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article imageBristol & Levi engaged again, let the conspiracy theories begin

By Joan Firstenberg     Jul 15, 2010 in Politics
Anchorage - Now that the news is out that Bristol and Levi are back together again, complete with their son, Tripp, the quips and jokes about why they did it are skyrocketing.
The questions about why Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston are back together again with their young son, Tripp are beginning. First of all, why did they keep it from Bristol's famous mother, Sarah Palin, and why, why, why did they spend the last year blowing hot, nasty air at each other in a show of public bitterness?
The Washington Post
reports that all this has launched a list of conspiracy theories. These include, could it be for an upcoming reality show?, or for the 2012 political campaigns? or maybe they were paid to do it. But even though the announcement is surrounded by so much mystery, it could just boil down to the fact that love is complicated, and so are families.
We should not forget that these are high school sweethearts, who broke up a few months after a big trauma for both of them; the December 2008 birth of their son, Tripp. US Magazine interviewed the couple on Saturday in Anchorage, where Bristol Palin now lives. And as the video shows they said they bonded again when they met three months ago to work out a custody plan for their son.
Johnston told US,
"I really thought we were over."
But he also says his feelings changed when he went for a walk with Bristol and his son. Bristol tells US that her own mother, who traded insults with her grandson's father in the national media over the past year, after he posed for Playgirl and said uncomplimentary things about the family, didn't yet know they were planning a wedding. She said,
"It is intimidating and scary just to think about what her reaction is going to be."
The official reaction from Sarah and Todd Palin, her parents was very toned down. They said they realized their daughter was an adult.
"We obviously want what is best for our children, but Bristol is ultimately in charge of determining what is best for her and her beautiful son. Bristol believes in redemption and forgiveness to a degree most of us struggle to put in practice."
And GOP fundraiser, Fred Malek was who is very supportive of Palin and very pleased with her reaction dismisses any idea that the reconciliation of the children was manufactured.
"It will be highly cynical to look for a political motive in this situation which has brought two young people together."
Other supporters do not think this will affect her mother's political future in any way. But, as University of Virginia politics professor Larry Sabato points out,
"If they are together, then he won't reveal any information he has, if he has any."
And in fact, a producer who was about to pitch a Levi reality series back in March wasn't commenting on whether plans for the project were still alive.
But the big question is why didn't Bristol tell her mother? The US reporter, Melanie Bromley, who interviewed the couple, thinks Bristol Palin wanted "to be in control" of the story.
"I got the impression that Sarah had laid down the rules for Bristol that if she got back together with Levi, she would want him to finish his education, and get a job."
But by telling her story "in her own words," Bromley said,
"She's forcing her mother to hear her side of the story without interruption."
But that's in fact not entirely the whole story.
Bromley refused to say whether the couple was paid for the US interview, which was conducted at a rented private home. A reporter from rival People magazine, Sandra Sobieraj Westfall, also spent the following day with Bristol and Tripp in Anchorage to get the story. But Westfall says she was not paying the couple for her interview, and in it, Palin did not reveal that she was engaged, and Johnston was not present, after declining to join in.
Finally, why would they get back together? Another more pertinent question might be, who else would they date? They've shared a fantastic small-town story, teens uplifted to fame by the unlikely convergence of an unplanned pregnancy and her mother's skyrocketing political fortunes. This probably is why real people fall in love.
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