The Note: Expecting Surprises

Looking normal? "Fishing permit violations. A blue-collar husband who racked up a DUI citation as a 22-year-old. An unmarried teenage daughter who is pregnant and a nasty child custody battle involving a family member," Charles Mahtesian writes for Politico. "All of this, to one degree or another, has surfaced in recent days as a result of efforts to discredit or undermine Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. But these revelations may have the opposite effect: In one sense, they could reinforce how remarkably unremarkable she is."

(Might this be one of those cases where Republicans are happy to see liberal blogs react -- and overreact?)

The context: "The longtime love affair between John McCain and what he once called his 'base' -- the national news media -- is on the rocks," Bloomberg's Heidi Przybyla writes.

The movement hearts her -- even if the national press sort of misses the point, per National Review's Byron York. "The McCain aides' assignment was to call a list of about 40 top evangelical and other cultural conservative leaders. Each one would get a personal explanation of the story, and each was asked for his or her reaction. The McCain people reached nearly everyone before the story broke, and the verdict was unanimous -- all the leaders supported Palin and her place on the McCain ticket."

Why they like her: "Her selection may also cut into Democrat Barack Obama's organizing advantage. In Loudoun County, Virginia, Obama had an office weeks ago operating with 60 volunteers, while McCain's headquarters hasn't even opened. Palin's selection prompted a flood of e-mails to Republican officials from voters," Bloomberg's Catherine Dodge and Kristin Jensen report.

Why else they like her: "Republican presidential candidate John McCain raised at least $47 million in August, his biggest haul of money so far and a sign that he is dispelling doubts about his campaign among conservative donors," the AP's Jim Kuhnhenn reports.

Inside and outside the Xcel Energy Center, support: "Delegates to the Republican National Convention, as well as Democrat Barack Obama, reacted sympathetically Monday to the disclosure that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's unmarried teenaged daughter is pregnant. But others said the revelation raised questions about John McCain's judgment," Martha T. Moore writes for USA Today.

Among the very few GOPers with public concerns: "I think there will be a period of surprise and questions: When did McCain know and what did he know?" said Priscilla Rakestraw, a Republican National Committee member from Delaware.

Even if this sorts itself out, there's still the fact of the pregnancy itself: "The revelation focused attention on the Republican Party's call, in the party platform adopted today, for unwed teenagers to abstain from sex," Michael Kranish reports in The Boston Globe. "In a story heavy with cultural overtones, Palin's daughter became both the talk of the GOP convention and the latest episode in the national discussion about teen pregnancy."

Lynn Sweet, of the Chicago Sun-Times: "I'm trying to connect the dots here. . . . Unmarried teen five months pregnant, will marry father. . . . She's the daughter of the GOP vice presidential nominee, the little-known Alaska governor, at the center of a controversy over a fired Alaskan state trooper. . . . Republicans at their convention Monday adopt platform calling for increased funding for abstinence education."

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