Yesterday I reached the conclusion that Sarah Palin probably never officially got a room at the Mat-Su hospital on the day she claims to have given birth, April 18, 2008. And it's just not clear whether she was actually at the hospital at all that day.
In her autobiography she claims she and Todd arrived at the hospital quite late on April 17, after the 3,000 mile trip from Texas. This seems like a lie. If she did not officially get a room, where would she have slept? Of course, a hospital official could have given her access to an empty room unofficially, but what would have been the point? She and Todd lived close to the hospital and would have been more comfortable at home.
Yesterday I wrote that Andrew Sullivan anonymously quoted a journalist who I assumed was Lori Tipton of KTUU saying she saw Palin at the hospital. That indeed was Tipton he quoted, but she did not say she saw Palin. Here is the full quote:
"Sarah [Palin] was in another room, and they said that she was sleeping when we arrived. And so, we got a little bit of footage of Sally [Heath] holding Trig, and Chuck [Heath] standing next to her. And Bristol [Palin] was in there, and I said to Bristol, "We should get some footage of you and your brother and your grandparents." And she’s like, "No I really don’t like to be photo-graphed." And I said, "Are you sure?" And she’s like, "Yeah, yeah, no." And she didn’t have any make-up on or anything, but she was dressed in typical teenage attire, a tight shirt, low-cut jeans, you know, and we had heard the rumors before the delivery of this baby also, that Bristol was pregnant, and so, when my photographer and I got to the hospital and we saw her, I thought, well, clearly there’s no way that that girl just delivered a baby seven hours ago."
I'm guessing Tipton had been tipped off about the hoax before she arrived that day, and that in the quote above she's doing her darnedest to help back up Palin's story without telling an outright lie that could bite her later. (If you think about it, how could any real reporter who watched Palin's shape-shifting over the previous six weeks not know about the hoax?) So she stated as a fact that Palin was in another room, not qualifying the statement by saying that she was merely told Palin was there, and then focused on Bristol's appearance as a way to negate the birth hoax rumors.
As I said yesterday, it would have been terribly risky to let Tipton into that maternity suite without prepping her first – how else to keep her from asking why a supposedly four-weeks premature baby who should have been in a sterile environment wasn't – and I'm guessing McAllister and Palin decided it would be best to bring Tipton in on the scheme, on the theory she would then do all she could to help them. Likewise, if Tipton's cameraman was Carpenter, he probably already was in the know, as I have explained in earlier posts. (Incidentally, Palin worked as a sports anchor for KTUU in 2008, so her connection to the station was long-standing.)
That leaves Frank Bailey as the only non-family or quasi-family (i.e., Levi) member I am aware of who says he saw Palin at Mat-Su that day. Here is what incisive commenter Ivyfree wrote about Bailey and his book yesterday:
"I never trusted Bailey, and I don't believe his alleged regrets and spiritual renewal stuff, either. He wrote a whole book to show what he was willing to do for Palin, including lying and taking the blame for her behavior, and it all sounds like all she'd have to do is call him and he'd be right back doing the same thing. He said he saw Sarah at the hospital, and Bristol, and that Bristol hadn't given birth that day, but he didn't say that Sarah had. No: that whole section of Bailey's book is written in such a way that when the truth comes out, he can make it work for either side of the issue."
I don't trust Bailey either. In his book he backs up the idea that Sarah gave birth to Trig, but he provides lots of evidence that suggests just the opposite – especially that Palin and her staff, himself included, spent a tremendous amount of time trying to rebut the rumors that Bristol gave birth to Trig instead of just doing the obvious: producing the birth certificate. So he makes himself look either hopelessly obtuse or willfully ignorant.
Still, there was no clear reason for him to say he saw Palin at the hospital if he did not. And there is no clear reason for Palin to avoid being at the hospital from early morning on that day. After all, by being on hand she could better react to unfolding events. What I suspect is true is that Palin indeed was in an adjoining room as the interview took place and perhaps throughout the day until the family left en mass – but that she was not in bed and made no effort to look like she had just given birth. So I also think that if Bailey saw her that day, he did so as one who was fully in the know of what was happening.
Let's examine the pros and cons of Palin checking into the hospital and getting a room vs. just appropriating an unused maternity suite with the help of an insider. If she checked in to a maternity suite, there would be significant expenses that could not legally be covered by insurance – and the Palins were not rich at that time. Moreover, keeping a lid on all possible leaks would have been more difficult. For example, the custodial crew that got the sheets from Palin's bed would know no birth took place – and folks at that level perhaps feel less bound by HIPAA than nurses and doctors. Also, checking in would leave a longer paper trail and thus involve more employees who might spill the beans.
On the con side, not checking in and not officially getting a room meant Sarah could not pose as a beaming mother in bed holding her newborn; the conspirators decided they would take that hit, and no such pictures have ever surfaced. Also, staging any pictures of Trig would entail risk. They apparently could not appropriate a cradle or an incubator in the newborn section, so they had to show off Trig in a place he did not belong. And because of that, they probably had to take Lori Tipton into their confidence. But because she was quite young (like Gusty), they probably figured they could seduce and control her with the promise of future access to the governor.
There's one more thing I'd like to note. Someone at Mat-Su seemingly put his (or her) foot down and said, in effect, we will go along with this charade so far, but not to the point of committing outright fraud on Palin's behalf. At one point, Trig Palin's name seemingly appeared on the hospital’s newborns web page, but then got yanked. Someone had searched the underlying html code of the newborns page and Trig's name appeared. However, those who searched in the usual way found nothing. A programmer at another site explained that the page would "remember" all names that had been on it, even if one got deleted.
It's hard to know for sure, but my take is this: one of the Palins or maybe their Mat-Su insider friend requested that Trig's name and picture go on the web page, and that happened for a short while – but when someone high up, maybe the top administrator, saw what had happened, he yanked it. So someone apparently was not afraid to say no to Sarah.