Source: Washington Post
WASHINGTON – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has charged her state a daily allowance, normally used for official travel, for more than 300 nights spent at her home, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

An analysis of travel statements filed by the governor, now John McCain’s Republican running mate, shows she claimed the per diem allowance on 312 occasions when she was home in Wasilla and that she billed taxpayers $43,490 for travel by her husband and children.

Per diem payments are meant for meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business. State officials told The Post her claims — nearly $17,000 over 19 months — were permitted because her “duty station” is Juneau, the capital, and she was in Wasilla 600 miles away. The governor moved to Juneau last year but often stays in Wasilla and works 45 miles away, in a state office in Anchorage.

Palin’s spending and record in office are coming under intense scrutiny as she is presented to the nation as a champion of ethics reform and frugal use of tax dollars — a leader who put the state jet on sale on eBay and drives herself to work.

The Post’s analysis shows her husband Todd and their daughters were reimbursed by taxpayers for many trips between Wasilla and Juneau as well as for a variety of other travel that was also listed as state business. Palin’s aides said travel by Alaska’s first family is part of the job.

But it’s not clear when children’s travel expenses should be covered. State finance director Kim Garnero told the paper the government covers the travel costs of anyone conducting state business and, “I can’t imagine kids could be doing that.”

Palin took her daughter Bristol to New York in October for a conference on women and leadership, a tour of the New York Stock Exchange and various meetings, the analysis shows. Travel costs included three nights in a hotel room costing more than $700 a night.

Overall, Palin’s travel spending pales in comparison with that of predecessor Frank Murkowski, who charged $463,000 for air fare in 2006. Palin charged $93,000 in 2007.

Palin spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said Tuesday that the governor is expected to travel frequently. “This is part of her job and it’s only reasonable her travel expenses — which were reduced dramatically from the previous administration — would be covered,” Schmitt said

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Source: CsMonitor
BOSTON – In the summer of 2002, a senior aide to President George W. Bush met with a writer whose work had annoyed him to deliver a lesson in how his administration saw its mandate.

“The aide said that guys like me … ‘believe that solutions emerge from … judicious study of discernible reality,'” Ron Suskind wrote, recalling the event two years later. “‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore…,’ [the aide] continued. ‘When we act, we create our own reality.'”

Even in the days before the Bush presidency and Karl Rove, widely believed to be the source of that quote, political campaigns of all stripes have strived to “create their own realities.”

But while reporters have ridiculed Democrat Michael Dukakis for riding in a tank and belittled Barack Obama for the Greek columns at his nomination speech, Republicans have succeeded in turning the manipulation of myth into an art form.

That’s been evident this week as Rove protégé and Sen. John McCain’s adviser Steve Schmidt has steadied the ship of Sarah Palin’s rollout. First, he bullied the news media into submission. Then the campaign pushed an unrelenting portrayal of her as a maverick.

As reporters disclosed that Ms. Palin sought earmarks for her hometown before she opposed them and supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it, the campaign’s message only got more persistent and better packaged. On Monday, it released a new ad titled “Original Mavericks.”

And while the McCain campaign hammered the media for invading Palin’s privacy, it has used every opportunity to idealize her family, even flying in the boyfriend of her pregnant 17-year-old daughter Bristol and parading both on stage behind the governor after she accepted the Republican nomination for vice president. Reality television seemed to trump reality itself as the nomination took on the look of a new daytime soap. Meanwhile, the news media – pushed back by the McCain campaign, then fed this feel-good story line – converted Palin from untested and unvetted to “hockey mom,” a “pit bull with lipstick” ready to bite Obama.

The turnaround has been breathtaking.

Just over a week ago reporters disclosed that Palin is being investigated for allegedly trying to intimidate state officials into firing her estranged state trooper brother-in-law. Commentators raised sharp questions about her inexperience and poor vetting. Airwaves filled with idle – and sexist – speculation over whether a mother of five could handle the vice presidency.

But by Friday, an MSNBC commentator offered the breathy pronouncement that the McCain-Palin ticket “will be ahead in the polls by the end of the week.” And on Sunday a long profile in The Washington Post pivoted on this sentence: “Of the many striking images of Palin – sportswoman, beauty queen, populist – in Alaska the most iconic is working mother, a perfectly coifed professional woman balancing public duties and child-rearing in a charismatic blur of multitasking.”

Meanwhile, reports of Palin’s hard-right credentials (anti-abortion, pro-gun, possibly pro-creationism, and pro-abstinence education) receded rapidly as did news, covered in a blur, that she had attended five colleges over six years before graduating.

The see-saw story of Sarah Palin should give the press pause. Feeding frenzies followed by fawning serve only to confuse. If the public is to make sound decisions, to sort what’s real from what’s manufactured, the media must do their job with greater consistency and greater care.

1. The media should redouble efforts to unearth facts and spend far less time on speculation and titillation. McCain, Palin, Obama, and Joe Biden all have records. It’s the media’s job to expose contradictions in them – and to keep doing so even when campaigns push back. It is not the media’s job to speculate who will be leading next week or whether a candidate can parent and govern simultaneously.

2. The media need to reexamine the meaning of journalistic objectivity. It is not to give equal weight and space to each side of an issue. It is to report fully and fairly, to determine where the facts fall, and to write what’s verifiably true – giving a say, but not equal space, to those who contest the facts without evidence.

Palin, for example, does not believe climate change has a human cause. The scientific consensus says otherwise. Should her views carry equal weight as the campaign grinds on? My journalism professors would have said “no.”

3. The media should regularly explain what reporters do and why. In an era in which reporters are about as popular as $4-a-gallon gasoline, this is imperative. This spring I gave a workshop to some 50 university public information employees. I faced a long silence before anyone could tell me what the First Amendment protects.

Until the news media turn both tougher and fairer, provides contextual truth and not just balance, political operatives will hold the upper hand. And the public will move through election cycles like motorists peering into a thick fog.

“You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all the time,” Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said.

Only a vigilant media can keep Machiavellian calculations of contemporary campaigns from fooling enough people enough of the time to make such deceit the deciding factor in our elections.

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Source: mLive
Posted by Susan J. Demas | Capitol Chronicles | Analysis (not affiliated with
The e-mails, comments and threats kept pouring in across the for my column, Palin: McCain’s version of ‘Trust me,’ and I knew I’d struck a nerve. But then a couple readers told me how they’d heard about it: The column had been forwarded by Gov. Sarah Palin’s people (allegedly) as part of their toddler tantrum on the mean ole media.

That might explain the curious number of people who have written to tell me that I have no right to express opinions in an opinion column.

I am deeply flattered. I would advise them read Anne Kornblut’s analysis of what’s fair game in elections. Good stuff, especially when you consider that the Hillary Clinton campaign dragged her personal reputation through the mud.

I am utterly sickened by the John McCain campaign’s contempt for the American people. No one expressed it better than spokeswoman Nicolle Wallace who declared on MSNBC that the American public doesn’t need Palin to answer questions. When Time editor Jay Carney, a friend of McCain’s, politely expressed incredulity that Palin would dodge questions from the press, Wallace shrieked, “Who cares!? Who cares? But I mean, like, from who, from you? Who cares? No offense. Who cares if she can talk to Time magazine?”

Now I understand there will be folks shouting, “Good! Stick in the the media!” Yeah, we in the media can be arrogant jerks. Sometimes we don’t tell you what you need to know, just all about John Edwards’ possible love baby, if McCain looked good against a green screen and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright shouting a couple times. But few voters actually get to talk to Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John McCain or Sarah Palin in person. That’s where the media come in. We can ask the questions you’ll never be able to in your living room.

You should know what Sarah Palin thinks we should do about Iran’s nuclear program. You should hear about her plan for the foreclosure crisis. You have a right to know what she thinks the solution is to turning around the auto industry.

She didn’t talk about any of that (incredibly the latter) on Friday in Sterling Heights. Stump speeches are not enough to inform the public. That’s why candidates need to answer questions from the press. And we, in turn, owe it to them and you to ask substantive questions.

But Palin was noticeably the only member of either presidential ticket to skip the Sunday talk shows today. This makes Palin look weak, despite her proclamations about being a “pit bull with lipstick.” Pit bulls ain’t afraid of the Eastern Elites in the media; they rip them to shreds. Just ask Ann Coulter. The left is gaining some traction with painting her as a chicken, which is something no candidate, especially a woman, wants.

McCain top aid Rick Davis sloughed this off, saying, “I’d never commit to anything in the future. … Our strategy is in our hands, not the media’s. We’re going to do what’s in our best interests to try to win the election. If we think going on TV news shows are [sic] in our best interests, we’ll do it. If we don’t, we won’t.”

Just remember the next time a politician tells you he’s not talking to the press, it’s not for your benefit. It’s for his. So when McCain and Palin expect you to cheer that they’re sticking it to the media, they’re really asking you to celebrate that they’re sticking it to you.

And here’s a roundup of some intriguing stories on Palin in light of my posts this week:

The Politico’s Roger Simon writes the best column on the role of the political press I have ever read. “It is not our job to ask questions. Or it shouldn’t be. To hear from the pols at the Republican National Convention this week, our job is to endorse and support the decisions of the pols.”

Conservative Detroit News columnist Nolan Finley apologizes for not drinking the Palin Kool-Aid.

Time’s Joe Klein looks at McCain’s slime the press strategy and if it will cause the media to be gentler on the Republican.

The Freep’s Stephen Henderson ponders the new morality that teen pregnancy can be celebrated and asks how it would be viewed if Bristol Palin were black.

A McCain aide can’t answer what Palin’s foreign policy credentials are, leading Republicans to criticize CNN for biased reporting.

Gone are the days of the Straight Talk Express, when McCain is hostile to innocuous questions in a Time interview, such as asking him to define honor in political campaigns.

A Wasilla evangelical Christian mom disagrees with Palin’s choices.

Hanna Rosin explores how the Religious Rights’ views on morality have changed as their behavior hasn’t met their ideals.

Jacob Weisberg points out how shotgun weddings equal sky-high divorce rates and looks at how the right’s anti-abortion absolutism has meant more acceptance of teen pregnancy.

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Soure: Freep
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in a few hours on Aug. 29 burst from being unknown to almost all Americans to the No. 2 spot on the Republican presidential ticket. Over the next week, round-the-clock news Web sites, traditional media, cable news and blogs produced an explosion of information about her record. Here’s some help in sorting out what’s true, what wasn’t right and what falls into the great gray area of political argument and interpretation.

This is based on reports from the Associated Press, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, McClatchy-Tribune Information Service, and other reports cited below.


• Republican John McCain’s vice presidential nominee
• Alaska governor: December 2006-present.
• Chair, Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: 2003-2004.
• Mayor, Wasilla, Alaska: 1996-2002.
• City Council, Wasilla: 1992-1996.

Central to Palin’s political profile is that she is a reformer who takes on entrenched interests and ferrets out waste and corruption. After winning the governor’s office, she sold the state jet and takes credit for telling the federal government that Alaska didn’t need the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere,” passing state ethics legislation and getting additional tax money from the oil companies.
She has a sky-high approval rating, with 86% of Alaskans saying in May that they had a favorable view of her, according to Anchorage’s KTUU TV.

Social conservative

No gray here. Baptized a Catholic, she grew up attending a Pentacostal church and was baptized there. She now attends non-denominational Wasilla Bible Church.

She opposes abortion in all cases, including instances of rape and incest, unless the mother’s life is at risk. She walks the talk, having given birth in April to a child that she knew would have Down syndrome. Unlike McCain, she opposes stem-cell research.
She has opposed funding what she calls “explicit” sex-education programs in Alaska and supports abstinence-only programs, which urge teens to refrain from sex until marriage.
The Wall Street Journal reported, “Palin has been a champion for school choice, including vouchers and home schooling. … She supports teaching creationism in schools alongside evolution.”

If that link doesn’t work, go to and search for “Sarah Palin Wasilla Assembly of God.”


Ready for some gray matter? Congressional earmarks — money targeted to specific projects around the country that McCain opposes — are a way of life in Alaska.
In her speech Wednesday to the Republican convention, Palin repeated the assertion that “I told the Congress ‘thanks but no thanks’ on that bridge to nowhere.”
This $398-million proposed bridge connecting Ketchikan (population about 7,800) to an island that has 50 residents and an airport, became a poster child for wasteful earmarks. Palin consistently endorsed the bridge in 2006 when she was running for governor. After taking office, she did formally end the project.
By then, Congress had already removed the earmark specifying that money already allocated for the bridge be used that way. In ending the project, Palin wrote, “We are about $329 million short of full funding … and it’s clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money. Much of the public’s attitude toward Alaska bridges is based on inaccurate portrayals of the projects here. But we need to focus on what we can do, rather than fight over what has happened.”
Alaska has shifted the $60 million or so allocated for the bridge to road projects, according to the Washington Post and other reports.
Palin reduced the state government’s requests for special projects this year to 31 earmarks totaling $198 million. Still, that’s $295 per Alaskan, first among states per-capita; other states got just $34 worth of local projects per person this year, on average, according to Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington-based watchdog group.
Alaska’s earmark requests to Congress in Palin’s first year in office exceeded $550 million, more than $800 per resident.
There’s no sin in seeking the money. Politicians generally are expected to win grants for their district or state, and typically boast about their ability to bring in money for improvements.
As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a private lobbyist to secure earmarks. The town obtained 14 earmarks totaling $27 million between 2000-2003, according to data compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense, another watchdog group.

State jet

Palin on Wednesday described how she disposed of a corporate jet acquired in defiance of the Legislature by her unpopular predecessor, Frank Murkowski. “That luxury jet was over the top,” Palin said to loud cheers at the Republican convention. “I put it on eBay.”
True, and she did keep her campaign promise to sell the plane, but it didn’t sell on eBay. The 23-year-old 10-seat Westwind II was sold in August 2007 for $2.1 million to a Valdez entrepreneur, the AP reported.
Murkowski arranged for the purchase in November 2005 for $2.6 million and was seen as an extravagance.
It wasn’t used exclusively by Murkowski. Alaska does not have adequate prison capacity and contracts for space with a private facility near Phoenix, Ariz. When the state began using the plane in November 2005, prisoner transport accounted for 58% of the jet’s use, and Murkowski’s office used it 23% of the time. Over time, Murkowski’s usage increased.
Today, the U.S. Marshals Service transports 90% of Alaska prisoners to Arizona, with Alaska Airlines taking the rest on commercial flights. The transport costs are less per prisoner now: about $875 per prisoner vs. $1,674 before.

Energy, environment

Oil fuels Alaska’s economy, and the state’s cut has led to a $5-billion treasury surplus. As governor, she raised taxes on oil companies as part of a deal to help update Alaska’s formula for extracting royalties from crude production.
With that surplus in place, she got the Legislature to pass an energy-relief measure this year that will send $1,200 checks to eligible Alaskans to offset the rising cost of gasoline and other fuel. Alaska’s energy costs are higher than many other states’ because of its remoteness and vast size.
She goes further than McCain in calling for greater oil exploration, supporting drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, an idea that is anathema to environmentalists. She is widely credited with reviving a long-stalled effort to build a natural-gas pipeline from Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay energy fields to the Lower 48 states.
Environmentalists have nicknamed Palin the “killa from Wasilla.”
“Her philosophy from our perspective is cut, kill, dig and drill,” said John Toppenberg, director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance.
She has defended Alaska’s right to shoot down wolves from the air to boost caribou and moose herds for hunters, and — contrary to a view held by McCain — is not convinced that global warming is the result of human activity.
She has sued the Bush administration over its conclusion that unless it is protected, the polar bear faces eventual extinction because of disappearing sea ice as the result of global warming.
However, reported: “Even environmentalists praise her for taking on political corruption related to the oil and gas industry. And other observers note that Palin has gone to battle against Big Oil on a number of issues, most notably pushing through a big tax increase on oil companies last year.”
“She’s viewed … as almost anti-oil” in her home state, Alaskan GOP pollster Mark Hellenthal told the AP. “She’s probably pro-oil from a national perspective, but she’s not in the pocket of Big Oil. She’s fought them at every step.”

Mayoral tenure

When she took office as mayor of Wasilla, city coffers were flush with revenue from a new sales tax, so she reduced property taxes, the Wall Street Journal and others have reported.
Her signature project as mayor was the construction of the city’s new hockey rink and sports complex. Voters approved a $15 million bond issue and boosted the sales tax to pay off the bonds.
“Other people would talk about having a sports complex for years, and they’d still be talking about it if Sarah Palin hadn’t come along and built it for them,” says Donald Moore, who managed the project.
However, Palin’s administration didn’t have legal title to the land. The matter ended up in court, and the city ultimately paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest and legal fees. “Wasilla isn’t broke, but that put a big dent in our reserve,” says City Councilwoman Dianne Woodruff, a Palin critic. “It happened on her watch.”
Many publications have reported an incident early in her tenure when she asked the library director about censoring books in the library’s collection. The town’s Frontiersman newspaper said Palin didn’t ask about specific books. “I told her clearly, I will fight anyone who tries to dictate what books can go on the library shelves,” library director Mary Ellen Emmons told the paper at the time.
Palin later described her inquiry as “rhetorical” and a way to get to know the city employees.
Emmons soon was among a group of employees Palin sought to fire, but was allowed to keep her job. A letter circulated to newspapers including the Free Press by Wasilla resident Anne Kilkenny says Emmons kept her job because residents rallied to her support.
Palin early in her tenure did fire Wasilla’s police chief, the finance director, city planner and other department heads. “I do not feel I have your full support in my efforts to govern the City of Wasilla,” the Journal reported that she wrote to Irl Stambaugh, the police chief. Palin told the Anchorage Daily News then that the letters sent to department heads were just a test of loyalty as she took on the mayor’s job.
Stambaugh sued unsuccessfully, alleging that the mayor was punishing him for his opposition to a law that would allow residents to carry concealed weapons, as well as his efforts to limit late-night bar hours. Bars in Wasilla stay open until 5 a.m.

Police controversy

Palin is under investigation by the Legislature over the dismissal of the state’s public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, who alleges he was pressured to fire her ex-brother-in-law from his state trooper job. Palin denies pressuring Monegan. The state police union says it will file a complaint against her regarding the disclosure of the trooper’s private information.
“It is outrageous and disappointing that the governor would chose to make the Alaska State Troopers the whipping boy for her ethical lapse of judgment,” John Cyr, the executive director of the Public Safety Employees Association, says in this Juneau Empire story:
Palin has said her sister’s ex-husband, Mike Wooten, constituted a legitimate threat to her family. The Empire story says Palin’s lawyer “filed an ethics complaint regarding her dismissal of Monegan. The complaint was an attempt to have the state personnel board investigate the Monegan firing and head off the Legislature’s own investigation. In the complaint, Palin’s attorney accused the Alaska State Troopers of conducting a ‘slipshod’ investigation into Wooten. Troopers opened an investigation into Wooten after Palin’s sister obtained a restraining order against him. Palin and her family told Wooten’s supervisors that he’d committed several illegal acts as a trooper, including threatening to kill Palin’s father and using a Taser on his 10-year-old stepson.”

Ethics reform

Palin on her first day as governor pushed ethics reform. The FBI was investigating influence peddling in the Legislature, and Palin appeared at a news conference with the former leader of the Democratic minority in the Senate to unveil an “Ethics White Paper” calling for a clampdown on questionable dealings by lawmakers, the Journal said.
She got the job done, apparently throwing a few elbows along the way, as most politicians, particularly reformers, end up doing.
“I and others were completely taken aback,” Lyda Green, a fellow Republican and senator from Wasilla told the Journal. “It was a strange thing to do on the first day she got here, and a lot of us thought it was just kind of a slap in the face.”

Several reports describe Green as estranged from Palin now. “It’s not possible to have a disagreement with Sarah Palin and then continue a friendly arrangement after that point,” Green, now the Senate president, told the Journal. “After that point, she doesn’t see the disagreement as being on policy. She sees it as personal.”

After Palin’s speech Wednesday, the Anchorage Daily News noted: “She mentioned leading the charge for ethics reform, but didn’t note that Alaska’s new ethics laws drew heavily on work Democrats had done before she took office.”

Alaskan Independence Party

One incorrect report had Palin joining the Alaskan Independence Party, which advocates a vote that could allow the state to secede from the United States.
The McCain campaign quickly produced voter registration records showing Palin as a registered Republican since 1982.
The Independence Party had incorrectly claimed Palin as a member in 1994-96.
Records show that her husband, Todd, registered as a member of the Alaskan Independence Party in 1995, remaining a member for all but two months of the next seven years, until he registered as an undeclared voter in July 2002.

McCain v. Obama – Let Us Know Who You Want To Win

Source: L.A. Times
Teen pregnancy and sex education were thrust into the spotlight this week when Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin revealed that her 17-year-old daughter is five months pregnant.

Palin’s running mate, John McCain, and the GOP platform say children should be taught that abstinence until marriage is the only safe way to avoid pregnancy and disease. Palin’s position is less clear. In a widely quoted 2006 survey she answered during her gubernatorial campaign, Palin said she supported abstinence-until-marriage programs. But weeks later, she proclaimed herself “pro-contraception” and said condoms ought to be discussed in schools alongside abstinence.

“I’m pro-contraception, and I think kids who may not hear about it at home should hear about it in other avenues,” she said during a debate in Juneau.

Such statements could raise concerns among social conservatives who have been some of Palin’s most enthusiastic supporters since she was tapped for the No. 2 spot on the GOP ticket last week.

Leslee Unruh, president of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse and campaign manager of the Vote Yes for Life effort, said children must be given a “clear and concise” message on the benefits of abstinence.

Asked about Palin’s statement, Unruh said, “I don’t think it’s clear. It seems disjointed to me.”

Two days later, Unruh dismissed the comments as “old.”

“I support her in every way,” she said.

Other conservatives who have backed Palin, including James Dobson of Focus on the Family, declined to weigh in.

Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella said the governor stands by her 2006 statement, supporting sex education that covers both abstinence and contraception.

McCain’s campaign did not respond to questions about whether Palin’s position is inconsistent with the Arizona senator’s. But in an earlier statement, a campaign spokesperson said McCain believes abstinence is “the only safe and responsible alternative.”

“To do otherwise is to send a mixed signal to children that, on the one hand they should not be sexually active, but on the other, here is the way to go about it,” according to a statement provided by the campaign. “As any parent knows, ambiguity and equivocation leads to problems when it comes to teaching children right from wrong.”

Even before Palin released a statement about her daughter Bristol, teen pregnancy had been in the spotlight frequently this year. The teen birth rate, which had been declining for 15 years, showed an increase in new data released in July. One month earlier, 17-year-old actress Jamie Lynn Spears gave birth to a daughter, distressing parents who worried about the message it would send to young fans. And early in the year, the film “Juno” won an Oscar, prompting critics to accuse Hollywood of glamorizing teen pregnancy.

Sex education varies widely across the nation’s school districts.

In California, the state Education Code does not allow abstinence-only programs in public schools, so if a school offers sex education, it must include discussion of contraception as well as abstinence. About 96% of the state’s schools offer sex education. All schools are required to educate older children about HIV/AIDS, and those discussions must cite both abstinence and condoms as methods of preventing infection.

The federal government has spent more than $1 billion on the abstinence-only message since 1996 under a program created by Congress as part of welfare reform. California is the only state to have declined to take part in the program since its inception, but in recent years more states that once accepted the funding have decided to forgo it.

Palin’s statements date to her 2006 gubernatorial run. In July of that year, she completed a candidate questionnaire that asked, would she support funding for abstinence-until-marriage programs instead of “explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?”

Palin wrote, “Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.”

But in August of that year, Palin was asked during a KTOO radio debate if “explicit” programs include those that discuss condoms.

Palin said no and called discussions of condoms “relatively benign.”

“Explicit means explicit,” she said. “No, I’m pro-contraception, and I think kids who may not hear about it at home should hear about it in other avenues. So I am not anti-contraception. But, yeah, abstinence is another alternative that should be discussed with kids. I don’t have a problem with that. That doesn’t scare me, so it’s something I would support also.”

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Source: Fox News

This doctored photo of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is one of a number of falsifications and rumors to emerge since she became Sen. John McCain’s vice presidential running mate.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been subjected to an intense amount of media and public scrutiny since she was named as John McCain’s vice presidential pick one week ago. Many of the attacks have come in the form of unconfirmed reports on the Internet. Among them:

1) Palin “Joined a Secessionist Political Party”

The Charge: Unsubstantiated Internet reports insisted Palin was once a member of the Alaska Independence Party, which critics call a secessionist political movement and supporters say is dedicated to seeking greater state control over federal lands across Alaska.

The Facts: Palin has been a registered Republican since 1982. There is no record of her ever being a member of the AIP, or any party but the GOP. Palin’s husband has been a member of the AIP in the past, but since 2002 has been a registered independent.

2) Palin Supported a “Nazi Sympathizer”

The Charge: “Palin was a supporter of Pat Buchanan, a right-winger or, as many Jews call him: a Nazi sympathizer,” Obama Florida spokesman Mark Bubriski was quoted as saying in a Miami Herald article.

The Facts: While mayor of Wasilla, Palin wore a Buchanan button during the sometimes presidential candidate’s 1999 visit. But Palin actually supported Steve Forbes in 2000, and served as a co-chair on his Alaska campaign.

In the weeks after the 1999 report of her wearing the Buchanan button, Palin said: “When presidential candidates visit our community, I am always happy to meet them. I’ll even put on their button when handed one as a polite gesture of respect. … The article may have left your readers with the perception that I am endorsing this candidate, as opposed to welcoming his visit to Wasilla.”

3) Palin “Wants Creationism Taught in School”

The Charge: Palin opposes the teaching of evolution, and would mandate the teaching of creationism in the state’s public schools.

The Facts: Palin said during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign that she would not push the state Board of Education to add creation-based alternatives to the state’s required curriculum, or look for creationism advocates when she appointed board members. She has kept this pledge, according to the Associated Press.

Palin has spoken in favor of classroom discussions of creationism, in some cases. “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum,” Palin told the Anchorage Daily News in a 2006 interview.

4) Palin “Was Nearly Recalled” While Mayor

The Charge: Palin was so controversial as mayor of Wasilla that she was almost recalled by a popular voter movement.

The Facts: The Wasilla City Council considered but never took up a recall motion after she fired a longtime police chief, who subsequently brought a lawsuit. A citizen’s group dropped their recall bid, and a judge ruled Palin had the authority to fire the chief.

5) Palin “Opposes Sex Education”

The Charge: Palin opponents say she supported the end of all sex education in public schools. In light of her daughter’s presumably unplanned teen pregnancy, this has been a particularly well discussed Internet topic.

The Facts: “The explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support,” Palin wrote in a 2006 questionnaire distributed among gubernatorial candidates. Palin favors abstinence-based sex education programs.

6) “This Picture Proves Palin is …”

The Charge: A slew of fake, Photoshopped or misdated photographs on the Internet purport to show Palin in any number of embarrassing or compromising poses. One photo claimed to show Palin standing poolside, wearing an American flag-themed bikini, toting a rifle with telescopic sight.

The Facts: The various photos are being discredited and shown to be fake on a number of Web sites. The original of the so-called bikini shot, probably the best-known of the pictures, was shown to have been taken of another woman, with Palin’s head Photoshopped above the body.

7) Palin is the grandmother, and not the mother, of Trig Palin

The Charge: The most salacious rumor of all, this theory holds that Palin did not give birth to her son Trig in April, and was actually covering up for her daughter, Bristol.

The Facts: There are a number of photographs showing an apparently pregnant Sarah Palin, as well as a number of published eyewitness accounts of her pregnancy. These include First Lady Laura Bush, who says she spoke with a pregnant Palin at a governor’s conference in February. An assignment manager for KTVA news in Anchorage, Cherie Shirey, has also been quoted saying: “We worked with Governor Palin many times in 2008. Our reporters worked her on location and in the studio and I worked with her myself. She was definitely pregnant. You could see it in her belly and her face. The whole idea that Sarah Palin wasn’t pregnant with Trig is completely, absolutely absurd.”

The McCain campaign, in an apparent effort to counteract the rumors, announced last weekend that Bristol Palin is five months pregnant, which indicated she would have become pregnant before Trig was born.

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Source: The Swamp
ST. PAUL — So much for privacy.

Sarah and Todd Palin insisted they wanted to protect the privacy of their 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, even as they announced on Labor Day that she is pregnant.

Then Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston, the 18-year-old father-to-be, arrived at the Minneapolis airport today for the Palin family greeting of Sen. John McCain, the presidential nominee-to-be of the Republican Party.

Levi Johnston’s appearance is as public a statement as possible that he plans to step up to the plate: The couple will marry, the Palins say. They planned to all along Johnston’s mother says, even before Bristol Palin became pregnant.

Sarah Palin’s apperance at this novel arrival ceremony is as public a statement as possible that she supports her daughter’s choice — indeed hails it as an affirmation of the “pro-life” cause which she supports, an affirmation appreciated by the conservative, religious base of her party.

John McCain’s appearance in the picture is as public a statement as possible that he accepts the whole family, a measure in and of itself of how far American politics has come: There was a time when pregnant teenagers were hidden, shipped off to schools of their own. In this time, a pregnant teenager and her boyfriend can be embraced by a candidate for president, in the most public fashion possible.

A public picture of extended family values.

So, so much for privacy, Palin family and McCain family alike. They have chosen a public path for America’s at least temporarily most famous teen mom. And ultimately the public will make the call about what, if anything, it all means.

Source: The Celebrity Cafe
Jamie Lynn Spears, the 16-year-old little sister of pop superstar Britney Spears, recently gave birth to a daughter, Maddie Briann, and is sending a show of support to teenage mom-to-be Bristol Palin, daughter of the presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, according to Fox News.

An insider at Beverly Hills baby store Petit Tresor said it was actually Spears’s mother, Lynne Spears, that placed the order over the phone, but requested that it come from her daughter, Jamie.

“It was ordered by phone, and they asked what could be done for under $100. They spent $60 on pink burp clothes,” the source said.

The former Zoey 101 star announced she was pregnant last year and gave birth in June. She is engaged to Casey Aldridge, a pipe-layer from Mississippi. Their relationship has been plagued by rumors of Aldridge’s infidelity.

Palin announced Monday through the McCain campaign that her unmarried 17-year-old daughter is five-months pregnant. Rumors had been circulating that Palin’s own son, to whom she gave birth earlier this year and was diagnosed with Down syndrome, was actually that of her daughter.

Bristol Palin has been pulled out of school for a few months, citing a bad case of mono for the reason.

Source: The Telegraph
In a post on her blog,, Miss McCain, 24, said she felt kinship with Miss Palin, the 17-year-old daughter of vice-Presidential candidate Sarah, adding: “It’s a rough go being the son or daughter of a politician.”

“I have not known Bristol Palin very long, but there is a certain kinship I feel to her as I do other political daughters, such as Chelsea Clinton, Jenna and Barbara Bush and Mary Cheney,” she wrote, in a post titled “Daughters”.

“You can’t fully understand it unless you have lived it. So, I just wanted to let it be known that I support Bristol and the entire Palin family.”

Miss McCain goes on to liken Miss Palin’s situation to a moment that “single-handedly changed my life” – when, during the 2000 presidential campaign, a reporter asked her father whether he would tell Meghan, who was then 14, that she could not have an abortion if she became pregnant.

“This story comes up in almost every profile written about me and in almost every interview,” she wrote.

At the time Mr McCain said: “The final decision would be made by Meghan with our advice and counsel.” However he later clarified that it would be “a family decision, not her decision”.

This week Miss McCain published a children’s book titled “My Dad, John McCain”.

In it she paid tribute to her father’s determination, writing: “Things didn’t look great at first. His campaign nearly ran out of money. People were starting to say he didn’t have a chance. But my dad never gives up.”

Source: The Australian
THE teenager expecting a baby with the unmarried 17-year-old daughter of Sarah Palin is expected to be publicly unveiled at the Republican Party convention.

But Levi Johnston, 18, has created a further stir, describing himself on his MySpace page as a “redneck who likes to snowboard and ride dirt bikes”.

The description appears in a profanity-laden entry posted by Johnston that was made private over the weekend, but not before several media outlets published parts of it.

Johnston, who is to marry Palin’s pregnant daughter Bristol, is reportedly flying to the St Paul, Minnesota, convention after being outed by international media.

He played ice hockey at Bristol’s high school and the Palin camp says the teenage couple will get married.

But in Johnston’s MySpace entry, the teenager hints that fatherhood was not in his immediate plans.

Johnston says he is “in a relationship,” but on the question about how he feels about children he said: “I don’t want kids.” He also says his true love is ice hockey.

Here’s part of his entry before it was made private: ‘I’m a f–kin’ redneck who likes to snowboard and ride dirt bikes. But I live to play hockey. I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing, shoot some s–t and just f–kin’ chillin’ I guess. Ya f–k with me I’ll kick ass.”

Republican presidential candidate John McCain says he is satisfied that Palin’s background was properly checked before the Alaska Governor became his vice-presidential running-mate.

“The vetting process was completely thorough and I’m grateful for the results,” McCain said.

Questions about the review came up after news surfaced that Bristol was pregnant and that the Alaska Governor has retained a private lawyer to represent her in an investigation into the firing of the state public safety commissioner.

The lawyer who conducted the background review said Palin voluntarily told McCain’s campaign about Bristol’s pregnancy, and about her husband’s two-decade-old drink-driving arrest during questioning as part of the vice-presidential search process.

McCain’s campaign has been trying to tamp down questions about whether the Arizona senator’s team adequately researched his surprise vice-presidential selection.

Since McCain publicly disclosed his running mate on Friday, the notion of a shoddy, rushed review has been stoked repeatedly.

In St Paul, Minnesota, campaign advisers vehemently defended the Palin review.