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. grant

    As public school teacher, I know that this is hardly a normal family; teen pregnancy and teen sex is not something we should be promoting from the white house. We have a great challenge in addressing this problem as it is; most teens don't have the kind of support bristol has.; for most families and schools and communities, this is a disaster! A huge dysfunctional problem. Please don't make a bad situation worse by promoting teen pregnancy and teen sex as part of family values from the whitehouse. McCain winning would be a disaster for those of us trying to fight this epidemic.

    September 1, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. lil_yogini, oceanside, ca

    Oops. I meant "moral" values, not "mortal" :o)

    September 1, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. Frank

    I do think the Palins deserve some privacy here, but I also think this raises a legitimate issue: the failure of abstinence-only education.

    September 1, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  4. kristyn

    Wow, Palin believes in teaching abstinace in the schools. She doesn't want safe sex taught or give our children the proper protection. As we all know, kids make mistakes. We just don't want them to lose their futures or their lives because of them. I bet she wishes she taught her daughter about safe sex. She can't seem to run her home properly. How can she run our country. Is it true that her daughter dropped out of school too?

    September 1, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. maynard hopkins wi

    i urge all bloggers to follow Obamas orders and leave the children and husbands, wives out of the political spotlight.

    What they do is not concern for you or me. Its the ones running for office that need to be watched

    enough is enough maynard hopkins from wi

    September 1, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. GTG

    Well, great job on the homework, McCain- Just another PRo this and that who can not seem to LIVE it– I would rather wait for a women who is free to give her full attention to the job of VP OR Pres rather than keep hearing 'leaks' and wonder who, if anyone ,/really there FOR /is raising HER family esp a Downs synd. baby, a teen mom and a husband who drinks and drives.... surely there are some women or men who are more appropriate to nominate.

    September 1, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. tonybama, grahamsville, ny

    What bearing does this possibly have on the future of America- which is what this election should be all about.

    September 1, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. Chad in Cincinnati

    When one's sole qualification for office falls in the category of 'family values' and said individual takes extreme positions stemming from that background, the status of her family situation and what she may have done wrong in raising her children is absolutely fair game.

    September 1, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  9. New Beginnings

    I am so shocked and disappointed that a good Christian family would allow their daughter to be so promiscuous.

    September 1, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  10. Kathryn Parks

    McCain should "encourage" Palin to withdraw as VP on grounds that she needs to spend time with her family. The Downs baby needs her and her daughter's upcoming one probably will too. McCain does not need Palin, nor does this country, should he be elected.

    September 1, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  11. Just My Musings

    I am angry and disappointed that CNN and especially Wolf Blitzer has continued to bring up the Palin Daughters Pregnancy. It is a private family matter. Lay off the daughter and the subject.

    September 1, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  12. Pat M

    Well let's see, McCain only met Palin once he stated. After their meeting and during a conversation with a reporter, Palin herself said she'd be a long shot. But, Surprise she was chosen as VP regardless of her nil political experience. Unless, you call a two yr. term Governor of Alaska, population 670,000 experience. NOW we're supposed to believe McCain knew about her daughters' pregnancy! Then again, he knew about her nil experience and still appointed her VP – so – maybe he knew about the pregnancy too! It sure looks like the only thing McCain cares about regarding a VP is that she's a Woman!
    Give it Up Republicans before it gets even worse or even more comical !!

    September 1, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  13. Guz

    Palin may have thought her daughter, about safe sex, that does mean the younger generation will listen. The younger generation all feel they are old enough to make the correct decision, and we as parents need to be there to help in those decisions, that were not correctly made by our support, and educaton to prevent the same from happening agin.
    How many of you made a bad or wrong decision while in your teens. If you say never, you can say to yourself you are a bold face liar.

    September 1, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  14. Clay

    If Palin and McCain think they're going to legislate morality for the rest of the country in regards to abortion and women's rights, then they can darn sure take fire from those of us who supports a woman's right to choose. She probably made the choice for her daughter. That doesn't mean she has the right to make the choice for mine should that situation arise. What Palin might call leadership by example, I would call hypocrisy.

    September 1, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  15. Hokuto

    >>Tony, Mike and others wonder: "What bearing does this possibly have on the future of America- which is what this election should be all about."

    What bearing this has is simple to explain: first, as proxy for the evangelical right, Palin preaches "family values," no sex before marriage, no birth control education–all of which have important policy implications. And yet, at the same time she was in hospital giving birth to her most recent child, her 16-17 year-old daughter was having unprotected sex. There is nothing unjust in questioning whether her inability to use these values to influence her own immediate family's behavior in an area she considers so critical might have some reflection on her ability to govern a nation. Second, the family values crowd tells us that a person should put family above career. How can Palin possibly put family above career when she has both an infant child requiring special care and now this "child mama" as well? If she weren't a vp candidate, how would the family values crowd spin this woman's choices? Third, Palin has said that her daughter made the specific "decision" to keep the baby and get married. That sounds noble until you realize that this is a decision that–by their opposition to abortion–Palin and McCain are now attempting to deny to other women. In short, the case stinks to high heaven of hypocrisy–do as we say, not as we do. Democrats don't have to be more moral in order to make this criticism; their morality is not the issue. Hypocrisy and judgment are the issues.

    September 1, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  16. Chris from Delmar

    The fact that Palin's daughter is pregnant is not a campaign issue. But the fact that as governor of Alaska, Palin insists that abstinence is the only acceptable method of preventing teen pregnancy is a campaign issue. It means that her range of solutions is measured by its theological purity, not its efficacy. And that is very much something that we voters need to examine.

    September 1, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  17. High Office

    It becomes America's business! We want sound leadership and judgement. Someone not having numerous problems of their on. So they can concentrate on America's issue. No wonder she was never concerned about the war overseas.

    I'm 48 year old white woman wanting answers on where in the heck is America going we are not respected as a country now throw in morals.....Good lord where have it all gone!

    September 1, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  18. Columbus Dude

    I really don't get this? You have people on here ranting about how McCain is a liar, to Palin should have made sure her daughter never got pregnant. Heck, there was even a comment about Bush? Haven't figured out the relation on that one yet? Bottom line is, 'It happens to the best of us!'. Furthermore, I am sure many of you have a skeleton or two in the closet. No one is perfect! People talk about how screwed up the country is because of our politicians. Personally, I think the country is a mess because of the knuckle heads who posted all of the garbage comments on this article. It's just a hunch. : )

    September 1, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  19. Stuart

    I agree with Senator Obama's statement that the personal lives of candidates' families are off limits. For all those who want to go after this issue let's just remember how we felt when the attacks were levelled against Michelle Obama.

    What I don't think is off limits is how the candidates or campaigns chose to deal with these situations.

    Based on this revelation about Bristol Palin being pregnant, go back and look at the photos from the announcement of Palin as the McCain VP pick...EVERY PICTURE SHOWS BRISTOL WITH A LARGE BABY BLANKET COVERING THE FRONT OF HER AS SHE HOLDS TRIG PALIN.

    When I first saw the Palin family walking out I wondered who was going to get fired for letting one of Palin's kids come out with such a huge blanket that clearly was not very photogenic. Looking back I realize that a large blanket must have been SPECIFICALLY CHOOSEN to hide Bristol's pregnancy. I only hope it was someone in the McCain campaign who asked Bristol to hide her pregnancy and not Governor Palin herself.

    Even now, the news about Bristol's pregnancy is only coming out in response to false attacks that Trig was actually Bristol's child and not the governor's. You wonder if they were ever going to tell us that Bristol was pregnant. Rather than trying to hide it from the public and then being called out on the issue, why not say "we support our daughter completely as she brings another precious life into this world"? The fact that Bristol is keeping the baby even though a teen simply would let them make arguments against abortion while denying the chance for any counterattack since it would be labeled "negative".

    I don't fault anyone for trying to deal with difficult situations in life under the national spotlight. I fault politicians who won't level with us as real people and tell us the truth.

    September 1, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  20. Penny in NC

    Palin does not support sexual education in the schools but supports teaching abstinence instead. Her daughter obviously became sexually active at age 16 or younger. That proves that Palin is completely ignorant about the best methods for teaching our children and ignorant about what's going on in her own home. I do not want anyone, man or woman, with this kind of judgement making decisions for me in the White House!!!

    September 1, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  21. Willert

    CNN is hitting below the belt by constantly reporting on Palin's 17 year old daughter. Obama is taking the high rode and leaving the Palin family matters out the media and out of his campaign. I hope CNN does the same and STOPS running the story. Take the high rode CNN............

    September 1, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  22. K.S.

    Something that does make sense to me is that, perhaps Palin's daughter only now revealed the news to Mom & Dad? I mean, I know McCain's a maverick, but come on now, giving the Republicans too many surprises at one time will surely backfire--big time!

    Palin: your family needs you more right now than the country. Think of your daughter. She's still a child herself. It's not right to subject her to so much criticism from the media and the people.

    Whether the VP wants to be or not, he/she and their family are setting an example for all of America. And they should be the best of the best.

    September 1, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  23. James

    What part of off limits dosen't Wolf and CNN understand. This is a family matter and any decent listener doesn't want to hear any more about it.
    Just drop it CNN

    September 1, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  24. SNAPPA

    For right wingers the meaning behind abstinance: The relief that they will not have to talk about sex with there kids simply because they are either ashamed of something in their past or they were abused as a child...talking about sex is not a dirty thing but they tend to make sex a dirty word and something shameful... SHAME ON THEM!!!

    September 1, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  25. Rob Johnston

    I have never blogged before – but I had to communicate my outrage that the Palin pregnancy has been so excessively covered – CNN reporter referred to it as a "bombshell" – stop this reporting now! As both candidates declared – it is a private family matter.

    The media better learn its place – and not everything should be put out for this kind of public scrutiny. Children, especially, should off limits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 1, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
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