Responding to Internet rumors that Bristol Palin had given birth earlier this year, and that Sarah Palin had claimed the child was her son Trig, the McCain campaign released a statement saying that Bristol Palin is currently pregnant and plans to marry the father.
Republicans have either taken the line that Bristol Palin's pregnancy is a personal matter for Palin and her family, or they are suggesting that it is a situation that lots of normal Americans can relate to, either from their own family history or that or friends and classmates.
"I don't think this is going to be a big deal down the stretch" of the 2008 election, said a top House Republican aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
"It's nobody's business but the Palins," added another Senate GOP leadership staffer.
But it does create a level of uncertaintly about Palin, among Republicans and the media, and that can be a huge negative for Palin's candidacy. Combined with Troopergate, the allegation that Palin fired the top Alaska state police official because he refused to fire Palin's former brother-in-law, a trooper.
"Clearly, yes, absolutely," said a GOP strategist when asked about whether Republicans were afraid more negative stories about Palin would emerge soon.
"Palin can get through this, but what you don't want is a level of uncertainty about her, about whether she should be on the [Republican] ticket. That's not a good thing for any candidate."