How John McCain forced me to write about the weird story of Sarah Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy

In a seeming effort to divert attention from Sarah Palin’s increasingly troubled bid for the vice presidency, an unnamed McCain campaign staffer today blamed her woes on “liberal bloggers.”

The McCain staffer claimed specifically that liberal bloggers were pushing a story that last April, Sarah Palin had taken her unmarried and underage daughter’s baby as her own. The thing is, I never pushed this story, nor did Markos, nor did Josh Marshall. We’re three of the top “liberal” blogs, and we never touched it. So, sorry to disapppoint. Let me walk you through what each of us has said about this story.

1. Me.

I’ve received a slew of emails the past few days, tipping me off to this story. I refused to write about it because I didn’t buy it. Here’s an example of what I wrote to one tipster on Saturday:

I’ve seen the story, but I’d like to see more facts before even considering writing about it. Investigating, sure – everything is worth investigating, in principle, but a number of readers have written in about this story, asking us to link to this, and to date I’m not yet convinced. I want McCain to lose, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t like publishing this kind of thing without firm evidence that something is awry.

2. Markos.

Here’s what Markos had to say about the story today:

I don’t think the evidence is there to claim Trig is Bristol’s son, as some have speculated.

3. Josh Marshall.

We haven’t touched it. But you probably know there have been internet-based rumors claiming that Sarah Palin’s newborn son Trig is actually the son of her 17 year old daughter, Bristol.

So, neither Markos, Josh nor I were willing to touch this story, and in fact all three of us pooh-poohed it.

As for the Obama campaign, who McCain is now claiming is behind this story, they never pushed the story to us, and we never pushed it to them. And since, as rumor has it, we’ve been nicknamed OBAMAblog, if someone were to get the inside scoop from the campaign, you’d think (and we’d hope) it might be us. And Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post, who Joe kind of beats up a lot, so he’s not necessarily pre-disposed to defending bloggers, had this to say about Obama pushing the story to blogs:

Some Republicans have already insisted that the Obama campaign is behind the rumor-mongering about Sarah, Bristol and Trig — although in our experience the campaign has not pushed the story AT ALL, in fact they have been encouraging reporters to focus on the issues of difference between the two candidates rather than personal stories.

So, sorry to disappoint, but the Obama campaign’s track record isn’t exactly one of embracing oppo attacks on John McCain – much to our chagrin.

One final hole in McCain’s story – the claim that one of the top liberal blogs pushing this story was a blog “with Barack Obama’s name in” it. There is no top liberal blog with Barack Obama’s name in it, or any other liberal blog I know of. Thus the danger of Reuters repeating non-specific allegations from unnamed sources.

John McCain’s first major decision as our possible future president and commander in chief, the selection of the person who would take over our country should he leave office, has been an unmitigated disaster. It’s understandable that he’s trying to deflect the blame. And rather sad.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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