May 6th, 2009
10:56 AM ET
6 years ago

'Learn from my example,' says Bristol Palin

Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston were thrust into the national spotlight last September when Gov. Sarah Palin revealed that the unmarried teens were expecting a baby.
Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston were thrust into the national spotlight last September when Gov. Sarah Palin revealed that the unmarried teens were expecting a baby.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Teen mom Bristol Palin had a simple message for teens on Wednesday, the 8th Annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

The daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin – the 2008 vice presidential nominee – said in an interview on NBC's Today Show that she wanted other teens to "learn from my example."

"If you're going to have sex, I think you should have safe sex," the unwed, teenage mother said as she held her infant son, Tripp. "And, regardless of what I did or anything like that, I think that abstinence is the only 100 percent foolproof way of preventing teen pregnancy."

Her father, Todd, acknowledged that his daughter was negotiating difficult territory as she holds herself out as an increasingly public advocate for the cause of preventing teen pregnancy.

"It's kind of a fine line that we're definitely walking on," he said when asked whether the governor's daughter could both advocate for teens to abstain and encourage practicing safe sex.

The young mother did have one topic she was not willing to discuss in detail – her increasingly strained relationship with Levi Johnston, Tripp's father.

"I'm honestly not here to talk about my personal life," Palin told Lauer, adding that Johnston was involved in raising their son.

"They're working out a schedule," Todd Palin said of the young parents' arrangements. "I know that both of them will love and care for their son together."

In a recent interview with CNN's Larry King, Johnston and his family said they were considering legal action to protect his parental rights.


Filed under: Bristol Palin • Levi Johnston • Sarah Palin • Todd Palin
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Dear Tripp:

    I am sorry I called yo a mistake in the national media when you were a baby. Please talk to me again.

    Love,

    Mommy

    May 6, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. Joe PA

    when you learn from an example usually the example shows you the correct way of doing something. What Miss Palin should have said was learn from my mistake. I guess even Sara's kin ain't got no use for no book learnin.

    May 6, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. Tino

    You mean following your "family values" example... or just being a hypocritical Republican?!?! Either one works for me.

    May 6, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. TM of CO

    Here is the sad part. If it was anyone else but a Palin, this wouldn't even be in the news. I think it is sad that Sarah put her daughter and Levi both out there for public scrutiny. What in the heck was she thinking?

    May 6, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. Robin - Arkansas

    Bristol, your standing up and admitting your mistakes and trying to teach from them. I have a daughter who got pregnant at 17 and had the baby. It is a hard way to go for these kids. I commend her for not having an abortion and for taking responsibility. Yes, more safe sex is the better option, cause teenagers regardless what we wish and try to teach them, do not abstain. Free condoms in Gas Station bathrooms, any place that they can get to them. But i do not agree with Parents/Teachers handing them out.... that is like giving the OK to do it. Yes, I prefer to NOT give my approval, but allow them freeier access to birth control. And Abortion is NOT Birth Control.

    Also, I see all these folks gripping about the father not getting visitation of the baby... remember folks, this baby is the grandson of a public figure, a political figure, and an outspiken figure. This baby could be harmed if not protected. It is not just a baby unknown off the streets. They are protecting it, not being mean to the father. Can him and his mother provide security?

    Ok, I have ranted enough of my common sense. IMHO.

    May 6, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. S Callahan

    Truth be told, she is a good example to talk about this.....
    We all learn from making bad choices...what right do we have to judge that she is trying to take a bad, or at least embarassing , situation and tyring to make it good. She is looking to the future and that has to be good. I think you are doing just fine Bristol, hold your head up. I do hope for the sake of the baby you and Levi come to a mature decision to be the best parents you can be, as a team whether you hold a relationship together or not. This child is your gift not a toy to be discarded or taken lightly in respect to his future.

    May 6, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Heck no

    your example? I assume that means "have lots of premarital intercourse and ignore the consequences".......

    May 6, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. Bev - NYC

    Bristol Palin is a lying hypocrit just like mommy. Two months ago she said abstinence was unrealistic, this morning on GMA she is back on message that abstinence is the only way to prevent pregnancy. While abstinence may prevent STD's it's far from the only way to prevent pregnancies once the Genie is out of the bottle. Surely the Candie's Foundation could have found a better spokesperson than a do as I say ,not as I do, teenager with a publicist. How many teen girls can sell baby pictures to People magazine for a bundle. Teens in their it could never happen to me bubble may look at Miss Palin as a success story rather than a cautionary tale.

    May 6, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  9. james carter

    I think she should learn from her own example.

    May 6, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. Jennie

    How much are they paying her? Or...how much was her stance on teenage pregancy and abstinence worth? She and her opinions were bought and sold. She had some credibility with her original statement that abstinence isn't realistic – now she's nothing but a paid mouthpiece with no credibility.

    May 6, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. Only 21% of Americans trust republicans to lead them into the 21st century!

    More republican hypocrisy, "do as I say, NOT as I do".

    First they trot out an unmarried beauty contestant to be the spokeswoman for marriage, a preacher that blasts gays, but is being "massaged" by one,outside his marriage vows(why not have him as the marriage spokesman?) now we get a teenage mom discussing how NOT to be a teenage mom.

    "If you're going to have sex, I think you should have safe sex I think that abstinence is the only 100 percent foolproof way of preventing teen pregnancy."

    Excuse me while I slip into my "Captain Obvious" cape, but do we really need a spokesperson to state such an obvious truth?

    What we need is some one that can explain how to execute the plan!

    NOTE: to neo-cons how do you state you are pro-life but if the teenage mom is on welfare, and has a child out of wedlock, her baby is not a "blessing" but "generational welfare queen" and you want to throw both mom and infant off of welfare. But I guess it is ok to have out-of-wedlock children as long as they are white and come from a middle class or upper-middle class family support system.

    Pro-life? Again, please explain.

    May 6, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  12. Mich

    It's learn by example on the abortion issue. She owed up to what she did.

    May 6, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  13. shucks

    Learn from my mothers failed birth control policies is what she should be saying. Poor Levi looks like he would rather be anywhere else in the world than beside this girl and connected to her family. Bet he wishes he had a condom that one time, more than anything else he can think of in this whole wide world. He was blessed with a child, but was cursed with lunatic in laws.

    May 6, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  14. Kim in AZ

    Just another "do as I say, not as I do" republican.

    May 6, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. Harvey for Obama

    I rather not. Who knew? You get pregnant without birth control. Duh.

    May 6, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  16. Right to know - Midwest

    I would rather listen to Bristol Palin any day, rather than Sarah. Bristol appears more approachable and down to earth than her mother, Sarah.

    Maybe the Republicans could learn from this and maybe start backing Bristol Palin for some elected position. Bristol has a far better chance than her mother for office, as we've seen what Sarah Palin cannot do.

    May 6, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. FAYE, NV

    This kid really need to stay at home. The teenagers need to hear from someone who's not engaging in S@X. Why have a child and then decided to promote absteince.

    May 6, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  18. James

    My understanding is that Bristol Palin is NOT a high school drop out. She continued her education. Don't forget, we have some members of Congress who are "adults" that have had children born out of wedlock. One CA Congress Woman stated recently that she and her male companion didn't feel getting married was appropriate at the time. She has an illigitimate child and there is no media publicity about it. There are many 100s of thousands of children born yearly without the parents being married to each other. Our society, especially the liberal element of it seems to accept it, unless the mother is the daughter of a now very public Republican. Good Luck Bristol. Keep up the good work Governor Palin.

    May 6, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  19. alreadytiredofit

    Yes, because that always works!

    May 6, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. Michael in Houston

    I LOVE this Palin family!! I used to think they wore out their welcome long ago and their 15 minutes of fame was long gone. ITS NOT!! These people are just getting started with being on camera and in our faces. This would be irritating as all get out if it werent so entertaining.
    Watching these dysfunctional baffoons navigate their way into the culture through our tv screens is just flat out funny.
    The teen pregnancy angle with the kid is priceless. Only in todays culture can a nameless 18 year old from Alaska possessing limited intelligence, launch a career and national camera time speaking as an authority on teen abstinence because she got pregnant.
    Whats next? I know....lets tee her up for "Times" most influential person of the year?!!

    May 6, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  21. JonDie

    Bristol Palin is a perfect example of how NOT to be: An ignorant, high school drop out and an unwed mother who lives jn the taxpayers' expense in the governor's mansion.

    She should be handing out condoms, not preaching about abstinence, about which SHE knows nothing.

    But instead Palin is trying to cash in on her celebrity status.

    Paris Hilton knows most about responsible behavior than Bristol Palin (although Palin's supporters at CNN don't seem to want to publish these comments).

    May 6, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  22. GOP = 21st century dodo

    I'm all for abstinence, but I'm also for free condoms and birth control pills, and I support abortion. Anything to keep unprepared people from having children.

    May 6, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. rbinny

    Only a 100 percent fool needs something to be 100 percent fool proof.

    May 6, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  24. Bodie

    "I Earn From My Example"

    May 6, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. JMCS

    "If you're going to have sex, I think you should have safe sex," the unwed, teenage mother said as she held her infant son, Tripp. "And, regardless of what I did or anything like that, I think that abstinence is the only 100 percent foolproof way of preventing teen pregnancy."

    DUH!!!! She sounds as stupid as her Mother!!!!

    May 6, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
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