'Hillary's women' reject McCain's VP choice

America's largest women's rights organisation delivered a snub to Sarah Palin's history-making candidacy yesterday by endorsing Barack Obama and Joe Biden's bid for power.

The National Organisation for Women (NOW) is 500,000 strong and hugely influential. The feminist organisation almost never supports a presidential candidate, but the Alaska governor's Christian fundamentalist faith and her opposition to abortion rights has forced its hand.

Other women's rights organisations are also campaigning against Governor Palin, pushed along by a spontaneous anti-Palin movement among women.

In Alaska at the weekend, a Welcome Home rally for Mrs Palin was dwarfed by a demonstration organised by Alaska Women Reject Palin, which was held on the lawn of a downtown Anchorage library.

After triggering a huge surge of enthusiasm for John McCain's campaign and sending him into the lead over Barack Obama, Mrs Palin has come under intense scrutiny from the national media. The investigation known as "Troopergate" threatens to expose her as a bullying governor who fired Alaska's de facto police chief for family rather than professional reasons.

The controversy moved up a notch yesterday when Mrs Palin's campaign team announced her refusal to co-operate with the Troopergate investigation because it was "tainted" by politics.

NOW's decision to back Senator Obama when a woman is within striking distance of becoming elected is a bold step for the group and a setback for John McCain's hopes of luring the millions of women who supported Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries.

"The addition of Sarah Palin gave us a new sense of urgency," Kim Gandy, the head of NOW, told National Public Radio. "She is being portrayed as a supporter of women's rights... as a feminist when in fact her positions on so many of the issues are really anathema to ours.

"A lot of women think it's a great thing for a woman to be running for vice-president," she continued, "but they are completely dismayed when they find out her positions. The idea that she opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest – those kinds of positions are completely out of step with American women and once they find out about those positions, they get a little less excited."

Last week, Alaska legislators ordered Mrs Palin's husband, Todd, as well as her chief of staff and deputy chief of staff to answer questions at the Troopergate inquiry. Several years ago, Governor Palin's sister went through a custody battle with her ex-husband Trooper Mike Wooten. Efforts to sack Trooper Wooten failed and Governor Palin sacked the safety director Walt Monegan instead. Mrs Palin's refusal to co-operate with the panel could raise more doubts her suitability as a national candidate in the minds of voters.

The governor's creationist beliefs have also emerged as a hurdle. In Wasilla, where she cut her teeth as a Republican mayor, the Rev Howard Bess, a Baptist minister and author of the book Pastor, I am Gay, says his work was on then Mayor Palin's "hit list" for removal from the town's library. "People in city government have confirmed to me what Sarah was trying to do," he said.

Another Wasilla resident, Phil Munger, a music composer and teacher, says she pushed an evangelical agenda in the town. "She wanted to get people who believed in creationism on the [school] board. I bumped into her after my band played at a graduation ceremony at the Assembly of God [a church]. I said, 'Sarah, how can you believe in creationism – your father's a science teacher.' And she said, 'We don't have to agree on everything.' I pushed her on the earth's creation, whether it was really less than 7,000 years old and whether dinosaurs and humans walked the earth at the same time. And she said yes, she'd seen images somewhere of dinosaur fossils with human footprints in them."

Mr Munger also asked Mrs Palin if she believed in the End of Days, the doomsday scenario when the Messiah will return. "She looked in my eyes and said, 'Yes, I think I will see Jesus come back to earth in my lifetime'."

Suggested Topics
News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
musicReview: 1989's songs attempt to encapsulate dramatic emotional change in a few striking lines
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
I'm not worried about United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Arts and Entertainment
Saw point: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Serena’
filmReview: Serena is a strangely dour and downbeat affair
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

ICT Teachers for perm roles following Oct resignation period

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: IC...

Maths Teachers to cover vacancies after Oct resignation period

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Ma...

Maths Teacher required, Maidstones shool

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We urgently require an experienc...

Year 2 Teachers to cover vacancies after resignation period

£110 - £130 per day + Competitve rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Yea...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker