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Delegates Take Palin News In Stride

Anne Bartlett

ST. PAUL --- Many members of 123-member Virginia delegation, who spent the day at back-to-back events, had not yet heard the news Monday afternoon about the pregnancy of the 17-year-old daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Sen. John McCain's running mate. Those who had took it in stride, saying it was not a story and not an issue that would hurt the race.

"It's always unfortunate when something like this happens," said Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, a convention delegate. "It's a challenge to any family. But it kind of shows there is no difference [between the Palin family] and what any other American family has to deal with. Families involved in politics and leadership aren't any different."

Bolling said the news will probably not hurt McCain because Palin's daughter made the right decision to have the baby and get married.

"It's unfortunate,'' said Brian O'Connor, a delegate who lives in tiny Rice, Va., near Farmville. "But they made a decision to get married."

O'Connor, who was wearing a pair of McCain-Palin buttons, described the Alaska governor as "the perfect candidate" for vice president and predicted there would be no effect on the presidential race. "She's so strong on the issues,'' he said.

John H. Hager, former lieutenant governor and state party chairman (and father-in-law to Jenna Bush), said he had not had time to fully absorb the news.

"I'm glad they're at least getting married," he said. "It goes against our normal standards but the fact is they are brave" for supporting their daughter.

"In the end, we're not electing" Palin's daughter, he said. "We're voting for John McCain and Sarah Palin."

Hager said the announcement may even fuel further support for Palin because of all of the challenges she has been through, including choosing to have and raise a baby with Down Syndrome.

Bob Brostrom, an alternate delegate from Annandale, said the news did not bother him "in the slightest."

"People do make mistakes," said Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (Prince William), state GOP chairman.

Frederick said Palin's daughter's decision to not have an abortion speaks loudly about her character.

By Anne Bartlett  |  September 1, 2008; 10:52 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , At the 2008 Conventions , Bill Bolling , Election 2008/President  
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"Frederick said Palin's daughter's decision to not have an abortion speaks loudly about her character."

So women who make the painful decision of going through an abortion have low character? They should be treated just as fairly as anyone else, especially if the circumstances just won't allow them to take care of a child.

Posted by: Jon | September 2, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

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