2003. Associates of Murkowski said the former governor was moose hunting and could not be reached to comment.


In the past, per diem claims by Alaska state officials have carried political risks. In 1988, the head of the state Commerce Department was pilloried for collecting a per diem charge of $50 while staying in his Anchorage home, according to local news accounts. The commissioner, the late Tony Smith, resigned amid a series of controversies.

"It was quite the little scandal," said Tony Knowles, the Democratic governor from 1994 to 2000. "I gave a direction to all my commissioners if they were ever in their house, whether it was Juneau or elsewhere, they were not to get a per diem because, clearly, it is and it looks like a scam -- you pay yourself to live at home," he said.

Murky rules on kids' expenses
Knowles, whose children were school-age at the start of his first term, said that his wife sometimes accompanied him to conferences overseas but that he could "count on one hand" the number of times his children accompanied him.

"And the policy was not to reimburse for family travel on commercial airlines, because there is no direct public benefit to schlepping kids around the state," he said. The rules were articulated by Mike Nizich, then director of administrative services in the governor's office, said Knowles and an aide to another former governor, Walter Hickel.

Nizich is now Palin's chief of staff. He did not return a phone call seeking comment. The rules governing family travel on state-owned aircraft appear less clear. Knowles said he operated under the understanding that immediate family could accompany the governor without charge.

But during the Murkowski years, that practice was questioned, and the state attorney general's office produced an opinion saying laws then in effect required reimbursement for spousal travel.

Research editor Alice Crites in Washington contributed to this report.


© 2008 The Washington Post Company
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Postby doug » Tue Sep 09, 2008 8:27 am

Palin's expense reports under scrutiny
Officials defend reimbursements, but trips with children raise questions
By James V. Grimaldi and Karl Vick
The Washington Post
ANCHORAGE - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.

The governor also has charged the state for travel expenses to take her children on official out-of-town missions. And her husband, Todd, has billed the state for expenses and a daily allowance for trips he makes on official business for his wife.

Palin, who earns $125,000 a year, claimed and received $16,951 as her allowance, which officials say was permitted because her official "duty station" is Juneau, according to an analysis of her travel documents by The Washington Post.

The governor's daughters and husband charged the state $43,490 to travel and many of the trips were to and from their house in Wasilla and Juneau, the capital city 600 miles away, the documents show.

Has campaign on reform message
Gubernatorial spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said Monday that Palin's expenses are not unusual and that, under state policy, the first family could have claimed per diem expenses for each child taken on official business but has not done so.

Before she became the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee, Palin was little known outside Alaska. Now, with the campaign emphasizing her executive experience, her record as mayor of Wasilla, as a state oil-and-gas commissioner and as governor is receiving intense scrutiny.

During her speech at the Republican National Convention last week, Palin cast herself as crusader for fiscal rectitude as Alaska's governor. She noted that she sold a state-owned plane used by the former governor. "While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the governor's office that I didn't believe our citizens should have to pay for," she said to loud applause.

Speaking from Palin's Anchorage office, Leighow said that Palin dealt with the plane and also trimmed other expenses, including foregoing a chef in the governor's mansion because she preferred to cook for her family. The first family's travel is an expected part of the job, she said.

"As a matter of protocol, the governor and the first family are expected to attend community events across the state," she said. "It's absolutely reasonable that the first family participates in community events."


Strict regulations don't cover governor
The state finance director, Kim Garnero, said Alaska law exempts the governor's office from elaborate travel regulations. Said Leighow: "The governor is entitled to a per diem, and she claims it."

The popular governor collected the per diem allowance from April 22, four days after the birth of her fifth child, until June 3, when she flew to Juneau for two days. Palin moved her family to the capital during the legislative session last year, but prefers to stay in Wasilla and drive 45 miles to Anchorage to a state office building where she conducts most of her business, aides have said.

Palin rarely sought reimbursement for meals while staying in Anchorage or Wasilla, the reports show.

She wrote some form of "Lodging -- own residence" or "Lodging -- Wasilla residence" more than 30 times at the same time she took a per diem, according to the reports. In two dozen undated amendments to the reports, the governor deleted the reference to staying in her home but still charged the per diem.

Palin charged the state a per diem for working on Nov. 22, 2007 -- Thanksgiving Day. The reason given, according to the expense report, was the Great Alaska Shootout, an annual NCAA college basketball tournament held in Anchorage.

Thousands spent on children's flights
In separate filings, the state was billed about $25,000 for Palin's daughters' expenses and $19,000 for her husband, Todd Palin.

Flights topped the list for the most expensive items, and the daughter whose bill was the highest was Piper, 7, whose flights cost nearly $11,000, while Willow, 14, claimed about $6,000 and Bristol, 17, accounted for about $3,400.

One event was in New York City in October 2007, when Bristol accompanied the governor to Newsweek's third annual Women and Leadership Conference, toured the New York Stock Exchange, and met local officials and business executives. The state paid for three nights in a $707-a-day hotel room. Garnero said the governor's office has the authority to approve hotel stays above $300.


Asked Monday about the official policy on charging for children's travel expenses, Garnero said: "We cover the expenses of anyone who's conducting state business. I can't imagine kids could be doing that."

But Leighow said many of the hundreds of invitations Palin receives include requests for her to bring her family, placing the definition of "state business" with the party extending the invitation.

One such invitation came in October 2007, when Willow flew to Juneau to join the Palin family on a tour of the Hub Juneau Christian Teen Center, where Palin and her family worship when they are in Juneau. The state gave the center $25,000, according to a May 2008 memo.

Leighow noted that under state policy, all of the governor's children are entitled to per diem expenses, even her infant son. "The first family declined the per diem [for] the children," Leighow said. "The amount that they had declined was $4,461, as of August 5."

The family also charged for flights around the state, including trips to Alaska events such as the start of the Iditarod dog-sled race and the Iron Dog snowmobile race, a contest that Todd Palin won.

Meanwhile, Todd Palin spent $725 to fly to Edmonton, Alberta, for "information gathering and planning meeting with Northern Alberta Institute of Technology," according to an expense report. During the three-day trip, he charged the state $291 for his per diem. A notation said "costs paid by Dept. of Labor." He also billed the state $1,371 for flight to Washington to attend a National Governors Association meeting with his wife.

‘She flies coach’
Gov. Palin has spent far less on her personal travel than her predecessor: $93,000 on airfare in 2007, compared with $463,000 spent the year before by her predecessor, Frank Murkowski. He traveled often in an executive jet that Palin called an extravagance during her campaign. She sold it after she was sworn into office.

"She flies coach and encourages her cabinet to fly coach as well," said Garnero, whose job is equivalent to state controller. "Some do, some don't."

Leighow said that the governor's staff has tallied the travel expenses charged by Murkowski's wife: $35,675 in 2006, $43,659 in 2005, $13,607 in 2004 and $29,608 in 2003. Associates of Murkowski said the former governor was moose hunting and could not be reached to comment.


In the past, per diem claims by Alaska state officials have carried political risks. In 1988, the head of the state Commerce Department was pilloried for collecting a per diem charge of $50 while staying in his Anchorage home, according to local news accounts. The commissioner, the late Tony Smith, resigned amid a series of controversies.

"It was quite the little scandal," said Tony Knowles, the Democratic governor from 1994 to 2000. "I gave a direction to all my commissioners if they were ever in their house, whether it was Juneau or elsewhere, they were not to get a per diem because, clearly, it is and it looks like a scam -- you pay yourself to live at home," he said.

Murky rules on kids' expenses
Knowles, whose children were school-age at the start of his first term, said that his wife sometimes accompanied him to conferences overseas but that he could "count on one hand" the number of times his children accompanied him.

"And the policy was not to reimburse for family travel on commercial airlines, because there is no direct public benefit to schlepping kids around the state," he said. The rules were articulated by Mike Nizich, then director of administrative services in the governor's office, said Knowles and an aide to another former governor, Walter Hickel.

Nizich is now Palin's chief of staff. He did not return a phone call seeking comment. The rules governing family travel on state-owned aircraft appear less clear. Knowles said he operated under the understanding that immediate family could accompany the governor without charge.

But during the Murkowski years, that practice was questioned, and the state attorney general's office produced an opinion saying laws then in effect required reimbursement for spousal travel.

Research editor Alice Crites in Washington contributed to this report.


© 2008 The Washington Post Company
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Posts: 36050
Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2002 10:06 pm
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Postby doug » Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:49 am

McCain, Palin to campaign together
After Alaska trip, she'll be back by his side as early as next week, aide says

Ruby Riddle, the city hostess of Fairbanks, Alaska, laughs at a campaign button while waiting in line to attend a welcome home rally for Gov. Sarah Palin on Wednesday.
The Associated Press
FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will spend much of the next few weeks campaigning with Sen. John McCain, a move that not only capitalizes on the Republican enthusiasm for the vice presidential nominee but also limits her exposure to the news media.

Palin, the little-known, first-term governor thrust into the national spotlight, arrived back in Alaska on Wednesday evening, her first trip home since being named to the ticket. She and her husband, Todd, boarded the plane after McCain and his wife, Cindy, escorted them to the aircraft.

Palin arrived in Fairbanks to find supporters jammed in an aircraft hangar, there to see Palin's first appearance in Alaska since McCain named her to the national ticket Aug. 29.

A crowd, estimated by the organizers, the Alaska Republican Party, at 3,000 went wild when Palin entered, shouting: "Sarah! Palin!"

Palin told the crowd: "John McCain and I are ready, and with your help, we are going to win."

The two are expected to begin appearing together again as early as next week, said a McCain adviser aboard Palin's flight.

McCain and Palin traveling together limits her exposure to reporters and gives McCain's top aides more control of her. Palin has not done interviews since the first and only one she gave to People magazine on the day McCain introduced her as his vice presidential choice.

Palin's plane made a brief refueling stop in Montana to finish the trip to Fairbanks. She is scheduled to make at least two public appearances in Alaska, including a homecoming rally set for Wednesday evening in Fairbanks.

She also is scheduled for an interview with ABC News on Thursday, but no other media interviews are scheduled, campaign officials said. The campaign repeatedly has denied other interview requests.

Reporters flock to first solo effort
This is Palin's first venture away from McCain and his advisers, although several of the campaign's staff accompanied her to Alaska. She did not interact with reporters during the flight.

Palin's first solo campaign trip drew a crowd of reporters so large that campaign officials had to force them to sacrifice 400 pounds of equipment and luggage before the plane could leave Dulles International Airport outside Washington.

Meanwhile, in Palin's hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, a small group of supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama marched up and down a highway, chanting slogans and holding signs that said "8 years is Enough" and "Obama! Believe." Palin was mayor of the town of about 7,000 residents from 1996-2002. Some drivers honked and waved in support of Obama; others stopped and yelled "Sarah!"

Earlier Wednesday, the Republican nominees equated lawmakers' requests for funding for special projects with corruption on Wednesday even though Palin herself has requested nearly $200 million in so-called "earmarks" this year.

Campaigning in Virginia, McCain suggested earmarks are particularly shameful at a time when families are struggling with rising food, gas and home mortgage costs. He vowed again to veto any bill that contains such funding.

"I got an old ink pen, my friends, and the first pork barrel-laden earmark, big-spending bill that comes across my desk, I will veto it. You will know their names. I will make them famous and we'll stop this corruption," McCain said during a rally at a park in suburban Washington, D.C.

Seeking $197 million in earmarks
Palin has sought $197 million worth of earmarks for 2009, down about 25 percent from the $256 million she sought in the 2008 budget year. As mayor of tiny Wasilla, Alaska, she hired a lobbyist to seek federal money for special projects. Wasilla obtained 14 earmarks, totaling $27 million, between 2000-2003, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama hasn't asked for any earmarks this year. The Illinois senator sought $311 million in such funding last year. McCain, an Arizona senator, doesn't seek earmarks for his state.

Undaunted by his running mate's ties to earmarks, McCain said: "I've fought corruption, and it didn't matter if it was Democrats or Republican, and so has Sarah Palin."

Palin said she has "championed earmark reform" as governor and "reformed the abuses of earmarks in our state." Now, she said, she is ready to join McCain in Washington "so we can end the corrupt practice of abusive earmarks after all."


They're tough to resist
The practice of earmarking — lawmakers inserting special requests for money for home-state projects in spending bills — is a longtime anti-Washington bugaboo for politicians running for office. Many find that, once in office, requests from constituents for help on a particular project is too tough to resist and support bringing that kind of money home to their states and districts.

"John McCain's idea of changing Washington is a vice-presidential candidate who, as governor, requested more pork per person than any other state in the country," said Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor.

Still, McCain and Palin's attack on earmarks in the face of those she has requested joins other statements by the vice presidential nominee that have been widely debunked:

Palin routinely claims to have put an end to Alaska's infamous "bridge to nowhere," even though she supported the project during her gubernatorial campaign and turned against it only when it became a national embarrassment and Congress threatened to cut its funding.
Palin has claimed that she put the governor's jet on the Internet auction site eBay, and McCain has said it was sold at a profit. However, the jet was never sold via eBay.
Palin says she eliminated the governor's chef from the state budget, yet she gave the person another job in state government.
Biggest campaign crowd
McCain aides said Wednesday's event attracted the biggest non-convention crowd of his campaign, with local officials reporting an estimated 23,000 at the event. People filled the grass and hillsides to make a sea of red, as the state GOP exhorted everyone coming to wear the hue in a sign of support for the party, and they often drowned out the candidates' words with chanting.

Judging by shouts from the crowd, the enthusiasm seemed driven primarily by the presence of Palin. She has electrified both McCain's campaign and the party since he announced her as his running mate almost two weeks ago.

The reaction was significantly different in Philadelphia.

McCain made a solo trip for a round-table discussion with half a dozen female business leaders at the Down Home Diner. The appearance, inside a bustling indoor downtown marketplace, formed a sharp contrast with the earlier joint show, as the arrival of both McCain's bus outside and him inside was greeted by loud Obama crowds.

The Republican could barely be heard over the Obama cheers by the women he met, or by reporters when McCain made a statement after.

"Pennsylvania is a battleground state, as we can tell," he said with a small smile.


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