[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/02/art.palin.podium.jpg caption="Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, addresses the crowd at a campaign stop in Washington, Pa. Saturday." width=292 height=320]
AC360° Senior Producer
Everyone’s talking about Sarah Palin, even some who say we shouldn’t be.
John McCain’s campaign has decried “smears.” Rudy Giuliani said a reporter should be “ashamed” for asking if Palin’s 17-year-old daughter’s pregnancy would detract from the Republican Convention. Barack Obama and Joe Biden have said candidates’ children are off limits.
Ok, got it.
And yet, given that Jenna Bush’s wedding photos were viewed by millions around the world, and that culture wars have periodically engulfed this country for decades now, with arguments over what exactly constitutes "family values," should we be surprised that people – and the press – are asking about Sarah Palin’s life and decisions, and her daughter’s too?
More to the point – is it all bad? Come on, there's good in it, too.
Sarah Palin’s candidacy has sparked a passionate national dialogue about what’s the right balance of work and motherhood, or simply parenthood. Her story is making us think differently about old arguments over "family values," "personal responsibility," and "good judgment."
"It's the Mommy Wars: Special Campaign Edition," as Jodi Kantor and Rachel Swarns put it so memorably in today's New York Times, "But this time the battle lines are drawn inside out, with social conservatives, usually staunch advocates for stay-at-home motherhood, mostly defending her, while some others, including plenty of working mothers, worry that she is taking on too much."
Yes, these are hot button issues. And some people are understandably upset. But some of the dialogue about work/family balance, teen pregnancy, even the degree to which politicians' familiy lives should be a subject of public discussion, is important.
In the middle of a presidential campaign that will set the nation's direction for the next four years, these are good things for us to be thinking about, and talking about, in a new way.
What's your take?
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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