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Even Democrats are staying away from turning Mrs. Palin’s family turmoil into a political issue.

“Thanks for your question, but we’re not going to comment on this matter,” Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said.

Mrs. Palin remains especially popular with the party’s social conservative base and keeps a lengthy schedule of speaking appearances across the country. Pro-life groups in particular embraced Mrs. Palin, in part because of her biography: She knowingly gave birth to a baby with Down syndrome in an era when most such children are aborted.

They also stood by her when her daughter’s pregnancy came to light almost simultaneously with Mrs. Palin’s selection as the running mate of Republican presidential candidate John McCain. The two teens said they would wed eventually and vowed to raise their son together, even as they acknowledged it would be difficult. Many pro-lifers praised the decision, saying it was more responsible and moral than aborting an unplanned pregnancy.

A little more than a week before the baby was born, however, the Palins found themselves in the headlines once again when Mr. Johnston’s mother, Sherry Johnston, 42, was arrested on six felony drug counts after state troopers served a search warrant on her Wasilla home. The charges included marijuana and OxyContin possession.

Unsavory headlines were made earlier this month when sister-in-law Diana Palin was charged with felony burglary and misdemeanor theft and criminal trespassing. She was accused of burglarizing a home twice and taking as much as $2,600.

The governor has yet to comment on the matter, which was reported initially by the Anchorage Daily News.

The Palins have, however, responded to Mr. Johnston’s comments on the “Tyra Banks Show.”

“We’re disappointed that Levi and his family, in a quest for fame, attention and fortune, are engaging in flat-out lies, gross exaggeration, and even distortion of their relationship,” said Meghan Stapleton, a spokeswoman for the governor’s new political action committee, SarahPAC.

“Bristol’s focus will remain on raising Tripp, completing her education, and advocating abstinence. It is unfortunate that Levi finds it more appealing to exploit his previous relationship with Bristol than to contribute to the well-being of the child. Bristol realizes now that she made a mistake in her relationship and is the one taking responsibility for their actions,” Ms. Stapleton said.

Just days later, Mr. Johnston appeared on CBS’ “The Early Show” to denounce the Palin family’s claims, accuse the Palins of limiting his time with Tripp, and denounce them as “lying” about whether he had lived with Miss Palin.

“They said I didn’t live there,” he said. “[They say] I ‘stayed’ there. I was like, ‘OK, whatever you want to call it’ - I had all my stuff there. So, if you wanna call it staying there, that’s fine.”

Mr. Johnston also said he was “not trying to cash in on their name,” but rather “just trying to get my side of the story out there. Letting people know who I am.”

When asked what was the biggest misconception about him, Mr. Johnston answered, “Probably that my family’s white trash.”

While the tabloid attention is definitely unwelcome, Mrs. Palin has plenty of time to recover or just wait it out.

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