E-mails: Palin worked, joked with staff on day she went into labor with Trig
By Carol D. Leonnig,
Gov. Sarah Palin was working with her staff on various issues on her plate on the day she reported she had gone into early labor with her fifth child, Trig, in April 2008.
Neither Palin nor her staff mention the possibility of her being in labor or giving birth prior to an announcement, and she signals no urgency about her travel or condition to her staff in the e-mails released for that period.
Palin was in Dallas on April 17, 2008, and about to give a speech for the Republican Governors Association when she said she began leaking amniotic fluid early that morning. Palin said she consulted her doctor by phone and decided to give the speech; then, in a move questioned by some obstetricians, she got on a seven-hour flight to Seattle with husband Todd. They caught a connecting flight to Anchorage, arriving late in the evening of April 17 and then drove 40 minutes to her home-town hospital in Wasilla.
In one e-mail in the middle of the day on April 17, Palin writes a casual, brief note to her attorney general thanking him for letting her know about a local blogger’s unflattering assertions about the reasons for a state attorney’s departure from the staff. Palin mentions heading home but makes no mention of rushing or her condition.
“What a goof he is . . . truly annoying,” she wrote about the blogger to Attorney General Talis Colberg. “Thanks for the info. I’m on my way home now from Dallas.”
Palin had been very private about her pregnancy, telling none of her staff about the pending birth until announcing in March 2008 that she was seven months pregnant. Many of her staff expressed shock, including her security detail, saying they hadn’t noticed the typical signs of pregnancy.
In another e-mail the morning of April 17, Palin weighs in from Texas about a proposed communications strategy. She urges her staff not to proceed with a draft letter to the editor expressing the governor’s outrage at some Alaskan disc jockeys’ recent offensive on-air jokes about Alaskan Native women.
“Don’t submit at this time, as there will be more thought put into this as it relates to a more positive message/event,” Palin wrote just after 8 a.m. “Thanks.”
In a series of e-mails around 8 a.m. on the morning of April 18, Palin’s communications and political staff shared strategies and important contacts with Palin that she could use to try to become chairperson of the National Governors Association’s natural resources committee. In e-mails sent to Palin and copied to her closest aides, including her chief of staff, there is no mention of a pending Palin family birth and there is no record that Palin responded.
On the afternoon of April 18, Palin’s office reported that her fifth child, Trig, was delivered at roughly 6:30 a.m. that day at Mat-su Regional Medical Center. The baby was not due until a month later.
The first mention of the birth by her staff in the released e-mails comes from Colberg, who expressed surprise and extended good wishes in a note to Palin after 1 p.m. on April 18:
“First. Wow. Congratulations on your new son.”