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Sarah Palin Craig Ruttle/AP/Press Association Images
The Palin Emails

Unflippinbelievable! Seven things we've learned so far from 'The Palin Emails'

Over 24,000 pages of emails from Palin’s time as governor of Alaska have emerged with news outlets and ordinary folk combing through them for juicy details about the possible 2012 presidential candidate.

SOME 24,000 PAGES of emails related to Sarah Palin’s time as governor of Alaska have been released by state authorities with news organisations and ordinary people combing through the documents for insights into her time as governor.

Since being the surprise pick to be the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, Palin has captured the attention of the US and world media for reasons that aren’t really entirely clear.

But she is also hotly-tipped to run for the Republican presidential nomination for the 2012 election.

Having waited some three years since originally applying to see the emails at the time she was tapped for the VP candidacy, news organisations including the Guardian, the New York Times and the Washington Post have been posting them online and asking users to submit their own interesting discoveries as their own news teams explore the documents.

The state authorities withheld nearly 2,300 pages, citing executive privilege and privacy concerns but here’s a quick run through of what has been discovered so far.

1. A way with words

The day after she was plucked from relative obscurity to be John McCain’s running mate in his failed 2008 presidential run, even Palin seemed to be astounded, writing to one associate:  ”Can you flippinbelieveit?!”, reports BBC News.

The Guardian reports that Palin’s penchant for combining the words ‘flipping’ and ‘believe’ was not consigned to just one email with an August 2008 correspondence stating “Unflippinbelievable” upon her learning of potential delays to a gas pipeline project she enthusiastically supported.

But the paper adds that she was much happier when Barack Obama spoke in praise of the project: “He did say ‘yay’ to our gasline,” adding “Pretty cool. Wrong candidate.”

2. She was as surprised as us

The New York Times further reports on Palin’s almost disbelief at being picked by McCain’s to be his running mate.

“Can you believe it!” she wrote in response to a staff member’s “Wow governor” message that Friday in late August 2008 when the choice was announced.

He told me yesterday — it moved fast! Pray! I love you.

3. But was she eyeing up the White House all along?

The Associated Press picks up on correspondence earlier that summer in 2008 in which Palin and her staff began pushing to find a larger audience for the governor, wedging her into national conversations and nudging the McCain campaign to notice her.

Palin and her staff talked excitedly on 19 June about plans to repeal Alaska’s fuel tax. Ivy Frye, a longtime Palin aide and friend, said she would send details to McCain staffers when they became available:

They’re going to love it! More vp talk is never a bad thing, whether you’re considering vp or not. say President Palin sounds better tho…

4. “Did dinosaurs and humans co-exist at one time?” – her frustration with the media

The emails provide plenty of details about Palin’s frustration with the mainstream media who in the past she has labelled the “lamestream media”.

Once picked for the VP slot, she appeared ill-at-ease with her new found national profile. In a short number of years she’d gone from being the mayor of the small town of Wasilla in Alaska to being governor of the entire state and then on to national prominence as McCain’s running mate.

The Washington Post reports on 15 September 2008, Palin responded to a host of news media questions presented to her by staffers.

Among them was a query about a tanning bed at the governor’s mansion and whether it was her “belief that dinosaurs and humans co-existed at one time?”

The governor replied:

I am so sorry that the office is swamped like this! Dinosaurs even?! I’ll try to run through some of these in my head before responding. And the old, used tanning bed that my girls have used handful of times in Juneau? Yes, we paid for it ourselves. I, too, will continue to be dismayed at the media.

5. Palin faced rumours over her fifth child, Trig, from the beginning

Rumours that Palin’s fifth child Trig was actually her daughter Bristol’s child were prominent from the start but gained traction on the US blogosphere around the time of her VP nomination.

Overwhelming evidence to the contrary did not dispel the rumours and the emails revealed that Palin, who gave birth to Trig on 18 April 2008 was ill-at-ease with the attention right from the off, according to the Washington Post.

On April 22, Palin wrote to staffers:

Hate to pick this one up again, but have heard three different times today the rumor again the [sic] Bristol is pregnant or had this baby.

Even at Trig’s doc appt this morning his doc said that’s out there (hopefully NOT in their medical community-world, but it’s out there).

Bristol called again this afternoon asking if there’s anything we can do to stop this as she receive [sic] two girlfriend-type calls today asking if it were true.

6. ‘Troopergate’ allegations were ‘killing’

Palin’s frustration over coverage of the ‘Troopergate’ scandal – in which she was accused of using her powers as governor of Alaska to further a personal campaign against her former brother-in-law – is evident, reports the Guardian.

“It’s killing to realise how misinformed leggies, reporters and others are on this issue,” she sighs, “leggies” a cute sounding reference to Alaska’s state legislators.

The Daily Beast reports that on 29 July – a month before she would join the McCain presidential ticket – she told an aide she wanted to deal with press on the ‘Troopergate’ issue directly, saying:

I invite the investigation but it’s obvious we could get to the bottom of it all if leggies and reproters (sic) would just ASK me further questions instead of spending $100g on a fishing expiditoin (sic).

The ‘Toopergate’ episode amounted to a black mark on the record of the governor and would dog her campaign to be vice president in late 2008. The release of these emails is likely to shed new light on the issue.

7. It’s in the computer – she’s not great with technology

Palin does not appear to be hot on technology, reports the Guardian. In one email in early 2008, she reports on her difficulties in getting an important speech out of the computer and onto hard copy.

I need to get on my pc to work and print state of state speech,but looks like my computer was moved or something changed … it won’t turn on. I’ll either need it asap, or will need to get on your computer downstairs???

Meanwhile, there isn’t universal pleasure  with the devotion of some media outlets to trawling through the documents with the New York Times, itself one of the organisations involved, reporting on critics who accuse certain news media of “overkill at best and vigilantism at worst”.

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