Santorum Lashes Out About Palin Coverage, Bauer Calls the Baby Story ‘Endearing’

l sarahpalinvert Santorum Lashes Out About Palin Coverage, Bauer Calls the Baby Story EndearingST. PAUL—John McCain confidant Charlie Black told a private reception of conservative leaders Monday evening that in his first-ever nonpolitical conversation with the candidate earlier that day, McCain asked him to help solicit donations for the victims of Hurricane Gustav.

“I deliver that message and hope for the best,” Black told the crowd, eating vegetables and wearing pro-life buttons in the atrium of the Hilton Garden Inn. “He always puts his country first."

In keeping with the Republicans’ decision to scale back their activities and political rhetoric, Black kept his public remarks focused on the Gulf states and led a prayer asking for the protection of the people who live there. He also said, in the prayer, that he would “take this opportunity” to mention the McCains and the Palins, “that you might smile on them.”

Sarah Palin appears to need all the help she can get.

McCain officials said Palin, the vice-presidential nominee, had no public schedule Monday because she was working on her convention speech, but it didn’t keep her out of the public eye.

Her statement about her teenage daughter’s pregnancy and media reports about an inquiry surrounding the dismissal of the Department of Public Safety commissioner who was Palin’s former brother-in-law intensified coverage of the newly minted running mate in the hours after Republican officials opened the convention.

As he left the event, Black addressed the question many Republicans have been asking themselves. Was she sufficiently vetted?

“Yes, we knew about it,” said Black, as he exited the hotel. Asked again whether she had been sufficiently vetted, he told me, “Absolutely, absolutely. Same as anyone else got.”

Back in the atrium, former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania said that the news about Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy was a net positive.

“The fact that it is front page news means that the mainstream media thinks it is going to hurt Sarah Palin–it’s going to hurt with social conservatives–and the bottom line is just the opposite. It’s going to help. Social conservatives are not puritanical. They are not people who think people don’t sin, that we don’t do things wrong, that the kids don’t make mistakes. But the question is, what do you do when that happens? And what she did, was she stayed true to her values. She loved her daughter. She loved her granddaughter or grandson, and she embraced it and brought in her future son-in-law. And she did exactly what we would hope we would all do in that situation and I wonder if it might even galvanize social conservatives further around here because this is a woman under another difficult circumstance who stood up for her values and was consistent with them and that is a beautiful thing.”

Told that Barack Obama had reprimanded the press for following the story, and that he reminded reporters his own mother was 18 when he was born, Santorum was unimpressed.

“It sounds like a politician who doesn’t want to say anything–that’s what it sounds like to me,” he said. “Look, people’s families are off-limits, yeah, people’s families are off-limits–they should be off-limits–but as we all know, they haven’t been off-limits for a long time. And that’s unfortunate, but they haven’t been.”

“If he says families are off-limits then I would encourage that the Daily Kos doesn’t come out there and say that their three-and-a-half-months-old baby is not hers. So if you say people’s families are off-limits then you don’t have your minions out there spreading rumors that are false about the families.”

He went on. “It’s disturbing to see. Just watch what happens with the liberal blogs, with the liberal media and how they go after Sarah Palin for everything she’s ever done in her life, just like they went after, you know, other candidates for everything they’ve ever done in their life. So the fact that it is off-limits–I wish it were off-limits. But he is saying something he knows isn’t true.”

A few feet away, conservative leader Gary Bauer agreed that the Palin pregnancy could benefit the Republican ticket.

“I don’t think it’s a downside at all,” he said. “This family has embraced their daughter and their daughter has embraced the sanctity of life.” He argued that this was a normal family wrestling with a normal problem. “In its own way,” he said, “I think it’s kind of endearing, actually.”