So far, here at the Convention, I have heard nothing but positive and supportive reactions to the Palin-daughter teenage pregnancy. At a party for delegates this evening one woman was raving about how it is “so cool” that McCain chose Palin even though he already knew about it. I think on balance this is going to help McCain.
David Brody, of the Christian Broadcasting Network, declared, the “Evangelical Daily Double.”
“Look, this development will actually be positive for the most part with evangelicals. First they hear that Sarah Palin chooses the life option even though she had a Down syndrome baby and once again the family (and Bristol) has chosen the life option in this recent case. That’s a double “ca-ching”. Let’s call this the Evangelical daily double. If anything, this whole situation will probably make more people around the country relate to her and her family. It makes them more real. Will there by some turned off by the whole pre-marital sex thing? Of course but this type of story doesn’t sink her at all with Evangelicals.
(via NYT Caucus blog)
From what I’ve seen, the main criticism has not come from religious conservatives but from Democrats crying hypocrisy over the fact that Palin supported abstinence-only education. Some have compared the situation to politicians who preach family values and have extramarital affairs. There is a difference, though. This isn’t the candidate’s own behaviour contradicting her preaching. This is her daughter’s behaviour.
For the record, here is the Palins’ press release:
For Immediate Release Monday, September 1, 2008
ARLINGTON, VA — Today, Sarah and Todd Palin issued the following statement regarding today’s Reuters story:
“We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us. 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.”
And here is Barack Obama’s reaction:
“I have heard some of the news on this and so let me be a clear as possible: I have said before and I will repeat again, I think people’s families are off limits, and people’s children are especially off limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics,” the Democrat said forcefully. “It has no relevance to Governor Palin’s performance as governor, or her potential performance as a VP. And so I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories,” he continued.
The candidate who himself was born to a teenage mom, reminded reporters, “You know my mother had me when she was 18, and how a family deals with issues and you know teenage children, that shouldn’t be the topic of our politics and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that’s off limits.”
When asked about an “unnamed McCain advisor” accusing the Obama campaign of spreading despicable rumors surrounding Bristol Palin online, Obama interrupted the reporter mid-question. “I am offended by that statement. There is no evidence at all that any of this involved us,” he said directly. “Our people were not involved in any way in this, and they will not be. And if I ever thought that it was somebody in my campaign that was involved in something like that – they’d be fired,” he added.