ST. PAUL, Minnesota: The 17-year-old daughter of the Republican vice-presidential candidate, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, is pregnant, Palin said Monday in an announcement intended to knock down rumors by liberal bloggers that Palin faked her own pregnancy to cover up for her child.
Bristol Palin, one of Palin’s five children with her husband, Todd, is about five months pregnant and is going to keep the child and marry the father, the Palins said in a statement released by the campaign of Senator John McCain.
Bristol Palin made the decision to keep the baby on her own, McCain aides said.
“We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us,” the Palins’statement said.
“Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support,” the Palins said.
They asked the media to respect the young couple’s privacy.
“Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media, respect our daughter and Levi’s privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates,” the statement concluded.
Senior McCain campaign officials said that McCain knew of the pregnancy when he selected Palin last week as his vice presidential running mate, and that he had decided it did not disqualify the 44-year-old governor in any way.
In the short period since the pick was announced last Friday, Palin has helped to energize the Republican Party’s conservative base, giving the McCain camp fresh energy going into the campaign for the Nov. 4 election against Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate.
McCain campaign officials said the news of the daughter’s pregnancy was being released to rebut what one aide called “mud-slinging and lies” circulating on liberal blog sites.
According to the rumors, Sarah Palin had faked a pregnancy and pretended to have given birth in May to her fifth child, a son named Trig who has Down syndrome. The rumor was that Trig was actually Bristol Palin’s child and that Sarah Palin was the grandmother.
A senior McCain campaign official said the McCain camp was appalled that these rumors had not only been spread around liberal blog sites but also were the subject of heightened interest from the mainstream news media.
“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.