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Sarah Palin vs. Levi Johnston, the sequel: Can too much exposure ruin a potential presidential candidate?

November 23, 2009 | 12:00 pm

Levi Johnston, father of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's grandson
The timing had to be awkward.

Just as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was wowing crowds in a book tour for "Going Rogue," her one-time almost son-in-law Levi Johnston -- the father of her grandson, Tripp -- celebrated a publication of his own -- full-length photos in the nude for Playgirl Magazine.

Palin, who does not mention Johnston in her book, told Oprah that she considers his poses porn.

"By the way, I don't know if we call him Levi -- I hear he goes by the name Ricky Hollywood now, so, if that's the case, we don't want to mess up this gig he's got going," she said. "Kind of this aspiring, aspiring porn -- the things that he's doing. It's kind of heartbreaking."

As for Johnston's relationship with his son, Palin said: "He hasn't seen the baby for a while, but we will let that be the discussion between Bristol and Levi, as they work out their relationship. Because Levi will forever be the father of this beautiful little baby, and I continue to hope for the best, and pray for Levi."

Asked if he would be invited to Thanksgiving, Palin said, "He is part of the family...This can all work out for good."

Johnston has already generated some political heat by saying, in an interview with Vanity Fair, that Palin found her job as governor "too hard" and that she offered to adopt Tripp to hide the teen pregnancy.

The Playgirl shoots provide further evidence that even as Palin's national profile rises, Johnston's not going away anytime soon. As The Times' Meghan Daum put it the other day, "He's hot, he's cute, he's playing hardball."

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Levi Johnston, photo credit: Getty Images

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