Palin expose puts heat on McCain campaign's VP vetting process

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Washington, Sept.2 : The series of disclosures about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in the wake of her being chosen as Senator John McCain's running mate, has put a question mark on the Republican campaign's vetting process.

Questions are now being asked as to how thoroughly did McCain examine Palin's background before putting her on the Republican presidential ticket.

According to the New York Times, Palin has been in the news for admitting that her 17-year-old unmarried daughter, Bristol, is five months pregnant, is being probed by a legislative ethics committee in Alaska on whether she abused her power in dismissing the state's public safety commissioner; that she was a member for two years in the 1990 of the Alaska Independence Party, which has at times sought a vote on whether the state should secede; and that her husband Tom Palin was arrested 22 years ago on a drunken-driving charge.

A Republican with ties to the campaign said the team assigned to vet Palin in Alaska had not arrived there until Thursday, a day before Mr. McCain stunned the political world with his vice-presidential choice.

Although the McCain campaign said McCain had known about Bristol Palin's pregnancy before he asked her mother to join him on the ticket and that he did not consider it disqualifying, top aides were vague on Monday about how and when he had learned of the pregnancy, and from whom.

While there was no sign that her formal nomination this week was in jeopardy, the questions swirling around Ms. Palin on the first day of the Republican National Convention.

Republicans are worried that Democrats would use the selection of Palin to question McCain's judgment and his ability to make crucial decisions.

At the least, Republicans close to the campaign said it was increasingly apparent that Palin had been selected as McCain's running mate with more haste than McCain advisers initially described.

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