Palin Puts The Trig Question Back On The Table

Sarah Palin has now made two very clear public statements in the last day about the legitimacy of questions about the maternity of her son Trig. Here's the first, transcribed from the interview above:

Would you make [Obama's long form] birth certificate an issue if you ran?

I think the public, rightfully, is still making it an issue. I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t know if I would have to bother to make it an issue ’cause I think there are enough members of the electorate who still want answers.

Do you think it’s a fair question to be looking at?

I think it’s a fair question, just like I think past associations and past voting record all of that is fair game. You know, I’ve got to tell you, too: I think our campaign, the McCain/Palin campaign didn’t do a good enough job in that area. We didn’t call out Obama and some of his associates on their records and what their beliefs were and perhaps what their future plans were. And I don’t think that that was fair to voters to not have done our jobs as candidates and as a campaign to bring to light a lot of the things that now we’re seeing made manifest in the administration.

I mean, truly, if your past is fair game and your kids are fair game, certainly Obama’s past should be. I mean, we want to treat men and women equally, right?

Hey, you know, that’s a great point, in that weird conspiracy-theory freaky thing that people talk about that Trig isn’t my real son. And a lot of people say, “Well you need to produce his birth certificate! You need to prove that he’s your kid!” Which we have done. But yeah, so maybe we could reverse that and use the same [unintelligible]-type thinking on them.

And here's the second, a later Facebook attempt to walk back some of this:

Voters have every right to ask candidates for information if they so choose. I’ve pointed out that it was seemingly fair game during the 2008 election for many on the left to badger my doctor and lawyer for proof that Trig is in fact my child. Conspiracy-minded reporters and voters had a right to ask… which they have repeatedly. But at no point – not during the campaign, and not during recent interviews – have I asked the president to produce his birth certificate or suggested that he was not born in the United States.

Most bloggers and readers have jumped onto the story line - understandably - that Palin has joined or at least mainstreamed the Birther movement. But this does not strike me as the news here. Palin has always been a brutal campaigner and in her first campaign for mayor, she demanded that her opponent produce his own marriage license to prove that he was in fact married to his wife. Of course, her first opponent did produce his license. And her current target, Barack Obama, has also produced his birth certificate a long time ago, and yet she is still demanding that he produce it.

The news here is that, to her credit, Palin says that all inquiries into a candidate's veracity, record, associations, and medical history are legitimate forms of inquiry. She therefore backs this blog's near-solitary attempt to get her to provide evidence - after very serious questions of fact emerged - that she was indeed the biological mother of Trig. To all those Palinites and McCainiacs and right and left bloggers who decried this question as lunatic, Palin has now said she differs. They were more Palinite than Palin.

But here's the critical sentence:

In that weird conspiracy-theory freaky thing that people talk about that Trig isn’t my real son. And a lot of people say, “Well you need to produce his birth certificate! You need to prove that he’s your kid!” Which we have done.

My italics. Palin has never produced Trig's birth certificate or a single piece of objective medical evidence that proves he is indeed her biological son. A child with Down Syndrome must have a pile of such records,  tests, assessments and ultrasounds that conclusively prove that he is Sarah's biological son. It seems bizarre to me that neither the public nor the campaign (so far as I can glean) has ever been given one of them.

Her doctor, Catherine Baldwin Johnson, offered a two-page summary of Palin's health just hours before polls opened on November 3, a bizarre approach to transparency. The summary omits certain details from Palin's medical history (two miscarriages, one serious), and does not provide any actual documentary evidence of the pregnancy and birth. It was authored by a doctor who has refused to return any phone calls, even from the New York Times, since the moment Palin's candidacy was announced. The hospital has three recorded births on the day Trig was born: the governor's son, by wishes of the parents, was not included on the list. There were only a handful of photographs over eight months that showed Palin pregnant, none showed her as visibly pregnant as with her previous children, and at seven months, her entire staff and all of Alaska's political class disbelieved her:

People just couldn't believe the news. "Really? No!" said Bethel state Rep. Mary Nelson, who is close to giving birth herself ... "It's wonderful. She's very well-disguised," said Senate President Lyda Green, a mother of three who has sometimes sparred with Palin politically. "When I was five months pregnant, there was absolutely no question that I was with child."

On the return flight from Dallas to Alaska, which she says she boarded despite having contractions at eight months - a "strange sensation" she had never felt before, according to "Going Rogue," - the flight attendants on the plane at the time, according to a contemporaneous account in the ADN, had no idea she was even pregnant, let alone in labor of some kind. The questions about this astonishing story are not a function of conspiracy theories and never were. They require no elaborate theory of whose child Trig may actually be. They are simply basic questions anyone would ask of a person who had recounted such an amazing tale. And yet not a single journalist has done so.

This blog has attempted to give Palin the benefit of the doubt on this from the get-go. The Dish was one of the first blogs to post a photograph - of only four - showing Palin somewhat pregnant. At the time, on August 31, 2008, I asked:

Please give us these answers - and provide medical records for Sarah Palin's pregnancy - and put this to rest.

A short time later, I asked simply:

What harm would it do to release the medical records showing that Sarah Palin delivered Trig on April 18 in Wasilla? This is not hard: there must be an obstetrician, medical records, and data that can easily refute this rumor. It is not out of the ordinary either: candidates routinely issue medical records. So let's have them. And then we can move on.

On September 3, Palin was cut off from the press for the following reasons:

In an extraordinary and emotional interview, Steve Schmidt said his campaign feels "under siege" by wave after wave of news inquiries that have questioned whether Palin is really the mother of a 4-month-old baby, whether her amniotic fluid had been tested and whether she would submit to a DNA test to establish the child's parentage.

On September 5, Ben Smith reported that the medical records would be released "very soon". We kept being told that in the campaign and they never were - until the brief doctor's note was issued a few hours before midnight before Election day.

I also politely asked the campaign to simply confirm that they knew that Trig was Sarah's biological son, and they responded not by providing the data but by leaking my email to the press. I asked the campaign personally and off the record in the last phase of the campaign to tell me that they knew these rumors were absurd. The senior official I spoke with simply didn't know.

So here are the simple questions the Dish has been trying to get an answer for much more than a year. They are easily answered and could have been at any moment since August 31 2008 when I first asked them. Here they are:

Can you please provide independent medical documents/slides/reports that prove that Trig is Palin's biological child? If this is deemed too private, then please provide them off the record to a reporter who can vouch for them to the rest of us?

Can you please provide Trig Palin's birth certificate listing his biological mother and father?

Can you please ask Catherine Baldwin-Johnson to discuss these questions with medical reporters so this whole thing can be put to rest for good and all?

If you refuse to do these things, why?

Please, governor Palin, let's put this behind us. Only you can. I pledge to post any and all material you can provide debunking these stories soon as I receive any. I'd like this line of inquiry to end as soon as possible - for the sake of all of us, but especially the innocent child caught up in something he doesn't deserve.