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Despite Controversies, GOP Delegates Like Palin's Stances

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Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, will seek to define herself tonight as the vice presidential nominee of the Republican Party.

The party's convention here in St. Paul has become defined by Sen. John McCain's surprise choice for a running mate, with her relative inexperience, the revelation of her daughter's pregnancy, and her views on sex education and teaching creationism all providing fodder.

Delegates at the Xcel Energy Center appeared firmly supportive of the Alaska governor.

Jerry Bowen, a Republican delegate and real estate agent from Franklin, Tenn., said he thinks the pregnancy of Palin's 17-year-old daughter makes the Alaska governor an excellent spokeswoman for abstinence-only sex education, a policy that Bowen supports.

“I think Gov. Palin is the poster child for that message,” he said. “We can not condemn her daughter for being human and making a mistake.”

When McCain selected Palin, Michelle Steel, a delegate from Los Angeles, said she was “shocked, because I didn’t know who she was.”

But now she is excited by the Alaskan—particularly by the prospect of having a woman on the ticket.

Ms. Steel, who serves on the state Board of Equalization in California, said she isn’t troubled by Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy.

“You don’t know what [teenagers] are going to do,” said Steel, who has two young adult children. “You can’t follow them everywhere. … I think it’s time to drop it and move on.”

That hasn't happened, as the media has used the pregnancy news as the launching pad for stories on Palin's support for abstinence education (and just how her daughter's pregnancy is or isn't relevant), whether Palin could juggle the vice president's job with her family situation, and whether the governor was thoroughly vetted by the McCain campaign.

In an interview on Monday before Palin announced her daughter's pregnancy, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings was slightly off-message from the McCain campaign's effort to portray Palin as experienced.

"I don’t really know her personally, and I look forward to getting to know her better," Spellings said. "She’s only been there in office for a year and a half or so."

The secretary said she was familiar with Alaska's record on education, including during Palin's tenure.

"They have done some really interesting things up there," Spellings said. "They have one of the best data systems in the country. They're one of our growth-model pilot states, one of 10. They applied for differentiated accountability, and they’ve got one of our [Teacher Incentive Fund] grants."

"They’ve got a long way to go, no doubt about it," the secretary added. "Their standards are fairly low, and their achievement lags the national average. Beyond that, I look forward to meeting her."

--Mark Walsh & Alyson Klein



12 Comments

Are the controversies over Governor Palin or the infantile and inaccurate reporting of the media?

I'm so disappointed that you are pushing the can she be a mother and the vice president issue? Can Barak Obama be the president and a dad?

First let me begin by saying I am an independent that leads toward being a Libertarian. I think we should close the post office and give the money to education. Sell off all businesses (including education and the penal system) and services run by the government and give the money back to the people. Heck, even in way liberal Europe they out source the management of major public works to companies. Less government means more money in my pocket.

Saying that McCain lost me with this pick. The party of values chooses a mother who can't teach or has enough time to teach her kids how to keep their legs shut. Then she has the audacity to say that abstinence works. Kids are going to explore. At least equip them with the proper tools to not make the mistake her daughter did. Maybe teaching her daughter what a condom was would have done the trick.

Second why has the republican ticket only attacked Obama. What are they going to do for me?

Third why are they attacking Barack's tenure in office when she is no catch in that way either. Let's be honest if we are going to guess which president could die in office. McCain leads that race by a mile and a half.

This isn't very encouraging for Education or for our children. Denying science (she also denies global warming exists and opposes putting polar bears on the endangered species list), supporting ONLY abstenance programs and attempting to ban books from the library when she was mayor of Wasilla (and then trying to fire the librarian for refusing)? She's sure not someone I want having anything to do with my schools.

PALIN HAS MORE EXPERIENCE THAN OBAMA!

Not really.

Don't get stuck on small, personal issues. How does she stand up for public education? It is my understanding that she is extremely supportive of public education.
Remember that even very well taught students have independent minds and decision making abilities. As a teacher of high school students I have been highly surprised at some pregnancies among my students. Palin and her family appear to live their values. That says so much!

She seems geunine and everyone must deal with challenges in their personal lives. I really don't think she denies science. The nation just needs to focus on being proactive and protecting our future. Overall she seems to have the best interest of the common American in heart and wants to build capacity in our own country. We need someone to do that and she seems to have a plan. I am looking for someone that is actually for the people and has a plan to get there, who that candiate is or what party they belong to is irrelevant to me.

She seems geunine and everyone must deal with challenges in their personal lives. I really don't think she denies science. The nation just needs to focus on being proactive and protecting our future. Overall she seems to have the best interest of the common American in heart and wants to build capacity in our own country. We need someone to do that and she seems to have a plan. I am looking for someone that is actually for the people and has a plan to get there, who that candiate is or what party they belong to is irrelevant to me.

I like the choice of Palin for so many reasons that I could not fit them all here. However, I am concerned about the dynamics of the McCain/Palin duo. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears that the qualities that Palin is able to bring to the table have been lauded and celebrated more than those of McCain. But, Palin is the Vice Presidential candidate, not the Presidential candidate. I suppose I'm interested in seeing what kind of team McCain and Palin will become and then working to make the right choice when it comes to election time.

I find myself asking the question, "How can you be an educator, particularly a public educator, and even consider supporting the McCain/Palin ticket?"
Republican leadership, over the last 8 years, has begun the rapid decline of public education in favor of charter schools and voucher programs. Instead of investing in urban infrastructure and public education, it seems that Palin and McCain support the privatization of education. As an urban educator, in a community where poor minorities are concentrated, I know that the gaps are growing exponentially between those who have resources and those who do not. Why, as Americans, are we allowing this to happen?

Big problems with the Republicans for this one, but the fact of the matter is that they will win, because the democrats aren't playing the HYPOCRACY card on a daily basis. You want smaller government right? And you want the government to leave individuals alone, right? That used to be what the Republicans stand for, but their actions speak louder than their words. Palin? Can't leave a librarian alone, and tries to fire her for not banning books? Says that abstinence only education works--really? Won't let other women choose an abortion, 'cause she didn't want one. Let's not be sexist here, she deserves as much scrutiny as Clinton did when he was getting his wee wee .....well....u know

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