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Sarah Palin Keeps a Tight Rein on Staff, but Her Daughters Lack Supervision

3 years ago
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While elsewhere a prince and a well-educated commoner have captured the world's attention, the Sarah Palin clan will not let the posh have their moment. In a rare interview with the "lamestream media" for this Sunday's New York Times Magazine, the will she or won't she? 2012 presidential contender tells reporter Robert Draper that she is indeed exploring a run for the country's highest elected office.
Draper describes the conspicuously lean and loyal Palin political team, where things couldn't be more Sarah-centric. Beyond her husband Todd (who an Alaska politico back-handedly compliments as somebody who "took on the job of being her support system, way beyond his education and where he came from") the former governor and media juggernaut has four lieutenants: Todd's former Troopergate lawyer, Thomas Van Flein; Andrew Davis, her political director; Tim Crawford, treasurer of SarahPAC; and cybermessenger Rebecca Mansour. (As John Dickerson at Slate recently noted, Sarah runs a very tightly supervised Facebook fan page.)
As the candidate-to-be staffs up, she says her challenge is to find additional "trustworthy" advisers. She keeps close control on the ones she has. Van Flein told Draper, "Think of it as a tape recorder that's on all the time."
As long as she's hiring, Palin may want to budget a companionable nanny for the older children. (The Palins' youngest, Trig, and his baby nephew, Tripp, presumably have paid child care.) Eldest daughter Bristol has said she is lonely in Los Angeles while she's away from home dancing and practicing with no family around to look out for her, and back in Wasilla (notwithstanding the attention from next-door neighbor Joe McGinniss), Bristol's 16-year-old sister, Willow, doesn't seem to have much supervision either.
This gap was manifested on Tuesday when the gossip website TMZ obtained and published an online chat that appeared in Facebook featuring a homophobic slur purportedly posted by the middle daughter to put down a detractor (disclosure: AOL owns the web site TMZ and is also proprietor of Politics Daily). The TMZ story and accompanying documentation features both sisters flaming the comments of an ill-mannered visitor. (My personal favorite of Sarah and Todd's offspring is Piper, the littlest pixie sister who spit combed her baby brother on camera during the RNC convention in St. Paul in August 2008.)
Willow, as part of a political/show business/Iron Dog snow machine racing family, is no stranger to the public arena and was recently seen flaunting house rules and rolling her eyes on the premiere segment of an eight-part family home movie that launched last weekend at Discovery Channel's TLC. Given the content of the leaked chat, I have a feeling that her Facebook privileges are about to be severely curtailed. The unedited, unscripted moments of a 16-year-old grizzly baby are best left out of the spotlight.
The chat brawl started when, on a page where the subject's daughters would see it, a classmate posted his concise critique of the TLC program, 'Sarah Palin's Alaska' (note to Alessandra Stanley -- your TV critic job is safe). Within minutes of his comment posting, someone identified as "Bristol" responded to his disparaging remark (setting the tone with a street word) accusing the boy of reaching for a reaction. Soon several participants -- including someone identified as "Willow" -- posted ill-considered and hurtful things about the sexual history and/or weight of other posters. The unruly back and forth continued even after observers added comments that the conversation was "madness."
For Bristol's part, her big sister example included swear words and insults no better than Willow's. Despite an apology on her own Facebook fan page, making it into the finals on ABC's "DWTS" and positive reactions from her latest public service ad (promoting abstinence and/or safe sex with her situational co-star), the aging teen abstinence ambassador best not be asking for salary bumps from the Candie's Foundation folks till this blows over.
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matthewhgrant

that palin showcases this brood for the worrd to judge her by is stunningly stupid. ok, bristol is an unwed pregnant teen. she and her little sister use a basket of slurs akin to the N word on line for all to see. factor in a husband who wanted alaska to part ways with the USA (take the U out, not so united these days), add in ms. palin's questionable managerial talent and ethics, top it off with a constant chatter from them all bordering on paranoia, and what do you have? i shudder to ponder that one. and why is it that people think she would be a good president? imagine the noise if one of the well mannered obama kids did something like this? wouldn't happen. THEY have had good mentorship, unlike branch, rock, leaf and all the other palin children.

November 23 2010 at 7:39 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
cittykat2

Palin, has not raised her children. If you look back, her son joined the army to avoid more trouble with his drugs. Bristol was a teen mom. Willow uses language that you would not expect from a ex vice president's candidate. She allow her youngest child to travel around when she was campaigning, putting his health at risk. She used the campaign finance like it was her piggy bank. Yet The news media continues to paint her in positive light. I guarantee you that the "good old white men" in the republican party will not allow her to get close to the nomination. She doesn't deserve it, this country does not need to be the laughing stock of the world.

November 19 2010 at 12:53 PM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply
ajcook111

Sarah Palin needs to distance herself from FOX NEWS. They have become so extreme in their right wing ideology that they have lost all credibility and serious Presidential candidates need to avoid FOX, especially Beck and Hannity.

November 18 2010 at 8:31 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

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