ABC News’ Teddy Davis and Arnab Datta Report: John McCain’s top policy adviser rebuked a reporter on Monday for asking if there was "no sense of panic" in the campaign "over the love child issue," a reference to the announcement made earlier in the day that the 17-year old daughter of McCain’s running mate is five-months pregnant and planning to marry the father.
"All kidding aside — a little respect. I mean ‘love child’ issue? I mean this is a young woman," said McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin, referring to Bristol Palin, the daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R). "She is 17-years old, and I believe that treating it with a little bit of respect is appropriate."
"This is the governor’s daughter," he continued. "It is their issue. It is something that we believe should be treated with a lot of respect. This is clearly something that we have a lot of concern about: the future of this young lady. She’s a wonderful woman. From the campaign’s perspective, we have an outstanding candidate who is a governor and she has a family. She loves that family, and this is their business."
Holtz-Eakin made his comments in response to a question from Paul Bedard the author of "Washington Whispers," a regular feature in U.S. News & World Report.
Bedard questioned Holtz-Eakin during a Christian Science Monitor lunch with reporters held in St. Paul, Minn.
The rebuke from Holtz-Eakin came after Bedard said: "I covered the Dan Quayle campaign. Is there no sense of panic over the love child issue or is there a belief that it shows that she is like a lot of American families?"
Another reporter attending the lunch asked Holtz-Eakin when he first became aware that Palin’s daughter was pregnant with an "out-of-wedlock baby."
"It doesn’t matter when I became aware," said Holtz-Eakin. "I mean, the governor and Todd Palin issued a statement this morning. The statement, I think, speaks for itself — which is to say, that they are now conscious that their daughter will have to address the great challenge of raising a child sooner than they might have hoped. And that they are being supportive of her and the man that she will marry and they would ask that we respect their privacy and I think out of respect for that request that’s probably all we should say."
Asked if the campaign knew about the pregnancy at the time of Palin’s selection, Holtz-Eakin said, "As I said, what I think we ought to do is recognize that the governor was completely vetted by the campaign. Senator McCain has complete confidence in her as a running mate and as a future vice president of the United States, and the particulars of the family life of the Palins is really something that’s best left to them."