Bristol Palin on the "Today" show

The poster child for teen pregnancy says, "Learn from my example."

Published May 6, 2009 1:23PM (EDT)

Today is the National Day to End Teen Pregnancy, which culminates in a big to-do town hall meeting in New York in which Bristol Palin will be joining Hayden Panetierre and others to talk about keeping abstinence real cool. (Broadsheet's Judy Berman will be attending an event and reporting on it later today.) This morning, Bristol Palin made an appearance on the "Today" show, sitting beside father Todd with her baby, Tripp, nestled in her arms, naturally.  (Video posted bel0w.)

"He's not a mistake, he's a blessing," she told Matt Lauer of her son, stressing how grueling teen motherhood has been for her. "I'm up all night with him, I'm constantly changing diapers, making bottles ... You don't have time for friends."

The mantra being repeated was "learn from my example," but with Bristol looking so lovely and rosy-cheeked in yet another high-profile interview, her snug bug conked out in her arms, it made you wonder just what message teens were getting about her life. "Is there a difficult line to walk? " Lauer asked. "You adore this little baby. If you're out there loving this baby and showing the joys of motherhood, that could be seen as the wrong example to send to other teenagers," said Lauer.

"Yeah, and I'm just trying to tell teens ... this is a 24-hour job. It's not an accessory on your hip."

Bristol famously told Greta Van Susteren that "abstinence wasn't realistic," which has made her role as one of the country's most visible abstinence spokespeople a bit of a head-scratcher. When Lauer asked her about that comment, she cast a glance downward, before falling back on the party line: "Regardless of what I did, or anything like that, abstinence is the only 100 percent foolproof way of preventing teen pregnancy."

And no one budged from that party line, not Todd when asked about safe sex, not Bristol when asked about Levi. "I'm not here to talk about my personal life," she said, "but I'd love for Levi to be a part of his life." Eh, nice try, Lauer, but not every interview can be a Tom Cruise.


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By Sarah Hepola

Sarah Hepola is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, "Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget."

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