REUTERS: The 17-year-old daughter of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is pregnant, Palin said on 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 Alaska Gov. 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 Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby, McCain aides said. McCain 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 these 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. MORE
NEW YORK TIMES: Steve Schmidt, the chief strategist for the McCain campaign, was surrounded by reporters and cameras as he walked through the media center next door to the Xcel Center in St. Paul, where the convention is taking place. Asked over and over when and how Mr. McCain found out about Bristol’s pregnancy, he repeated, “Senator McCain was aware” of it and called it “a private family matter.” He would not say when Mr. McCain found out or how, calling it a “private conversation.” MORE
THE NATION: [A]s the Palin pick turns 72 hours old, McCain’s campaign is learning as much about her from the media and from Democrats as they are from what minimal political preparation they had. They’ve bragged that Palin opposed the famous “Bridge to Nowhere,” only to learn that Palin supported the project and even told residents of Ketchikan that they weren’t “nowhere” to her. After the national outcry, she decided to spend the funds allocated to the bridge for something else. Actually, maybe it’s more fair to say that coincident with the national outcry, she changed her mind. The story shows her political judgment, but it is not a reformer’s credential.
Likewise, though she cut taxes as mayor of Wassila, she raised the sales tax, making her hardly a tax cutter. She denied pressuring the state’s chief of public safety to fire her sister-in-law’s husband even though there’s mounting evidence that the impetus did indeed come from her. Ostensibly to clear her name, Palin asked her attorney general to open an independent investigation—the legislature had already been investigating. (I am told that the campaign was aware of the ethics complaint filed against her but accepts Palin’s account.)
McCain’s campaign seemed unaware that she supported a windfalls profits tax on oil companies and that she is more skeptical about human contributions to global warming than McCain is. They did not know that she took trips as the mayor of Wasilla to beg for earmarks. They did not know that she told a television interviewer this summer that she did not fully understand what it is that a vice president does. MORE
ASSOCIATED PRESS: ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP vice presidential candidate, is being represented by an attorney in the investigation into the firing of her public safety commissioner. The Legislature is investigating whether Palin fired public safety commissioner Walt Monegan after he refused to fire a state trooper who had divorced Palin’s sister. In July, a legislative oversight committee approved $100,000 to investigate whether Palin abused her power in firing Monegan. MORE
THE TRAIL: MONROE, Mich. — Sen. Barack Obama told reporters to “back off” Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her family, following the GOP vice presidential candidate’s disclosure that her unmarried 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. “I have said before and I will repeat again, I think people’s families are off limits,” Obama declared after attending a Labor Day picnic here. “People’s children are especially off limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin’s performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. So I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories.” He continued, “You know, my mother had me when she was 18. How family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn’t be the topic of our politics. I hope that anybody who’s supported me understands that’s off limits.” MORE
TANGENTIALLY RELATED: Barack Obama just sent out a text message to the millions of supporters who signed up for the Veep text and asked that everyone donate $5 to the Red Cross in the wake of Gustav…DEVELOPING…
NORAH JONES: Lone Star
DOWNGRADED: Gustav’s Bark Worse Than Bite
[Photo by Stephen Morton/Getty Images]
NEW YORK TIMES: NEW ORLEANS — Hurricane Gustav battered rural Louisiana with rain and powerful winds on Monday, and officials said the storm and rising waters were testing the New Orleans levee system, which is still being rebuilt after the destruction wreaked by Hurricane Katrina three years ago. The storm struck the Gulf Coast about 70 miles southwest of New Orleans and moved inland, losing strength on the way. Shortly after 3 p.m. Eastern time, the National Hurricane Center said Gustav had weakened to a Category 1 hurricane, with speeds of 90 miles per hour. It had previously been downgraded Monday to a Category 2 hurricane from Category 3, on a scale of 1 to 5, because its winds had slowed to 105 m.p.h. an hour from 115 m.p.h. MORE