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September 2nd, 2008
11:52 AM ET

Palin's Pregnancy Problem

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/02/art.vert.palin.jpg caption="Bristol Palin, 17, holds her brother Trig during the campaign rally" width=292 height=320]

Editor's Note: Sally Quinn founded and co-moderates 'On Faith', a blog from the Washington Post and Newsweek. Co-moderated by Newsweek editor and bestselling author Jon Meacham and hosted by a panel of renowned religious scholars of all denominations, On Faith is the first worldwide, interactive discussion about religion and its impact on global life. Here is a recent blog:

Sally Quinn
Washington Post reporter

My first reaction was shock. Then anger. John McCain chose a running mate simply because she is a woman and one who appealed to the Republican's conservative evangelical base. Now, with news that Palin's 17-year-old unmarried daughter is pregnant, McCain's pick may not even find support among "family values" voters.

It has happened before, of course. Geraldine Ferraro was chosen as the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984 because she was a woman, but that was 24 years ago. I thought we were past this. Apparently not. McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate is a cynical and calculated move. It is a choice made to try to win an election. It is a political gimmick. And it's very high risk. I find it insulting to women, to the Republican party, and to the country.

This is nothing against Palin. From what little we know about her, she seems to be a bright, attractive, impressive person. She certainly has been successful in her 44 years. But is she ready to be president?

And now we learn the 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant.

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Filed under: Raw Politics
soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. Glenn Frankum

    Maybe all parties involved, both public and private, should have taken Nancy Reagan's advice about drugs and applied it to their personal lives and their public careers and just said "NO". Unfortunately their will be no "Babygate" since all the media is stating this is a private family affair. I would like for all major media companies to formally apologize to all past presidential campaigners alive and dead and refrain from using family values as a criteria in future campaigning.

    September 3, 2008 at 10:02 am |
  2. Neil

    Palin was the worst choice they could have made yes they got the attention off President Obama but its all negetive attention they are getting. Her daughter being pregnant is a direct relection of her values and her abstanace beliefs completely backfiring and making her look completely incompitant at being a leader for her children and especially the country. She is not ready I wouldnt be shocked if she dropped out completely she is in way over her head.

    September 3, 2008 at 3:18 am |
  3. Erica

    Oh!!! I almost forgot... Will McCain even get to use the patriotic platform?... Didn't Palin support and participate in a separatist movement? (She wanted Alaska to separated from the U.S., right?)

    September 3, 2008 at 12:37 am |
  4. Annie Kate

    The pregnancy of her 17 year old plus the investigation of Palin herself over using her office to try to get her ex-brother in law fired – I know McCain is a risk taker but this one seems riskier than most and does not give me any confidence in his judgment. If McCain wanted someone with executive experience why not Mitt Romney – he was a governor and he knows economics as well.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 2, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  5. Phyllis

    I've read alot of the comments made here about John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate.
    I'm impressed with what Mrs. Palin has accomplished in her home state in the short time she has been the governor.
    That being said, I'm mom to two teenagers (Ages 15 and 18) who I find still need guidance and support for the things that challenge them in life. When I get too busy to take time for them, that's when we have the most challenges.
    This is nothing personal to Ms. Palin; and I feel for her daughter for having been thrust into the national limelight.
    I also believe that CNN has tried to provide impartial coverage of Ms. Palin; but with the amount of surprises that keep showing up in her life, their job is to report the stories of the day.
    The questions being asked here in this blog and in the mainstream media are being asked because there are rising questions about how she will be a successful VP; if she is not seen as being successful at her own home.
    I suggest that each person who supports Ms. Palin's nomination read the comments written here carefully because I have not found one that condemns Bristol; but rather questions the judgement of her mother to further her own political career at a critical time in Bristol's life. That's all.

    September 2, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  6. Drew Lankford

    Is it really a problem? Seems like the only ones making any deal of it is the news channels!! Does it really reflect mom and dad? Bristol Palin made a choice, right or wrong it was her choice. Now she has to be the one to stand up to it. Does anyone really think if her mom wasnt selected as the vice presidential nominee we would have heard about her being pregnant? Still not sure who Im voting for, but Leave the kids outs of it!!!

    Just few things to think about before we pass judgement on others.

    September 2, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  7. Rick

    I do not understand why we are beating Sarah Palin up on Bristols Palins choice. We as parents try to teach our children the best we can if they do not chose the road we pave how is it the fault of the parent? I guess the answer would be to lock them up in their bedroom and never let them out.

    September 2, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  8. jamie m.

    Alaska has a $42 billion budget, and Sarah Palin was in charge of it. Barack Obama voted "present" 120 timesin the Senate. Which career had the most decision – making, the most difficult challenges?

    When the going got tough, or he had to show his hand, Obama backed down. that's not experience, that's cowardice.

    September 2, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  9. Franc, NYC

    While Palin's daughter being pregnant and unwed shouldn't oridinarily not make a difference, it does here given Palin's arch-conservative views on birth control and sex education and given the fact that McCain held Palin up as a beckon of family values and morality. Clearly sex education and family-planning education in our schools is sorely needed given the total failure of faith-based abstinence programs.

    As for Palin herseld, she is totally inexperienced and not qualifed for the job of VP. The only two qualifies she had that worked for McCain were her extreme socially conservative positions and her sexual organs. We now know that she was NOT the crusader McCain has led us to believe she was and that for years she lobbied and accepted millions of dollars in earmarks including the infamous Bridge to Nowhere which she was in favor of before she was against it when she failed to raised the necessary funds necessary to complete that project. Also her Pentacostal sermons that are featured on YouTube are down-right scary: McCain finally has his own Rev. Wright!

    September 2, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  10. Jon B, Palm Springs California

    Republican, Family Values HYPOCRITES!
    Reflects on Gov. Palin's ability to raise her children correctly and with values. She isn't anyone else, SHES RUNNING FOR THE Vice Presidency and should be held to a higher standard, but apparently for the Republicans, this is a good as it gets. LOL!
    Maybe the kid can mature to be a law breaking DWIer like his grandpa. MADD (Mother's Against Drunk Drivers) report that for everytime a person is arrested for driving while intoxicated they have driven while over the legal limit over 100 times. More Republican Family Values in action.
    She can have as many kids as she wants out of wedlock and it really isn't any of my business, but PLEASE don't run for public office (esp. the Vice Pres) and PRETEND to be some Conservative promoting Family Values – MY God! What a pathetic joke.
    "Abstinence works 100% of the time it is tried!" A quote from a CNN Republican Political Contributor. What a moron.

    September 2, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  11. Salman

    The reason that Bristol baby is a legit issue is because,the whole appeal of Sarah Palin IS her family values.we are told to vote for a supremely unqualified person because
    1- She has 5 kids
    2- she has 5 kids
    3-she has 5 kids
    4-she eats mooseburgers.
    5
    Also,when it comes to the social issues,she is borderline fanatic.i dont even know which moderate woman can relate to the bambi shooting, gun troting person.Also,the most important fact,for the 1st time in her life she had to get a passport.can you believe it?she travelled 1st time in her entire life outside america about a year ago!!
    its not just a gamble,its reckless and dangerous.,

    September 2, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  12. Kalynne from Atlanta

    I am a working mom with a special needs child, and McCain/Palin DO NOT have my vote.

    McCain is crazy to think that bringing in a 50's "Donna Reed" type VP is going to bring him more votes. She praises her daughter for keeping the pregnancy and marrying an 18 year old ...this is a great idea??? What kind of message does this send to young people? That's its OK to get pregnant and married at such a young age? Hasn't Hollywood glamourized this enough?What about college? I guess this former beauty queen doesn't believe women should get an education....barefoot and pregnant ????

    I guess it'll work out for Bristol...her mom is LOADED $$$.

    Not all of us are so lucky.

    September 2, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  13. Brittany

    Where to start? First off I don't think it is bad mothering that caused this situation, this has happened to many families even the closest of families. It is however a back fire on Palin because she is so involved in discontinuing sex ed is schools. I can't believe someone in this blog actually said that they based their vote on the fact that she sold the state plane on ebay – wow what an accomplishment she is definitely suited to be the VP of the United States of America now, ridiculous! Palin fights against corruption and scandal, yet she is involved in one herself? Questions that definitely make me think. Also I am tired of everyone talking about how Obama is inexperienced when Palin has been out of the country once in her life time! Last but not least the WAR my husband is over there right now on his 3RD TOUR! McCain has no plans of ending this war but to continue keeping families apart and watching the death tolls rise which are over 4000 now. My very good friend lost her fiance and my husbands best friend never made it home to see his daughter. I dont think people actually understand what the war does to families unless it is experienced personally. McCain even has a petition on his site for no surrender in Iraq. Im just done with it and I dont see how anyone could blame me. Ive always voted republican but this election Im going Democrat. OBAMA 2008

    September 2, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  14. Lorraine

    It is hard to believe that a Mother (Gov. Palin) would choose to display not one child in a public forum that desperately needs her total comittment, care, nurturing, and support, let alone two of her children all in the name of Politics. What could a parent be thinking to sacrifice the name and reputation of their child, not only in her State, but across the Country and World for that matter. We are not talking about running for Mayor of a town with a poulation under 10,000 or even being the Gov. of a State with the total population less than the size of a major US city. This is the Vice-Presidency of the United States of America. That young woman had a RIGHT to her privacy, as did the father of her unborn baby.

    September 2, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  15. Chuck

    The woman is staunchly pro-life and anti-birth control, and advocates abstinence education only for teens. Was her daughter sick (?) the day that was being taught at school? Didn't the girl get the message from her mom? What kind of "family values" are those that are foisted upon others but clearly are not followed at home? And what about this decision to become "proud grandparents"? How do we know that this wasn't the politically expedient solution? How do we know that this would have been the same decision the family made had the spotlight not been shining so brightly on them?

    Also: How old was this now-17-year-old girl when she got pregnant five months ago?

    It has been reported that the family made the announcement of this "blessed event" to quash persistent rumors that the governor's youngest child was actually her daughter's. Wouldn't that indicate that there was somewhat of a reputation or image "issue" there already?

    September 2, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  16. Helene

    I have no problem with her teen-daughter being pregnant. The problem that I have is Mrs. Palin is not practicing what she's preaching. She cannot even convince her own daughter on abstinence little lone others. It doesn't work! She is also under the microscope for abusing her own power to fire her brother-in-law. And this is the woman that perhaps be running our country if something happens to the President. Mc Cain is loosing his mind for selecting her.

    I'm praying real hard from now until November 4th for the right candidates "Obama & Biden to win.

    Helene from San Diego

    September 2, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  17. Carol

    It is very hypocritical for anyone to criticize Governer Palin or her family for her daughter’s pregnancy. As a parent you can educate your children about their choices and exercise good values in your home. At some point your children are going to go out into the world and make their own choices. A good parent is there to guide them through those choices and to support them if they make a mistake. The media is wrong to assume that in the Palin household did not have adequate discussions about premarital sex or contraceptives. They are wrong to assume that because Governor Palin thinks it that sex education should happen in the home and not in the schools, her daughter ended up pregnant. Governor Palin has done the right thing by standing by her daughter during this difficult time and not hiding her from the media. This family has chosen to embrace this child instead of taking the easy road that 1.37 million Americans are taking by having abortions. According to Planned Parenthood, in 2002, approximately 757,000 U.S. teenagers ages 15–19 became pregnant. Are all of the parents of these children bad parents? No way!! It is naïve to think our children will not make mistakes. Obama himself did drugs, an illegal substance, through high school and college. Why is no one appalled by this?

    September 2, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  18. Jane

    I agree with Senator Obama's staement with regard to children being off limits to media scrutiny however that does not mean the voting public is'nt entitled to know as much as possible about those running for high public office. As a country we cannot afford to make another mistake like the last 8 years.

    It appears to me whenever the Republican's are asked a ligitimate question about the Governor's qualifications all they can say is she engergizes the "party". That's hardly a qualification for VP of the United States. It scares the hell out of me that she could potentially be a literal heartbeat away from the presidency.

    September 2, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  19. Audrey

    Wow, I just watched Soledad O'Brien interview Ms. Quinn. I just find it unbelievable that Ms. Quinn called Palin's five kids "distractions." It's so unfortunate that people still think successful women can't be good mothers. There are plenty of women out there who manage to do both. Men are never criticized for being bad fathers if they have successful careers and the same should be true for women. It is evident that sexism is still alive and well in this election.

    September 2, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  20. Barbara

    Wow! Shocking! An 18 year old girl is pregnant. And her mom wants to run for the Vice Presidency. Even though I would vote for the democrats, I hardly see how this prevents a woman from applying for a big job. What possible difference would it make if Sen. McCain knew this and selected her anyway.

    C'mon Anderson. We have riots in Bangkok, real issues in the presidentail race, starvation around the world.... focus on what is important like you once did.... how are we to trust your judgement if you can't serve as a discriminating filter. Media made controversy for the sake of advertising dollars – somewhere Edward R. Morrow is squirming in his grave.

    September 2, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  21. Tracey - Boston

    Sally,

    I could not agree with you more. Now is not the time to play "what if?".

    McCain's age and her children's ages and needs are not a good mix.

    As a Democrat, go ahead, keep the ticket it will fail but as an American and the way people throw away their votes, please change the ticket!!!

    @@ Jan from Wood Dale, IL... "If 80 percent of Alaska’s residents believe Gov. Palin has lived up to their expectations of being a good Governor, while being a wife and mother, who are we to criticize?"

    Alaska's population is so small and hardly anything happens there of course they don't have a problem with it. Let her govern a bigger state and then we'll talk.

    September 2, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  22. Robin

    Like Ms Palins daughter, at 17 (and a senior in high school) I also became pregnant and obviously not married. My parents, like Ms. Palin, were very supportive of me and helped me with anything they could! However, they did blamed themselves for MY decision. It took alot of talking on my part to convince them that what I did was NOT their fault. I made a choice and they were not involved in that decision. They raised me to be a loving and considerate person (also a Christian) and still it was ALL MY DECISION to sleep with my boyfriend and NOT THEIRS!!! (We also chose to get married but unfortunately the marriage ended 6 years later.) Ms. Palins didn't sit on her daughter and force her to have sex with her boyfriend any more than my parents did with me. I made a concious choice and lived with the consequences of MY choice! I can't emphasize that enough....it was all MY CHOICE!!! NOT MY PARENTS CHOICE!!! At 17 we are, in most situations, aware of right and wrong and know that OUR actions have consequences to them. That's not to say we are mature enough to make all decisions concerning our lives but it does mean that we are able to know we have to live with our choices. I am now 51 and a grandmother and don't regret for a single minute the choices I made when I was 17!!!

    September 2, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  23. martha

    I am a woman and what the media is doing to this person is so sad. Obama's mother was 18 and not married....and had the baby. Leave Sarah Palin's children alone.

    I love Sarah Palin... as a woman she is like a lot of us that live in the "real" world... not Hollywood, not Harvard, not D.C. We work hard for our families and want is best for our children and husbands and ourselves.

    Change.... looks like we found it in Sarah Palin.

    September 2, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
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