Here's the difference between Johnston and Palin. Levi's not running for public office, power-hungry nor pretending to be something he's not. What you see (or will see, in a future Playgirl issue) seems closer to what he is, than the "Sarah Palin" fabrication that his son's grandmother and her handlers have concocted.
In Johnston's account of what happened in the run-up to the presidential election, Palin treated him like modelling clay – taking this rugged teenager and smoothing him out to fit the image of the perfect, loyal family man that she wanted presented to the news channels. Even before she was chosen as McCain's running mate, she was pressuring him and Bristol to marry, he says. "Oh yeah, that's what Sarah and Todd [her husband] wanted. She just kept mentioning that we should, she was all in a hurry, so I was 'Alright, I'll do it!'"
Johnston claims she even offered to adopt Tripp. He says he and Bristol were appalled by the suggestion, which Palin made over the phone while he was at a tattoo parlour, though Palin has strongly denied this.
After the election any positive feelings between Johnston and the Palin family vanished, though he still wears Bristol's name in a floral tattoo on his ring finger, having not got round to having it removed. Sarah Palin's attitude, he says, changed overnight after she lost the race. "Suddenly it was 'Maybe you ought to think again about marriage, wait, maybe do it next year.' So at that point I had to think that she had just wanted us to marry to make herself look better in the campaign, to
boost things up."
Sunday, 1 November 2009
DJ! has blogged before about Levi Johnston - most recently here. And. Also here. But this interview with The Guardian's Ed Pilkingston, writing from Anchorage, offers a weight of credibility that surpasses most of the puff pieces, including the titillating gossip Vanity Fair published. This is Johnston's version of how things unfolded: