Sarah Palin Is John McCain's Pick For Vice President

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MSNBC and NBC News

Sarah Palin Is John McCain's Pick For Vice President

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First-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin talks in her office in Anchorage, Alaska in a Thursday Aug. 14, 2008 file photo. Palin has bee named as John McCain's vice presidential choice and the official announcement will happen this afternoon. (AP Photo/Al Grillo, File)

WASHINGTON - Republican presidential candidate
Sen. John McCain has chosen Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running
mate, NBC News has learned.

She would be
the first woman ever to serve on a Republican presidential ticket. The
pro-life Palin would also be the first Alaskan ever to appear on a
national ticket.

Palin, 44, was elected
Alaska's first woman governor in 2006. The state's voters had grown
weary of career politician Gov. Frank Murkowski, whom she defeated in
the GOP primary.

"I've been blessed with
the right timing here," Palin said before the election. "There's no
doubt that Alaskans right now are dealing in an atmosphere of distrust
of government and industry."

On Aug. 1, she
scored a major victory when the Alaska legislature passed a bill that
authorizes her administration to award a license to TransCanada Alaska
to build a 1,715-mile natural gas pipeline from Prudhoe Bay on Alaska's
North Slope to a hub in Canada.

The
pipeline would be the largest construction project in the history of
North America. If completed as hoped within ten years, it would ship
4.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. The United States
imported about 10 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in 2007.

Under investigation for firing

But
Palin's seemingly bright future was clouded in late July when the state
legislature voted to hire an independent investigator to find out
whether she tried to have a state official fire her ex-brother-in-law
from his job as a state trooper.

The allegation was made by former Department of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, whom Palin fired in mid-July.

"It
is a governor's prerogative, a right, to fill that cabinet with members
whom she or he believes will do best for the people whom we are
serving," Palin told CNBC's Larry Kudlow in an interview on Aug. 1. "So
I look forward to any kind of investigation or questions being asked
because I've got nothing to hide."

Palin
also reacted to the indictment of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens by calling it
"very dismaying." She added, "Hopefully though, this won't be a
distraction and get people's minds off what has to be done in the grand
scheme of things."

As for the prospect of
her being vice president, Palin told Kudlow that she could not answer
the question of whether she wanted the job "until somebody answers for
me what is it exactly that the VP does every day. I'm used to being
very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to
make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position,
especially for Alaskans and for the things that we're trying to
accomplish up here...."

Palin is married to
Todd Palin, a lifelong Alaskan who is a production operator on the
North Slope and a four-time champion of the Iron Dog, which is
described as "the world's longest snow-machine race."

Mother of five

They have five children. Their son, Track, enlisted in the U.S. Army on Sept. 11, 2007.

Palin
birth to their fifth child, Trig, last April. The baby boy has Down
syndrome, a genetic abnormality that impedes a child's intellectual and
physical development.

"When we first heard,
it was kind of confusing," Palin said, according to an account in the
Anchorage Daily News. She called the news "very, very challenging."

But
she added in a note, imagining what God would say to her family,
"Children are the most precious and promising ingredient in this
mixed-up world you live in down there on Earth. Trig is no different,
except he has one extra chromosome."

Palin
made a name for herself in Alaska politics by serving as mayor of
Wasilla City for six years and going on to run unsuccessfully for the
Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in 2002.

Clash over ethics

After
her unsuccessful run, Palin received an appointment to the Alaska Oil
and Gas Conservation Commission, where she ended up serving a role in
an ethics probe into Republican Party Chairman Randy Reudrich, who was
questioned about conflicts of interest with the oil industry.

The investigation ultimately forced Ruedrich to resign from the commission.

Palin's
role in the investigation left her a party outsider, but she was able
to win the 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary against Murkowski,
going on to win the 2006 general election by seven points over her
Democratic opponent.

During one debate
before the primary, Palin said she was in favor of capital punishment
in especially heinous cases such as the murder of a child. "My
goodness, hang 'em up, yeah," she said.

Born in Idaho, Palin moved to Alaska with her parents in 1964, when they went there to teach school.

She received a degree in communications and journalism from the University of Idaho in 1987.

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