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. Carol

    Learn what from her example?

    That you don't have to finish school.
    You can be on TV.
    You don't need to work.
    You can be the spokesperson for some idiotic right-wing group.

    Let' s get real for once. How about Candies has an average teen mother as their spokesperson? A regular girl whose parents are stuck taking care of the child while she works at Burger King or collects WIC coupons.

    Typical Republicans – do as I say, not as I do. What a crock.

    What a crock.

    May 6, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. nora CC TXAS

    This is someone who should not be talking about this. Please be quiet and go away and take your mom with you. I hate the way you are treating the babies father, shame on you!!!! If you were the father you would be talking out the other side of your mouth. You are the worst example and a bit of a joke!!!!! OK, a big joke!!!

    May 6, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. Too True For You

    You really can't fault Bristol, she only did what millions of teenagers do. She has the misfortune of being in the spotlight because her over-reaching mother decided use her to further her political career. Some family values – "Here kid, I need to trot you out so I can broaden my appeal to my base. And be sure to bring the baby – people love babies."

    What should be taken away from this is not so much the words, but the actions. For starters, abstinence doesn't work. And Sarah is a barracuda even to her own family – she will eat her young to further her ambition.

    May 6, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. Moonbeam

    Teenage pregnancy are always higher where and when teenage girls have no real goal in life.
    If Mrs. Palin was an "education Mom", instead identifying herself with "six pack Joe" as a role model, her children would stay in school and aspire to go to college . Bristol is not really working on completing high school. She is living at home, goes to talk shows and pretends to study. I can't quite see how she can inspire anyone.
    By the way, teenage pregnancies are much higher in so called Bible-belt states.

    May 6, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. Robin in Tampa, FL

    Abstinence works during the times when your not having sex ...

    May 6, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. David

    Since she has had this child, she is been on 3 or more Prime Time TV shows, been paid $100's of thousands of dollars so far for doing nothing, gained more popularity than even teen pop stars, live in the governor's mansion, and she is now trying to tell other girls how her life is so 'difficult? This has become the biggest promotion for teen pregnancy that ever was. The best thing she can do for teen pregnancy is to go away.

    May 6, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. lovable liberal

    Bristol Palin, at least, wakes up from her abstinence-only failure to the reality that full sex education that includes abstinence is better.

    May 6, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Chas in Iowa

    What makes this unwed mother newsworthy?
    There are unwed mothers all across our nation that do not have a voice and I doubt they feel Bristol fits the job.
    Bacause her mother is a GOP comedian it grants her a nationwide audiance?

    It's almost insulting,....in fact it is insulting.

    May 6, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Shirley In California

    So, the Welfare Queen speaks again....

    She's a great role model for welfare, ignorance, alcoholism and high school drop outs!

    May 6, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. once upon a horse

    if Gov Palin really wanted to do something favorable for her daughter I have a word of advice....KEEP HER OUT OF THE LIMELIGHT. Let her private life be private. The more they come forth with what should have been a personal family matter the worse it looks. You can tell by most of the post here that people are tired of the Palin family and what has turned into a living tabloid story. Her kid did something that teenagers are doing everyday, right now as I speak some teen mother is either giving birth or has concieved. And some teen dad is not confessing up to it or is out getting some other girl pregnant. Bristol is lucky she has a family with the means to give her and her son a good life and not on a welfare check or working a min wage job.

    May 6, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Emma, San Jose

    Mother Palin has a lot to do with Bristol's change of opinion about abstinence, What daughters will not do to promote Mom.

    May 6, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  12. Obama 2.0

    Rather than your parants???

    May 6, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. mixx mixx

    I don't think this girl is the appropriate spokesperson for the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Like her mother Sarah, she is clueless and very naive. She is doing this as a publicity stunt. Pam, please leave the Obama girls out of the equation and tend to your own family issues. Just like the GOP, you don't get it!

    May 6, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  14. GOPer

    Unfortunately, these opportunists will not go away. Having Bristol be the national spokesperson for abstinence and safe sex is like have Charles Manson and OJ in charge of the national council for prevention of abuse and murder. The Palins are a national JOKE.

    May 6, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. jesse

    something tells me this teen mother will not struggle with half the issues most teen, unwed mothers do!

    May 6, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  16. Daniel W

    I was watching an interview just this morning and the only word that came to mind was desparate...she knew what she was doing and my best estimation would do it again...her parents are self serving individuals and she figured the only way to get attention was to have a baby...now she has her mommys attention and is a "role model" in her eyes...

    May 6, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. Mike

    She's doing the right thing. I wish her mother was as smart as she is.

    May 6, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. SLM

    Geez, too bad you are so hot to put her down. Maybe she has learned something from her experience. Too many teens think...Baby, cute!! Until they realize it isn't all that fun. In this day and age there is no reason not to use Birth control.

    May 6, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    She should rephrase:

    "You should learn from my bad example."

    May 6, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. Jean

    This young lady deserves commendation not condemnation. She had her baby, she kept her baby, she will raise her baby. She has accepted her full responsibility and now wants to pass on what she's learned from what she did to others, in hopes of stopping others from making the mistake she made. Ex-drug addicts are sent into the community to try to stop kids from taking drug. Ex-alchoholics are sent into the community in the attempt to stop kids from drinking. How is what this young lady is doing any different than that?

    May 6, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. Illini

    I give her a lot of credit. She is stepping up to the plate. That's a lot more than most ADULTS in this country do. She's very brave to put herself out there for all you judgmental, bigots to criticize.

    At least she didn't say her baby was a "punishment." I can't remember who said that.....who said that? Oh yeah.....

    May 6, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. KKimberly

    sorry, but shes NOT right for this program. She is NOT having such a tough time. She has EVERY opportunity to make a good life for her and that kid. Shes lazy if THIS is how she intends on making a buck. Her mother is the Gov, she lives in a mansion, can afford a nanny AND college. This is criminal that she is acting like she can relate to most unwed moms. She needs to STOP trying to be a spokesman and get her act together and grow up! She should be ashamed of herself for NOT getting back in school. Look she can not whine about this mess, she has no right to!!! To PAM, on the miss California (for now) the problem Americans have with her, on the left AND right, is that she is acting like the whole country is on her case, NO ONE but perez hilton gave her crap. She LOST and WAS NEVER in the running to win! Donald Trump has cleared this up, and he OWNS the pagent! She is making a fool of herself and trying to be a marter, she should also be ashamed of herself, and MISS AMERICA should go on TV and talk about how disgusted she is that this little witch is on TV saying she should have won. Its SHAMEFUL!

    May 6, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. Hypocrisy

    Typical conservative response..."Do what I say not what I do"....

    May 6, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. Kiki

    If Bristol Palin had had a quiet abortion no one would have been the wiser. I applaud this young lady for putting herself out there and speaking out against teen pregancy. You say she is being hypocritical, well what about the drunk driver that kills and then has to go around to high schools and other institutions warning about the dangers of drinking and driving? Is that being hypocritical too? Kids don't need sex ed in school. That is a parent's responsibility. I don't know of any teenager who doesn't know that sex can result in pregnancy. They don't need more education, they need self control.

    May 6, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. Joe Marek

    I don't think there is anything wrong with someone learning from there mistakes & trying to help other people from making the same mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes through life, I certainly have but it's how we deal with those mistakes & move forward. That being said as to how the message is viewed by those recieving it will be mixed as would any message that goes out. You will never have 100% one way or the other. I remember being a student & the school bringing in a recovering alcoholic to talk to classes about drinking. Did the message get across? I think there again it's mixed some took it serious & some didn't. I commend Bristol for trying to make a positive difference in young peoples life, even though she will recieve many criticism's along the way. It's easy to sit back and be negative and pick a person apart for mistakes they have made but the ones that try and correct & move forward in a positive light are the true & realistic people. Those who sit back & constantly criticize & dwell on the negatives accomplish nothing!

    May 6, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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