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Bristol Palin talks politics, teen pregnancy

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Bristol Palin talks teen pregnancy
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bristol Palin says announcing her engagement in US Weekly is her "biggest regret"
  • On her mom's possible candidacy, "whatever she does will be right for our family"
  • Palin says being a teen mom is tough; her teenage years "were cut completely short"
  • She tells HLN's "Dr. Drew" she has mixed feelings about the attention her family gets

(CNN) -- Bristol Palin says she's optimistic about her mother's chances if the former Alaska governor decides to run for president.

"I think she's so smart and I think she could debate anyone and do very well," Palin said in an interview with HLN's "Dr. Drew" that aired Thursday night.

"I think that people will be talking about my family and her and everyone else, no matter what we're doing," she added.

When the show's host, Dr. Drew Pinsky, asked whether she liked the attention, Palin said she had mixed feelings.

"I don't know how to feel about it. I think there's awesome opportunities that come with it, but then I also think there's lots of drawbacks and lots of negatives towards it," she said. "But I think whatever she (Sarah Palin) does will be right for our family and right for herself."

Palin's life changed dramatically when her mother, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, became John McCain's vice presidential running mate in 2008.

Shortly afterward, the revelation that Bristol Palin was 17 and pregnant put a national spotlight on her personal life.

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In her new memoir, "Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far," Bristol Palin -- now 20 --writes about lying to her parents so she could go on a camping trip with friends -- a night that ended with the teenager losing her virginity to her boyfriend, Levi Johnston, while getting drunk off wine coolers.

Later in the book, Bristol walks readers through her unwanted pregnancy with Johnston, revealing details on their shaky relationship over the years.

On Thursday, she told Pinsky that being a teen mom to her son, Trip, was tough.

"My life, my teenage years were cut completely short. I was on the fast track to adulthood just in an instant because of that one decision," she said. "And Trip is just the love of my life. He is everything to me. But do I wish that he had a dad that was involved in his life? Absolutely. And do I wish that I had an education and a real career path? Absolutely."

Even after the 2008 election, Bristol didn't shy away from the spotlight. She competed on "Dancing With the Stars" last year, drawing support from fans but also sharp criticism; one man reportedly shot his television when she made it to another week of the competition.

"I just think that it's so strange that they could have so much hate over a dance show," she said.

In July 2010, Bristol announced her engagement to Johnston on the front page of US Weekly magazine.

That -- Bristol told Pinsky -- was "the biggest regret of my life."

"The day (the magazine) came out, he (Johnston) comes to me and he says, 'Hey this girl's pregnant and it might be my baby.' ... So then from that day forward I was like, I'm just done with that. Trip doesn't deserve this (from) his dad and I don't deserve that (from) a potential husband," she said.

In Thursday's interview, Bristol also addressed a more recent controversy -- whether she had plastic surgery. She reiterated previous denials of that accusation, saying an oral surgeon operated on her jaw in December to correct a longstanding problem.

"I'm so sick of people talking about it and I'm so sick of appearance being an issue," she said.

But despite the increased scrutiny, Bristol says she's grateful her celebrity has given her a chance to speak about important topics, like teen pregnancy prevention.

"With this book, I really do hope that other young girls will see all the foolish decisions ... and they can learn something from the mistakes that I made," she said.

"I'm just so passionate about it, just warning other girls that it's not an accessory on your hip," she added.

CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.