By Richard Mauer, Lisa Demer and Sean Cockerham for the Anchorage Daily News:
Questions surround Palin's background check
McCain's presidential campaign spent the day trying to assure fellow Republicans and the nation that Palin's background was thoroughly vetted. The pregnancy of Bristol Palin, 17, came as no surprise to them, they said.
But in Alaska, it was hard to find anyone who had been contacted by McCain's campaign.
Thomas Van Flein, the Anchorage lawyer representing Palin and her office in the legislature's investigation into the firing of former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, said he spoke to several representatives from McCain before Palin's selection was announced Friday.
But Van Flein appears to be in a small minority in the vetting of Palin.
The former U.S. attorney for Alaska, Wev Shea, who enthusiastically recommended Palin back in March, said he was never contacted with any follow-up questions.
Republican Gail Phillips, a former speaker of the Alaska House, said Friday that she was shocked by McCain's selection of Palin and told her husband, Walt, "This can't be happening because his advance team didn't come to Alaska to check her out." She said she would've heard had someone been poking around.
"We're not a very big state," Phillips said. "People I talk to would've heard
Monegan, fired by Palin in July, said that no one from the McCain campaign contacted him, either. His firing is now the subject of a special legislative investigation into whether Palin or members of her administration improperly interfered with the running of his department by pushing for dismissal of a state trooper involved in a divorce and custody battle with Palin's sister.
Alaska Senate President Lyda Green, R-Wasilla, told The New York Times, "They didn't speak to anyone in the Legislature, they didn't speak to anyone in the business community."
Better still, the campaign is acting like they did do a thorough vetting job and not telling the truth about it:
On Sunday, The Washington Post quoted McCain campaign manager Rick Davis as saying the FBI conducted a background check of Palin.
But Monday, the FBI told the Atlantic Monthly no such check took place.
"In general, we do not do vetting for political campaigns except as it might regard investigations needed for security clearances," the magazine's Web site quoted John Miller, the chief FBI spokesman. If the agency had conducted a security check of Palin, it wouldn't have shared it with the campaign, the magazine said.
Do we really want a president who barely met or even researched the person whom he wants to be his replacement, if needed? Someone who then tries to backtrack to pretend that he did check her out?