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Palin kin hit campaign trail in Idaho

Fri., Aug. 28, 2009, 3:28 p.m.

Jim Palin, left, father of Todd Palin; Chuck Heath, center, father of Sarah Palin, and Vaughn Ward, right, an Idaho Republican congressional candidate discuss politics during a stop in Caldwell, Idaho, in which the two dads were campaigning for Ward. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
Jim Palin, left, father of Todd Palin; Chuck Heath, center, father of Sarah Palin, and Vaughn Ward, right, an Idaho Republican congressional candidate discuss politics during a stop in Caldwell, Idaho, in which the two dads were campaigning for Ward. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

CALDWELL, Idaho – While the national media wonders what Sarah Palin’s doing and what she’ll do next, she’s holed up working on her book, her dad said today.

“Sarah’s been out of town for almost a month now,” said Chuck Heath,who is on a campaign swing through Idaho for GOP congressional candidate Vaughn Ward. “I don’t know exactly where she is, but she’s writing her book. She e-mails me quite frequently. She asks, ‘Oh, what happened on June 13, 1978?’ This is material for her book.”

Palin, the former Alaska governor whose turn as John McCain’s running mate last year made her a much-watched political figure, signed a book deal in May with HarperCollins.

Her e-mails to her dad, he said, have asked about “trivial things like maybe a basketball game, ‘How many points did I score here,’ ‘When did we go to the Boston Marathon?’ … Mainly sports.”

She’s made no public appearances since she resigned as governor of Alaska on July 26, saying in her farewell speech that that she’d continue to work for the state’s interests “wherever the road may lead.” But in postings every few days on Facebook, Palin has been commenting about health care reform and other issues at the national level, and suggesting how she’d handle issues differently from President Barack Obama.

Heath and Jim Palin, Palin’s father-in-law, came to Idaho for Ward, an Iraq war veteran they met when he was the Nevada director for the McCain-Palin campaign. They’re making a three-day swing around the 1st Congressional District to hit seven meet-and-greet events for Ward’s campaign, including several in North Idaho.

“This guy is well-organized,” Jim Palin said of Ward, “he’s a leader, and certainly a huge patriot.”

Heath said Ward and his daughter think alike.

“What she did for Alaska, I’m sure Vaughn can do for Idaho,” Heath said. “The main thing is less government. … What’s happening in the nation now is just terrible, just awful.”

Ward faces Idaho House Majority Caucus Chairman Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, and retired Boise physician Allan Salzberg in the GOP race for a chance to challenge 1st District Democratic Congressman Walt Minnick.

“Hopefully,” Jim Palin said, “our little visit here in the state of Idaho will help him pick up a few votes.”

Both said they have no idea whether Palin will run for president in 2012.

“We absolutely, positively do not know,” Heath said. He added, “We haven’t seen the last of her.”

Jim Palin noted that his son, Todd, and Sarah Palin keep their plans close to the vest; for example, when they got married, they eloped, and neither set of parents knew until afterward. Both men said they also didn’t know she was resigning as governor of Alaska until the news came out.

“We don’t try to give them advice or pry into their affairs,” Heath said. “When we get together, we talk mainly about family and sports – very little politics, very little if any.”

Heath, who grew up in Hope and was a Sandpoint Junior High School teacher when Sarah was born, moved his family to Alaska when she was an infant. He said he left for two reasons: Higher teacher salaries and “better hunting and fishing,” although he still returns to the Sandpoint area to hunt about every other year.

“I loved Idaho, but I made a lot better living in Alaska,” he said.



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