September 1st, 2008
03:52 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain aide on Palin baby: 'This is their business'

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - Hours after presumptive Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin revealed her daughter Bristol was pregnant, senior McCain adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin rebuked a reporter who asked him whether there was a “sense of panic over the love child issue” within the campaign.

“All kidding aside – a little respect. I mean ‘love child' issue?” he responded. “I mean, this is a young woman. She is 17 years old, and I believe that treating it with a little bit of respect is appropriate. This is the governor’s daughter. It is their issue. It is something that we believe should be treated with a lot of respect.

“This is clearly something that we have a lot of concern about: the future of this young lady. She’s a wonderful woman. From the campaign’s perspective, we have an outstanding candidate who is a governor and she has a family. She loves that family, and this is their business.”

He would not tell reporters at a Christian Science Monitor lunch Monday whether he knew about the news before the statement was released. “It doesn’t matter when I became aware,” adding that the Palins’ statement “speaks for itself.”

“They are now conscious that their daughter will have to address the great challenge of raising a child sooner than they might have hoped. And that they are being supportive of her and the man that she will marry and they would ask that we respect their privacy and I think out of respect for that request that’s probably all we should say.

“…I said what I think we ought to do is recognize that the governor was completely vetted by the campaign,” said Holtz-Eakin. “Senator McCain has complete confidence in her as a running mate and as a future vice president of the United States, and the particulars of the family life of the Palins is really something that’s best left to them.”

He would not discuss how the news might play with the evangelical base, calling it a “matter of speculation” but said that “as they get to know her they’ll understand why the senator has such confidence in her as a running mate and as a vice president and that in the end they’ll be very pleased to pull the lever that says McCain-Palin.”

Filed under: John McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. Anna

    Obama also believes in teaching abstinence to children.
    Follow the leader.

    September 1, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. go away mongers- Ventura ca

    This is NOT an ISSUE- this is a Family situation- so everyone needs to get over it and talk about what our Nation needs!
    OBAMA – BIDEN 08!

    September 1, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. Joe

    “It doesn’t matter when I became aware"

    That is the issue. The McCain campaing either has known about the pregnancy, the DUI arrest and all the other things with Palin that are slowly leaking out during the media's overhyped, hurricane frenzy – and they have tried to cover it. That, or they did not know any of this and they are completely inept. Either way, it would be nice to see some coverage of this on televison – if CNN could manage to do something with all those guys they have standing around in the rain.

    September 1, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. Rick

    I completely support Sarah Palin,and agree with Senator McCain,that this is not the publics buisness,but a praise is in order,for her honesty,and for her support of her family.This onlt further demonstrates her ability to be a great leader in her family.It also shows the love in her heart.This makes me very proud of my party. McCain /Palin has my ovte of confidence all the way.

    September 1, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. Shirley-Ohio

    Obama has been vetting by the world, Palin, by no one, John McCain and the Republican Party vetted her by her looks. Big misttake, huge misttake.

    September 1, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. VAN in TX


    The baby is Palin family business- but your judgement on picking such a family member under the 'social conservative value' umbrella is surely the countrys business; especially since you are 72 years old and she could be the the VP in one missed heat beat !

    As politician, you should have been well aware that you are judged by the company you keep and your company and judgement stinks right now...

    September 1, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. Who vetted this woman?!

    "It is their business," blah blah blah.

    No. It became our business, too, the minute Governor Palin signed on the dotted line with Senator McCain.

    Senator Palin under ethics investigation in Alaska. Her teenaged daughter defying their family values by getting pregnant before marriage. Her husband convicted of drunk driving twenty years ago. A four-month-old mentally challenged infant at home while mom is gone on the campaign trail.

    Nevermind her inexperience in public office. Governor Palin needs to take care of some things back in Alaska. Family First, not Country.

    September 1, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. Ken

    Sorry, but [R]s put personal issues front-and-center on the political table back in the '90s. It culminated in the impeachment - that issue was the Clinton family's personal business, yet all the [R] hypocrites were full bore on it back then. Why? Because he was largely SUCCESSFUL on the issues, and they had no way to defeat the [D]s politically.

    So to you hypocrites who were all over the Clintons back then, and who continue to defend the impeachment: looks like you'll be eating some of the political dung you were flinging back then. Hope it tastes good! I'm gloating at your mis-fortune. And, please, stop with all these false crocodile tears about the tragic Palin family, and the pleading to leave it out of the media spotlight...your hypocrisy is pathetically galling!

    September 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. catmom

    If this was their business then why did the McCain campaign even make a statement about it? It should have been kept private. If McCain were elected and Palin became VP, there was still no reason for it to become an issue. Of course the taxpayers need to know that our tax dollars would be going to support a 17 year old teenager, the husband she married and their baby. She is after all a minor child of the VP nominee.

    September 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. DOH!

    This Obama voter says enough is enough. It's their business...leave it alone.

    September 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. Matt

    So we have McCain picking a running-mate who is pro-life, pro-abstinence with a pregnant teenage daughter who, despite this family agenda, apparently has not been abstinent and "made a choice". We have a VP nominee with a four months old special needs son and a five-months pregnant daughter at home and her priority is to spend the next four months on the road? Talk about conservative family values and judgement – hers and his as well....

    Let's just hope she never gets close to the White House....

    September 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. Lee from FL

    its our business now if she wants our votes

    September 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. Leslie

    I'm tired of hearing McCain's spokesperson 'Nancy' say that Palin is "the most popular Gov in the country". How can that be the case, when no one knows who she is? That comment makes all the other more known governors look like nothing..I think their are many great governors in this country. Take Gov Jindal of Louisiana..

    September 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  14. Not So Fast

    I disagree. It speaks directly to the plausibility and effectiveness of one of McCain, Palin and the far right fringe's pet issues: Abstinence-only education.

    It also shines a glaring light on the fact that there was virtually no vetting of this woman.

    September 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  15. California Voter

    . . . . . and where is there a perfect human being and a perfect family???????????????????????? This is not to condone anything, just to say that no matter who is in the White House or who has been in the White House no one was or is perfect. If people are thinking Obama is perfect I'm sure they will be disappointed, as some of us are already in terms of his past affiliations . . . .

    September 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. Paul

    This young lady needs to be supported in this difficult time. However, mom and dad's judgement are even more in question. Besides the fact she has a 5 month old child with a disability, she has another teen age child who is pregnant and unwed. Why in the heck would you subject this child to this level of public scrutiny and examination? The world stage is not a sparsely populated state. Had she stayed in Alaska, no one outside of the state, and many in the state would never have known about this. Its got to be stressful enough to have to go through this at home, but it is inexcusable to subject your child this level of publicity with no experience in public life. Palin should have put her family first and declined the offer so that the entire family could rally around Bristol. Shameful!

    September 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  17. Jesse

    Except that Mr. McCain made it America's business when he overlooked more qualified candiates to choose Ms. Palin for VP. I wonder what Christian conservatives think now about Ms. Palin's "cultural conservatism". Like most of these conservatives, they seem to flourish when they tell others how to live, but their own lives don't seem to reflect well Christ-like living. Another sign of the times...

    September 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  18. SusanR

    Why, exactly, should this tawdry situation be "treated with respect"? There's nothing respectable about it–just another Jamie Lyn Spears type of loose morality – and Palin's supposed to be the champion of the religious right? What a joke–once again the right wing wackos are going to have to deal with the dirty underbelly they are always preaching against as one of their own stumbles into daylight. All I can figure is with this unbelievably weak selection of a running mate, McCain must be getting senile. America doesn't need another pageant contestant!

    September 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  19. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    As a mother first, palin should have declined the vp pick. I am so sorry that this has led to the exposure of her daughter. But to ask the public to do something that the republicans didn't do for the Obama Camp. I think is asking too much.

    May God bless the whole palin family. This stigma will be on them (especially the children) for the rest of their lives.

    September 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  20. Nevada dude

    oh yes it does matter McCain–Palin was clearly selected for her appeal to the ultra conservatives, which were not solidly behind you. now you have demonstrated that you either are cavalier towards their core values or are too hasty in making decisions and dont think things through.

    either way, you are a poor choice.

    Go Obama Biden!!

    September 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  21. Bellamy

    Too bad the Republicans didn't feel this way from 92-98 when they went after Hillary Clinton with meat cleavers in the national media while she was serving as 1st lady. Funny how things that happened many years prior to President Clinton taking office were relevant then but things like Todd Palin's DWI are suddenly deemed not relevant now by the same group of Republicans....

    Maybe some apologies from everyone in the GOP involved in attacking Hillary Clinton from 92 forward over issues that happened before she was ever first lady are in order....

    That being said, I do agree with Barack Obama's call to leave families alone but I think the Republicans need to acknowledge and apologize for their roles in attacking the Clinton family and those more recently involved in going after Barack Obama and his family (ie: the attacks on Michelle by Steve Schmidt and other former Karl Rove cronies now employed by the McCain camcaign despite their involvement on the attacks on McCain's adopted daughter in 2000) need to step up, man up and claim responsibility and apologize.

    I doubt that will happen because those involved in all of the above don't have the integrity or courage to do so.

    September 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  22. ddaniels

    Amaricans try to take everything in the disadvantage of persons in the top. It does not matter what the can take. These persons are not public property nor their families.

    September 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  23. a p

    you know, i'm a civil engineer, and a woman, but let me tell you that if my family was in such a mess - a teenage daughter pregnant, a baby with special needs, there is NO WAY NO HOW that I would not put my family first. Palin is too egocentric, narcissistic, egotistical to dismiss her family's problems. Her morals and PRIORITIES are not shared by most americans, and I can only feel pity for her family.

    September 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  24. Nan

    Yes this is the Palin family business. Also, I do believe that children are off limits. All of that being said, I question this candidates judgement. She has a 4-5 month old baby with special needs and a pregnant teenage daughter. This is not the time for her and her husband to be looking at the VP position. I would make this statement even if she were a man in the same situation. It takes the efforts of both parents to raise a special needs child and to be there for a scared teen mother. Taking on this campagain knowing the international attentrion this would draw to her daughter shows very poor judgement on her and her husbands part. I believe firmly in prochoice but to use the fact that your teen daughter "chose" to keep the baby to your politcal gain is tragic. I hope all turns out well for this poor child who is having a baby. I also pray that she is not forced into marriage so that her mother can claim what a great mom of 5 she is and how in love her child is.

    September 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  25. gark

    The real issue is that Sarah Palin keeps talking about her daughter's 'decision' to keep the baby. This means they used their right to choose. Sarah Palin reveals herself through her own words and actions as a pro-choice candidate, even if she doesn't realize it.

    September 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
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