UPDATE (by DavidThi): According to TPM
Todd Palin, husband of Sarah, was a member of the secessionist Alaska Independence Party from 1995 through 2002. That’s the information we just got from the Alaska Division of elections.
UPDATE: According to The Associated Press:
Asked about whether Palin’s background was thoroughly checked out before he selected her, McCain told reporters in Philadelphia: “The vetting process was completely thorough and I’m grateful for the results.”
This was really the only thing McCain could say, because it’s better to try to appear like you were okay with her faults than to look incompetent.
John McCain’s campaign is taking a lot of hits over a flurry of disclosures about VP pick Sarah Palin. And not because of the disclosures themselves, but because of the growing idea – which is more harmful itself to McCain – that Palin wasn’t actually vetted before she was offered the VP slot. As The New York Times reports:
A series of disclosures about Gov. Sarah Palin, Senator John McCain’s choice as running mate, called into question on Monday how thoroughly Mr. McCain had examined her background before putting her on the Republican presidential ticket.
On Monday morning, Ms. Palin and her husband, Todd, issued a statement saying that their 17-year-old unmarried daughter, Bristol, was five months pregnant and that she intended to marry the father.
Among other less attention-grabbing news of the day: it was learned that Ms. Palin now has a private lawyer in a legislative ethics investigation in Alaska into whether she abused her power in dismissing the state’s public safety commissioner; that she was a member for two years in the 1990s of the Alaska Independence Party, which has at times sought a vote on whether the state should secede; and that Mr. Palin was arrested 22 years ago on a drunken-driving charge.
Aides to Mr. McCain said they had a team on the ground in Alaska now to look more thoroughly into Ms. Palin’s background. A Republican with ties to the campaign said the team assigned to vet Ms. Palin in Alaska had not arrived there until Thursday, a day before Mr. McCain stunned the political world with his vice-presidential choice.
Although the McCain campaign said that Mr. McCain had known about Bristol Palin’s pregnancy before he asked her mother to join him on the ticket and that he did not consider it disqualifying, top aides were vague on Monday about how and when he had learned of the pregnancy, and from whom.[Pols emphasis]
While there was no sign that her formal nomination this week was in jeopardy, the questions swirling around Ms. Palin on the first day of the Republican National Convention, already disrupted by Hurricane Gustav, brought anxiety to Republicans who worried that Democrats would use the selection of Ms. Palin to question Mr. McCain’s judgment and his ability to make crucial decisions.
At the least, Republicans close to the campaign said it was increasingly apparent that Ms. Palin had been selected as Mr. McCain’s running mate with more haste than McCain advisers initially described.
Yikes. This is starting to really look bad for McCain, and it’s become obvious that nobody in the campaign was really prepared for the questions about Palin. Watch this interview with a McCain spokesman and you’ll see what we mean – the guy clearly has no answer for questions that you would have thought they should be well prepared to answer. These aren’t even all questions about Palin – they are basic messaging questions surrounding her selection that the campaign doesn’t seem to know how to deal with.