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September 2nd, 2008
05:16 PM ET

Erica's News Note: The messy politics of parenting

This undated photo provided by the Heath family shows Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with her daughter Piper in Wasilla, Alaska.

This undated photo provided by the Heath family shows Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with her daughter Piper in Wasilla, Alaska.

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

The McCain campaign is running on a simple motto, a seemingly simple concept: Country First. For John McCain, those words are more than a campaign slogan; they’re also the foundation for McCain’s personal journey. Just after returning from Vietnam, McCain wrote about his time as a POW. “I had a lot of time to think over there, and came to the conclusion that one of the most important things in life - along with a man’s family – is to make some contribution to his country.”

Country and family. For many Americans, if you add God to that list, you’d complete the list of things they hold most dear. But which of those very important parts of your life truly comes first? That is the uncomfortable question many voters are now posing, and there is no easy answer.

The life of a working mom has never been – and likely will never be – easy. Full disclosure: I am a working mother. I am also far from perfect.

This is not to say the life of a working father is easy; it’s not. But let’s be realistic, men and women deal with situations differently. We feel different pressures. Some are very real, others certainly seem that way. We also feel differently. No matter how far we have come, we are judged differently because we are different.

When Gov. Sarah Palin was announced as John McCain’s running mate on Friday, the reality of working moms and dads - their responsibilities, their loyalties, their daily struggles - was suddenly a hot topic… again. She’s not just a working mom; she is the working mother of five with a job that doesn’t come with many days or hours off. Her youngest, Trig, is still an infant. How do you juggle a baby and the #2 elected job in the US? That question has ignited the blogs, especially the Mommy blogs.

A warning if you haven’t spent much time on these parenting forums: they are not all warm and fuzzy. Anonymity can bring out the absolute worst in people. The flamethrowers on some parenting blogs are so vicious, I wonder if they ever have a kind word to say. The judgments come swiftly and they sting. This happens whether you’re talking politics or chocolate chip cookie recipes.

Thankfully, not all the comments are meant to hurt. Right now, there are some very frank, informative, thought-provoking conversations happening in cyber space. One of the most popular topics is this very timely question of country and family… and which should come first.

In my very unscientific trawling of the blogs last night and today, one of the hottest topics wasn’t about Sarah Palin’s foreign policy experience or even her 17-year-old daughter’s pregnancy. The elephant in the room – set free online – seems to be whether you should be running for this all-consuming job with an infant at home.

Is it sexist? Is it a swipe at working moms? Would the father of a 4-month-old baby be under the same scrutiny?

In response to the last question, the answer is almost assuredly “no.” The answer to the other two questions isn’t so clear. Of course, as Barbara Kellerman, who studies women and politics as professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, told Newsweek, men don’t usually run for office as fathers.

The questions are difficult, uncomfortable and tough to answer about outside the anonymous comfort of cyberspace. Women and men, mothers and fathers do have traditional roles, but are they the best roles for every family? Are they the best roles for this country?

Some bloggers talk about how they could never get behind Palin politically because they disagree with everything she supports, yet they want to support her ambitions. They have just one nagging fear: that she will do her job too well, that she may in fact put country first. It is a sentiment echoed in posts from both sides of the aisle.

This is a discussion we want to have with you, dear bloggers. Let us know how you feel about country vs. family, men vs. women, moms vs. dads. It is one of the most difficult topics to put into words, but one this country must learn to talk about.


Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note • Sarah Palin
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Rabridevi

    I cannot envisage putting my life and the lives of my children in the hands of a zealot, who will be taking women back to the dark ages. Palin is against science, she has antiquated views on evolution, and what more, while she has not been effective in keeping her house in order, by disciplining her children and teaching them values, she is going to try to enforce her rules on us.

    Wake up America, we paid dearly for the past 8 years by pandering to the evangelists-lets not do that again.

    September 2, 2008 at 7:23 pm |
  2. Audrey

    If the true issue is whether Palin is able to "devote the necessary time to being VP," we should also consider whether Obama can do the same as President. Afterall, he is the father of two young daughters. People are forgetting that Palin is married. I'm sure her husband will help her raise their kids just as Michelle will help Obama raise their two daughters. Why must we make women pick between having a family and a successful career when we don't do the same for men?

    September 2, 2008 at 7:20 pm |
  3. jjsmomo

    I do not understand how anyone can criticize Sarah Palin for the actions of her 17 year old daughter. I would like to ask the people that criticize her have they never made a mistake? I have raised 2 wonderful children, but they did make mistakes in their life just as I did. You can raise your children and give them the best teachings and values as possible, but you can't be with them 24/7. You have to trust them and let them grow into adults, especially at 17. I think Sarah Palin is an excellent role model for men and women all over this nation. I do not think anyone has any right to bring her children into this debate and I certainly do not think it is right the way reporters continuously bring this up over and over. I was trying to watch hurricane coverage yesterday on CNN and had to finally turn off the television because I felt it was so unfair that they opened every little segment with the news about Sarah Palin's daughter.

    September 2, 2008 at 7:18 pm |
  4. maxieb

    It is really great that Palin wants to be VP. But if she decided to truly raise a special needs child, than she should stay home and raise the child. I think it (the pregnancy) proves she cannot work full time with children and yes some can work full time)

    September 2, 2008 at 7:15 pm |
  5. razheed

    n March Palin stated she was 7 months pregnant. Everyone was shocked. 4 weeks later, she was in Texas at 4 am her amniotic fluids started leaking she stayed and gave the speech she was suppose to give at the conference. Then took an 8 hr flight back to Anchorage arrived at 10:30 pm. Then drove another hour to Mat-Su Valley Regional hospital Where she gave birth the next morning at 6:50 am. And return to work 3 days later. Seems really strange to a lot of people especially the locals. But then again her first son was born 8 months to the day of her elopement. Go figure. Read what wikiopedia has to say they are usually pretty accurate and fair.

    September 2, 2008 at 7:09 pm |
  6. Beth

    We are talking about Sarah Palin's parenting because instead of talking about her record as governor, she introduced herself the day of the VP announcement as a hockey mom and then told us how great of a son she had. She also apparently has emphasized to her constituents in Alaska how she 'knew her baby had Down's and decided to keep it'. SHE is the one making her family and parenting an issue.

    If she had wanted her children to have privacy she should have introduced herself by talking about policy, not motherhood, and left all of her children out of the campaign. Her daughter is visibly pregnant and surely was seen by many reporters prior to the press release and it wasn't until her parents issued a press release that it was news. It is also complete BS that they had to announce this in order to refute rumors. The rumors were about Trig and releasing her own medical records, like other candidates have, would have fully answered that question. Or she could have released a statement saying "Trig is my baby and I ask the media to please not report on any of my children as I am the candidate and they are children who deserve privacy." Instead she threw her daugher to the wolves by making the press release about Bristol. Poor kid. Bad decision on her mother's part as far as I am concerned.

    September 2, 2008 at 7:09 pm |
  7. amber

    I left my very high paying and time consuming job to stay home with my children and dedicate this time when they are small to raising them. However I dont begrudge Mother who make a different choice.

    Sarah Palin however used her Motherhood/Hockey Mom/PTA experience as her qualifications. So it IS up for debate. When I do go back to work, I will not be putting my PTA/Soccer Coach/Room Mom on the resume. Sorry Sarah. Her children are an issue because SHE made them an issue. She brought those kids up on stage and introduced them to us all. They said look how great this MOTHER is. 3 of her 5 children are in crisis and she is taking a job that will take all her time/energy/strength.

    We can bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan, but parent 5 children, breastfeed a newborn with a disability, send a child off to war, help a teenager through a pregnancy in the public eye and marry her off to another teen. Geez, when will she have time to kind of run the country?

    September 2, 2008 at 7:06 pm |
  8. Melissa, Los Angeles

    As a single woman I agree with that Susan!

    September 2, 2008 at 7:04 pm |
  9. Jolene

    Erica:
    This will be an highly debated issue I'm sure and is really quite similar to the work/life balance those of us who work so desperately try to manage. I've always been a believer in "Quality" vs. "Quantity" time when it comes to family. But, I'm also very serious about my work. However, when that 3AM call comes in, I'd be much more assured knowing that the Commander in Chief has their country's best interest first and foremost. Afterall, that is the expectation when you run for that office. But in everyday life situations, it's really about the balance.

    I don't think any of us are qualified to make that decision for Gov. Palin nor judge her or her family for the decision she made. Show me the perfect parent. There isn't one because every family situation is different. Role reversal would be a breath of fresh air for a change.

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    September 2, 2008 at 7:04 pm |
  10. Dee B.

    I'm concern about the Palin family and their exposure to the media and the American public. I hope the husband and the children are strong enough to endure the next few months of being scrutinized under America's microscope. It's evident that she's a "go getter." she's willing to give her family over to the public and allow her young daughter to be forced into a marriage for the sake of the "republican party" This 17 yr old child and her teenage boyfriend responded to their raging hormones, but they are not ready for marriage. What message will she be sending across America about teenage pregnancy?
    I want what's best for America. Not any special interest group; which makes me wonder if this is why Presidential Candidate John McCain chose Sarah Palin. Was this choice for America's women voters or was it for America in the event he is incapacitated and unable to serve. We really need someone that can step in and respond to the call. The Vice President is important.

    September 2, 2008 at 7:02 pm |
  11. susan

    The issue here is NOT the daughter being pregant. It happens to the best of people. The issue is whether Palin is able to devote the necessary time to being VP, without someone or something suffering.
    I give working moms all of the respect in the world, however, in my workplace, made up of mostly women, I'm really tired of having to pick up the slack every time their child sneezes. As another contributor wrote, "You can't serve two masters", at least not giving both 100%. I'm not aware of many dads who leave work at the drop of a hat to tend to a sick child, or have to leave early because "little Billy' has a soccer match. It happens at my office all of the time, and I, as a single woman, am stuck with double work, without double pay. Either our government will suffer, or her family.

    September 2, 2008 at 6:42 pm |
  12. Stephanie Phillips

    Wow! It seems that it has ben decided that a woman will never be able to be a VP or President if she has a family. If she didn't have a family and therefore family issues to deal with then everyone would say she is too out touch. Women will always get the short end of the stick when we judge a person by gender first. Get off this subject and lets talk about her thoughts and policies.

    September 2, 2008 at 6:38 pm |
  13. JAMES

    I think everyone needs to lay off of this young lady, she is only seventeen years old. I know everyone is going after McCain and Palins, but you should consider this young lady who already carries the responsibility of an unplanned pregnancy and the guilt of the possibility that her mother and McCain could lose this campain election based n her action, and also all of the stories that spin off of the publicity. Do these people who make these statements remember being seventeen years old!? Adolescence is a difficult stage of developement.

    September 2, 2008 at 6:37 pm |
  14. Julia Warren, Plainfield NJ

    I would like to know why Palin's daughter's pregnancy is off-limits in the political discussion. Months ago the media was demonizing Jamie Spears because she was pregnant. Jamie lost her television show. Now Palin's 17-year old daughter is pregnant and getting married at the age of 17 to a young man who probably isnt' old enough to shave much less become a parent. Hopefully when all the news is out, we find out that Levi is 17 as well. If he is over 18 why didn't the governor have the young man arrested for statuatory rape? Could it be that Palin hoped to keep the pregnancy as secret? Could it be that the young man is resistant to marrying so young?

    I hear the click of a shotgun!

    September 2, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  15. C. Dunaway

    I totally agree. It not only angers me, but scares me to think that someone could determine my family values, but hers are off limits. And I also don't have confidence in someone who might control/lead our country, when she can't seem to control/lead her own children.

    Also, just what kind of message are we sending to our young teenage girls when, once again, it is portrayed to be no big deal to be a pregnant teenager, out of wedlock…..first it was Britney's sister and now a Vice Presidential candidate’s daughter. And if it was really no big deal, why wasn’t it revealed when Sarah was initially chosen to run on the ticket? In my opinion, it was very deceitful….giving me another reason not to trust Sarah or McCain.

    September 2, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  16. Michael

    Can't the media find something else sensational to report on. With high unemployment, a de-valued dollar, war and impending war I would think that there would be much more important things that the voters of America would be interested in knowing about.

    As any parent knows, children will make mistakes. That is how children learn. Are we being asked to discount this woman's abilities simply because she has a teenage daughter that made a very poor choice and the parents have the audacity to stand by her in her time of need.

    If this is a basis for evaluating people for elected office, I'm not sure that we would have a quorum in Washington.

    September 2, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  17. Melissa, Los Angeles

    I'd like to know if Frieda has nannys that care for her kids while she's running a company.

    I feel that when a woman decides to become a mother – that's her job until the child is 18. It's unfair to a child to have to raise each other if they have older siblings or to have a babysitter/nanny watch them. My cousin had been a nanny for several families and finally quit altogether because the children she encountered had zero respect for her and the parents – the were sometimes violent – and one actually exhibited disturbing sexual behavior at the age of 9 by trying to grab her crotch and laughing about it. The parents were usually doctors or executives who had zero time to be a parent hence my cousin's job. She was expected to be the parent to wake and dress the children every morning, pick them up after school and ensure they did their homework as well as cook for them. I've also worked at a company with women executives where both had to quit their jobs because having both a full time position and caring for their children under 5 was impossible. One of them had a daughter that refused to come to her and stuck by her nanny's side. That was a wakeup call that her child didn't know her so after getting pregnant with her second child – she quit. I'm not saying that a successful working woman with a family can't be done but with the amount of violence at schools and our children exhibiting sexual promiscuity already – it's proof that not everybody can do it and Palin has shown she can't do it.

    September 2, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  18. deb h.

    As a former working mom (home-based business) I have no problem with a woman working and mothering, however, the problem I have with this one is this: this is not a 9-5 job she's applying for, she has a two month old infant (possibly the pregnant 17 year old is going to be the substitute mom). It seems prioritizing is somewhat of a problem for Sarah. In yesterdays Chicago Tribune there was a quote from a woman who worked with Gov. Palin in Alaska who stated that when she gave birth to her youngest daughter, she gave birth at night, and returned to work the next day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So much for bonding, nurturing, and "mothering". The question I would most like to ask is, why have them if you are too busy to be with them?

    September 2, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  19. bonnie

    I am retired military, single parent, college education...... The real issue is that if she elected to use motherhood as one of the qualifying issues of her candidacy. SHE said I am a "hockey mom", a PTA mom, mother of 5-one of which has downs syndrome, family values,........

    Look she could have done what men do...this is my spouse, these are my kids–one with special needs and then laid into her accomplishments.

    She shouldn't get it both ways...she obviously wanted to Americans, esp. women, to be impressed with her skills in managing her family. Then when Americans start question her commitment and how she could balance her family-they are accused of being sexist.

    Palin needed to come out stating her accomplishments that qualify her as V.P. If SHE would not have brought motherhood as a qualification and then people started making judgements....that would be sexist!!!

    As far her daughter's pregnancy....she could have deflected rumors in a different manner. She didn't, she exposed her to the world (how horrible). Palin should get credit for guiding her daughter but her daughter is the one who should be praised for keeping the baby and choosing marriage-unless she didn't get to make that decision.

    September 2, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  20. Miriam from Philly

    Governor Palin has underage children, one of which is an infant with special needs, which has nothing to do with politics or women’s rights. Being the VP of the United States is not just “taking a job outside the home”. Children today need the availability of their parents more than ever before. There are sick people that are very willing to be available to children, especially if their parents are not.

    I question her decisions, as a mother, taking on such a consuming job with children that obviously need her. Even though there were only 2 daughters in our family, my Mom worked in the home until we were in high school, then went to nursing school.

    September 2, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  21. N.J Atabs

    If she advocates for abstinence only policy then she should impliment it first in her house then take it out . If she can't even clean her own house I wonder what she will do with three hundred million homes. A big mess right?

    September 2, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  22. raye

    As a mother of twins, under the age of 5, I am a nurse and barely find time for myself. My husband and myself find it impossible to find time for each other because our children certainly come first. I personally can not take on the United States problems, because I am struggling trying to pay for gas and daycare.
    It is very hard for me to understand how Sara Palin can take on a the task of being the second in command of the United States and be a good mother. I think it is sad that she would neglect her children to have a moment in the limelight. Palin has a special needs child, that is under the age of one, that is needs his mother's love and attention. The first years are the most important years in child/mother bonding--Shouldn't she know this.

    Really lets think about this-– Is this a concern to women voters?
    A WOMAN THAT NEGLECTS HER CHILDREN TO BECOME VICE PRESIDENT?

    September 2, 2008 at 6:14 pm |
  23. Debbie

    I feel for her pregnant daughter. Her mother had to know that she would be thrusting her daughter into this media firestorm. That plus the fact that she has a special needs four month old baby makes her look selfish and uncaring. Women can do alot, no doubt about it, but that baby and the needs of her daughter will take a lot of time and energy. This is not a regular 9 to 5 job not to mention the next two months out trying to get the job. I worked while raising two children. There were times I had to take time off because one of them needed extra attention. Sorry, but whatever came to putting your children first? Doesn't that fit into the conservative scheme of things?

    September 2, 2008 at 6:13 pm |
  24. ,Barbara-Dalton Ga

    Erica, I really feel sorry for the daughter. Can you imagine how hard it is for a 17 year old to be dealing with a pregancy much less having to do so before millions of people. I would almost bet my next payday that Mom did not know about the daughter's condition when she excepted the vp slot. Working moms are everywhere but most of us
    have a somewhat different work load than a governor, vp, or president
    has. Could you handle with your hectic career, caring for 5 children and running a home, I mean gosh 5 kids how can you do the sports
    scene, school functions, birthdays, play dates, the list goes on
    and really give a 100 percent to such a demanding job or to your family. The ball has to drop somewhere. I am a mom but of only 1 and there have been times I felt I short changed my child because I just could not be at an event that was very important to him and I am not even second in command of a company much less the US of A. Time missed with you child is not time that can be regained. I don't
    care how good your babysitter, or live-help, or even dear old dad is
    you just miss out.

    September 2, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  25. ellen

    Governor Palin and her daughter are poster girls for the NO to teaching sex education is the schools -or- rather, the poster girls for teaching absentness. Oh ya, it works!

    September 2, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  26. Jason Carter, Crystal Lake, IL

    I'm a 28-year-old married man that plans to be a stay-at-home dad someday. I don't expect my wife, who is a public school science teacher with a B.S. and M.S., to work fewer hours once our first child is born. There's absolutely no reason why Palin should be disqualified from the VP slot because of her kids as long as her husband is willing to support her.

    September 2, 2008 at 6:06 pm |
  27. Frankey

    When someone LISTS as one of their qualifications for office as being a "hockey mom" or any kind of mom, THEN motherhood itself becomes grist for the mill. Sorry, but you cannot have it both ways. You can't USE motherhood as a campaign marketing tool and then cry "foul" when someone measures the quality of that tool. It doesn't matter which side of the political fence that mom is on.

    September 2, 2008 at 6:01 pm |
  28. lee

    I get that Palin is an extraordinary lady and possibly even a super mom as well as a strong conservative leader.
    AND Yes Women have been fighting for decades to have equal opportunity and equal standards as men.

    BUT... The real question is ... Does she have what it takes as a leader ... NOT as a women who can make history, but as VP (regardless of gender) to be a heart beat away from leading this country?

    If Palin was a man with the exact same circumstances ... would McCain choose ‘him’ as the VP??

    September 2, 2008 at 5:56 pm |
  29. Anne Char;es

    Sarah Palin certainly embodies the slogan of Country First.. How a parent can knowingly throw her young daughter into the media spotlght during arguably the most difficult time of her young life is one of many things that bothers me about this vice presidential hopeful evem of I support the presidential candidate.. I feel for her daughter and can only imagine the pain this is causing her. Her situation is difficult enough without her parents throwing her into the middle of a feeding frenzy. Sarah was supposedly warned but here she is putting country first. I hope the price her daughter is going to pay is worth it to Sarah. It wouldn't be to me.

    As the president of my own business with a teenage daughter, I would never subject my daughter to this during her time of need. I left a high paying corporate position to open my own business so I could be there for my daughter–a choice many parents, male and female have made. Apparently not a sacrifice Sarah Palin was willing to make.

    Only makes me wonder all the more what was John McCain thinking?

    September 2, 2008 at 5:54 pm |
  30. Nusrat

    I am a woman and am having trouble with Palin's pick as VP. She is definitely imperfect as a parent. But that's not my beef. She is not ready to be to be on any ticket (either party) and was catapulted onto the major political scene as the "token" female. She is no role model of mine in any aspect (personal or political). Frankly I am disgusted with what McCain considers as an "ideal" female candidate for his running mate.

    September 2, 2008 at 5:53 pm |
  31. Lilibeth

    Whether Gov. Palin is male or female, if she’s not up to the task because of the kids, then I would trust that she would have been adult enough to admit it in the first place, and let McCain know that she’s passing on the VP spot. But if she feels that she can be VP and raise those kids, well then, good for her. But that decision is for her to make, not anybody else. Country or family first? Well, to me, when you put your family first, you’re actually putting both family and country first because when you do a good job raising your kids, they grow up to be polite, law-abiding, and productive citizens. And when all people in the country are raised this way, you will have a great country. My logic is simple, but it makes sense to me.

    See you tonight,

    Lilibeth
    Edmonds, Washington

    September 2, 2008 at 5:53 pm |
  32. Robert Pless Kennesaw, GA

    I wholeheartedly agree with Rhea Estelle. If you're going to preach about American family values, then have good American family values of your own. Having a 17 year old daughter get pregnant out of wedlock is the last thing anyone wants to do to the GOP "image" of them being wholehearted Christians or whatever. Palin's personal life and matters should not any sort of preferential treatment, while she can make decisions about my own.

    September 2, 2008 at 5:50 pm |
  33. Mary

    Erica, thank you so much for being so unbiased and really letting us have our own thoughts. I am a mother of three, a 21 yr. old a 19yr.old and a 7yr.old. My husbund is supportive, but it really rests on me. Dr.s appt., homework, school notes, school clothes, taxi service. I am a working mom and I think that I am a good mother. It is my decision to work. I don't think that we can make a decision for Gov. Palin. Obviously her husband is really involved. I think that anyone who runs for public office, especially POTUS gives his life to his country and his family has to come 2nd. I do not know how the work load will be divided or if it will have to change, but I do think that if she thinks that she can do this and her husband is behind her, she has the right to try. Parenting is an adventure. There is no one way to do it. I think that her love for her country and her work ethic are very positive examples, as is her husband being so involved with his children.

    September 2, 2008 at 5:48 pm |
  34. missy

    I am a single mother, raised and supported my daughter totally alone with no help. Yet I found the time to talk with her about sex education and everything. My daughter is at the top of her class ready to apply to top schools. It is not luck that got us here. My career took a back seat to raising a responsible child. If I can do it alone, so can Sarah Palin with a husband to help her.

    Talk to your children and be open with them. Don't leave it to the schools and the teachers.

    There is no excuse for this.

    September 2, 2008 at 5:48 pm |
  35. Heather

    If Palin is able to be Gov of Alaska and raise all her children with her husband then she can do the same as vp.The only changing is the job title ,her residence going to D.C and her responsibilties. I can express my opion about her all I want but I would be talking about how I would handle what she does in my shoes. I can't do that. I'm not in her shoes. I have absolutely no right to judge her parenting at all. Any choices she has made are her personal business not mine. Of course regardless of any opinion she sure has started many conversations about her family's dynamics included the off limit subject that will not go away.

    It's clear that she has worked very hard to get to be where she is. I don't see why she is being treated differently than a man. Whatever system she has with her husband it works. If it works in Alaska it will work in Washington.

    Why are we not talking about her husband? He's the father of the family. It's as if she is doing it all alone. He counts to.

    September 2, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  36. Debrah

    First ,I would think that maybe her being VP would be just a little bit different than a mother working a "normal" job. Second, a mothers role is a tad different than the father, or fathers would get custody of the children a lot more. Third, has anyone thought that maybe why this young girl was out and about was trying to get attention that maybe she's not getting from her parents? I don't know that moving to the White House will help any. I feel sorry for the kids they will be the ones to suffer the most, while their Mother goes after her dream.

    September 2, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  37. MARLENE

    Why doesn't CNN broadcast information about Joe Biden's children? If they were to do a little research, they would find that not all of Biden's children are "perfect" either. If CNN were truly non-biased, we'd hear about ALL of the candidates' children.

    September 2, 2008 at 5:42 pm |
  38. Amy

    This can not be a complete "Family Matter" when this is a person who will be helping to make decisions and mold our country. I applaud Sen. Obama for stating that families and especially children are off-limits, for him this was the right thing to do. For me however, as a working mother, who not only wants change but expects it out of our next president, will take everything about the next candidates into consideration.
    My own husband has said to me "Don't you relate to Sarah Palin as a mother?"...well yes and no. Just because I relate to this person does not mean that I feel she is qualified to be put in not only the VP position but should something happen to our president she would then become the president. That is huge. I'm sure she's a very nice, strong woman and probably a pretty good mother. But the fact that she has 5 children, 1 with down-syndrome and now her oldest daughter pregnant weighs very heavily when you think about wether or not this person is qualified to run the country. I hate to say it but how is she going to keep terrorists out of our country if she can't keep boys out of her daughters room. I can't help but feel because her and her husband are so "Active" – there's a huge myriad of things they do....Her daughter is now paying the price. I have no doubt that this baby will be very accepted an loved and taken care of, I just have serious doubts about this person being put in the position she's running for. I think when this is all over Sen. McCain will be sitting back and will realize this wasn't the best decision for a running mate....

    September 2, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  39. Caren in Los Angeles/soon-to-be Boston

    Erica, I was raised by a single mom who gave up her dreams of being a journalist for my sister and I. Instead, she became a teacher, because the schedule was easier for her to care for us. Even though thousands of kids in Atlanta who have had her as a teacher over the last 34 years are probably glad she made the choice not to be a journalist, I still think it is sad that she had to give up her dream. I think that's maybe why I'm 29 and not ready to settle down any time soon, so I'm all for Sarah going for her dream of being a VP despite her 5 children, and a baby on the way. Now, having said that, I have to ask you this though: do you think this would be an issue if she did not have a newborn? I think if her kids were older, it wouldn't matter, but even I had to stop and think, "Wow, how is she planning on taking care of a 4 month old with Downs Syndrome while she's out campaigning?" And how will she care for the baby while she's in the White House? I think it makes a difference that she has a baby. Even in this day and age, you don't see many 44 year old's with a newborn. As far as her pregnant daughter goes, that may not be the "norm" in American families, but Cheney has a gay daughter, and you don't really hear anyone talk about her. . .

    September 2, 2008 at 5:40 pm |
  40. Annette

    There are many women in the world who juggle full time jobs and young children; oftentimes without the aid of a husband and/or a decent salary. Some women see nothing but struggle, others somehow manage; maybe Governor Palin is one such woman. If you can do it all, go for it.
    My concerns with her have nothing to do with the fact that she is a woman and a mother; it is her policies that I find worrisome. And no matter how many Republican politicians and commentators tow the party line: Palin is inexperienced, and her policies are bad for women.
    I am baffled at McCain's choice, and I don't believe for one second she was fully vetted.
    If she thinks she can quote Hillary on those "eighteen million cracks" and get away with it, she's wrong, wrong, wrong.

    September 2, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  41. Claire

    I personally don't have an issue with her family life or the fact that she is a working Mom. She does have a husband and family to help with the kids. It's not as if she's there alone.

    However, as you said Erica, it's more about where she stands on the issues. She is the complete and total opposite of where I stand on almost every issue. And I do have to say that I do find it a bit hypocritical of McCain to pick someone with very little experience while he has spent months hammering Obama about the same thing. BUT I do not fault Palin due to her family or personal issues.

    September 2, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  42. alan miller

    Sarah Palin has five kids, one with Down's Syndrone, with one more on the way. And you have toj believe she will be a principal player in this first grand child. So just how much time with she have to be the Vice President of the United States of America? It is not supposed to be a part time job. That is not where I wish to be taken in these terribly
    dangerous times!

    September 2, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  43. Susan

    How dare Obama criticize Gov. Palin's governing experience? She has governed 700,000 more people for two more years than he has ever governed. And while she lacks foreign policy experience, so does every governor we've elected. And so does he, unless you call his recent posing with foreign leaders "experience". She has shown more leadership, done more to change things, and managed a multibillion dollar budget. What has he accomplished in the last 5 years other than spending 4 out of the last 5 years running for office, first as a Senator, and then almost immediately for President. He hasn't done a his job in the Senate for two of the 3 years he's been a Senator. How dare he and other Obama supporters criticize her experience. And she's running for VP, not President.

    September 2, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  44. Larry

    Was Bobby Kennedy ripped for having 10 kids while he was running for POTUS? .

    September 2, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  45. Lora Aulgur

    If a woman is so dead set against abortion, and elects to have a child, whatever the health of that child is, then I think she has made a commitment to raise that child, not park it with one caretaker or another. The scripture that you cannot serve two masters is true. You cannot be an effective parent and hold down a job simultaneously, much less the job of vice president of the United States. I know. I raised four children as a single parent. How I wished, and still do, that I had been able to be a full-time parent. I had no choice. Palin does. In my opinion, Palin is a major contradiction. Had she been a full-time mom, would she be facing becoming an illegitimate grandmother?

    September 2, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  46. edie

    if you choose to raise your infant first, then you are putting your country first. Your children are your countries future.

    September 2, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  47. marvinohio

    go home Sarah its not worth it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 2, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  48. Lynda Camara

    All I have to say on this matter of being a working mother and one who wants to be the Vice President of the United States is this: How can you run a country if you can't keep track of what your children are doing. Being respobsible for a 17 year old is a lot harder than being responsible for the lives of hundres of million of people. I would not trust Palin to babysit my daughter for one night and now I have to entrust her with my life.

    September 2, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  49. Frieda

    I am also 44 years old and mother of two, educated (B.S & MBA) and deiced to stay home the first 2 years after giving birth but now I run a company and there is nothing messy about politics of parenting.

    Millions of women have raised their kids while working, and the last I checked, that is exactly what National Organization of Women was promoting.

    Now that we have a conservative woman on the ticket, all of sudden, NOW and media has a problem with that? strange!

    I am sure Palins will work this out so their kids will get all the attention that they deserve and it should be a private matter and One size does not fit all!

    September 2, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  50. Rhea Estelle

    I get that Palin's daughter should be off limits. But how can someone who is determining my "family Values" have family values that are off limits to me. I guess I'm a little angry that Palin's personal life gets a pass so she can examine and make laws about mine.

    September 2, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
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