RNC Coverage: Hour 1

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch gives his take on the news surrounding this weeks GOP convention.

Texas Congresswoman Kay Granger(R-TX 12th District) talks about her time so far at the convention.

Delegates Joshua Sullivan and Shari Sullivan from Granberry, Texas give their impressions on the ground in St. Paul.

Gary Bauer, the chairman of the Campaign for Working Families and a former Republican candidate for president in 2000, talks about politics and family values -- and whether the selection of Sarah Palin will energize socially conservative voters.

Ari Kagan, a reporter with Feet In Two Worlds and Vecherny New York, talks about reactions to the election from his New York-based Russian readership and the role of the ethnic press during the conventions.


Gary Bauer, Kay Granger, Senator Orrin Hatch, Ari Kagan, Joshua Sullivan and Shari Sullivan

Comments [111]

Dr. Irma Martin Luther King

"Of course you abort a down syndrome baby."

This was said above by:

[23] michaelw from INWOOD
September 02, 2008 - 10:18AM

Michael--Clearly you have never meet someone with Down syndrome or you would never have the heart to make that statement. I am embarrassed for you. You would like the movie Gattaca or, since you are obviously superior, maybe you could join the Neo-Nazis?

Sep. 09 2008 12:03 PM
Nancy T. Rockwell (NTR) from Brooklyn, NY (11232)

Dear Brian:

Last Friday, you noted that the word you heard most during the convention was "fight." I agree. I noticed, also, that there were two threads in the convention, one was the glorification of war; the other was the criticism of Obama. At the end of his speech, Mr. McCain issued a "plea." He said (paraphrased), Fight, fight, come fight with me, stand up with me, we'll never surrender, fight,fight,fight.

My question is, whom are we fighting; what are we fighting for; and what are we supposed to achieve if we all stand up and fight with Mr. McCain.

I think those questions should be asked and answered.


Sep. 07 2008 10:12 PM
Steve Mark from NYC

It's truly pathetic how vitriolic, personal and irrelevant many of the comments are on this board. From the debates over the Constitution until tonight, Americans have always been divided over policy. But somehow, cooler minds have always prevailed. We're going to continue to disagree but it would be so much more worthwhile if all the sarcasm and pot shots could be converted into intelligent debate. Or, are the angry and vicious voices ON BOTH SIDES simply incapable of promoting their respectie points of view.

Sep. 03 2008 12:03 AM
debra from NY from New York Hudson Valley

Just a note to those who seem to be confused about Obama’s experience, especially compared to Sarah Palin’s. They keep forgetting that Obama spent 7 years as an Illinois State Senator BEFORE he ran for U.S. Senator. He also

- graduated Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he studied international and civil rights law.
- president of the Harvard Law Review
- practiced as a civil rights attorney
- worked in his state's voter registration program.
- served as Illinois State Senator, 1997 to 2004.
- Taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School
- U.S. Senator from March 2004-2008. Served on various international law committees.

7 years as a state senator in a state that dwarfs Alaska in population. 4 years as U.S. senator. Sterling law background — you have to be good to be the president of Harvard Law Review. That’s 11 years in public office on a state and national level. That’s as many years and one more level (national) than Palin has in a much wider arena. Since we are a nation of laws, he, Biden, Hillary Clinton and John McCain have more understanding of law than Palin (or the Bush administration, for that matter).
If you want to debate — at least have the correct facts.
Debra from New York.

Sep. 02 2008 06:46 PM
Peter Frishauf from new york city

Your interview with the journalist arrested yesterday was the first reporting I heard about policing at the RNC...and it didn't sound very pretty.

Today I have heard almost nothing on NPR about arrests of journalists and protesters. Yet this is front page news on the and the Dail Mail. See

This silence is very disturbing and unhealthy. I hope you will continue to have the courage to report on how the media is being treated. It's not 1968, but it seems that there is at least as much of a story outside the convention hall as inside. Please don't ignore it.

Sep. 02 2008 06:31 PM
Paula B from Chappaqua

I agree with writers # 63 and 67! What kind of judgement does the republican VP candidate show by having a fifth child while in office? And now she has totally forsaken this child, no less a special needs child with unique medical issues.Is her husband willing to take on the role of stay at home parent? When men with young children run for office they have a wife as the main psychological parent who is more available at home(e.g. Obama, Edwards, Biden and others). I think Palin is into power rather than motherhood. What will become of her baby, her little girl, and which of her other children will act out to gain their mothers attention?

Sep. 02 2008 05:32 PM
chris o from new york city

BL Moderator - Just to clarify re: your comments in #93, it was another Chris who gave the remarks in comment 90. I don't disagree per se but it is definitely not my style. And I think it is patently wrong and offensive to call Palin a "bimbo" but that's politics, I suppose.

Sep. 02 2008 02:33 PM

Seriously, I wish this amount of disagreement with the party holding the convention was available last week.

Sep. 02 2008 11:56 AM
johnjohn from New York

Contrary to what the last delegate (Mexican immigrant) said, it was not the Republican party Presidents that was responsible for women and black voting right initiatives. It was President Wilson and President Johnson - both Democrats. And yes the Democrats have already nominated a woman to the Vice-Presidency; 24 years ago. Thank you for following us Republicans. Didn't you Republicans cynically champion racial state rights against voting rights for political purposes?

Sep. 02 2008 11:52 AM
Tony from NYC

Re your being bumped off the air.

This isn't the first time this kind of thing has occurred when some speaker was not in agreement with the prevailing power.
It happened after 9/11 on WNYC, when some suggestion was not the government's preferred position and it happened to BBC at the same time.

Just an observation....

Sep. 02 2008 11:50 AM
Nelson from NYC

Could you tell that fellow Hispanic and new citizen that a vote for the Republican Party won't help her "get rich" and that most will always see her as an immigrant who's here to take away money and jobs from actual i.e. "white" Americans.

Sep. 02 2008 11:42 AM
hjs from 11211

expect for the fact in 6 months any of these 4 people could be president.

Sep. 02 2008 11:29 AM
Leland Purvis from Brooklyn, NY

Brian, This morning we are hearing many people at the Republican National Ocnverntion compare Sarah Palin to Barack Obama in terms of experience, when thery aren't even applying for the same job. If Palin and her qualifications are going to be compared to anyone on the Democratic ticket, it should be with Senator Biden.

Sep. 02 2008 11:27 AM


Unfortunately because of the aid of a gutless irresponsible media who will mostly let her slide on the hypocrisy, I think you are right

Sep. 02 2008 11:24 AM
seth from Long Island

For Chris from NYC #99 and Dems frustrated over Palin's hypocrisy regarding moral values

The religious right has embraced Sarah Palin as America's sweetheart. No arguments any Dems/progressives make about the contradictions of Sarah Palin pertaining to sex ed and abstinence will gain any traction. The religious rt loves Sarah and they won't let the facts get in the way. The more we point out Sarah Palin's blatant hypocrisy, the more the religious rt will see her as a victim being persecuted by the liberal media.

Sep. 02 2008 11:18 AM

If McCain didn't want to win, why didn't he get Mike Huckabee as a running mate?

Sep. 02 2008 11:17 AM
norman from nyc

Let's end this lurid discussion of Bristol Palin.

Wonkette has lots of other great lurid discussions about Republicans.

Take a look at the casual sex personal ads from convention-goers in the MFM section on St. Paul Craigslist. I wonder if they learned about condoms in their sex-ed classes.

Sep. 02 2008 11:13 AM
hjs from 11211

"bad words"
are we 5. someone should listen to the george carlin segment from the Lopate show from last year

Sep. 02 2008 11:10 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

Chris - that was awesome. I doubt they'll let the comment stay up, but that is a monster rant. I salute you.

[[BL Moderator writes: Chris O's "rant" was on topic, didn't use any bad words, and contained actual, productive ideas. No reason to take it down, and others may want to take it as a lesson for how not cross the line between expressing a strong opinion and being just plain mean.]]

Sep. 02 2008 11:03 AM
chris o from new york city

Once again, the primary relevance of this whole conversation is McCain's judgment or really his lack thereof. How dare he gamble the nation and its future on his naked, crass ambition to win an election.

He miserably failed his first presidential decision. (I will note his overreaction to Gustav also shows he failed in his second one as well but that is more personal to me, whereas we can all agree that pick of Palin was reckless and non-deliberate.)

Sep. 02 2008 11:02 AM
kristin from new york

on schools, abstinence and common sense:

i find it ridiculous that teaching the rudiments of basic contraception in schools is often discouraged. advocating one form or another (abstinence and condom use included) should never be the agenda. just teach the facts.

i went to a catholic high school where abstinence until marriage was the only line we were fed. two girls out of my class of thirty were mothers by 16. i knew one of them very well and was well aware that she felt that "counting" and with-drawl would be adequate. needless to say, her folk knowledge did little to stave off either her inclination to have sex before marriage or pregnancy. i suppose she was lucky that the only thing she "got" was pregnant.

as one not very far removed from her teen years, i recall quite clearly that kids are going to do what kids are going to do. but please give us all the information. i shouldn't have had to learn the basics of reproduction from a loop video in the waiting room of a planned parenthood where i was a volunteer, helping other girls who also had only a cloudy idea of how their bodies work.

Sep. 02 2008 10:59 AM
Chris from NYC

I can't believe no Democrat has come out clearly against this Palin-Juno neo-con morality tale and all of its contradictions.

Yeah, yeah, yeah...the kid is going to keep the baby. Big deal. I thought a cornerstone of Family Values opposed sex before marriage? And who is going to take care of this little gift from God? The 17 year old without a job or Ms. VP in the White House on the back of our tax dollars?

And if the Dems allow this bimbo Palin to be portrayed as a strong, modern woman, then they deserve to lose. Here's a woman who has enjoyed being a baby factory while the tax payers supported her lifestyle. C'mon. Why not compare this right-wing daydream with a waitress with more than one kid? Ask Palin who is babysitting while she's off ice-fishing and hunting?

The Republicans have sacrificed their 'too inexperienced' argument so as to make a play for the disgruntled Hillary-ites via Palin. In other words, they think they can define feminism through a former Ms. WhoCares that likes guns and oil -basically a 70 year old right wing man with tits. Any genuine Hillary supporter that falls behind this cartoon rather than Obama is likely as racist as our worst nightmare. And any Democrat that doesn't expose this civil rights shadow play for the farce it is, still doesn't have the guts to stand up for their true values nor the strength to lead this country towards a better place.

Sep. 02 2008 10:56 AM
seth from Long Island

The very fact that McCain chose Palin makes it clear that the religious right has firm control over the Repub party. It was silly of you to pose the question to Gary Bauer of whether the religious rt's influence has diminished.

Sep. 02 2008 10:55 AM
AWM from UWS

GOP men are very good at discussing what it’s like to carry and give birth to a child and all that it involves.

GOP women are very good at nodding while GOP men discuss what it’s like to carry and give birth to a child and all that it involves

Sep. 02 2008 10:55 AM
Birgitte Bendixen from City Island

The issue of Governor Palin's 17 year old daughter's pregnancy is off the table, but I am troubled that the Governor accepted the VP nomination offer, knowingly exposing her daughter to international commentary. Is she putting herself first at her daughter's expense? The same could be said when the governor elected to return to work 1-3 days after delivery of her last two children, rather than taking the time to bond with the infants. I wouldn't say that she has successfully merged work and motherhood, rather that she has pursued her career and left her family to compensate as best they can. (Her husband is a househusband.)

WashPost King commented on the racial/socioeconomic presuppositions regarding teen pregnancy this AM

Sep. 02 2008 10:55 AM
hjs from 11211

will Palin's daughter marry before the election? (NO?)

cheney had a gay daughter, palin has a sexual promiscuous daughter. the right wing looks the other way, again.

Sep. 02 2008 10:54 AM
Arlin from NYC

I question Governor Palin's judgement in conceiving her fifth child at least as much as her daughter's judgement in becoming pregnant. Sarah Palin was already governor of Alaska, in her mid-forties with four children, when she became pregnant. This is at a time in her life when, statistically, she could expect her child to have a roughly 5% chance of suffering from Down syndrome. What was she thinking? Wasn't the responsible thing to do to exercise birth control? Who was going to care for this baby?

Sep. 02 2008 10:52 AM
chris o from new york city

Hey the Dems had their soapbox last week and their "open mic" time. Now it is the Repugs turn.

Sep. 02 2008 10:49 AM
KC from NYC

Hey Brian, could you ask these people how they feel about the federal government's unprecedented growth under Bush? Or is even the most basic reality not acceptable there?

Sep. 02 2008 10:49 AM
hjs from 11211

will BHO grow the government more than bush??

Sep. 02 2008 10:49 AM

The republicans under Bush has vastly expanded government

Not to mention domestic spying and the rethuglican propensity to intrude upon the private lives of people with their so called "family values" "moral" agenda

so how exactly are these rethuglicans able to get away with making the arguments that they are for "lesser government" and "government staying out of people's private lives"?????

They are for the diametric opposite!

Sep. 02 2008 10:48 AM

Helen From Manhattan:

She didn't turn down anything. She wasn't even in office at that point.

The whole story is fantasy.

Sep. 02 2008 10:47 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

Brian, you should ask some of these people if they know that federal and local police are beating, teargassing, and arresting non-violent protesters. They are also executing searches at houses where some of these people are staying. It's Orwellian.

Sep. 02 2008 10:47 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

What makes america a great country?...brian u are silly

Sep. 02 2008 10:46 AM
chris o from new york city

"We are the party of values adn the party of responsibility," says the Repug.

Obviously the Dems are the party of no values and irresponsibility.

Why even have an election?!

Sep. 02 2008 10:46 AM
CH from Staten Island

Two issues really strike me about the Sarah Palin epic:

1) The vetting process seems to have been very scanty at best. According to an NYT story, as well as stories carried in Alaska papers, Alaska's legislators and officials weren't contacted, people who know her weren't contacted, local papers weren't canvassed, etc. Exactly what constitutes vetting in the McCain campaign?

2) Babygate: not her daughter's baby, but her story about baby Trig. Gov. Palin's actions during the whole scenario surrounding his birth gives me chills. Did she really make a deliberate decision to travel via plane, 8 hours from Texas to Alaska, after beginning to leak amniotic fluid prematurely? Did she inform the flight attendants of her impending childbirth? And since the labor onset was premature, knowing her son would be born with DS, why would she risk the baby's life this way instead of seeking emergency care, as I think most women would do? This makes me wonder about her judgement. She makes a moral choice not to abort, but it's fine to risk the baby's life during delivery by taking a long plane to a small-town medical center when she goes into premature labor? So precisely when and how do "family values" kick in (and apparently back out again)?

Sep. 02 2008 10:46 AM
Matt B from Brooklyn, NY

I think that the GOP's family values are either wrong-headed, irresponsible or out of touch with traditional American values.

Where were Mr. and Gov. Palin when their teenage daughter got pregnant? Why didn't this child have a strong, broadbased education on the realities of sex including birth-control methods? Is a 17 year-old ready for motherhood?

Not all 17 year-olds have the wealth of the Palins (or the Spears). What message does this send to them?

Doesn't this prove that birth-control needs to be part of every teenager's education? Doesn't this prove that abortion needs to be an option?

There needs to be a choice - if only for when a 17 year-old makes a mistake.

Sep. 02 2008 10:46 AM
Nick Lento from NJ

What softball questions Brian.

You know that Palin's Alaskan approval ratings are NOT "80%"; but closer to 60 and falling.

You, basically, allowed the congresswoman a forum to put out her talking points with no serious questioning.

You were either incomepetent or cowed.

You can ask hard serious questions (and followup questions) that challenge people without being rude. That's what journalists do.

BTW Imagine the reaction of these same people if Chelsea had become pregnant at 17!

Sep. 02 2008 10:46 AM
Debbie from Mendham, NJ

There are times when career goals must be deferred to family needs. I felt this when John Edwards ran for president while his wife was struggling with cancer - well before we learned what else he was up to. I certainly feel the same in regards to Gov Palin - with a special needs child and a teen facing a life crisis played out on a world stage, it is time for the Palin family to circle the wagons and nurture one another. As a mother of two adult children and a former high school teacher, I learned two relevant things. One, the Palins' experiences are the same that every family faces. Two, there is only so much time, energy, resources that a family has to deploy. Young people, especially, suffer life long consequences if their needs are overlooked in a family's drive to "do it all"

Sep. 02 2008 10:45 AM
Helen from Manhattan

Major point from the NYT article that everyone seems to be overlooking, unless I'm reading it wrong. Palin didn't turn down the original allocation of money, ($220 Million), only the request for more. "(Alaska was able to keep the federal money and directed it to other projects.)"

Sep. 02 2008 10:43 AM

For gawd's sake, check your dates, Brian! Congress eliminated the Bridge to Nowhere earmark in 2005, BEFORE Palin became governor in November 2006. She had NO authority to accept or reject that earmark. If she "opposed it", it was only in her dreams. In addition, the money STILL went to Alaska, to spend as the state saw fit.

From the NYT:

HULSE (11/17/05): Two 'Bridges to Nowhere' Tumble Down in Congress
Congressional Republicans decided Wednesday to take a legislative wrecking ball to two Alaskan bridge projects that had demolished the party's reputation for fiscal austerity.

Straining to show new dedication to lower spending, House and Senate negotiators took the rare step of eliminating a requirement that $442 million be spent to build the two bridges, spans that became cemented in the national consciousness as ''bridges to nowhere'' because of the remote territory and small populations involved.

The change will not save the federal government any money. Instead, the $442 million will be turned over to the state with no strings attached, allowing lawmakers and the governor there to parcel it out for transportation projects as they see fit, including the bridges should they so choose.

Sep. 02 2008 10:43 AM
O from Forest Hills

Don't get married at 17. It won't last. You will be heart broken and it will be hard to trust again. Wait till you're at least 25! People are getting married way too young. Live a little. You'll wake up one day and say what did I do and divorces are expensive.

Save yourselves the drama.

Sep. 02 2008 10:41 AM
a woman from manhattan

Does anyone even doubt for a moment the kind of pressure Bristol Palin would be under while her mother is running for Vice-Presidential office, to "do the right thing?"

I'd say she felt she had no choice but to marry the father of the child. If her mother had not been a prominent politician, it might have been otherwise.

Sep. 02 2008 10:41 AM

"Of course she had qualities that will help win the election"

yeah that quality is having a uterus. Is it not insulting to women that McCain picked her only due to her gender with the assumption that women will vote for him based on that fact only?

Sep. 02 2008 10:39 AM

Once again, Senator Hatch doesn't disappoint us by showing us how backwards and stuck in the past the Republican party is.
"Women are proud of Ms. Palin". On what planet? I am a woman and she could not be farther from what I believe and want for my children, especially my daughter. If anything, she is bringing women back 50-60 years when women were denied information, had no power to make choices over their own body, and were forced into shot-gun weddings and motherhood.
Actually, for someone who is supposedly representative of "family values" the way she put her fetus at risk at the end of her pregnancy and the fact that she went back to work after only 3 days of giving birth to a child with tremendous needs and continues on "campaigning", away from her family even though this is probably one of the times when her family needs her the most. A Down syndrome baby and a pregnant teenage mother need their family and mother by their side, not sitters and nannies. I guess this really says a lot about her REAL priorities are and where her family really stands. There is a time for everything. With a sick infant and a teenage pregnant daughter at home, I do not believe now it is the right time for running for what might end up being the most demanding job in the land. She is not going to be able to fulfill any of those roles adequately and will end up hurting her family and our country.
Ms. Palin, go home. Take care of you family. They are your first priority at this point.

Sep. 02 2008 10:39 AM
Dallas from NYC

Abstinence only sex-education is like buying a kid a car and then the ONLY driving lesson you give them is that the best way to avoid a crash is not to drive.

Sep. 02 2008 10:39 AM
Warren from Baltimore

Comprehensive sex education in schools is NOT an issue of morality but an issue of public health and that's why the schools and the government get involved.

In a course in Health Communications at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore (before it was called the Bloomberg School of Public Health) I was surprised to learn that the US is so far behind in public health on this issue.

I learned that in countries around the world where the Church has a strong influence, including very Catholic countries like Bolivia they partner with the government for public health and family planning purposes and advocate condoms and other birth control methods beyond abstinence that are more realistic.

Sep. 02 2008 10:39 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

Remember what George Carlin said about the fundies: "They're not pro-life, they're anti-woman."

Sep. 02 2008 10:38 AM
Brokeland from Brooklyn

Its the corruption. Its the abuse of power. I'd like to hear Brian's show discuss the investigation into Gov. Palin's abuse of power. That is what matters.

as for the children. sure nobody asks a man how they'll care for the kids. but how many men or women have started a run for the VP or Presidency with a newly born special needs child? It just raises questions about the big word of this campaign: judgement.

McCain's cynical choice has led him to a Veep who belonged to a secessionist party (Alaskan Independence Party). That's another story worth reporting on. As for her daughter having a baby, that is the biggest non-story except in the context of abstinence only position the Gov. holds. But you can be absolutely sure that if this were Obama's child, the right would be OUTRAGED!

Sep. 02 2008 10:36 AM
Dallas from NYC

If Gov. Palin believes in abstinence-only education and believes it is effective (i.e. not a waste of tax payer dollars) why is her 17 year-old daughter pregnant?

Sep. 02 2008 10:36 AM
hjs from 11211

if it's ok for schools to teach "how to make a babies" why is it not ok to teach how not to make a babies?

Sep. 02 2008 10:36 AM

You have to admire all this nonsense that repugs have been spewing

Sep. 02 2008 10:36 AM


The problem is that the rethuglicans consistently preach abstinence, no sex ed in school and "family values" which would usually frown on the fact of a pregnant teen...which means it IS valid for this campaign. The rethuglicans can't have it both ways.

Sep. 02 2008 10:36 AM
harmon michaels from jersey city, nj

what happened to the comments page? are you guys (bl producers) deleting entirely legitimate content? my comments as well as a number of others are gone. jeez.

[[BL Producer Writes: A few comments have been edited or removed for violating the WNYC posting policy. Remember to keep your comments civil, on topic, and productive to the discussion taking place on the air. That said, none of your comments in particular have been removed or edited. You've posted in two different threads so make sure you check both. And maybe worth refreshing your browser? Thanks!]]

Sep. 02 2008 10:35 AM
Dallas from NYC

Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin would take away the choices that Gov. Palin admitted she and her daughter were free to make.

Sep. 02 2008 10:35 AM
barry from bronx

When are Americans going to get over their Medieval mentality.

Reproduction is no mystery, its basic biology. Not only that, powerful hormones are driving people to reproduce.

Whether you approve of teen sex, of premarital sex or not, its completely regressive to try to shroud the facts in guilt and mystery.

Its time to stop treating knowledge of reproduction like Gallileo was treated for his knowledge of astronomy.

Children need education on how to protect themselves from disease and pregnancy. Lets get our heads out of the sand. Kids are having sex. Maybe if we had a better working relationship they would consider the consequences more carefully.

Sep. 02 2008 10:34 AM
Dallas from NYC

Hey Brian, the reason they don't ask Obama or Dems about who is taking care of their kids is because Dems don't run on a platform of family values. Its not hypocrisy, its relevancy.

Sep. 02 2008 10:34 AM
O from Forest Hills

Government must be separate from church. Any leader cannot let their religion influence their policy decisions. We need to not let them get away with it either.

Sep. 02 2008 10:33 AM
John from Brooklyn

The issue is not that Bristol Palin is keeping her baby.

The issue is that Sarah Palin is telling us that 17-year-old Bristol is going to marry the 18-year-old father, as if that's the most obvious and ideal answer.

These two kids aren't even in a position to know what love is. What kind of "family values" is that?

My question: Is Sarah Palin forcing her daughter to get married only because she -- Sarah Palin -- is running as the "pro-life," "pro-family," rally-the-base VP choice of the presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States?

Is she using her daughter as a pawn in a high-stakes political game?

Indeed, did McCain make Bristol Palin's engagement a condition of his offer?

Sep. 02 2008 10:33 AM
Chicago Listener

well, it's simply not true that the question of parenting doesn't get asked of men and didn't get asked of obama. he and his wife were very open and vocal about what they agreed were his responsibilities as a father when he was running for the senate and when he decided to run for president.

please don't slip into broad generalizations. stick to the facts.

Sep. 02 2008 10:33 AM
KC from NYC

Oh Brian, come on. No one asks Obama "How could he go to work when he has kids?" because "women should have fewer rights" is not part of the Democratic platform. It IS part of the Republican platform, hence: hypocrisy.

You set up a totally false comparison there.

Sep. 02 2008 10:33 AM

the last two callers said things like "kids know about birth control, i don't have to tell them, they find this stuff out on their own." I just want to point out that yes, every kid hears about sex and birth control from their friends, but it's not reliable information. when I was in 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th grade, I heard from other kids that babies come out of the mom's belly-button, that wearing a tampon prevents pregnancy, that douching with coca-cola after sex prevents pregnancy, and a thousand varieties of the infamous "rhythm method" which in reality does NOT prevent pregnancy! SO MANY teenage girls get pregnant and I think a lot of them are hoping that some old-wives-tale "prophylactic" trick will save them because they aren't using a condom.
I think it needs to be pointed out that the junior-high locker room rumor mill is NOT a reliable source of information about birth control for teenage girls.

Sep. 02 2008 10:31 AM
O from Forest Hills

I see no point in abstinence only.

I can see why Palin is against sex ed because she is a Pentecoastal Christian born again. However, she is letting her religion take precedence over public health and public safety.

Sex ed in schools is a matter of education to prevent stds and help prevent unwanted pregnancies.

This call into play her judgment.

Also, why did she give a speech after her water broke back when she went into labor instead of getting right to the hospital. That is obviously a medical emergency. Giving birth takes precedence over giving a speech.

McCainn should have picked Mitt Romeny. He shot himself in the foot with this one. But, that's okay, all the better to pave the way for Obama.

Sep. 02 2008 10:31 AM
hjs from 11211

teens watch xtube. teens know about sex.

Sep. 02 2008 10:30 AM
John from Brooklyn

I think this is one gigantic bid by McCain to get everyone hot thinking about teen sex. He probably has polling and statistics that this will work.

Sep. 02 2008 10:30 AM
Jessica from Manhattan

NOT teaching proper condom use in school is immoral. It's about disease control and quality of life, not just horny kids.

Sep. 02 2008 10:30 AM
Mickey Bitsko from Lower Manhattan

Brian, please bring up the subject of Gov. Palin backing the teaching of "creationism" in schools. I find this irresponsible, if not reprehensible.

The comments by your guests about Palin's vast experience are some of the funniest overstatements I've heard in ages.

Sep. 02 2008 10:30 AM
J from Brooklyn, Ny

I understand people feel that sexuality for their children is tied to morality which some people believe is parenting rather than education but that is denying that this because of disease and teen pregnancy is a public health issue. Having healthy teens and healthy pregnancies is important for everyone not just people with parents who teach them.

Sep. 02 2008 10:30 AM
Pavel Gurvich from Norwalk, CT

I agree with the point that family matters are not a subject for political campaigns.
However enforcement of the law is.
If I make pregnant 17 year old I will be prosecuted even if I agree to marry her. Sarah Poulin does not seem ready to persecute the person who made her daughter pregnant. It seems that she chooses law not to apply to him.
Will she do the same as vice president. We've seen this already with Bush administration.

Sep. 02 2008 10:29 AM
a woman from manhattan

Yes, kids know how sex works, and how condoms work: we're talking about teaching them protocol, not technique!

Why are these people so uptight on the subject of sex that they can't distinguish that nuance? ("lower urges" my eye!)

Sep. 02 2008 10:28 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

What we are witnessing is the rank hypocrasy of the Republican party. Orrin Hatch is now in the position of saying black is white and white is black. An unwed pregnant 17 year old is now the poster child for family values? He would really rather have this untested person (forget that she's a woman) negotiating with world leaders? This is completely insane.

Sep. 02 2008 10:28 AM
Alex from Brooklyn

Schools and morality:

Conservatives and others call for teaching civics, civil responsibility, and of course "Patriotism". What is that if not morality?!

AND AGAIN, conservatives are busy villifying, demonizing, blacks, hispanics, poor people who have families out of wedlock, have children in their teens.

The sheer hypocrisy of the right-wing is sickening.

Sep. 02 2008 10:27 AM
Cheryl from Brooklyn


Better than Al Gore's talking to three year olds in a southern drawl voice!

Sep. 02 2008 10:27 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

how babies are made...this is embarrassing

Sep. 02 2008 10:26 AM
Merry from west side

How do grandparents take care of their grandchildren's babies when the grandparents work? How close will Sarah Palin be to her grandson or daughter if she is the vice president?

Sep. 02 2008 10:26 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

@Cheryl - it's not just you.

Sep. 02 2008 10:25 AM
Chicago Listener

you should ask the guy who says it's not the school's job to teach morality what is his opinion of school prayer.

Sep. 02 2008 10:25 AM
Manatee from NYC

Wow, McCain is really some brainiac. Hmm. She lives in Alaska. Alaska is near Russia. That makes her a foreign policy expert. McCain you've gone more Stepford than your wife LOOKS.

Sep. 02 2008 10:25 AM
Georgia from new york

I have never heard anything so ridiculous as the concept of withholding knowledge of biology and how the body works from our children.

We do not withhold information on how the brain, heart, lungs, digestive systems work from our children.

There is no better way to ensure dysfunction than to LIE to children by withholding truth.

Kbowledge of the facts will not lead to bad outcomes. Making the truth an emotionally charged issue that children cannot talk to adults about will.

And in the internet age, they probably know more about contraception than their parents.

Better to talk openly, and explain the consequences of actions to children, so they learn to do the right thing.

Sep. 02 2008 10:24 AM
Chris B. from Cranford, NJ


Another noteworthy response by Governor Palin to the Eagle Forum questionnaire was the following:

"11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

SP: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance."

Of course, the Pledge of Allegiance was not written by the founding fathers, it was written in 1892 and the phrase "under God" was not added until the 1950's.

Here's the link to the questionnaire:

Sep. 02 2008 10:24 AM
Mike from Park Slope

I actually think that Palin's choice to get pregnant in her mid 40s is just as bad as her daughter's at 17.

Sep. 02 2008 10:23 AM
chris o from new york city

Cheryl, It is not just you regarding her voice. Not helpful but also presumably not important, either, except it won't be pleasant to listen to over 4 years.

Sep. 02 2008 10:23 AM

So the Palins get to choose what they want to do with their babies. The Pro-Life segment of our country wants to take away that CHOICE from other women.

Sep. 02 2008 10:22 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

From ThinkProgress:

Today on ABC’s This Week, Cindy McCain tried to rebut the criticism that Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) has no national experience by taking a talking point from Fox’s Steve Doocy. McCain pointed to the fact that Palin’s state is near Russia:

STEPHANOPOULOS: But she has no national security experience.

McCAIN: You know, the experience that she comes from is what she’s done in government, and remember, Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia. It’s not as if she doesn’t understand what’s at stake here.

And the comedy hits keep coming. Best comment seen at a blog yesterday ... "Won't the Naval Observatory look great with a trailer in the yard!"

Sep. 02 2008 10:22 AM
Lisa from NYC

Why suddenly is this a show on abstinence?

Sep. 02 2008 10:21 AM
Anne from NYC

Brian, I believe you are mistaken that "abstinence only" education does not mention birth control. What I have read is that it does mention birth control, saying it is not effective. E.g. emphasizes the failure rates and that condoms break. What studies we have of teenagers educated this way is that they eventually become sexually active anyway, but are less likely to use birth control than other teens because they believe it's unreliable.

Sep. 02 2008 10:19 AM

Why are you only asking what to teach daughters about reproductive health, are sons supposed to get educated in locker rooms?

Sep. 02 2008 10:19 AM
a woman from manhattan

I don't see how instructions on the use of condoms is too explicit for children in the mind of Sarah Palin. It's not like we're teaching them the Kama Sutra!

My mother taught my brothers about condoms as soon as they were old enough to ask what sex was (ten years old). It did not traumatize them. Every now and then, if they brought up the subject of sex, she would ask them what they needed if they wanted to have sex, and they'd chime "a little raincoat!"

They have grown up to be very responsible adults.

On the other hand, my mother, victorian that she was, didn't tell me to require the use of a condom (typical double standard), and I practiced unsafe sex at my peril for the first ten years of my sexual life! Luckily nothing bad came of it (no unwanted pregnancy, no incurable diseases).

I now remind all my friends to use condoms (girls of my generation still seem to think they're optional!), and remind them that "the condom is our friend." But I certainly wish she had been as insistent with me and she had been with my little brothers!

Sep. 02 2008 10:18 AM
michaelw from INWOOD

McCain couldn't have picked a better person for his VP to lose the election.

This was such a terrible choice words can not describe.

He should have picked Check Hagel.

McCain is going to be managing Palin's problems.

Of course you abort a down syndrome baby.

Also how old is the father? Older than 17 then it's RAPE.

Sep. 02 2008 10:18 AM
ab from queens

Brian, please remember that when parents teach about birth control they should be teaching their sons as well as their daughters.

Sep. 02 2008 10:18 AM
seth from Long Island

Sarah Palin was for Ted Stevens before she was against him - her name appears in incorporation papers for a pro-Stevens 527 group
Sarah Palin should be asked why she sent a video message to the Alaskan Indep Party
The party advocates Alaskans being given the rt to vote on whether Alaska should secede from the US. Palin should be asked if she thinks Alaskans should be given the rt to vote on the secession question.

Sep. 02 2008 10:17 AM
shc from Manhattan

michaelw (#3) - ditto.

I will also add that many women, myself included, find it insulting that the Republicans think they can simply replace HC with any other woman. I was not a Hillary supporter, but recognized that she represented something unique in the course of American history. (Is it inappropriate to bring up Samantha Bee's hilarious segment with Jon Stewart last Friday night?)

Sep. 02 2008 10:17 AM
KC from NYC

Unfortunately, family matters AREN'T just family matters for the social-conservative base of the Republican Party. For them to suddenly claim – after decades of attempting to regulate the private lives of others – that this is off the table is the height of hypocrisy. In no way should it be off the table; they are the ones who put it there.

It's the hypocrisy, stupid.

Sep. 02 2008 10:17 AM
Alex from Brooklyn

"Family matters are family matters."

EXCEPT that conservatives DENY precisely that. For decades they have repeatedly sought to intrude upon the private lives of all Americans -- on religion, on sexual preference, educational approach, and of course on all manner of political privacy issues.

Come on Mr. Lehrer. You challenge leftists on their views. WHY do you run around with your tail between your legs with Conservatives and so-called Moderates?

Sep. 02 2008 10:16 AM
Mary from Upper West Side

Agree with Steve, Hatch is trying to uphold the "Republicans are strong on defense" philosophy. We've seen where that has gotten us. Pass the soap.

Sep. 02 2008 10:16 AM
David from Queens

What's Palins position on Universal Healthcare for pregnant teenagers whose moms aren't Governors with taxpayer provided healthcare

Sep. 02 2008 10:15 AM
chris o from new york city

Republican Slogan:
Sarah Pallin - A celebrity we can believe in.

Sep. 02 2008 10:14 AM
a woman from manhattan

I have news for Senator Orrin Hatch: yes I"m happy for the historical implications of a woman on the VP ticket. But NO, I would not vote for a republican ticket just because it has a uterus on its ticket.

Frankly, I see her as a bit of a stooge -- chosen by The Man. Hillary chose to run herself, on her OWN steam. She didn't wait to be asked to dance like a good little lady!

There is no comparison between Palin and Hillary Clinton (who I was not going to vote for either unless she won the nomination, but who was a very good candidate).

Sep. 02 2008 10:14 AM
Jon from Astoria

Listening to Orrin Hatch right now saying "truthfully" he's much rather have Palin sitting across the table from Putin than Biden.

Unbelievable. These guys can simply lie and not even hiccup.

Sep. 02 2008 10:14 AM
chris o from new york city

Oh well, so much for never mentioning Bristol's name with this call-in segment.

Sep. 02 2008 10:14 AM
Steve from NYC

I feel like taking a shower after listening to all the BS from Senator Hatch.

Sep. 02 2008 10:13 AM
Alex from Brooklyn

Gotta love the McCain 'strategy' -- Having figured that he's Teflon because of 5 years in the Hanoi Hilton, he tries for a Teflon Veep, only to get Britney Spears.

So Sarah Palin --

- Denies global warming

- Believes creationism

- Wants to ban all stem cell research

- Opposes living wage.

The little creep Orrin Hatch who was among those villifying Geraldine Ferraro years ago should stand for Hypocrite in Chief.

Sep. 02 2008 10:12 AM

These republican talking points are becoming annoying. Most of its untrue but also annoying.

Sep. 02 2008 10:11 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

Dallas - you took my comment right out of my mouth. How much did Palin's opposition to sex ed in schools contribute to the kid's pregnancy? Interesting that they keep harping that Bristol "chose" to keep the baby - this from people who don't want women to have a choice.

Even worse - they just started vetting her. Hang on - it's going to be a bumpy ride! Mavericky!

Sep. 02 2008 10:10 AM
chris o from new york city

Palin's family is off-limits like Obama said. Leave Bristol alone, never mention her again please.

Sep. 02 2008 10:10 AM
chris o from new york city

McCain met Palin once 5 months ago at a governor's conference. Then he did a 3 hour interview with her Thursday before he offered her the job. WTF?!

Sep. 02 2008 10:09 AM

Why are they making Bristol Palin marry a boy she's only dated for a year. How is a shotgun wedding for two young people who are most likely not ready to be married commendable. This is why the divorce rate is so high not because of gay and lesbians but because of this.

Sep. 02 2008 10:06 AM
Dallas from NYC

Gov. Palin's family issues are valid to discuss because rather than ask for privacy the McCain campaign announced the pregnancy themselves.

Gov. Palin's family issues are relevant because she is seeking the power to be able to force other families to follow the values she herself espouses, so it is an issue if she herself follows them.

Sep. 02 2008 10:05 AM
michaelw from INWOOD

McCain can't win with this convention the whole thing is a disaster.

Palin's daughter at 17 having kids not to mention Palin being investigated.

Then Gustav.

Finally McCain's speech being given on Thursday when the NFL opens which will eclipse his speech.

Love it.

Sep. 02 2008 10:02 AM
chris o from new york city

I find it odd that the Republicans cancelled their events yesterday. It seems weird, quite an over-reaction. Obviously, McCain wanted to distinguish himself from Bush's preparation for and reaction to Katrina, even though McCain is not President and can not do anything to help but is just getting in the way... Mission accomplished, Mac.

It is a nice bookend. Bush shows his incomptence by doing nothing and assuming everything would work out. McCain showed his incompetence and rash judgment by over-reacting to Bush's failure by assuming there would be a crippling storm and posturing on preparedness.

Life goes on and this crass political use of the storm is quite ugly and quite transparent.

McCain - Putting Himself First.

Sep. 02 2008 09:52 AM
seth from Long Island

The audio for the first hour of last Friday's Brian Lehrer show still hasn't been posted onto the website.

[[BL Producer Writes: Seems to be a bug in our system. We're working on it, Jerry.]]

Sep. 02 2008 09:44 AM

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