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The Return of Jane Swift

Former acting Massachusetts governor Jane Swift answers questions during a press conference to defend Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's experience on day three of the Republican National Convention on September 3, 2008 in St. Paul, Minn. (Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

By Ed O'Keefe
Former acting Massachusetts governor Jane Swift, the only governor until Sarah Palin to give birth while in office, has emerged from political retirement to become a leading public defender of the Alaskan vice presidential nominee -- hosting conference calls and news conferences and appearing on several cable news shows in her defense.

"I did the reverse of Sarah Palin. I went to the PTA after being governor," noted Swift in a telephone interview yesterday afternoon. But her own famous struggles balancing work and family have given her a unique insight, she said, into the challenges Palin may face as the first nursing mother on a major party presidential ticket.

"If you are able to paint a picture of doing it very very well, then you lose your appeal to everyone else struggling with it," said Swift of the process of combining high-level elective office with small children. "If you appear to be incompetent and not able to do both, then people question your ability to do well when people want to know you're a good mother. This to me is the biggest double standard."

Swift first reached out to Palin last spring, after the Alaska governor publicly announced her fifth pregnancy. They met in person when Palin traveled to Philadelphia in July for the National Governors Association meeting. "I liked her immensely," said Swift. "I was struck by the fact that we had very similar backgrounds and I was thrilled that she was fairing so well politically. I guess the one thing we didn't have in common is that she is the most popular governor in the nation politically and I never held that distinction."

When Swift first heard the news that Palin was McCain's likely running mate pick, she contacted the campaign to offer her help, any way she could.

"The top levels of the campaign, since New Hampshire, have known that if they need my help, I can help," she said. Earlier in the cycle, Swift had spent a considerable amount of time with McCain in New Hampshire, knocking on doors, making phone calls and appearing at town hall meetings.

Critics of Swift's -- and in Massachusetts, there are plenty -- find her new prominence as an advocate for a woman touting her ability to manage work and family amusing.

"She struggled to balance work and family, so she's not a shining example of the woman who 'had it all,'" says Jeffrey Berry, a Bay State political observer and Tufts University professor.

Swift ascended to the Massachusetts governorship back in April 2001, when Gov. Paul Cellucci stepped down to become ambassador to Canada and she was the state's lieutenant governor. Her struggles, at that point, had already begun. As lieutenant governor, a state ethics commission fined her for asking staffers to babysit her young daughter. After becoming governor, she faced criticism for using a state helicopter to fly from Boston to her home in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts.

Ultimately Swift declined to run for governor in 2002 amid the controversy and Republican pressure to step aside in favor of Mitt Romney, who had just completed a successful tenure as the head of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics organizing committee.

"She's actually a very articulate, in many ways successful governor. The press didn't do her any justice unfortunately," says Republican strategist and friend Ron Kaufman, a Massachusetts native.

Swift's return to the political stage now raises questions about her political future. The former governor lives in Williamstown, Mass., with her husband and three daughters. She travels nationwide as an education consultant and gives speeches on women's leadership and education. Though she lost a congressional race against Rep. John Olver (D-Mass.) in 1996, but some speculate she may run for the seat whenever Olver decides to step down.

"I think the more likely aspiration is an appointed position in the McCain Administration" than an elected one, predicts Berry, as the Berkshire area has become more Democratic in recent years.

Swift, like many former politicos, is still trying to figure it all out. "Like everybody else, I'm looking to figure out how to maximize the opportunity," Swift says of her campaign work. She's invited several folks she's met in recent weeks to meet speak with students at a Williams College course she will teach next spring. She's also a parent volunteer at her children's school and a Brownies parent leader.

Says Swift, "Six years later, knowing what it's like to have Saturdays off, it gives you a different perspective."

By Web Politics Editor  |  September 12, 2008; 12:54 PM ET
Categories:  Cast of Characters , Sarah Palin  
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Next: Obama Paints McCain as a Man of the Past


Palins alledged affair

McCain throws his BlackBerry (phone)

Get the full Story on Bristol Palins Dude

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

I lived in Massachusetts while Swift was "governor." Is there any way we can make her go away again? Please?

Posted by: nlc | September 12, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Did you see Gov. Palin's interview with "Charlie" on ABC just now? Wow, That Ball is still flying. I think she ripped the cover off of it!

Posted by: Scott | September 12, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Palin.....Ms. Hubris
In its modern usage, hubris denotes overconfident pride and arrogance; it is often associated with a lack of knowledge combined with a lack of humility. An accusation of hubris often implies that suffering or punishment will follow, similar to the occasional pairing of hubris and nemesis in the Greek world. The proverb "pride goes before a fall" is thought to sum up the modern definition of hubris. In reference to someone being in hubrity: hubrity is a fulfillment of being hubristic or a continual behavior of being prideful. Victor in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein exudes hubris in order to become a great scientist, but is eventually regretting this previous desire. Faustus in Christopher Marlowe's play Dr. Faustus exudes hubris, all the way until his final minutes of life.

Posted by: DUNCAN | September 12, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm for Independence from Foreign Oil AND Against Global Warming- So, I CAN'T vote Democratic this year, because your candidate panders to his Illinois Farmers! (So, I don't know what you're talking about)

Obama's Gift to Illinois farmers-

(I thought he was for a REDUCTION in dependency on foreign oil- corn ethanol requires 1 unit of petroleum for every unit it replaces- the more we make, the more we need, the bigger the profits in Illinois and the warmer the planet gets)

Study: Ethanol may add to global warming
Updated 2/8/2008 5:52 PM
By H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON — The widespread use of ethanol from corn could result in nearly twice the greenhouse gas emissions as the gasoline it would replace because of expected land-use changes, researchers concluded Thursday. The study challenges the rush to biofuels as a response to global warming.
The researchers said that past studies showing the benefits of ethanol in combating climate change have not taken into account almost certain changes in land use worldwide if ethanol from corn — and in the future from other feedstocks such as switchgrass — become a prized commodity.
"Using good cropland to expand biofuels will probably exacerbate global warming," concludes the study published in Science magazine.
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The researchers said that farmers under economic pressure to produce biofuels will increasingly "plow up more forest or grasslands," releasing much of the carbon formerly stored in plants and soils through decomposition or fires. Globally, more grasslands and forests will be converted to growing the crops to replace the loss of grains when U.S. farmers convert land to biofuels, the study said.
The Renewable Fuels Association, which represents ethanol producers, called the researchers' view of land-use changes "simplistic" and said the study "fails to put the issue in context."
FIND MORE STORIES IN: Congress | Princeton University | Thursday
"Assigning the blame for rainforest deforestation and grassland conversion to agriculture solely on the renewable fuels industry ignores key factors that play a greater role," said Bob Dinneen, the association's president.
There has been a rush to developing biofuels, especially ethanol from corn and cellulosic feedstock such as switchgrass and wood chips, as a substitute for gasoline. President Bush signed energy legislation in December that mandates a six-fold increase in ethanol use as a fuel to 36 billion gallons a year by 2022, calling the requirement key to weaning the nation from imported oil.
The new "green" fuel, whether made from corn or other feedstocks, has been widely promoted — both in Congress and by the White House — as a key to combating global warming. Burning it produces less carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, than the fossil fuels it will replace.
During the recent congressional debate over energy legislation, lawmakers frequently cited estimates that corn-based ethanol produces 20% less greenhouse gases in production, transportation and use than gasoline, and that cellulosic ethanol has an even greater benefit of 70% less emissions.
The study released Thursday by researchers affiliated with Princeton University and a number of other institutions maintains that these analyses "were one-sided" and counted the carbon benefits of using land for biofuels but not the carbon costs of diverting land from its existing uses.
"The other studies missed a key factor that everyone agrees should have been included, the land use changes that actually are going to increase greenhouse gas emissions," said Tim Searchinger, a research scholar at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and lead author of the study.
The study said that after taking into account expected worldwide land-use changes, corn-based ethanol, instead of reducing greenhouse gases by 20%, will increases it by 93% compared to using gasoline over a 30-year period. Biofuels from switchgrass, if they replace croplands and other carbon-absorbing lands, would result in 50% more greenhouse gas emissions, the researchers concluded.

Posted by: Scott | September 12, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Is Sarah Palin the first VP candidate to possibly be indicted? I honestly cannot think of another candidate this has happened to.

History being made.

Posted by: whynot | September 12, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

In recent weeks, John McCain and the Republican Party have blatantly and without any shame adopted the Democratic campaign theme of “change”. It should be evident to an objective observer that Bush 43 and now McCain and Pailin are mere puppets to the true Republican national party leaders who control their strings. Cheney is one of the few of that inner cabal that have been calling the shots since the Nixon administration. They are in fact a continuation of the Nixon and Ford presidencies with only a disruption during the Carter and Clinton years. Bush 41( Head of the RNC during Nixon, former head of the CIA,VP to Reagan, and president is probably the real leader of this political Cosa Nostra if not a equal partner of this power sharing musical chairs game. His right and left hands have been Dick Cheney(former Sec.of Defense of Bush 41, former White House Chief of staff for Ford) and the other is Donald Rumsfeld(former Sec. of Defense for Ford and Bush 43,former special envoy to the Middle East during Reagan). Another member of this group, more likely a captain if not a full blown boss himself is James Baker (former C.O.S of Reagan, former Under Sec. of Commerce for Ford, former C.O.S and Sec of State for Bush 41, former Sec. of Treasury for Reagan, former chief legal advisor to Bush 43). Another captain or free lance enforcer is Karl Rove a college drop out and campaign manager for both Bush 41 and 43, also for Phil Gram who is McCain’s economic advisor.
Lets look at McCain’s staff of change.
On July 2, 2008, Steve Schmidt was given "full operational control" of McCain's campaign. Steve Schmidt prior to this was a top aide to Dick Cheney and a protégé to Karl Rove. Another advisor is Charles R. Black worked for Ronald Reagan's two Presidential campaigns in 1976 and 1980 and he was a senior political adviser to the 1992 re-election campaign of George H.W. Bush. Another advisor is Randy Scheunemann. He was project director for the Project for the New American Century. A neo-conservative think tank founded by non other than Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Bill Kristol and others in 1996. Other signatories to this group reads like a who’s who of the last 8 years of the republican administration.
These people have never cared about small town america or “values” All they care about is war profiteering. Many of the signatories have never served in the military. Cheney and Rove both dodged the draft. Look at the statement of principles by the PNAC. Rumsfeld was a good friend of Saddam Huessin in the 80’s Cheney didn’t want Nelson Mandela free. These are the real puppet masters, they throw out the talking points about the left of being elitist and not caring about middle america and these same guys other than Rove have advanced degrees and are worth no less than 10 million dollars. People who support them need to extricate their heads out of Limbaugh and Hannity’s asses and see what is really happening to them. McCain is not his own man he confuses stories of his real life with a book he read “The Gulag Archipelago", in which a fellow prisoner - not a guard - silently drew a cross in the dirt with a stick.” An ironic twist to all this is Eliot A. Cohen, a signatory to the PNAC "Statement of Principles", responded in The Washington Post: "There is no evidence that generals as a class make wiser national security policymakers than civilians. George C. Marshall, our greatest soldier statesman after George Washington, opposed shipping arms to Britain in 1940. His boss, Franklin D. Roosevelt, with nary a day in uniform, thought otherwise. Whose judgment looks better?" Even if you don’t like Obama there is no-way a sane person can want this continued blatant fleecing of our Nation.
Thes are all verifiable facts and can be found just with a google search. AIPAC and PNAC are the military industrial complex.
Other than the ultra affluent, how can anyone support the Republican Party? When will small town America realize that they are being duped into supporting the ultra-affluent agenda? The talking points of the right are so hypocritical that it becomes laughable. The red meat of the right is the so called Main stream Media as if Limbaugh, Hannity, et al. are not part of it. They demean celebrity status, however they tout one of their greatest presidents(Reagan) was an actor. They say they are the party of patriotism, yet many of the upper echelon of the party have never served, i.e. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Baker, Reagan. They say that they care about "Main Street" USA but only bail out the Whales of Wall Street. Yet small town America eat this tripe every year. They don't care about religion unless it can be used to stir up the base, nor science or technology unless there is a buck to be made. Small town America takes pride on its freedom but yet don't realize that over time we are becoming less free, ie wire tapping and other forms of domestic surveillance. They demean people of intelligence because they know many people of small town America don't have degrees and use it at a fake issue and call people who spent time in academia as elitist when many on the right serve on university boards and have part-time professorships. They say they are against affirmitive action but yet celebrate mediocrity, Bush43 and McCain graduating at the bottom of their classes. Who both came from already well established families and had all the opportunities and connections to excel. Why does small town America believes this is the party for them? Christian conservatives seem to the be the first ones who want to go to war and bomb someone before any diplomacy is tried. Why can't small town America and Christian conservatives realize they are being used as pawns just as much the Islamic fundamentalist are. Islamic fundamentalist come from small town Middle East and given the same kind of talking points as the evangelicals. They want prayer in school, no choice available to women, and believe to the core that their ideas about worship and country are the best. Wake up small town America you are being duped.Talking about who is more patriotic, symbols, lipstick and wearing pins are nothing more than distractions to the real issue of how a few select group of people have held power almost continuously for over 30 years. Yes the left has their own political power groups but none have been so effective at pushing forward an agenda that is fundamentally bad for the U.S. and in a larger view the entire world. I stress again the now defunct PNAC and the AIPAC have been slowly pushing us closer to another World War. Bush41 and et al have been doing this and no one calls them on it. Every Republican administration has basically the same people recycled since Nixon. Just do a little research and you will see that these people are just pushing this agenda of some kind of Pax Americana and not taking into account that maybe other nations of the world might not like that and if not bomb them.Many people who support the Republican party, really need to read "1984" by George Orwell and see how we as nation have been inching closer to that type of society. People think this story is about a communist society, but it is more about how a society is kept in a constant state of fear in order for the ruling class to stay in control. Doublespeak, patriotism to the point of frenzy, censorship, erosion of civil liberties (not respecting the Constitution) is happening right in front of us. The consolidation of government (the executive branch has never been more powerful than ever, gridlocked legislature with only two parties for representation, a judiciary that just kowtows to the executive branch). No real independent journalism. Cameras placed on every street corner. This may sound like delusional conspiracy stuff, but I implore people to research for themselves to really see what is happening to them. People think this could never happen here in the U.S. but all this has already happening, slowly, incrementally all under the guise of "keeping America safe"

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Well, she's got the right last name: "Swift", as in "Swift-boating"...

Posted by: SAGG | September 12, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Prepare yourself for the greatest ideological match-up of the century!

No, it's not Obama versus McCain, it's McCain versus Palin.


This was John McCain, late last year on why he was qualified to be the president:

"I am prepared. I need no on-the-job training. I wasn't a mayor for a short period of time. I wasn't a governor for a short period of time."

And here is Sarah Palin last night on why she is ready to be a 72-year old heartbeat away from the presidency:

"Charlie, again, we've got to remember what the desire is in this nation at this time. It is for no more politics as usual and somebody's big, fat resume maybe that shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment, where, yes, they've had opportunities to meet heads of state."

So there you have it. The ultimate he said, she said. John McCain explained why Sarah Palin isn't qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, and Sarah Palin explained why John McCain doesn't represent change, just more of the same old politics as usual.


Posted by: huh? | September 12, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

McCain has no honor, he is a two bit lying thug just like Bush and Cheney are:

If the corporate media hadn't been carrying McCain's water for him for the last six months he'd already be out of this race:

McCain is a fraud just like Bush and Cheney are. If you want four more years of thuggery and incompetence then you should vote for him because that's what you'll get:

Posted by: Bush + McCain = "W"orthless | September 12, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

im always inspired to see people of position step back into the light to prove the mainstream wrong.

stop reading the post for facts, watch the interview, read the transcripts, and if you must, wikipedia for accuracy of specifics (including lincolns quotes and what the bush doctrine actually is (not what charlie gibson defined it as)) the mainstream concepts are not facts. they are distortions of them. but if you take the effort you can find the truth.

from his past obama has had no one come foreward to speak for him, but PLENTY of new democratic senatorial buddies have endorsed him (and even a jihadist).

what a wonderful way to choose a leader, popularity contest style, that worked well in school, you wound up getting.....a speech?

sry obama, keep the change.

Posted by: dale | September 12, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse



Last week, Palin said she didn't know what the Vice President does every day.

This week, she has no idea what the President has been doing for the last eight years.

I thought Gibson was remarkably poised for not laughing in her face.

"In what respect?" That's not even a valid delaying question. There's no other "respect" in which the question can be cast! Do you agree with the doctrine or not?

You can't parse that question. You can shade your answer, but you can't parse the question. Gibson was nearly struck dumb by how easily and quickly she revealed her total ignorance.

Last week she didn't know what the VP did all day. This week, she doesn't know what the President has been doing for eight years.

"In what respect, Charlie?"

I haven't seen a newscaster so dumbfounded by a question since "What's the frequency, Kenneth?"

Posted by: McCain = Bush's third term | September 12, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse


By dint of the Palin nomination, The McCain campaign has succeeded in captivating a personality-obsessed media that's easily distracted from things they don't understand (like THE ECONOMY, stupid!).

They have turned the election into a referendum on Barack Obama, a fact that is complicated by Obama's background, his associations, and his own lack of experience in the executive arena.

(The Palin pick, as has been noted, makes it more difficult for the McCain camp to attack Barack on the experience issue.)

But McCain left himself wide open to attack on the judgment issue when he passed over seasoned hands and chose to put Sarah Palin a potential heartbelt away from the presidency.

The American electorate has a sad history of voting against its own economic self-interest in presidential elections. That's why Obama's campaign MUST mount an assault on McCain's selection of Sarah Palin:

Posted by: scrivener | September 12, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have us at war in two countries as a result of Republican lies and deceptions, and we might be in two more wars--Iran and Pakistan--by November. We have alienated the entire Muslim world and most of the rest.

The dollar has lost 60% of its value against the euro, and the once mighty dollar is losing its reserve currency role.

The Republicans' policies have driven up the price of both oil and gold by 400%.

Inflation is in double digits. Employment is falling.

The Republican economy in the 21st century has been unable to create net new jobs for Americans except for low wage domestic services such as waitresses, bartenders, retail clerks and hospital orderlies.

Republican deregulation brought about fraud in mortgage lending and dangerous financial instruments which have collapsed the housing market, leaving a million or more homeowners facing foreclosure. The financial system is in disarray and might collapse from insolvency.

The trade and budget deficits have exploded. The US trade deficit is larger than the combined trade deficits of every deficit country in the world.

The US can no longer finance its wars or its own government and relies on foreign loans to function day to day. To pay for its consumption, the US sells its existing assets--companies, real estate, toll roads, whatever it can offer--to foreigners.

Republicans have run roughshod over the US Constitution, Congress, the courts and civil liberties. Republicans have made it perfectly clear that they believe that our civil liberties make us unsafe--precisely the opposite view of our Founding Fathers. Yet, Republicans regard themselves as the Patriotic Party.

The Republicans have violated the Nuremberg prohibitions against war crimes, and they have violated the Geneva Conventions against torture and abuse of prisoners. Republican disregard for human rights ranks with that of history's great tyrants.

The Republicans have put in place the foundation for a police state, which they have no problem using against fellow citizens!

We must get the Republicans totally out of power, or we will have no country left for any of us!

Posted by: Franky | September 12, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey Jane, Push your party to make Palin the Nominee. McCain isnt in touch enough.

See Clip Of McCain Admitting to Being Out Of Touched,

See The Full Debate From Last Nights Forum McCain and ObamA

Posted by: pastor123 | September 12, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"Cow", "pig" -- keep it up, Obamaniacs -- pretty soon you won't have ANY Hillary supporters voting for your candidate.

Posted by: JakeD | September 12, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I can't imagine a worse spokeswoman for Palin than this nitwit cow.

Posted by: info | September 12, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Baracky Hussein Obama has an extremely liberal Senate voting record - he cannot run and hide from that fact.

Democrats for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008

Posted by: Helen | September 12, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: boruch yona loriner | September 12, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I like Jame Swift too : )

Posted by: JakeD | September 12, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

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