Over the past few days, "Misty K" has commented several times. Misty presents herself as someone who knows Bristol Palin personally... the mother of a young man who attends West High School in Anchorage... and saw Bristol during the time period in question. While we have had several posters from Alaska, Misty is the only person who has ever commented here to state she has first hand knowledge of the situation.
Certainly, Misty provides a few interesting details - she saw Bristol at a hockey game in January, and in her (Misty's) home later that month; she was supposedly at another specific hockey game that Bristol may have attended in February - she's looking for video; she mentions a time line of when her son told her that Bristol was pregnant (late April / early May); Levi Johnston hanging baby crocs from his rear-view mirror.
Is Misty "for real?" We have no way of knowing. She did not accept my invitation to email me privately, and I'm sorry because I really wanted to ask her some very specific questions, one of which was how her son came to know and be friends with Levi Johnston, since they went to different high schools so many miles apart.
She's also posting here anonymously (not that there's anything wrong with that. I've allowed anonymous posting for a reason - so people can feel comfortable with saying what they want. And no one expects anyone to post with a real name and phone number!) But with that greater degree of freedom to comment all readers need to realize that posts must be viewed with a greater degree of questioning. Misty could be exactly who and what she says she is. She could also be someone in a basement in Brooklyn, who comes on the board, posts reasonably several times, and then quietly drops in one piece of info (like the fact that her son said Bristol was pregnant in May) which calls everything else into question. And because she's been calm and credible, and has offered reasonable-sounding facts, people will take her info seriously.
All that having been said, let's examine Misty's statements. Most of what she says seems very consistent with what we know from other, verifiable sources.
Where DO the Palin children go to school? You'd think that a simple question like this would be easy to answer, but I am having trouble coming up with a solid answer.
Sarah Palin was elected governor of Alaska in November, 2006, just a bit under two years ago. Since then, she's come under criticism for being in Juneau, the state capitol, far less than the number of days many people would have expected her to be. There have been varying estimates as to how much actual time she spent in Juneau (as opposed to her satellite office in Anchorage) but it doesn't sound like very much. Politico.com claims it might have been as few as 85 week days since the start of her term twenty or so months ago.
The point of this post is not what sort of job Sarah Palin did or did not do as Governor of Alaska, but to answer a question about where her children lived. This is relevant because Misty states that there was nothing remarkable about Bristol's showing up in Anchorage last winter - it was planned because she didn't want to go to Juneau with her mother for the "120 day" legislative session.
Is this true? Is it consistent with some of our other information? First, according to the state of Alaska government website, the 2008 legislative session ran from January 19th to April 13th, so it's 90 days, not 120. In addition, examining Palin's travel schedule for those months, even during that time, she was not in Juneau consistently. There would seem to be little need to take her children OUT of school in Wasilla and bring them to Juneau, since she wasn't there half the time anyway. (She does seem to keep Piper with her, but a second grader could tolerate two different schools far better than a middle schooler or high schooler.) The second comment I would make is that it does appear that the previous winter (2007), Bristol Palin did attend high school in Juneau (which would have been her mother's first legislative session) because we have a photo of her in a Juneau High School basketball uniform. Perhaps the Palin family tried having all the children with them in Juneau that first winter and found it did not work well.
But we have an interesting glimpse into what the Palin family plans were as of December 2007 from a source that is unimpeachable, the Alaska Magazine article on Palin that was published in their February 2008 issue (but written in mid December). According to this article, as of December, the plan was that Bristol was going to be "staying in the Valley to finish high school." (The "Valley" is local terminology for the Palmer-Wasilla area.)
Then we're told by the National Enquirer that:
When Sarah found out the teen [Bristol] was pregnant by high schooler Levi Johnston, she was actually banished from the house. As part of the cover-up, Palin quickly transferred Bristol to another high school and made her move in with Sarah’s sister Heather 25 miles away!
The Enquirer gives no date, and does not comment beyond this. Most readers perhaps assumed that the reference was to the alleged current pregnancy. And... of course... the Enquirer can hardly be considered a totally reliable source. But, to be fair, they've been correct a lot of the time, particularly recently.
So, hold on. When was this? January? Or May?
Well, we have this:
Mark Okeson, the assistant principal at Wasilla High School, told the Chicago Tribune that Bristol started her junior year last fall, in the town where Sarah Palin grew up.
He said Bristol inexplicably transferred to an Anchorage high school midyear, leaving Levi behind.
"I never heard the story why," he said.
Then from the Anchorage Daily News, on September 1, 2008, from a reporter who had actually spoken to Heather Bruce that day:
Bristol Palin went to West High School in the spring, living with her aunt, Heather Bruce.
Then from our own poster, Misty K:
I just know that my son told me that she did not want to go to school down there [Juneau] and she ended up here [Anchorage] for a month or so.
Misty also tells us that she first saw Bristol in Anchorage in January, but then Bristol left school because she'd done "distance learning classes" and finished early. But... she was only a junior last year, not a senior, and we have no record whatsoever that she did finish even her junior year to say nothing of high school.
So, putting it all together:
As late as December 2007, the Palin family is planning to have Bristol remain in Wasilla to finish high school, and not go to Juneau with Todd, Sarah, and Piper. We have no information about Willow. (Correction: Based on honor role records, it appears that Willow was in Juneau, in eighth grade, in the spring of 2008.)
"Midyear" Bristol is suddenly removed from Wasilla High School and shows up in Anchorage. The story put out in Anchorage seems to have been that she is in Anchorage because she didn't want to go to Juneau. Fine... except in December there were no plans for her to go to Juneau. So what changed?
The National Enquirer specifically states that the decision for her to live with her aunt was a direct result of her mother finding out she was pregnant. Her aunt, making obviously no mention of a pregnancy, told the Anchorage Daily News that Bristol lived with her "in the spring."
We don't know how long she actually attended West High School, but it doesn't seem to be very long. Misty says about a month, maybe a bit longer. This would mean she left around the end of February or the beginning of March. Given the due date of May 15th, she would have been around 28 - 30 weeks of pregnancy.
Sarah Palin announced her pregnancy on March 6th.
The fact is that, pulling together from all these disparate places, the ONLY piece of info that Misty gives us that doesn't fit with a pregnant Brisol in late 2007/early 2008 is that her son said Bristol WAS pregnant by early May, which of course supports what the McCain campaign is saying.
As I have said so many times, draw your own conclusions. I think, however, it is certainly reasonable to suggest that right around Christmas, 2007 something happened. Something changed.