When Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin burst onto the national political stage in August when John McCain named her as his running mate, close by her side was her husband of 20 years, Todd Palin.
And, despite an intense media spotlight on Alaska's first couple, many things have slipped mostly under the radar, as CBS News correspondent Thalia Assuras pointed out Tuesday:
No. 5: Surely, you've heard that Sarah Palin competed in the Miss Alaska contest in 1984, when she was still single, and her last name was Heath. But did you know -- she played the flute in the talent portion of the competition?
As for Todd, Sarah almost always introduces him at campaign rallies as "My husband, Alaska's first dude, Todd Palin," signaling just how "cool" she thinks her rugged outdoorsman is.
No. 4: Todd Palin really is one tough dude. The country knows by now that he's a four-time champion of the Iron Dog, a grueling, 2000 mile, weeklong snowmobile race. What's not so commonly known is that, earlier this year, Todd Palin raced 400 miles with a broken arm, and that he uses a common household product to avoid frostbite, according to his father-in-law.
"They take duct tape," says Chuck Heath, "and duct tape as much of their face as possible, 'cause they'll be going 100 miles an hour at maybe 40 below."
No. 3: Did you know there's a soft side to that macho dude, that includes household chores and parental duties to the couple's five children while mom is on the road?
"Todd," says Heath, "is uh, Mr. Mom. Todd takes care of those kids so well so many times. I go to their house. Their house is always clean. Todd is just like an old maid there, uh, cleaning up the house and taking care of the kids!"
And taking care of business: It's well-known that Todd Palin works in Alaska's oil fields and is a commercial fisherman. What you might not know is that Sarah Palin has helped pull in the fish, too, once breaking three fingers while working days-on-end, revealing something even her dad finds surprising.
"The thing that I don't understand about Sarah," says Heath, "is her ability to go without sleep. She works 20 hour days many days. She told me once, 'I can sleep when I die.' "
And No. 1: Before comedian Tina Fey ever played Sarah Palin on "Saturday Night Live," Sarah Palin played Fey -- on Halloween! She dressed as Fey for Halloween, apparently realizing she and Fey were lookalikes!
A bonus item: Todd Palin is a member of the United States Steel Workers Union. But the union is backing Barack Obama for president, and has sent Todd Palin an official letter explaining that he can, if he wants, opt out of having that portion of his dues go to the rival presidential ticket.
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