Thursday, January 01, 2009

Sarah of the Silver Tongue

What is it with these people? Sarah Palin and her clan just have to have the last word -- right or wrong and/or contradictory. And whatever Palin does say, the words she utters just leaves you with the feeling that you're in the middle of an episode of SNL.

First off, after People Magazine reported that daughter Bristol gave birth to the aptly named Tripp, What a Tripp, other papers picked up the story. In addition to reporting that Sarah is now a grandmother, the media provided updates on the status of the Bristol and Levi Johnston, noting that the father of Tripp had dropped out of high school and was working as an apprentice electrician. Palin says Johnston is no dropout: Gov. Sarah Palin.

Although she did not release a statement on the news of Tripp's birth, Palin did issue a statement challenging the characterization that Johnston was a dropout. Rather, she claimed that both teens are working and continuing their education. However, like Bristol, Johnston is apparently enrolled in a correspondence program, working towards his GED. None of the press contradicted this assertion, but her claim is incorrect. That technically means he is a high school dropout. If he completes his courses and obtains his GED, that doesn't change the fact that he dropped out of high school, as did Palin's daughter. Both will contibute to the statistics making Alaska the state with the highest dropout rate in the nation.

And then there's the fact that the birth was reported by People Magazine, even though the Palin's official word is that they will not issue any statements on the new baby. They want to respect the privacy of the family. Of course, privacy only goes so far, since it's unclear whether the new family will receive a tidy sum for celebrity baby pictures. MSNBC's The Scoop says yes, Bristol could earn $300,000 for baby pics, while the Anchorage Daily Journal denies those claims. As the paper reports, in Magazine denies offering Bristol Palin money for baby pictures: Gov. Sarah Palin, interest peaked after the arrest of Levi's mother on drug charges:

MSNBC's report quoted unnamed sources saying bidding for the baby photos began at $100,000 and increased after Johnston's mother Sherry was arrested on felony drug charges this month involving OxyContin, a potentially addictive prescription painkiller. MSNBC said estimates of the deal were in the $300,000 range.

People managing editor Larry Hackett said the magazine has had "conversations" about photos with a Palin representative but no deal has been made and no money has been given to the Palins.

"Would I like the pictures? I would love the pictures but I don't have them," he said.

Hackett wouldn't elaborate on discussions, however, if they are continuing or how much the magazine would be willing to pay.

"Would we pay for a picture of her and her kid? I don't know. It's something I would consider. It's not something I would rule out of hand," he said.

The $300,000 figure would be appropriate for a sit-down portrait session of the newborn and his parents -- but only if it includes Sarah Palin, said Paul Harris with Pacific Coast News, an entertainment photo agency based in Los Angeles.

And unless Alaska's Republican governor is a presidential contender in 2012, Harris doesn't anticipate escalating interest in paying big money for street photos of her grandson and his teenage mother.

If I sound a little bitter about the whole episode, you betcha (I am from Pennsylvania after all). Every time Palin pales and starts to fade from the limelight, she manages to grab the headlines one more time. The more she hangs around, my chances of winning my Palin-Be-Gone wager disminishes. And I hate losing (I am a lawyer after all)!

For example, CNN had the nerve to name Palin one of the top stories of the year in its Year End Roundup. Even worse, in From Obama-mania to Palin power: 2008's top political stories, CNN predicted that Palin would continue to be a name in the news:
Palin power

Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Bobby Jindal, Joe Lieberman -- they were considered the front-runners for the No. 2 spot on the Republican ticket. But, in one of the biggest surprises of the year, John McCain picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

The first-term governor went from obscurity to superstar fame overnight. She energized the Republican base and brought record crowds to McCain's campaign events.

Along with her good looks and sharp tongue, she also brought a fair share of controversy to the campaign trail. Some of the more notable ones include the $180,000 fashion bill for a mere nine-week stint on the GOP ticket; the investigation into her firing of a state trooper; and of course, her botched media interviews that helped "Saturday Night Live" rake in its best ratings in 14 years thanks to Tina Fey's spot-on impersonations.

With all eyes on Palin for 2012, it's likely that this self-declared hockey mom will stay in the news long after the election season.

And proving that the public is too easily swayed by a sassy lass, the Alaskan paper also reports on the results of a gallup poll, Nation puts Palin near top of most-admired women list: Gov. Sarah Palin:

Another big win for President-elect Barack Obama: He dethroned President George W. Bush as the nation's most-admired man this year in spectacular fashion.

Obama was named most admired living man by 32 percent of Americans, a figure that Gallup poll analyst Lydia Saad called "extraordinarily high." The USA Today/Gallup poll was conducted Dec. 12-14 and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Gov. Sarah Palin was a strong second among the most-admired women, behind Hillary Clinton but ahead of television host Oprah Winfrey. Bush topped the most admired man list in 2007 with a 10 percent showing, his seventh straight year on top. He reached as high as 39 percent shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. This month, however, he sank to 5 percent to finish a distant second to his successor.

It may sound discouraging at the moment, but it's still way to early to call a winner.

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