In Palin's Past, the Personal Got Political





WASILLA, Alaska -- Sarah Palin and John Bitney go way back. They were in the same junior-high band class. Mr. Bitney was a key aide in Gov. Palin's 2006 gubernatorial campaign. When she took office, she gave Mr. Bitney a job as her legislative director, and a few months later stood beside him at a news conference and praised his work.

"Whatever you did, you did it right," she told Mr. Bitney and his team.

Seven weeks later she fired Mr. Bitney for what her spokeswoman now describes as "poor job performance."

What happened in between? According to Mr. Bitney, Gov. Palin got a call from another old friend, Scott Richter, informing her that his wife, Debbie Richter, and Mr. Bitney were having an affair. Mr. Bitney had kept that secret from the governor, even as he told her of his divorce, he said.

Allies of Republican presidential nominee John McCain like to point out that his running mate is the governor of the largest state in the union. But at times, Alaska seems more like a small town, run by folks with overlapping professional, political and personal ties that can be difficult to untangle.


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Robert Lee Gaston - 9/11/2008

Someone said of Bill Clinton: "If his wife can't trust him, how can I?"


Kate Jackson - 9/9/2008

Sounds like she exercised some judgement....maybe she didn't like the idea of someone on her staff who lies to his wife, is a cheating on his wife....is divorcing his wife on perhaps less than truthful causes? Could it be a big gap in the integrity factor....and if someone called me on it while I was in office, I would feel a bit foolish at first, then angry, and then wonder can I trust this guy? Then you would be second guessing his motivation. Maybe that was her way of purging herself from a messy situation. I know you professional types never talk about this stuff at work. I know you are all so compartmentalized and hermetically sealed in your thought processes that you would never fire anyone based on the fact that their homelife was a wreck waiting to happen on your watch!

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