The Palin statement on daughter's pregnancy
From John McCain's campaign headquarters in a Washington suburb comes this today:
ARLINGTON, VA -- Today, Sarah and Todd Palin issued the following statement regarding today's Reuters story:
"We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us. 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. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support.
"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. We ask the media to respect our daughter and Levi's privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates."
The Reuters story to which the statement refers tackled head-on the speculation that swirled over weekend on some blogs about whether Sarah Palin was, in fact, the mother of a child born earlier this year or whether Bristol, 17, was the mother. According to the Reuters story, news of Bristol's current pregnancy "was being released to rebut what one aide called "mud-slinging and lies" circulating on liberal blog sites."
The story continues:
According to these rumors, Sarah Palin had faked a pregnancy and pretended to have given birth in May to her fifth child, a son named Trig who has Down syndrome. The rumor was that Trig was actually Bristol Palin's child and that Sarah Palin was the grandmother.
A senior McCain campaign official said the McCain camp was appalled that these rumors had not only been spread around liberal blog sites and partisan Democrats, but also were the subject of heightened interest from mainstream news media.
"The despicable rumors that have been spread by liberal blogs, some even with Barack Obama's name in them, is a real anchor around the Democratic ticket, pulling them down in the mud in a way that certainly juxtaposes themselves against their 'campaign of change,' " a senior aide said.
According to various news reports, Palin told the McCain campaign about her daughter's pregnancy before the Alaska govenor was tapped by him to be his running mate.
UPDATE: In comments this afternoon on the pregnancy news, Obama angrily denounced the attempt by the unnamed McCain advisor cited in the Reuters story to link him to the blogs questioning who gave birth to Trig Palin.
The Times' Noam Levey reports that Obama said:
I am offended by that statement. There is no evidence at all that any of this involved us. I hope I am clear as I can be. So in case I’m not, let me repeat. We don’t go after people’s families. We don’t get them involved in the politics. It’s not appropriate and it's not relevant.
Our people were not involved in any way in this. And they will not be. And if I ever thought there was somebody in my campaign that was involved in something like that, they’d be fired.
UPDATE NO. 2: The Ticket's Andrew Malcolm was in a choice spot today and armed with a video camera when McCain-Palin campaign manager Steve Schmidt held an "impromptu" press meeting. A crush of journalists surrounded Schmidt and he declared Bristol Palin's pregnancy a "private family matter" and not a political issue. "Life happens," Schmidt said. Malcolm's video follows.
-- Don Frederick
Schmidt video by Andrew Malcolm