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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Baby Games

posted by on August 31 at 19:12 PM


Is raising questions about the Palin pregnancy a smear campaign? Here’s why it’s not. The circumstantial evidence for weirdness around this pregnancy is so great that legitimate questions arise—questions anyone with common sense would ask. The answers to those questions can easily be provided. This is an easier call than the “cross in the dirt” story, which will never be resolved one way or another. The McCain-Palin campaign can resolve this now with medical records, as are mandated for presidential candidates anyway.

The job of a press is to ask questions which have a basis in fact. Read for yourself the full chronology here. See whether you are certain there are no legitimate questions worth asking. I have claimed nothing. I am asking the McCain campaign to resolve a factual question which they must already have covered in the vetting process. After all, this baby was a centerpiece of the public case for Palin made by the Republicans. They made it an issue—and therefore it is legitimate to ask questions about it.

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Indeed. But I wouldn't count on the McCain camp having vetted Ms. Palin. Word on the street is that they're just *now* vetting her. Huh. In other news, Ms. Palin thinks the Pledge of Allegiance was written by the Founding Fathers. God help us. . .

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | August 31, 2008 7:20 PM

Oh thank God - I was hoping to hear more about this.

Posted by John Galt | August 31, 2008 7:30 PM

Does this story have legs?

If this kid was born in a hospital there are way too many people who would know about it for this not to get out.

I'm already hearing the spin that Gustov is great for the Republicans - how could the GOP possibly spin this story against the Dems if it were true.

My only doubt here is that downs is much more common with older mothers.

Posted by DavidC | August 31, 2008 7:43 PM

Get ready to eat some backlash.

Posted by midwayPete | August 31, 2008 8:01 PM

She flew back to Anchorage and drove to a medical center outside Wasilla to give birth. She didn't give birth in Texas where she was when she began leaking amniotic fluid. She didn't give birth in Anchorage. The fact that she chose to go to a small medical facility in a town where she lived for more than 10 years isn't too suspicious in itself, but it does mean that only one or two other people would have to be aware of what was going on, people who Palin probably knows very well.

The story does have legs, though the evidence is far from conclusive. It's true that there are several things that Palin could present to dispute the charges, but the only evidence I've seen against the entire argument is a single picture of her facing away from the camera with her coat open, which gives the impression that she's larger than she appears in any of the other pictures from that time.

Posted by Chris in Tampa | August 31, 2008 8:03 PM

Oh please, oh please, oh please...

Posted by Soo | August 31, 2008 8:07 PM

And if you forward this on, Bill Gates will personally send you a check for a thousand dollars!

Posted by Jacob Rhoades | August 31, 2008 8:10 PM

The way the Obama campaign has dealt with smears is to refute them with documentation that definitively proves them false. Palin should do that. If she does, this story goes away.

Posted by flamingbanjo | August 31, 2008 8:15 PM

Medical records won't cut it. Doctors, especially her doctor from the town she was the mayor of, can be bought. You don't need more that two people to deliver a baby. Midwives and doula's do it all the time. Only DNA will settle it. btw plenty of people have non-age related Down's pregnancies.

Have you seen the pic's are floating around of SP's first pregnancy? She appears much bigger. After the first pregnancy the belly will naturally stretch more in front because it has already stretched that way in the past. This is why later pregnancies show earlier, because the skin is prestretched.
4 months you might be able to hide it, 5 months not likely. 6 months unless you are already large, forget it. and what about the way pregnant woman walk? The way they have to eat?

what gets me is that SP claims to have taken a plane from TX to AK while in labor. where were the contractions? After the water breaks, the contractions start coming and they are difficult to conceal. I can't imagine someone giving a speech as she claims and then getting on a plane with no one noticing.

Posted by LMSW | August 31, 2008 8:30 PM

I've been kind of obsessed with this story all day. I absolutely think it is plausible.

1. Pictures of Sarah Palin during her first pregnancy vs. pictures during this alleged last pregnancy. The first pregnancy she's the shape of a giant balloon. The last, no change in her body at all. Sorry, that's not the way it works.
2. Pictures of her teen daughter, both before and after the baby was born. There's a definite paunch there before the baby was born and afterwards, her body is shaped differently, but still thick.
3. The teenage kid missing 5 months of school due to mono, returning only after the baby was born.
4. Palin's staff didn't believe she was pregnant and there were rampant rumors at the teenage daughter's school that she was pregnant.
5. The 12 hour flight back to Alaska after her water broke.
6. There's more, but as Sullivan says, even these few items are enough to raise a legitimate question.
Even if it's turns out not to be true, she stilled showed shockingly poor judgment flying back to Alaska after her water broke in Texas.

Posted by I Got Nuthin' | August 31, 2008 8:32 PM

And lets say Matlock gets on the case and figures it out conclusively until Palin confesses.

Then what?

This somehow makes her less credible, less qualified to be VP? She covered for her teenage daughters pregnancy at great risk to her career - never guessing at the time that she might get a call from McCain a few months down the road?

The abortion that she wouldn't have turns into an even bigger tale of heroism.

She's practically a CIA operative to pull this off.

Posted by patrick | August 31, 2008 8:40 PM

How long did the right wing go on about Obama being a Muslim? After a little fact checking it was all cleared up.

Now, if we can just get a little fact checking again...

Posted by Westlake, son! | August 31, 2008 8:42 PM


This somehow makes her less credible, less qualified to be VP?

No, but it sure does make McCain look like a moron for choosing her.

Posted by Banna | August 31, 2008 8:49 PM

The interesting thing about this story isn't that backwoods crackers in Alaska get up to funny business; after all, virtually the entire AK Republican Party is in jail or headed there shortly (which is the only reason she was elected Gov). The interesting thing is what it says about McCain. That he has no judgement. That he is impulsive and heedless, and just plain doesn't spend much time thinking about his job. And he wants his job to be The President. We've already had eight years of a guy who doesn't really give a shit, who fundamentally doesn't think government is a valuable thing worthy of close attention. Want more?

Posted by Fnarf | August 31, 2008 8:51 PM

@11 might have a point - if this whole wacky-ass story turns out to actually be true, there's a nonzero chance she could defuse the whole thing with a public speech on the matter, in which she gives her reasons for keeping it a personal family matter. And people might just buy that.

From what I've seen though, there'll be plenty of opportunity for her to make an ass of herself anyway.

Posted by tsm | August 31, 2008 8:51 PM

There's an update on Daily Kos here.

This is damning stuff. As for @11, it goes to trustworthiness, judgment and a litany of other issues.

Those same Republicans who are still criticizing Biden for "plagiarizing" Neil Kinnock when he actually did credit Kinnock time and again and only failed to do so once--enough to torpedo his campaign--are now saying this lying is no big deal.


Posted by I Got Nuthin' | August 31, 2008 8:52 PM

patrick, she didn't pull it off at all. She failed utterly. Everyone figured it out in one day. If that. Ten hours?

The thing is that until now nobody paid any attention to her weird private life. Including the McCain operation, which does not impress.

But I'm also content to talk instead about how Palin would run the Justice Department like she ran the Alaska State Troopers, political axes to grind and personal vendettas and all. Talk about Bush's third term.

A month ago she didn't know what the Vice President does. She said it in the context of implying that her awesome Alaska Governor job was way more important that Vice President of the United States. But it's not like she was a poli sci major.

God, thank you for Sara Palin. Thank you.

Posted by elenchos | August 31, 2008 8:56 PM

If it is true, then yes it absolutely is valid fodder, for several reasons.

First, if true it shows her core beliefs to be nonsense. Her abstinence-only sex ed, which obviously didn't work for her daughter. Her traditional family values, which apparently consists of treating a teenage pregnancy as shameful and something to hide and cover up, and cutting the real father completely out of the picture.

Second, it puts a huge stain on her ethics. I don't care if her daughter got pregnant. I do care if the governor went to great lengths to cover it up. I do care if she is using a Downs-Syndrome baby that is not even her own to score sympathy and political points.

Third, if true it puts a huge stain on McCain and his advisers. Who thought it was a brilliant idea to pick this woman? And what idiots vetted her and missed this?

Posted by Reverse Polarity | August 31, 2008 9:04 PM

Still no indisputable evidence, but wow (per the update on Kos):

The doctor who supposedly approved of Sarah taking such risks, and later delivered Trig? Cathy Baldwin-Johnson... Sarah's relationship with Cathy has formed over the years, and in 2002 (then Mayor) Sarah named her Family Physician of the Year. In May 2007, (then Governor) Sarah appointed Cathy to the Alaska Health Care Strategies Planning Council...

Posted by Trevor | August 31, 2008 9:05 PM

One more thing. Check this unbelievable quote from McCain:

Asked about her lack of experience on Fox News Sunday, McCain said: "She's been commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard ... she's had judgment on these issues. She's had 12 years of elected office experience, including travelling to Kuwait."

Posted by Trevor | August 31, 2008 9:11 PM

McCain cheated on his disabled/disfigured wife and obtained a marriage license with the beer baroness before the divorce was final.

That's pretty skanky and no one gives a shit.

Palin protecting her cub while not flushing the extra chromosome down the john makes her less of an asshole.

Posted by patrick | August 31, 2008 9:18 PM

...and these pigs are about to use a hurricane to score political points...not to mention the constant reminder that McCain was a POW POW POW...

do you think these people draw the line at downs babies?

Now if Palin's husband is the might have a problem.

Posted by patrick | August 31, 2008 9:25 PM

Imagine for a second that everything about the accusation is true and can be proven-- what does it win?

Palin becomes a martyred heroine. She is the valiant woman who tried to rescue her daughter from shame. The adoptive mother who kept her family together.

And her accusers become the witch-sniffers. The press is an angry mob that would come between a baby and his mother. Carrying out a vendetta for nothing more than the joy of destroying a family.

Imagine her daughter weeping on-camera. Confessing everything, and telling us how her mother saved her from getting an abortion and prayed with her every night.

Dan views this as fair game: The right wing promotes abstinence-only education. But their own teenage daughters are getting knocked up as a result.

Who exactly do you think you can sell that argument to? Law professors? College debate teams? They're already voting Obama.

Unless you get her on record answering a question: "should abstinence-only be required in schools, and is it the most effective way to prevent teen pregnancy." "Did you teach it to your daughters and was it effective?"

Anything short of that, and you're over-reaching. Claiming she cannot hold public office because her daughter was an adulterer.

Read "The Scarlet Letter" and tell me who you sympathize with.

Posted by eclexia | August 31, 2008 9:37 PM

Feh, the kid isn't her grandchild. I think the reason she took such incredibly stupid risks with this pregnancy was so that she could "accidentally" lose the baby and still say she's pro-life, anti-abortion.

Posted by yucca flower | August 31, 2008 9:46 PM

It would explain the very odd name for the baby--Trig. I said today to a friend that it was a math class I took in high school. I guess Trig is better than Bio.

Posted by BerkeleyMom | August 31, 2008 9:49 PM

Trig is a norse word for "strength" or "brave."

This "scandal" will pay dividends for the GOP. Just leave it you libs to try to DQ a woman because of what she does with her vagina.

I love the Palin pick - donated money to the campaign (first time in my life.)

I had friends who never vote calling me at 830AM on Friday excited by the pick. I don't believe it wins the games for McCain but it put him back in game. Big Time.

Posted by arctic-expert | August 31, 2008 10:17 PM

#1 At this point, I'd just question Palin (and McCain) about what kind of judgement it takes to wait 22 hours to get to a hospital when you've got a double-high risk pregnancy (what if she had "delivered" a four-week early baby with Down Syndrome--a condition with plenty of serious medical issues--in a plane at 30,000 feet?!).

#2 What, exactly, is Palin's long term plan here? Let's hypothetically say that McCain/Palin are elected, and Palin & family move to Washington. She's going to keep this charade up, and force her daughter, grandson, and the rest of the family to play along pretending that she's the mother? They deserve to be honest about it.

Posted by Lesley | August 31, 2008 10:19 PM

@9: I work as a medical records custodian. Any doctor who allows him-or-herself to be bought by fucking with medical records is not only in big trouble with the AMA and could lose their license to practice but could go to jail as well. Since I haven't yet memorized the Hippocratic oath I don't know this for sure, but I would guess that the sanctity of accurate documentation of what is done with a patient is in there somewhere.

Having said that, I honestly don't give a shit about the pedigree of Sarah Palin's (grand)daughter. The issue is hypocrisy, not who is the modern day equivalent of Hester Prynne. The Republicans have been setting themselves up as morally superior to the rest of us because they hate sex and we don't. They crucify Bill Clinton for cheating on his wife but where, oh where, has McCain's infidelity been reported other than on lefty blogs such as this? It's just like the homophobes who get literally caught with their pants down in airport restrooms. They can screw whoever they want--it's none of my business. But they lose the right to cast the first stone when leveling charges of immorality.

Posted by RainMan | August 31, 2008 10:23 PM

Even if it's not true, she showed questionable judgment traveling back to the little town after the leak was discovered. Why has no one asked her why she put the health and life of her baby in such jeopardy?

Posted by idaho | August 31, 2008 10:25 PM

The name Trig would appear to be a Freudian slip based on the word "trick," implying that the real father was a client of GOP prostitution rings that pimped out Palin's teen daughter.

I suspect the real father's body is buried somewhere in the backwoods of Alaska where Sarah Palin's husband practices his competitive snowmobile racing.

Posted by Douche Bagelow | August 31, 2008 10:29 PM

As fun as it would be to have the entire story true, here are some photos from 3/19/08 that seem to show a pregnant Palin:

(Some though are claiming she's wearing baby fat padding. Oy vey.)

Posted by stinkbug | August 31, 2008 10:36 PM

oops, the photos are apparently actually from 5/13/08.

Posted by stinkbug | August 31, 2008 10:38 PM

shit, wait, the baby was born before then. christ, i can't figure out this date stuff. whatever. i'm off to take a bath.

Posted by stinkbug | August 31, 2008 10:40 PM

Sullivan is sort of conceding. Kos has a post up that says this is over. Monday, the FOX news people and the right wing radio machine are going to have a field day.

Nice work.

Posted by midwayPete | August 31, 2008 10:47 PM


Your style and voice are easy to spot, no matter how many different handles you come up with. You're not fooling anyone, sockpuppet, "Boy from small town Alaska", "Jack". Give it up.

Posted by keshmeshi | August 31, 2008 10:53 PM

Okay, I'll bite. If this turns out to be true, the reason this might not be a net positive for Palin: Because it's an enormous and very public lie. A lie that requires the daughter (you know, the child's alleged mother) to lie about this for the rest of her life, the entire family to lie about this for the rest of their lives, whatever medical personnel were involved to lie about it for the rest of their lives or risk losing their licenses, and the child she allegedly cares so much about to never know who his real mother is.

Someone who was bravely standing up for her daughter would not force her and the rest of her family to live a lie for the rest of their lives (but somebody who was ashamed of her daughter and worried for her own public reputation might.) Somebody serious about honest government would not abuse her position to cover up aspects of her personal life that were embarrassing or "shameful." Somebody who was serious about a life in public service would not place herself in a position to be blackmailed so easily.

And now, the Bill Clinton argument, squared: Somebody who is willing to lie about something as major as this and carry it out in full public view might lie about other things that actually do have an impact on the lives of citizens.

That's if this story is true. A simple DNA test could dispel it easily, and would leave the liberal blogosphere looking like assholes for bringing it up.

Posted by flamingbanjo | August 31, 2008 10:55 PM

Imagine in two weeks time when this has reached CNN. Palin holds a press conference with her daughter and child. As they admit this charade both start crying. Palin tearfully condemns Senator Obama for not stopping those hateful liberal bloggers. Now, do you really think anyone will continue to blame Palin? You think women will be alienated by that performance? No way in hell. This is an issue like Monica was an issue and will blowback heavy on us.

Posted by karst | August 31, 2008 11:02 PM

The Republicans have to be secretly thrilled this hurricane is happening because the Networks are covering Gustav instead of Palin. The only things new I have read about Palin on the network news pages is Ferraro might vote for her, Gulliani thinks Palin is more qualified than Obama, and Hillary refuses to say anything bad about her. This just feels like the Globetrotters throwing a game so the Washington Generals can feel good about themselves.

Posted by elswinger | August 31, 2008 11:22 PM


Not true. They met several times. She flew down to Sedona for two days this past week during the DNC. They orginally met back in February at the National Governor's Conference. Furthermore, Rick Davis went up to Alaska at least three times over the past two months and met with her.

There waa also a draft Sarah Palin movement. No other potential candidate had a grassroots efforts on their behalf. Please get your facts right.


Posted by Jim | August 31, 2008 11:29 PM

All of you delicate souls who think this story is going to backfire on the Democrats, show me how the Republicans have been hurt by the rumors they've spread about Obama (he wasn't born in the US, he's a Muslim, he's was a drug dealer, etc).

They haven't been hurt and if anything some of the dirt has stuck even after it was disproved.

So maybe we should have a discussion about whether the Democrats should fight dirty as a matter of principle, but these rumors are not going to hurt the Democrats. The people who are upset about these Palin rumors weren't going to vote Democratic anyway.

Posted by bob | September 1, 2008 12:24 AM

This discussion is horrifying and just gives fodder to the O'Reilly's and Hannity's to talk about how despicable all the liberals are.

Let's talk about how Palin's so-called "executive experience" is being a council member and mayor of a wide spot in the road, plus only 1 1/2 years as governor of one of our least populous states. I think a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law who was a constitutional law professor for more than a decade can make up any alleged deficit in "executive experience" in an afternoon or so. And as a lifelong legislator, McCain doesn't have any more "executive experience" than Obama. (I can already hear his spokesman waiving the POW banner right now - For five and a half years John McCain didn't have the luxury of getting executive experience.)

Let's talk about her lack of foreign policy experience, and that as vice president, she would only be a heart attack or stroke away from being president.

Let's talk about her far-right religious views and social agenda and her disregard of modern science in favor of creationism.

Let's talk about her problems with misuse of power in Alaska.

But please leave her Downs-syndrome baby alone.

Posted by wayne | September 1, 2008 1:07 AM

ha! #26, only friends who never vote WOULD be excited about the pick. Unless they're Democrats. My friend in Nome emailed: "As a Democrat, I could not be more thrilled with this pick."

Posted by phoebe | September 1, 2008 2:08 AM

#41 is the poo, take a big whiff.

Posted by Torrance | September 1, 2008 5:11 AM

Her older daughter always seems to be the one caring for the baby and looking extremely uncomfortable.

Posted by Jen | September 1, 2008 5:16 AM
Posted by Priscilla Lane | September 1, 2008 6:06 AM

#40, I'm not a delicate soul. Yeah, the shit doesn't blow back on the GOP when Obama is accused of being a Muslim, etc. (It helps that it was a Clinton supporter who claimed to have the "Whitey" tape.)

But in general, they get away with crap like this. It's not fair, but that's the way it's played out most of the time I've been following politics.

Outside the echo chamber, this stuff plays into the hands of the Right Wing Noise machine. Sure, none of them were voting for Obama, but enough of this stuff leaks out and into the consciousness of the narrow band of swing voters who really matter.

Posted by midwayPete | September 1, 2008 6:14 AM

IF (and I do mean IF) the story is true, it just means that Palin is living a plot line out of Desperate Housewives and that she took audacious steps to protect her daughter. That does not make her a bad choice for VP. I'd rather have that person in office than someone who took a cross-country flight after her water broke. On the other hand, her total lack of judgment if the story is true makes her a terrible choice independent of her lack of experience. She had to have known (unless she is a moron) that the story would "go public" if she accepted the nomination, so she was willing to "undo" all the protection of her daughter that she took earlier in order to run for national office. I guess that means her "family values" are disposable. And McCain's judgment in picking her? Whether or not the story is true, it makes me want him to get checked to see if he is developing dementia.

Posted by Jim | September 1, 2008 8:11 AM

So the nutroots get so bad they start accusing a kid with Down's Syndrome of being a bastard without any evidence. How admirable.

At some point Dems are going to realize that Kos/DU are not doing them any favors.

Posted by k2 | September 1, 2008 8:42 AM

OK - this will appear as a post of its own any minute now....

Palin's daughter is pregnant NOW - in the third trimester....already had a quickie wedding...17 years mother like daughter, I guess.

Just heard this on KCBS

Posted by patrick | September 1, 2008 9:11 AM

Did you know there was a film made about Sarah Palin's fifth child?

Posted by patrick | September 1, 2008 9:25 AM

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