Republican Convention Turns Focus on Palin

The Republicans Tuesday delicately pivoted from a focus on assisting Gulf coast residents fleeing Hurricane Gustav, to a focus on politics, resuming a convention schedule including a speech tonight via satellite by President Bush from the White House.

As Republican National Convention officials prepared to get their prime time program back on track after Gustav blew it briefly off course, the GOP was weathering a storm of a different kind over Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska.

The little-known politician and her family became the center of attention this week after Palin released a stunning statement in which she said her 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant and intends to keep the baby and marry the young father.

Watch the ABC News live special with Charlie Gibson, Diane Sawyer, and George Stephanopoulos from the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis tonight on ABC at 10 p.m. ET

The McCain campaign continued to say they were aware of the situation beforehand and did not believe it should keep Palin off the ticket.

In an interview with, McCain surrogate South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham defended McCain's choice of Palin.

"What if John had said 'I'm sorry but I can't pick you because of this'? Then people would have lost respect for him," Graham said. "None of us want 17 year old pregnancies but how you handle it is the important thing."

Of the media focus now on the Palin pregnancy, Graham said, "This reinforces she has a loving family and handles adversity well." Graham said of the pregnancy disclosure.

"We're trying to change things in Washington," he said, "If she can so for Washington what she did for Alaska -- homerun pick."

Since Palin joined Republican John McCain on the Republican ticket there have been stories that she was once a member of the Alaska Independence Party, never had a passport or traveled overseas until last year, that her husband was arrested 22 years ago on a drunken driving charge, and that she pushed for $27 million worth of federal earmarks into a bill for the tiny town of Wasilla while she was its mayor.

She is also the center of a legislative ethics investigation in Alaska into whether she abused her power in dismissing the state's public safety commissioner for not intervening in a family dispute with a former brother in law who was an Alaska trooper, who was allegedly abusive toward Palin's family members.

"I think what a lot of Republican operatives and delegates here are asking is what else is out there about Gov. Palin?" ABC News' George Stephanopoulos told "Good Morning America" Tuesday.

"Was the vetting process complete and professional? ... And finally, what does it say about Sen. McCain's judgment that he chose someone with no national security experience?" Stephanopoulos said.

Speaking to convention delegates Tuesday night will be President George Bush, who was scheduled to speak to the Republican convention Monday.

The president will now appear via satellite, as first reported by ABC News' chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos.

Tonight will be dedicated to a a 'biographical sketch' of Republican presidential nominee John McCain, and will focus on his service to the nation as a fighter pilot, a prisoner-of-war, and a longtime U.S. senator, though he will not appear at the convention in person.

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