VP-hopeful Palin’s teen is pregnant, campaign says


Published: Monday, September 1, 2008 at 11:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 1, 2008 at 11:44 p.m.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — John McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, said Monday her 17-year-old unmarried daughter is five-months pregnant, an announcement stealing even more thunder from McCain and a Republican presidential convention already overshadowed by Hurricane Gustav.

Adding to the day’s drama, McCain aides said the announcement was aimed at rebutting Internet rumors that Palin’s youngest son, born in April, was actually her daughter’s.

The national convention, which a political party counts on to send its candidate surging into the fall campaign, already had been relegated to a distant second to the hurricane on TV, in newspapers and on Web sites.

Monday’s statement, attributed to Sarah and Todd Palin and released by the campaign, said that Bristol Palin would keep her baby and marry the child’s father, identified only as a young man named Levi.

The baby is due in late December.

“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,” Sarah and Todd Palin said in their brief statement.

The disclosure came on the opening day of the Republican National Convention, which has been scaled back because of Hurricane Gustav, and three days after McCain named Palin as his vice presidential running mate. Coming after the randomness of Gustav, the revelation added to the sense of unscriptedness that is hanging over the convention.

Prominent religious conservatives, many of whom have been lukewarm toward McCain’s candidacy, predicted that the announcement would not diminish conservative Christian enthusiasm for the vice presidential hopeful, a staunch abortion opponent. In fact, there was talk that it might help.

In Monroe, Mich., Democrat Obama said his campaign would not seek to publicize or capitalize on the matter. He said, “I think people’s families are off limits, and people’s children are especially off limits.”

Palin, the first-term Alaska governor, was in Minnesota preparing for her Wednesday night nomination acceptance speech when the campaign issued the statement from her and her husband; her family was home in Alaska.

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