Palin Popularity High Despite Latest News

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin waits to speak during a news conference at the Republican Governors Association Annual Conference in Miami, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008. AP

Sarah Palin insists she's been focusing on one thing -- governing Alaska -- since the presidential election.

But, observes Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman, it's been hard to ignore the negative headlines swirling around her extended family and acquaintances in recent weeks.

Eyebrows were raised when Levi Johnston, the ex-fiancé of Palin's daughter, Bristol, and father of their son, Tripp, told Tyra Banks on Banks' talk show he's "pretty sure" the Alaska governor knew he and Bristol were having sex.

Johnston also admitted, after some prodding by Banks, that he and Bristol only practiced safe sex "most of the time."

He also claims Bristol has been refusing to let him take their baby, Tripp, out alone, a charge flatly denied by the Palin family. A spokesperson calls the claims "flat-out lies, gross exaggeration, and even distortion of their relationship."

Bristol herself told Fox News abstinence "isn't realistic" for teens.

Word came last month that Bristol and Johnston had broken up.

Another piece of negative news hitting close to home involved the recent arrest on felony burglary charges in Palin's hometown of Wasilla, Alaska of her sister-in-law.

Ted Turcott told Kauffman he was home alone when he heard a stranger enter his home. So he hid in the bathroom with a gun.

"I said, 'Lady, you're in big trouble," ' Turcott recalled for Kauffman. "I kept telling her to sit down and she didn't listen. She was the coolest woman you've ever seen in your life."

Add to the personal drama a political hit from former running mate John McCain, who hedged on endorsing her for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination when given the chance on "Meet he Press" last month, saying he'd "have to see who the candidates are and what the situation is at the time."

Back in December, Levi Johnston's mother was hit with six felony drug charges in Alaska.

So, is all this airing of Palin-related real and alleged dirty laundry drown out her political message?

Pollster Ivan Moore told Kauffman Palin "brought this all on herself by making her kids an issue last year."

But, adds Kauffman, Palins' approval rating is over 60 percent in Alaska, so she's hardly out in the cold among her home state's voters.
  • CBSNews

Comments