From a press gaggle earlier today (h/t Liss):
I have heard some of the news on [Bristol Palin] and so let me be as 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, it has no relevance to governor Palin’s performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. And so I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know my mother had me when she was 18. And how family deals with issues and teenage children that shouldn’t be the topic of our politics and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that is off limits.
Elsewhere: Hilzoy offers a measured, classy response @ ObWi/The Washington Monthly; TAPPED’s Ann Friedman disputes the use of the word “choice” in the McCain/Palin statement; on the opposite side of the aisle, Allahpundit speculates about the timing of the announcement:
The more I think about it, the more I think McCain probably did know [about Bristol Palin’s pregnancy]. The timing is simply perfect to release the news: You wouldn’t want to do it on Friday, lord knows, when she’s getting her intro to the country, and you wouldn’t want to do it later in the campaign when it’s closer to Election Day or even later this week when it’d distract from her convention speech. Now’s the time to do it, when it’ll be no higher than the third-most important story of the day.
If I’m right, then the nutroots’s smears about Palin’s own pregnancy gave McCain an amazingly fortuitous pretext here. Now he gets to play the victim — “we had to do it to stop those dastardly left-wing bloggers from hurting the family” — instead of just someone making an embarrassing admission.
In comments at ObWi, Ugh observes that the McCain campaign has taken full advantage of the aforementioned pretext served on a silver platter to reinforce the integrity of Sarah Palin’s (and, thus, by default, John McCain’s) pro-life creds, insulate their VP nom from further criticism, and get a few partisan shots in on Obama:
If the point of releasing this information was to “knock down rumors by liberal bloggers that Palin faked her own pregnancy to cover up for her child.” We only need to know one thing: Bristol is five months pregnant. We don’t need to know:
(i) that “Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby, McCain aides said.”
(ii) that’s she’s decided to have the baby.
(iii) that’s she’s decided to raise the baby.
(iv) that she’s decided to marry the father.
(v) the father’s name is Levi.
Further, the McCain camp sure as fncking [sic] hell doesn’t tar Obama with this, such as with this nonsense like: “The despicable rumors that have been spread by liberal blogs, some even with Barack Obama’s name in them, is a real anchor around the Democratic ticket, pulling them down in the mud in a way that certainly juxtaposes themselves against their ‘campaign of change,”‘ a senior aide said.
So, we get to sit here and let the McCain campaign make at least three significant political points with this story, throw out a blatant lie that “the media to respect our daughter and Levi’s privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates“, and also accuse Obama of starting the rumors. Plus, they get an all purpose club to beat off any mistakes Palin makes from now until November.
Via his primary position as Pat Robertson’s pet news anchor, TBPTOT charter member David Brody explains how this revelation will help the McCain/Palin ticket with Evangelicals:
I’m sure lots of people will take their shots at the pro-life Christian woman but hold on a moment. If you think Evangelicals are going to ditch her for this, you’re totally misreading the situation. As a matter of fact, they are ready to fire back at any potential critics…
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 Downs 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.
Finally, I give the last word to Steve Benen:
Sarah Palin apparently lied about abusing her powers as governor, firing a capable Public Safety Commissioner without cause. Campaign reporters find that mildly interesting, but during a lengthy interview between John McCain and Chris Wallace yesterday, the subject didn’t even come up.
But now that John McCain’s running mate’s teenage daughter is having a baby, now reporters are swarming around Steve Schmidt, demanding answers.
I suppose news outlets might justify their prurient interests, arguing that Palin’s family may have a Jerry Springer-like quality, but as the day as unfolded, I can’t help but find the whole thing ridiculous. Bristol Palin is not a candidate for public office. Her pregnancy is none of the political world’s business.
Amen. And, with that, I’m truly done with this.