On CNN, WaPo's Quinn Questions Palin's Ability to 'Put Country First'

Appearing on Friday's "American Morning," Washington Post faith columnist Sally Quinn again attacked the choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as Senator John McCain's vice presidential pick. During her interview with co-host Kiran Chetry, Quinn suggested Palin would not be able to balance her five children along with the duties of the vice presidency and potentially the presidency. Chetry first asked Quinn if the questions she has raised about Palin, including her ability to be both a mother and a leader, would be questions that she would ask of a man. After firmly answering "yes," Quinn claimed that the "burden of raising children falls on the mother" and said that her questions about Palin are not sexist, they are about whether or not Palin can "do the job." After bringing up the "country first" theme of the Republican National Convention, Quinn took a jab at McCain's age as well as Palin's ability to put country first as commander in chief: "And I think if you're talking about the commander in chief, and that is what she is likely to be given his age and his health, will she put her country first, or will she put her family first?"Chetry then asked why Quinn was not raising the same questions about Senator Barack Obama who has two young daughters. In response, the Washington Post writer claimed, "Men go to war, women to go to war, and I think that when they do, when they go away they make a decision to put their country first." After again questioning whether or not Palin would put her country first if she were to become commander in chief, Quinn stated, "I suspect that whoever is commander in chief, if it's Barack Obama, would put his country first over his family." However, Obama never went to war. He never even served in the military. So if Quinn suspects that Obama can put his country first with two small children while never having been to war, why is she apprehensive about Palin who has demonstrated her ability to handle her family while being the chief executive of Alaska?At the end of the interview, Quinn again questioned Palin's ability to serve because of her special needs child, claiming it's always the women who take time off to care for the child:

I know a lot of women who have special needs children and often times they will take time off. It's almost always the mother who takes the time off. How many times did we hear in this convention, single dads? Did you ever hear anyone talk about single dads? No, they talk about single moms. And the reason is because it's always the moms who are always the ones that take responsibilities in most cases.

To her credit, Chetry mentioned Palin's husband, Todd, and said his support shouldn't be counted out: "Yeah, I mean she does have a big family and she does seem to have the support of her husband as well, which, you know, you can't count that out. You can't count out how hard dads are also working and taking care of their kids."Previously, Quinn appeared on CBS's "Early Show" and slammed her parenting saying the vice presidential nominee should "rethink her priorities." A transcript of the September 5 segment follows:

7:50 a.m.KIRAN CHETRY: Well, there's been so much talk around GOP vice presidential nominee and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and in fact a lot of the buzz surrounds questions on how she can balance caring for her five kids including her 4-month-old son with Down syndrome and potentially balance it with the highest office in the land. So, are these questions sexist? Are they a double standard? Joining us now is Sally Quinn. She's a faith columnist at the Washington Post. Thanks for being with us, Sally.

SALLY QUINN: Thank you.

CHETRY: You've written two articles now on Palin arguing that she was not the best pick and she's not ready to be commander in chief if that were to happen. And you also questioned her ability to be a mom and a leader. Are those the same questions that you would ask of a man?

QUINN: Yes, absolutely. However, I do think that mothers and fathers are different and I think there's not a woman out there who is a mother, a working mother who wouldn't tell you exactly the same thing. That, every woman I know, I'm a working mother, I've been for 26 years. Everyone woman I know practically is a working mother. We have conflicts and guilts that men simply don't have. And, basically the burden of raising children falls on the mother, no matter what kind of a job she has. So, I think that to, you know, we're so far beyond the feminist argument here. This is not about feminism, it's not about sexism, it's simply about can you do the job? One of the things I noticed over this last convention is John McCain, they must have said it 1,000 times, I put my country first. He put his country first. And I think if you're talking about the commander in chief and that is what she is likely to be given his age and his health. Will she put her country first, or will she put her family first?

CHETRY: But let me ask you this. Why is that same question, why are you not writing column about whether or not Barack Obama, who has two small children, can put his country first, as well?

QUINN: Because I think that Barack Obama's a man and I think that men, John McCain went to war for six years. Men go to war, women to go to war, and I think that when they do, when they go away they make a decision to put their country first. My question is simply this, it's not whether she should or should not, it is, will she? Because I think if you're choosing, as a citizen, I want to know what the priorities are for my commander in chief. I suspect that whoever is commander in chief, if it's Barack Obama, would put his country first over his family.

CHETRY: I do know and you know this has certainly been the topic of conversation among many women. In full disclosure, I have a son who was born a day before Sarah Palin's son. I'm a nursing mother and I don't have all the answers either. But doesn't everybody, men and women, have issues that they have to deal with, you know, beside their job, that affect their ability to lead. I'm just wondering why this has become such a topic, specifically dealing with Sarah Palin.

QUINN: Well I also think, you know, there's a tipping point. She's got five children, a Down syndrome. I have son who is very learning disabled who was sick most of his life. There's a wonderful piece, op-ed piece in the Washington Post this morning by a woman with a special needs child. I know the kind of time and effort it takes to raise a child who has special needs and I couldn't have worked full time and done what I did to take care of Quinn. I just couldn't have, unless I just handed him over to a nanny or baby-sitter to take him to the hospital and be there with him when he was in surgery and all of that kind of thing. I know a lot of women who have special needs children and often times they will take time off. It's almost always the mother who takes the time off. How many times did we hear in this convention, single dads? Did you ever hear anyone talk about single dads? No, they talk about single moms. And the reason is because it's always the moms who are always the ones that take responsibilities in most cases.

CHETRY: Yeah, I mean she does have a big family and she does seem to have the support of her husband as well, which, you know, you can't count that out. You can't count out how hard dads are also working and taking care of their kids. But it's very interesting and like we said this is something that has been talked about a lot which is why we wanted to bring you on. You have written two different articles about it that I encourage people to read from the Washington Post. Sally Quinn, thanks for being with us.

QUINN: Thank you.