Sarah and Todd Palin issued the statement today:
“We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us” the Palins said in the statement. “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 NYPost reports that McCain knew about this before he made his selection:
Senior McCain campaign officials said McCain knew of the daughter’s pregnancy when he selected Palin last week as his vice presidential running mate, deciding that it did not disqualify the 44-year-old governor in any way.
In the short period since she was announced last Friday, Palin has helped to energize the Republican Party’s conservative base, giving the McCain camp fresh energy going into the campaign for the Nov. 4 election against Democrat Barack Obama.
McCain officials said the news of the daughter’s pregnancy was being released to rebut what one aide called “mud-slinging and lies” circulating on liberal blog sites.
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.
First, my best wishes to Bristol and her future husband for a complication-free pregnancy.Â Being a young mother is going to beÂ tough, but with the love and support of her family, she should be ok.Â God bless her for her decision to keep her baby.
Second, hats off to the McCain campaign for curbing the unsubstantiated rumors about Bristol and her mother that have been circulating amongst some hate-filled left wing blogs ever since McCain announced Palin as his running mate.
Update 1: K.Lo provides the perfect response to this story:
That the candidate in the family doesn’t view her daughter having her baby as a punishment makes all the difference.
If the Obama campaign – and/or his surrogates – want to make this an issue,Â you can best believe thatÂ Obama’s “punished” comments will be brought back up again for debate.Â Those comments were:
“Look, I got two daughters — 9 years old and 6 years old,” he said. “I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby. I don’t want them punished with an STD at age 16, so it doesn’t make sense to not give them information.”
The blogosphere reax.
Update 2 – 2:03 PM: The American Princess blog speculates on how Palin could address this issue with Biden in the debate, should it come up:
I’m a cheerleader for Palin, no doubt. I don’t deny it. But even I couldn’t really predict this. How problematic is it going to be for someone like Biden to hit Palin on the issue of reproductive freedom? She can just easily say, listenâ€¦”both me and my daughter have been faced with the option to abort our children rather than suffering through the undeniable harships of raising a disabled child or being teenage mom. We were both lucky enough that our family supported our choices. I belive abortion takes a human life, but I also understand that women faced with unplanned pregnancy have more to think about than a mere religious conviction. Because I know about this firsthand, I would like to use the office of the Vice President to do everything I can do to help women who face these situations. I want to improve the quality of women’s health care. I want to make abortion providers give women comprehenisve information about their options and about their growing children. I want to help fund comprehensive sex education programs that take emotion and personal attachment into account, rather than just giving kids the scientific facts. I want to help out crisis pregnancy centers, which take care of women and their unplanned children when they have no one else to go. I want to turn the discussion of abortion in this country from a plain, boring discussion of court cases and laws, to a discussion about compassion and a discussion about how we can truly care for the women in our society who have to choose between their futures and their children. I feel I am uniquely qualified to speak on the subject, Mr. Biden. After all, I made the choice myself.”
Update 3 – 2:41 PM: Barack Obama responds to the news:
At a press avail in Monroe, Mich., Obama on Palin: “Back off these kinds of stories.”
“I have said before and I will repeat again: People’s families are off limits,” Obama said. “And people’s children are especially off limits. This shouldn’t be part of politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin’s performance as a governor and or her potential perfromance as a vice president. So I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know my mother had me when she was 18, and how a family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn’t be a topic of our politics.”
On charges that his campaign has stoked the story via liberal blogs:
“I am offended by that statement. There is no evidence at all that any of this involved us,” he said. “Our people were not involved in any way in this, and they will not be. And ifÂ I thought there was somebody in my campaign who was involved in something like, they that would be fired.”