CBS: Palin Daughter Pregnancy Has ‘Stolen John McCain’s Limelight’

Maggie Rodriguez, CBS Tuesday’s CBS Early Show devoted four separate segments to news that the teenage daughter of McCain running mate Sarah Palin is pregnant, with co-host Maggie Rodriguez declaring: "Private lives, pregnancy, and politics. A stunning start to the Republican convention, as delegates grapple with Sarah Palin's family life. I'm Maggie Rodriguez in St. Paul. The bombshell pregnancy announcement that's stolen John McCain's limelight and why some insiders say it may help him." Later, Rodriguez explained: "We've got a couple of storms brewing here in St. Paul, as well. The headline in the local paper calls day one of the Republican National Convention 'A Day of Distractions' for the GOP. The focus not on John McCain, but on Hurricane Gustav and on the political storm involving the presumptive vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, and the revelation that her teen daughter is pregnant."

In the first segment on the issue, in the 7am half hour, correspondent Jeff Glor announced: "Four days ago, hardly anybody knew anything about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Now they know a lot, including that news that her teenage daughter is indeed pregnant." Glor concluded his report by seeming to suggest that a planned address by Palin to the Republican convention was cancelled in the wake of the controversy: "Interesting to note that on the original schedule, Sarah Palin was scheduled to speak tonight. That will not happen." However, Glor never explained that while Palin was originally scheduled to give a prime time speech on Tuesday night of the convention, that speech was scheduled before she was named the vice presidential nominee, who traditionally accepts the party nomination on Wednesday, with McCain accepting the presidential nomination on Thursday.

In the 7:30am half hour, Rodriguez talked to Karen Rhoades, a personal friend of Sarah Palin, about Palin’s daughter and the vetting process. Rodriguez teased that segment this way: "Ahead this morning, we'll talk to an old friend of the Palins about the rumors, about the pregnancy, and about the woman who's still such a mystery to so many people." Most of the segment allowed Rhoades to give personal insight into Palin, but at one point Rodriguez asked: "There are questions this morning about how thoroughly she was vetted, how much they looked into her background. We haven't found anyone in Alaska who says that they were talked to about her background. Since the announcement has come that she's the nominee, have you heard of anyone there who was asked about Sarah Palin's background?" Considering the announcement was only made Friday, perhaps Rodriguez should give it a bit more time.

In the 8am half hour, Rodriguez talked to Democratic strategist Joe Trippi about the Palin vetting process: "Let's talk about the vetting process, because I know that you've been involved in the past in the running mate selection process when Walter Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro. Do you get the sense that John McCain didn't know everything about her? Everything they were getting?" Trippi replied: "Yeah, absolutely. And I know what it's like when you're on the staff and you have that feeling that, 'boy, we didn't vet this person as much as we should have,' which is clearly the case with Governor Palin, and that's -- that's just a horrible feeling, because you never know what you don't know. You never know if another shoe's going to drop tomorrow, and you just want to stop the bleeding and get on to what you want to fight about, which is to lay down the differences between McCain and Obama. And this -- between the hurricane and Governor Palin, the McCain campaign hasn't been able to do that yet."

Despite Jeff Glor reporting earlier that the McCain campaign new about Palin’s daughter being pregnant, Rodriguez went on to ask Trippi: "How could they not know? How could they not thoroughly do their homework? How does that happen?" Trippi explained: "Well, what happens sometimes is the candidate and the campaign are going down one path...and you immediately move to another choice. And that choice -- and this happened in '84 with Geraldine Ferraro -- that choice turns out to be somebody that you just didn't have enough information on, and so you get in this predicament like has happened with Governor Palin." Rodriguez briefly mentioned at the very end of the segment: "And we should add that the McCain campaign insists that she was thoroughly vetted and there have been no surprises to them." Apparently that insistence was not enough for Rodriguez.

Finally, in the 8:30am half hour, Rodriguez talked to teen mother, Kaleigh Larrick, about the issue: "Kaleigh, here in Minnesota, here at the Republican National Convention, there's a lot of support for Sarah Palin, but other people are criticizing her. So, let me ask you, do you think that your parents should be held accountable for your actions?" Larrick replied: "No, because -- I think it was something I did, but I don't regret it."

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is the Senior News Analyst for MRC