Sarah Palin faced Trig rumors from start

Not long after she announced her fifth pregnancy, Sarah Palin faced rumors that it was her daughter Bristol who was having the child — Trig Palin, who was born on April 18, 2008.

That falsehood sprung up again months later, during the 2008 presidential campaign, and it has continued to circulate on blogs despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The e-mails released Friday show that the rumors began very early on.

On April 6, 2008, Palin wrote staffers and her husband, Todd, “Sounds like The Bristol rumor was started and continues via Lyda’s office,” a reference to then-state Senate President Lyda Green (R), a frequent antagonist of the Alaska governor’s administration. “Bristol does want it squashed — we just don’t know how to do so without making it a bigger issue. . . . I figured it was them or [former Palin staffer John] Bitney.”

On April 22, Palin wrote staffers: “Hate to pick this one up again, but have heard three different times today the rumor again the [sic] Bristol is pregnant or had this baby. Even at Trig’s doc appt this morning his doc said that’s out there (hopefully NOT in their medical community-world, but it’s out there). Bristol called again this afternoon asking if there’s anything we can do to stop this as she receive [sic] two girlfriend-type calls today asking if it were true.”

She added, after a staffer suggested a television segment on Trig, “I wish I could shame people into ceasing such gossip about a teen, but can’t figure out how to do that.”

The e-mails show that Palin struggled with the media attention given to her pregnancy. Asked in March by a staffer about her interest in consenting to a live audio recording of the birth, Palin responded, “Don’t want to take this too far. Kinda wish I hadnt had to tell anyone, but crazy to think it could have been hidden long.”

A few days earlier, she had expressed a similar sentiment in response to questions from reporters about baby gifts: “I say, politely to questions like this, ummmmm, isn’t enough enough? We don’t want to exploit this — and I’m sure they have other things to write about. Is it any wonder I waited 7 mos to say anything :)”

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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