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Mayoral Candidate Levi Johnston Says "I Don't Know a Whole Lot" About Politics

During an interview with MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell last night, Levi Johnston admitted that he had a ways to go before preparations would be complete for his 2011 mayoral bid in Wasilla, Alaska.

"I don't know a whole lot," Johnston acknowledged to O'Donnell, adding that "I have a whole year to study up."

In a nod to Katie Couric's famous interview with Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential election, O'Donnell asked Johnston the same questions Couric had asked his ex-girlfriend's mother two years ago, including those about his favorite newspapers, his takes on global warming and evolution, and whether or not he believed the Pakistani government was protecting terrorists.

"You're kind of getting over my head on these things here," Johnston said, in response to a question about whether evolution should be taught as a scientific theory in public schools. "I don't know how to answer that question."

Johnston, who was engaged to Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol during the 2008 campaign, has since parlayed his tumultuous relationship with the family into international stardom via appearances on television, in magazine interviews, and even on the cover of Playgirl.

In August, he announced his candidacy for Mayor of Wasilla - notably, the position that catapulted Sarah Palin to political success.

During the Tuesday interview, however, O'Donnell pointed to the fact that Johnston had recently set a polling record as the most unpopular person ever polled by Public Policy Polling in any state, with ratings of 6 percent favorability and 72 percent unfavorability in the state of Alaska.

"Those numbers don't surprise me. I'm 20 years old. I'm new to politics... But this is by far the biggest challenge in my life... It's going to be hard work," Johnston said, before emphasizing that he planned to turn his approval ratings around.

"This time next year, I will be ready. And I promise you those numbers will be different."

Johnston, who sported scruffy facial stubble and no tie during the appearance, said he was "not sure" yet whether he would run as a member of the Tea Party or a candidate of the Republican establishment.

And when asked if he thought sending additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan would improve the situation there, Johnston told O'Donnell he had not given the issue any thought.

"I have no idea," he said.

"That's what I like -- an honest politician who's willing to say 'I don't know' when he doesn't know," Mr. O'Donnell replied.

Johnston, who said he doesn't watch "a whole lot of TV," also admitted that he has not been regularly following his ex-girlfriend Bristol's appearances on Dancing with the Stars, saying that he has "better things to do."

"I have, you know, my son to worry about," he said. "I got, you know, reading up on all this stuff, trying to become Mayor."


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Lucy Madison
Lucy Madison is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.