Paul Jacob

"Is she going to put her country first or her children first?"

So asked columnist Sally Quinn last week, at the close of a segment on The O'Reilly Factor. Quinn was making a repeat appearance, apparently to apologize for her performance days earlier.

Quinn landed on Bill O'Reilly's show in the first place to defend her post on the Washington Post/Newsweek blog "On Faith." In a piece entitled "Palin's Pregnancy Problem," Quinn contended that Alaska Governor and GOP Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin's "lack of experience and her family situation" disqualified her for the presidency. And thus the vice presidency.

"John McCain . . . must have said it one thousand times, 'I put my country first,'" Quinn told a CNN interviewer. "And I think if you're talking about the commander in chief and that is what she is likely to be given his age and his health. Will she put her country first, or will she put her family first?"

Being a working mother herself, Quinn insisted that women "should" work. But there is a "tipping point" more than reached at the level of the presidency. And apparently at a certain number of children.

"It's one thing to have one, two or three children, especially if they are healthy children," argued Quinn. Of course, Palin has five children, one with Down's syndrome. Quinn, herself the mother of a child with a serious learning disability, also mentioned the 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy, suggesting that means the potential Vice-President must worry about six kids.

Quinn raised the specter of that 3:00 am emergency phone call to the president. Will Palin grab the phone or care for a sick child?

CNN's Soledad O'Brien incredulously asked Quinn why Palin wouldn't do precisely what other working mothers do: hand the sick kid to dad.

"I can't believe that she would be the dad and her husband would be the mom," Quinn responded.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.