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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Are the pregnancy smears coinky-dinky? Or conspiracies involving the Obama-Biden campaign?

I've never run one of these polls before, but I'm curious how my readers would respond if prompted to guess on this one.

NOTE: I have no evidence showing that there was any campaign involvement in the origination or spread of these rumors. And Sens. Obama and Biden both vigorously deny that they or anyone in their service has been involved. And I don't expect my readership to be a representative sample of the public or any particular subdivision of it.

Basically I'm just curious what you think the real answer is, based on your gut hunches and common sense inferences. An affirmative answer doesn't necessarily mean you believing Obama and Biden themselves are lying, since it could be that there was staffer involvement of which they were genuinely unaware or as to which they at least were given a basis for plausible deniability.

Did Obama-Biden campaign staffers play any role in either the origination or the spread of rumors regarding either Sarah's or Bristol's pregnancy?
pollcode.com free polls

Feel free to comment here in lieu of on the poll host's website, as you wish.

Posted by Beldar at 02:49 PM in 2008 Election, McCain, Obama, Palin, Politics (2008) | Permalink


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(1) Halteclere made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 3:23:51 PM | Permalink

Which pregnancy smears are being discussed (or all of them)? It appears that the National Enquirer brought on the admittance that Palin's daughter was pregnant:

"The ultra-conservative governor’s announcement about her daughter’s pregnancy came hours after The ENQUIRER informed her representatives and family members of Levi Johnston, the father of Bristol’s child, that we were aware of the pregnancy and were going to break the news.

Funny thing is, after the Enquirer scooped the story of Edward's baby, I don't scoff at it as much any more.

As for the rumor about the youngest son actually being the daughter's and not Palin's, I don't know where it started but I find it to be revolting.

(2) hunter made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 3:34:22 PM | Permalink

The effort of the Obamanation to strip gov. Palin of her earned status is what is revolting.
They are tpretending she is nothing more than a small town Mayor. One way they are doing this is by pretending she is just "Palin".
The only way to cure this is by calling her by her proper name: "Governor Palin".
I suggest we do this until the Obamatons cave on trying to diminish her.
Great call on this, Beldar. You were avery good talent spotter, and your analysis was perfect aiming.

(3) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 4:07:55 PM | Permalink

Dear Mr. Dyer: I plump for, "Who knows?" Could be an Obama staffer leaking it, could be they knew but didn't bother, knowing dam well that personal dirt becomes news when the candidate has that (R). Imagine Sullivan finding out about this, and going into full foaming-at-the-butt mode.. Could also be they knew nothing and are merely smirking.

Let's discuss something else, e.g. a) Biden's acceptance of sizable campaign contributions from Delaware's credit card companies and b) Biden's bawling for the 2005 bankruptcy "reform" act, the ones that gave MBNA and other such vampires a grip on the debtor that no amount of sunlight will slacken...

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

(4) toby made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 4:56:02 PM | Permalink

Come on, a pregnant daughter cannot be hushed up ... all Wassilla knew about it. So, only for an Obama staffer, the world would never know young Palin was up the duff?

Jeez, guys, if McSame had vetted the lady properly and had his staff do their jobs, this would have been announced before the bloggers got hold of it. McSame is just as incompetent as Bush.

(5) Milhouse made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 5:13:32 PM | Permalink

A pregnant daughter can't be hushed up, but announcing it at the same time as the VP pick would have made Bristol the focus instead of Sarah. IMO the most sensible way to have handled it, had the smear artists not interfered, would have been to say nothing directly, but to announce the engagement as soon as possible, and then the wedding, and let people draw their own conclusions. If asked directly whether Bristol was pregnant, that would have been the time to say "yes". But they weren't counting on the filthmongers spreading the bizarre rumours that they did, thus forcing the announcement to be made early.

(6) dchamil made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 5:20:03 PM | Permalink

The weather bureau predicts that hurricane Sarah will hit the Washington, DC, area in early November.

(7) slarrow made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 5:34:25 PM | Permalink

Don't think it was Obama's staff, just some media types desperate to dig up something to pretend they weren't absolutely caught by surprise by the pick. They got caught flat-footed, and they ended up projecting their faults onto the campaign.

As for the timing, early in the morning on Labor Day seemed like a decent time for me. Given the media reaction, it really didn't matter when it happened since this lying press would suck on it like a baby with a Tootsie roll.

(8) jmb made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 5:34:27 PM | Permalink

The following article contains very clear info on how McCain camp vetted Sarah Palin.


Team McCain Hits Back on Palin, Vetting [Byron York]

(9) willem made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 6:43:00 PM | Permalink

Tactically, Obama routinely uses the extreme left's rhetoric as a stoic backdrop for posed affectations of wisdom and moral superiority. What irks me is how he baits them with hyperbolic rhetoric; antagonized and sensitized by the pattern of their treatment, they snarl and gnash at others with little to no provocation. It's like a dog owner who brings a pack of leashed distempered pit bulls to the park on Sunday; one who strikes poses about how responsible and concerned they are for the safety of others while blithely ignoring the ethical deficits and pathological narcissism beneath the decision to with bring the dogs in the first place.

Strategically, I suspect Obamechanics may be desperate for effective issues to keep preoccupying the thoughts of their meticulously cultivated and rhetorically antagonized true believers. That Berg suit before a Clinton appointed federal judge in Philly is problematic for Obama on several levels. They are keeping it quiet and off the radar. No doubt Berg's a crank. But the matter before the court could get very interesting depending on how the law and source documents converge.

(10) Michael J. Myers made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 6:43:34 PM | Permalink

I may be dumb. But I buy the McCain campaign story that Governor Palin told him about her daughter's pregnancy at or about the time McCain picked her. McCain said in his view it was a personal and private matter that didn't impinge on her qualifications for the office. McCain is reticent about a lot of things, including what he considers to be personal and private. If this version of events is true--and I believe it to be true--my respect for McCain just went up a notch. One advantage of reaching your mid sixties (as I have) is that you've seen a lot of things--starting with female high school classmates who became in a family way; meeting women who'd had abortions as teen agers; having fraternity brothers rush to the altar before the baby was delivered etc. The only thing that changes in all this as you move through life is that your friends and neighbors become parents or grandparents worrying about their children's problems. Life happens.

The Bristol Palin pregnancy is a bunch of nothing. We'd be better off if we all took the McCain view that it's nobody else's business but that of the young man and young woman and their families. Those who are making political hay out of this are jerks--on both sides.

(11) Milhouse made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 9:55:15 PM | Permalink

Look, I'm very much an outsider when it comes to Good Old Fashioned American Family Values. My ideas on it come from reading (not from television), but it's another culture to me, so I may have very wrong ideas about it. But it has long been my impression that this moral code has two positions for teenagers: Ideally, don't have sex. We're not going to teach you how to have sex without falling pregnant, because you might try it. But if you do have sex and you do fall pregnant, not to worry, it's not the end of the world. Get married before the baby is born, and it will be as if it never happened. Nothing more will be said about it, and the baby will be considered completely legitimate. Sure, you might not be able to have the career you planned, but everyone makes sacrifices for their family.

Is that not an accurate summary? If so, the critics who are sputtering about how this makes Palin some kind of hypocrite are off by a mile. If I'm right, small-town gun-and-religion-clinging America will find nothing wrong with the Palins' parenting, will admire them all for doing the right thing, and will laugh at the lefties who Just Don't Get It.

Of course, I may be completely up the wrong tree myself.

(12) jmb made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 10:28:06 PM | Permalink

The following is an excerpt on how Palin was vetted. Article is at:

“Todd’s DUI — we judged that to be immaterial to the selection process. The ticket for fishing without a license — we judged that to be immaterial to the selection process.” On the charge that Palin was a member of the Alaska Independence Party, the strategist said, flatly, “She was never a member of the independence party, because she has been a registered Republican.” (Later, the McCain camp put out a statement saying it had provided reporters with “ALL voter registration documentation” showing that Palin has been a registered Republican since 1982 and “has never been a member of the AIP.”) And on the issue of Palin’s daughter Bristol being pregnant: “John McCain made a decision that did not affect his decision-making in terms of her qualifications.” (As far as the allegation that Gov. Palin faked a pregnancy to cover up for her daughter is concerned, it appears the McCain campaign knew about it and looked into it, but never very deeply because it had been proven false to the satisfaction of pretty much anyone outside The Atlantic or the DailyKos.)

From our conversation, it was clear that the McCain campaign paid a lot of attention to the so-called “Troopergate” issue. After all, unlike the “fake baby” story that has preoccupied the press, it is a real issue involving allegations that Palin abused her power. Last night, the McCain campaign distributed a "background guidance" memo to reporters on the issue. In our conversation, the strategist recounted much of the substance of that memo.

“Of course this issue came up in the vetting, and this is what we discovered,” the source said. “The man who was fired has said on the record that he was never pressured by the governor or the governor’s husband on the issue of firing Trooper Wooten. The governor had a vision for how she wanted that department to be run. The commissioner had a different vision.”

“The reason that members of the Palin family were having discussions with the head of the state police about this state trooper, who was her ex-brother-in-law, was because he had made threats against the family. He threatened to kill the governor's daughter, her father, and her sister. He tasered her 11-year-old stepson. And that is why the Palin family was concerned about this trooper.”

(13) Daryl Herbert made the following comment | Sep 3, 2008 3:51:39 AM | Permalink

It doesn't take a political campaign to start a rumor on the internet.

However, Sen. Obama could have picked up the phone and called his wholly-owned subsidiary Markos Moulitsas at any point after this rumor surfaced on DKos, and told him to deep-six it.

Sen. Obama chose not to. He gives a sweet statement to the media that he considers Bristol Palin to be "off-limits"--but he doesn't act like it.

(14) kimsch made the following comment | Sep 3, 2008 9:11:14 AM | Permalink

milhouse - you are correct!

(15) w3bgrrl made the following comment | Sep 3, 2008 10:50:19 AM | Permalink

There's an interview of Bill Scannell, an activist in Alaska, posted at Reason. He opines the rumors originated with Lyda Green, Alaska Republican Senate President. She and the Governor have some personal animosity between them, evidently.

That choice wasn't offered. I'd say that the rumors were out there and only those diarists at dkos know if they happened upon them or were given them directly.

She definitely angered some people up there. You're not going shake things up anywhere and not make enemies.

(16) David T. McKee made the following comment | Sep 3, 2008 1:36:51 PM | Permalink

It seems quite obvious that the media is most likely the originator of the rumor - likely the blogisphere and from that to the younger, more rabid liberal press looking for any angle to destroy Gov. Palin. That is what liberal media does, destroy greatness wherever it is found - for that matter, that is what modern day progressive liberalism is all about, the destruction of life, liberty, and property.

David T. McKee

(17) Max Lybbert made the following comment | Sep 3, 2008 1:57:30 PM | Permalink

I can't say if staffers started the frenzy, but I would be very surprised if staffers weren't trying to fan the flames.

I find it remarkable that the "independent media" are all running on the same talking points regarding Palin's resume and experience.

(18) stan made the following comment | Sep 3, 2008 2:10:52 PM | Permalink

Lefties are absolutely convinced that the Swiftboat Vets were an operation put in place by Rove for Bush. All the evidence to the contrary matters not one bit to them. They KNOW. The NY Times told them so and based it on the fact that some people who donated to Bush also donated to the Swiftvets.

Using the journalistic standards employed by the NY Times, it is a proven fact that Obama is personally responsible for every lie, smear and slander that has been directed at Sarah Palin. The websites pushing this garbage have been very active in their support of Obama and helped his fundraising efforts. The standards of Times-logic having been met, it is thus established that Obama's at fault.

(19) Personal Comment made the following comment | Sep 3, 2008 2:56:27 PM | Permalink

I credit (rightly or wrongly) Obama with running a tigher campaign than may otherwise be justified. It would be hard to keep out of the mud if one starts there to begin with. It may devolve to mud-slinging on a greater scale.

There are probably quite a few people, not connected directly with the campaign, who are just as partisan as the staffers. It stands to reason that some of them may/will do whatever they think it takes to help their preferred candidate win.

(20) stan made the following comment | Sep 3, 2008 3:08:05 PM | Permalink


OT, but I wanted to say that I hope Palin tells the nation tonight that being a mom will force her to cutback on campaigning. Unlike Obama, she won't have time to make it to 57 states!

(21) norik made the following comment | Sep 3, 2008 6:28:48 PM | Permalink

Watching media running amok trying to make an issue with Governor Palin's kids was disgusting in itself. Watching the same crowd attempt to cover their collective behinds with trying to present their despicable "reporting" choices as McCain's "bad choice" becomes plain idiotic. How is McCain responsible for the fact of so many media "reporters" being cheap small minded scumbags?

(22) DRJ made the following comment | Sep 3, 2008 6:38:18 PM | Permalink

I agree with Max Lybbert's theory that we don't know who started this but the Obama campaign has likely 'fanned the flames,' 'jumped onboard,' or whatever metaphor you want to use.

(23) RF made the following comment | Sep 3, 2008 7:26:37 PM | Permalink

Could very possibly be Obama and/or staff leaked the news. Regardless it would have been announced soon..better out sooner than later..looks like she isn't try to hide anything..the shock is over...now let's move on & win this thing!

(24) Max Lybbert made the following comment | Sep 5, 2008 11:24:19 AM | Permalink

And here we go ( http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/09/obama_surrogates_urged_to_ment.php ):

Barack Obama has forbidden his campaign from referencing Gov. Sarah Palin's family and has said he'd fire any staffer who violates the rule. ...

[But in] memos, e-mails and phone calls this week, Obama campaign officials have urged surrogates and allies to mention Republicans who are 'nervous' about the Palin pick and to link those worries to George McGovern's aborted vice presidential pick of Thomas Eagleton in 1972, according to three Democratic surrogates.

I know that's a little different from the pregnancy rumors, and I know it's not definitive proof. But it does imply that there's a lot of Obama campaign work going on behind closed doors.

I'm utterly shocked that a Chicago politician would stoop so low.

Well, hopefully people can see through it ( http://hotair.com/archives/2008/07/04/nyt-shocked-to-find-a-politician-instead-of-a-virgin/ ).

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