A few months ago, no one outside of Wasilla, Alaska, had ever heard of 18-year-old [article id="1593912"]Levi Johnston[/article]. But the teen suddenly found himself thrust into this year's election spin cycle, thanks to the fact that he's the boyfriend of expectant mother Bristol Palin, 17 — daughter of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Then he was standing onstage at the [article id="1593969"]Republican National Convention[/article], shaking hands with John McCain.
Johnston told The Associated Press that he's looking forward to being a father and getting married. He flat-out denied rumors that he was being held on the campaign trail and that he's being forced into a shotgun wedding with Bristol. "We both love each other," said the teen, who has dropped out of high school to take a job as an apprentice electrician on the oil fields of Alaska's North Slope. "We both want to marry each other. And that's what we are going to do."
Johnston told the AP he was ready to talk now, despite the McCain campaign's advice in the days following Governor Palin's nomination to avoid the media. "They're not telling me anything right now. It's pretty chill."
The article portrays Johnston as a tall, muscular heartthrob and avid hunter, who has "bagged bears, sheep, elk and caribou" and has antlers scattered about his backyard. The former high school hockey player said he was shocked to learn about his girlfriend's pregnancy, but reportedly embraced the news quickly, taking on the electrician job in preparation for the baby's December 18 due date.
He hinted that he's expecting a boy, saying, "I'm looking forward to having him. ... I'm going to take him hunting and fishing. He'll be everywhere with me."
According to the AP, Johnston said he and Bristol have been dating since his freshman year in high school. During a caribou hunt last July, he lost a promise ring Bristol gave him, so he decided to tattoo her name on the finger and not bother with more rings.
"We were planning on getting married a long time ago with or without the kid," he said. "That was the plan from the start." The couple will reportedly marry next summer.
In the interview, Johnston attempted to set the record straight about the notorious statements on his MySpace page, in which he appeared to declare himself a "redneck" who didn't want kids. Johnston said the page was a joke created several years ago by friends of his, and he had nothing to do with it.
Johnston — who did not register in time to vote this year — admitted he didn't know much about Democratic candidate Senator Barack Obama, but that "he seems like a good guy." Still, he's obviously pulling for Bristol's mom. "I just hope she wins. She's my future mother-in-law. She better win."
When Bristol invited him to join the family on the campaign trail, he said he was eager to go.
"At first, I was nervous. Then I was like, 'Whatever,' " said Johnston, and the ensuing celebrity has apparently not changed him much. "I'm still the same old boy. ... I'm just a workin' man."
Get informed! Head to Choose or Lose for nonstop coverage of the 2008 presidential election, including everything from the latest news on the candidates to on-the-ground multimedia reports from our 51 citizen journalists, MTV and MySpace's Presidential Dialogues, and much more.