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Is Sarah Palin the first nominee on a major-party presidential ticket whose daughter got pregnant out of wedlock? Or is she just the first whose daughter didn't get an abortion?
The reason you're reading about Bristol Palin's pregnancy is that she's taking it to term. If she had aborted it, you'd never have known. Which raises the question: How many other daughters of nominees have gotten knocked up without your knowledge?
Let's make a list of unintended-pregnancy candidates going back to, say, 1964. To be conservative, let's draw a ceiling at age 30. That rules out Alexandra Kerry and Rebecca Lieberman, who were 31 when their fathers ran, as well as Dick Cheney's and Lloyd Bentsen's daughters. And let's draw a floor at 17, Bristol Palin's age. That rules out Chelsea Clinton (who was 12 when her dad won), Amy Carter (who was 13 when her dad ran for re-election), and Corinne Quayle (who was 14 when her dad lost). Here's the pared-down list:
George W. Bush: Barbara and Jenna were 18 when he was elected.
George H. W. Bush: Doro was 21 when he ran for VP with Reagan.
Ronald Reagan: Patti was 24 when he ran in 1976 and was 28 when he won in 1980.
Gerald Ford: Susan was 17 when he became president and 19 when he ran for re-election.
Richard Nixon: Tricia was 22 and Julie was 20 when he won the presidency.
Lyndon Johnson: Lynda was 20 and Luci was 17 when he headed the ticket.
Al Gore: Karenna was 19 when he ran for VP; Kristin was 19 when he ran for re-election.
Walter Mondale: Eleanor was 16 when he ran for VP, 20 when he ran for re-election, and 24 when he ran for president.
Bob Dole: Robin was 22 when he ran for VP.
Spiro Agnew: Pamela was 25 and Susan was 20 when he ran.
Hubert Humphrey: Nancy was 25 when he ran for VP.
John Kerry: Vanessa was 27 when he ran. (Alexandra was 31.)
Michael Dukakis: Andrea was 22, and Kara was 20.
George McGovern: Ann was 27, Susan was 26, Terry was 23, and Mary was 17.
Barry Goldwater: Joanne was 28, and Peggy was 20.