Friday, September 19, 2008

Sarah Palin Baptized as an Infant at Christ the King Roman Catholic Church in Richland, Washington

Sarah Heath Palin was baptized as an infant on June 7, 1964 at Christ the King Roman Catholic Church in Richland, Washington. Her uncle, Patrick Sheehan, and her aunt, Marjorie Sheeran were her godparents.

More details on Sarah Palin's Irish Catholic roots will be available in my new book What Does Sarah Palin Believe? We will be announcing the publisher and publication date next week.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sarah Palin, Abraham Lincoln, and a Task from God

On the seventh anniversary of the September 11 attacks by Islamic terrorists on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, ABC’s Charlie Gibson sat down to interview Sarah Palin at her residence in Wasilla, Alaska.

While Gibson’s questions were tough and fair in general, they were far tougher than any questions previously posed to either Barack Obama or his running mate Joe Biden. Gibson’s demeanor, however, was a bit snarly and condescending, and he seemed to be focused on the “gotcha” style of journalism. Palin performed well, though her response to Gibson’s “gotcha” question on her view of the Bush Doctrine—that America had the right to pre-emptively strike terrorists who we reasonably expected were preparing to attack us—gave critics what they thought might be an opening.

But these critics missed the main point of the interview, the brilliant coup-de-grace delivered by Palin, in which she clearly laid out the moral basis for America’s War on Terror. Citing Abraham Lincoln’s words, continuing a line of reasoning first set forward publicly by emergent liberal Christian leader Jim Wallis in his book God’s Politics, Palin made a compelling case for the rectitude of America’s cause.

GIBSON: You said recently in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.”
PALIN: Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right, also for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God.

GIBSON: Are we fighting a Holy War?
PALIN: That’s a repeat of Abraham Lincoln’s words, when he said, first he suggested, never presume to know what God’s will is, and I would never presume to know God’s will or to speak god’s words, but what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that’s a repeat in my comments, was, let us not pray that God is on our side, in a war, or any other time. But let us pray that we are on God’s side. That’s what that comment was all about, Charlie.
Today is the day that I send my first born, my son, my teenage son, oversees with his Stryker brigade. Four thousand other wonderful American men and women to fight for our country, to fight for our freedoms.
GIBSON: But you went on and said, “There is a plan, and it is God’s plan.”

PALIN: I believe that there is a plan for this world, and that plan, for this world, is for good. I believe that there is great hope and great potential for every country, to be able to live and be protected within inalienable rights, that I believe are God-given, Charlie. And I believe those are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
That in my worldview is the grand plan.
GIBSON: Then, are you sending your son on a task from God?
PALIN: I don’t know if the task is from God, Charlie. What I know is that my son has made a decision. I am so proud of his independent and strong decision. What he decided to do, in serving for the right reasons in serving something greater than self, and not choosing a real easy path, where he could be more comfortable and certainly safer.

As Beliefnet’s Steven Waterman points out, Gibson did not have the exact quote, nor did he have it in the proper context.

In his quesitons about God and war, ABC News's Charles Gibson took Sarah Palin's quote out of context and then claimed it was an exact quote.
Here's how he phrased it:

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God." Are we fighting a holy war?
PALIN: You know, I don't know if that was my exact quote.
GIBSON: Exact words.
Well, no. Palin asked members of the church to pray "that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan." That's very different. She's asking them to help insure that the war is part of God's plan, not declaring that it was.

Palin, in her response, powerfully articulated the moral basis for the War on Terror, and she did so using a reference to Abraham Lincoln. She cited a quote that liberal Christians such as Jim Wallis of Sojourner Magazine, and secular atheists, such as Susan Jacoby have often cited. (Though I pause to note that it appears that both Wallis and Jacoby cited earlier biographies which did not appear to cite the original source, which I describe below.)

The relevant Lincoln quote comes from F.B. Carpenter, the artist who painted Lincoln’s portrait in the White House over a six month period in 1864. Carpenter’s 1867 book, Six Months in the White House, contains his recollections of events he saw and heard at the White House during that time.

Here’s what Carpenter recalled Lincoln as saying in 1864:

No nobler reply ever fell from the lips of ruler, than that uttered by President Lincoln in response to the clergyman who ventured to say, in his presence, that he hoped " the LORD was on our side.". "I am not at all concerned about that," replied Mr. Lincoln, " for I know that the LORD is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the LORD'S side."

Though Gibson’s intent may have been to make Palin appear as an out of control right wing Christian zealot waging an irrational holy war, her measured response demonstrated not only a personal humility in discerning God’s will, it also showed a keen appreciation for American history and the Constitutional context in which the current War on Terror is being waged. That she did so using a Lincoln quote that prominent scholars of the left admire shows she is more than ready for the challenge of the Vice-Presidency.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Congressman Steve Cohen compares Obama to Jesus Christ

Congressman Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, today compared Barack Obama to Jesus Christ and Sarah Palin to Pontius Pilate in a speech on the floor of the United States House of Representatives.

“If you want change, you want the Democratic Party,” Cohen said. “Barack Obama was a community organizer like Jesus, who our minister prayed about. Pontius Pilate was a governor.”

You can see the full story here.

I'm wondering if Cohen and the rest of the Obama campaign realize just how low and petty they appear when they attack Palin like this.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Michael Patrick Leahy on the Roger Hedgecock Show

I have to thank Paul Shanklin, a fellow Tennessee delegate and the musical parody creator for the Rush Limbaugh Show, for helping me land this appearance on the Roger Hedgecock Show.

Paul stopped by the booth as I was pitching Roger for an appearance, and he have Roger the "thumbs up!" on me.

The interview with Roger was great !

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Day 2 of the Republican National Convention

The day began with a 7:30 am breakfast for the combined Tennessee and Alaska delegations. I got permission to set up a table to sell my books, and sold another 10, which was a nice result. A guy from the Wall Street Journal picked the book up, and the photographer took a picture of me, standing in front of the books on the table.

John McCain's brother Joe spoke, a colorful version of his slightly older brother. Governor Pataki also chimed in, after Congressman David Drier. I introduced myself as a native of Jamestown, New York to the former New York State Chief Executive and it didn't seem to spark any interest on his part.

Went downtown to the Kinko's to pick up more books and they graciously agreed to handle my requirements. It's a wonder of modern technology. I usually use Lightning Source to print books, but they couldn't turn books around fast enough for the convention. The first part of the order was filled at the Franklin store, the second part filled at the Minneapolis store. Juan Holloway in Franklin and store manager John in Minneapolis did a great job. Kudos to Kinkos !

Took a trip to the Mall of America, got a needed haircut ( in expectation of lightning striking with that big TV interview), got back to the hotel, and lo and behold, there was a Television newsman grabbing my arm for an interview. It wasn't Sean Hannity, it was some local program looking for Tennesseans reaction to some local Minnesota products--like lutefish and the ever famous loon call machine. Yes, I told the interviewer, these are all wonderful products, and we're ever so appreciative of your gracious hospitality.

Then it was off to a "Chocolate reception" for my congressional representative, Marsha Blackburn (yes, she was on McCain's VP short list), then the 4 pm bus to the convention center.

More media sitings and book handouts -- gave one to a journalist from the Boston Globe, a producer from C-SPAN, Mike Gallagher (who had the same misunderstanding of the Stanley Ann Dunham timeline that Michael Medved had, and cited Jerome Corsi as the source), and Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt was the nicest and most interested of all. Gave him the elevator speech while he was talking with David Feddoroso, who confirmed my investigation on the mom left dad, not dad left mom storyline was unique.

Tried to give a book to Bill Bennet, but he blew me off completely. Apparently, my book is not one of sufficient virtues.

The convention itself started out slow, but Karl Rove was there next to the Fox News booth and he livened things up for the locals. Very nice guy, very congenial. He posed for a picture with me and he laughed when I told him about the Senator Patrick Leahy connection.

"It's Michael Patrick Leahy," I said. "Patrick Leahy from Vermont is my third cousin, but I promise you Karl, the Leahy's were Republicans before they were Democrats."

Fred Thompsons' speech was terrific. Delivered with the kind of passion that would have made him President had he campaigned that way. The thing is -- he was passionate about it because he absolutely believes John McCain will make a great President.

And Joe Lieberman !

Wow !

What a great speech !

Who knew ?

Stayed after the speeches on the floor long enough to chat with California Congressman Dan Lundgren, and see Meg Whitman again. Posed for a picture with Meg Whitman and fellow delegate and friend "Ironman" Brant Bell.

There we were, the future governor of California and E-Bay Executive Whitman, worth a cool $1.7 billion, Brant on one side, me on the other. Brant gave his camera to a nice lady to take the pic but.... she was not of the digital age.

"Is this the button ?"

"No, try the red one."

"This one?"

"No, the red one."


"Yes, red."

Meanwhile, there patiently waits Ms. Whitman with the two of us until the photo is finally taken.

A class act.

After the convention, hung around the set in front of the Fox News set long enough to have my daughter see me on TV during the Greta Van Sustern Show, as she interviewed first Newt Gingrich and then Laura Ingraham.

"Dad, you're on tv !"

The mugging for the cameras put me in danger of missing the last bus to the hotel. Hurrying out to the pointed pick up location -- Number 11 -- I finally read the sign... "Last pick ups at 11:15 pm" it read.

I glanced at my watch.


What's a Tennessee Delegate to do 15 miles from the hotel.

Happened to catch some yellow vest clad volunteers.

"Hey, I guess I missed the last bus to my hotel. You guys know where the taxi stand is ?"

"Where ya headed?"


"Ouch, that will cost you $50. Tell you what, I'm headed that way, I'll give you a ride," said my new best friend, Christopher Owens, a logistics manager with Super-Value.

Half an hour later, I was back at the hotel, posting this blog.

On to tomorrow.

Sarah Palin will speak.... The moment and the mom have met !

Monday, September 01, 2008

Day One of the Republican National Convention

"Ironman" Brant Bell and I left Franklin at 4:10 AM Sunday morning. I had stayed up very late finishing my book on Barack Obama. I picked up 50 copies from the printer late Saturday night, and after about an hour of sleep, headed out in the wee dark hours to meet Brant for our trip to Minneapolis.

Brant and I are friends and almost neighbors, the only two at-large delegates commmitted to Mitt Romney. Our plan was to drive the 885 miles from Franklin, Tennessee to Minneapolis, Minnesota in one day, arriving in time for the 6 pm Delegate Welcome party.

The GPS system said we could do it in 12 hours and 45 minutes. With "Ironman" Brant driving the entire way ( I slept intermittently )and with a grand total of 18 minutes and 42 seconds of the trip devoted to two brief stops to gas up the car, we arrived at the front desk of the Bloomington, Minnesota Ramada Inn at 4:55 PM, EXACTLY 12 hours and 45 minutes from the moment we left Nashville.

The delegate party was held at the Civic Fest, where I made my way to the booth of Michael Green, Bookseller. Michael had set up a small author table, where David Feddoroso, author of the best-selling "Case Against Obama" was already selling his book. Michael cleared a spot for me on the table next to David, dropped off my book, and boom, there I was selling books ! I sold and signed 9 books in an hour. David beat be my about 25 sold books, but he was quite gracious in sharing the venue.

Up early this morning, I zipped over to the Fox News tent, where I gave Chris Wallace my book. I forgot to give him the 20 second "elevator speech", as he introduced his lovely wife to me, and we talked about their oldest attending Rhodes College (great school) in Memphis this fall, while my oldest is attending Pepperdine (great school).

I shook hands with Britt Hume, who is much taller and much thinner than I had imagined, then scooted out of the tent before I had worn out my welcome.

Back at the convention I chatted with Brian Wilson of Fox News at the FoxNews Convention Broadcast booth, which is right next to where we in the Tennessee delegation are sitting. I gave Brian my elevator speech on the book and he seemed politely.... not quite as impressed with what I had uncovered as I was, so perhaps not giving the elevator speech to Chris Wallace wasn't such a great loss after all.

The convention convened and we went through a few motions in a workman like fashion, then took a one hour break.

During the break I scooted out again, this time to Radio Row, where I tracked down Nashville's own Phil Valentine. Sidekick Johnny B was not there, but brother Mark Valentine was. I gave Phil my book and my elevator speech. He nodded politely, but the phone hasn't rung yet for an interview. I bumped into Al Hunt, formerly of the Capital Gang, and he completely blew me off. Not yet discouraged, I said hello to Todd Palin, formerly of the Hotline, and he was quite friendly and engaging. He's with NBC now, and I gave him a copy of the book as well. No call from Todd yet either !

After the break, the convention reconvened and we heard from Laura Bush and Cindy McCain, who were great, and the Gulf Coast Governors talked about the hurricane relief effort, quite effectively I might add. Right after the convention was dismissed for the day, the first Lady and Mrs. McCain came right over to the Fox News booth, and Brant got some great pictures of Greta Van Sustern interviewing them.

Leaving the convention, I spotted radio talk show host Michael Medved, and gave him both the book and the elevator speech. He was not especially approachable. It was one of those situations where you're walking with someone, and they're talking to you, but really aren't interested in what you're saying. I tried to explain to him the main thrust of the new revelation-- that Barack Obama's mother had left his father when he was seven months old and moved back to Seattle, got an apartment for just herself and her son, and attended the University of Washington as a full time student. Medved was missing my point on this, kept saying, yes, you know they were from Mercer Island.

"Yes," I said, "they were from Mercer Island before they moved to Honolulu. But the point is that Stanley Ann Dunham moved back to Seattle in March of 1962 alone except for young Obama while her parents and her husband remained in Hawaii. Obama Senior left the islands in June, 1962, before Stanley Ann returned to the islands. Then he attended Harvard in September, 1962, when Barack was one year old."

Medved never seemed to catch the point.

Back at the hotel around 6, we got an a bus to a party hosted by Medtronics for several state delegations. While there, we heard from Governor Tim Pawlenty, and I had a chance to speak once again to E-Bay's Meg Whitman, future Governor of California. She's worth $1.7 billion, and is very humble, engaging, gracious, and smart. She recalled our previous meeting, when she spoke at Junior Achievement in Nashville back in March.

Tomorrow morning at 8 am, Mike Huckabee will speak to a joint meeting of the Tennessee and Alaska delegations. I've received the official ok to sell my books before and after this event, so we'll see how that turns out !