The early response among Republicans to the announcement that Bristol Palin, the 17-year-old daughter of GOP VP hopeful Sarah Palin, is pregnant, has been calm and collected, although it has definitely raised concerns for rank-and-file Republicans that more unpleasant revelations may soon follow.
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."