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. JP, family man

    I sincerely believed the second she was announced that Sarah Palin was not going to be the VP candidate by late november, that she was merely a "trial balloon" for McCain.

    Now all I can say is "wow". It's one thing to have a lesbian daughter like Dick Cheney does. She can be whomever she wants to be. But a teenage pregnancy which was likely undisclosed during the vetting process???

    What kind of message does this send to kids and voters?

    September 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  2. MD loves ND

    Country First...Sarah Palin First...Family Second..

    Why would a woman want to put her daughter through this public mess. Wow, I'm amazed by what an ego this woman must have.

    September 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. lilacs

    If they really believe this is only their family business then why announce it to the world. The opened the can of worms now deal with the consequences.Moral values what a joke. NO WAY NO HOW NO MCCAIN/PALIN >OBAMA/BIDDEN ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!!!!

    September 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. Don

    When you're running for national office, it unfortunately is everyone's business.

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

    As a born again Christian, I'm offended that the so called political party of high morals makes excuses when Republicans make mistakes, but they persecute everyone else. We all know that if the Obamas had a pregnant teenage daughter of if Chelsea Clinton had been a pregnant teenager or the Biden's had a pregnant teenage daughter, the Republicans, especially the Rush Limbaugh's would have had a field day. I don't think this young lady should be persecuted. I'm just frustrated because I know if the shoe were on the other foot, the Rovian operatives would have had a field day.

    September 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  6. Jeffer65

    Palin was a bad choice to begin with. I don't think this changes that. Obama and Biden better not use this situation to attack the McCain-Palin ticket though. I say this as a likely voter for Obama. It just wouldn't be right.

    September 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. Spin This CNN

    Is this what was meant by calling Palin a "Game Changer"? So since it's the governors daughter everyone should be okay with it and leave them alone. That's a fair request. It just reaks though of idotic judgement on John McCain. I mean most of the candidates would be villified for getting a free ticket to a PG movie let alone a 17 year old daughter hauling around their infant child in the white house. NO WAY ....NO HOW ....NO MCCAIN!!!!

    September 1, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. Terry

    Republican family values? Hah!

    September 1, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  9. Jay

    I think the thing that upsets the liberals here the most is not that this young lady is pregnant, but that she chose to keep the baby. Let us not forget that these same liberals are the ones who champion keeping parents in the dark when their daughters undergo a serious surgical procedure that will not only kill their potential grandchild, but put their child's life at risk as well.

    And the hypocritical liberal march goes on...

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

    I think it's all our business when we must consider electing an ultra-right-wing, creationist zealot who can't even keep her own daughter in check. These Palin gals sure seem to have a hard time keeping from reproducing–no wonder McCain is getting a bounce from conservative men! Just another example of the holier-than-thou hypocritical scum of the Republican party.

    September 1, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  11. Marie Canada

    It is everyone's business if parental guidance was lacking with their children. By this I don't mean the getting pregnant part but the part of getting married at 17 years of age.

    To me this decision shows more concern over the family name than the young lady's welfare.

    I have yet to meet a 17 year old person competent enough to make a life decision like being with someone for the rest of their lives and giving up everything a person of this age should expect to experience on their own. If this turns out to be an irrational decision then more than one life may be shattered.

    September 1, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. NoraL

    Palin has no sense, no sympathy (children need her) and no scruples, but what was I to expect from the GOP? All I can say concerning John and Sarah–"birds of a feather, flock together". I love my party but I'm a gone.

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

    Dear John

    This is what happens when you do not vette your VP choice. You must keep in mind that there is a very thin line between maverick and mistaken.

    A poorly educated misguided woman is hardly going to pull in HRC's supporters.

    September 1, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. Honest Abe

    It may be Palin's family business. Yes they are due the respect of any other family who faces their issue. However, the hypocricy of the Republicans who lecture to all about family values, and when and how a woman shall have a baby makes me sick.

    I dare CNN to publish what I said. I don't think you have the guts moderator to my challenge and protect Palin regardless of cost.

    September 1, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. Cheryl (Retired Vets for Obama)

    Of course it is their business says Mr. McCain, let's see how the self-righteous republicans are going to spin this mess. What a freaking joke!

    September 1, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  16. misanthropicus

    Ohmygod! Palin's hubby's got a 1984 DUI? Cqan you believe this? Ohmygod! The VP's husband's got ain 1984 a DUI! The sky is falling! The sky is falling! But this time is over, America won't take this! What a shame! Less than forty years ago!

    September 1, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  17. Gorbashov

    Ah, yes........MORE............."traditional family values"!

    Don't be fooled........, again!

    September 1, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  18. emma

    Sarah, you said exactly what i was gonna say. I totally agree. This could have been avoided if she would have known about/been able to use birth control.

    September 1, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. Jaz

    What is even more distressing is that this 17 year-old is going to be married off to the father of her baby. Shame on the Palins for sacrificing their daughter on the altar of their "family values."

    September 1, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. Ben

    Gov Palin hasn't got time for her kids let alone wanting to make time for the American people.....This is not some average hockey mom..not enough attention on her kids...SAD DAY!

    September 1, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. Larry Buchas

    So much for abstinence only, John? Sarah Palin stated she supported Abstinence Only and never Sex Education: "The explicit sex education programs will not have my support."

    This reflects Sarah's parental skills. She can't balance her own family issues and you expect her to handle being Vice President?

    September 1, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. Brian Phoenix AZ

    Miss Palin being pregnant is a non-issue. She is not the GOP pick for VP. In case some of you facecious morons don't get it there are a lot of 17 year old ladies that get pregnant. What is the big issue here? So what? Leave the lady alone.

    September 1, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  23. James

    I'll give the 17-year-old respect–but you, John, selecting this woman to be the second most powerful person in the world? That was your call, and a poor one indeed. It's time for you to ask her to step aside, or I'm afraid the election will easily swing to Obama.

    September 1, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  24. Jason

    You can't have it both ways, if this were Obama's daughter, she'd be fair game. And your political beliefs can't state you're against teen pregnancy, and stand up for your VP to have a teen daughter that's pregnant by saying "awww, don't judge". And you can't treat the situation as normal, this woman wants to be the Vice President. Either that, or simply change your stance on the issue, which I doubt you will. Remember, you lead by example.

    September 1, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  25. SLH

    It's MY business when you want to come off as being the candidate with MORALS. MORALS imply not having "sex before marriage," not just choosing to keep the baby (so Bristol got to CHOOSE...really).

    It's MY business when you want to implement abstinence only teaching in schools and McCain wants to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

    Why weren't the Palins conscious that their 17 year was having sex? Kids do make mistakes, but this was an unecessary one. For those who say you don't always know what your children do- my mom did. She was on me like white on rice unitl I was 22. Why? Beacuse that was her job- to be a MOM. Not out preaching "do as I say, not as my daughter does" on the campaign trail. This is not "normal." Shame on those who think we should accept this as normal. Normal means "everyone" has something like this- like a nose, two eyes and two ears. This is not NORMAL! I was not pregnant at 17 geting ready to "marry" the father (like that makes it any better)!

    You don't want your dirty laundry aired? Don't run for VP of the US. Don't be suprised when questions about your character come up when issues with your family surface. You don't even know what's going on in your own home- I don't need you second in line to be in charge of the US!

    September 1, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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