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Bristol Palin s at West Fargo Perry Center

Bristol Palin sits with Scott Hennen Thursday for an interview. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Bristol Palin said she'd like to see her mother run for the White House, calling controversial former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin "awesome for this country."

"I know she's qualified to do the job," Bristol Palin said in a 15-minute interview webcast live Thursday afternoon at

Palin, who travels to deliver a pro-life, pro-abstinence message, was in Fargo Thursday night as the featured speaker at a fundraiser for The Perry Center, a West Fargo home for unwed mothers.

Palin came into sharp public focus during her mother's 2008 vice presidential bid when news of the teenager's pregnancy became public. Stories about her relationship with the child's father, Levi Johnson, found their way into supermarket tabloids. She is now a competitor on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

In Thursday's interview conducted by local radio personality Scott Hennen, Palin said the criticism of her mother that bothered the soon-to-be 20-year-old most was the implication that "she might be dumb."

"She's the smartest woman I know," said Palin, who gave the interview at the Forum building.

Sarah Palin, a conservative Republican, has taken many jabs from the NBC sketch comedy show "Saturday Night Live," which "bugged" Bristol Palin.

"But then again it was coming from Tina Fey, who's impersonation of my mom was definitely not dead-on," Palin said. "They look like each other, but my mom doesn't talk the way that Tina Fey talks."

Hennen, a self-professed "big Palin family fan," reacted by saying, "Speaking of airheads, maybe Tina Fey is the airhead."

"Maybe she's the air head," Palin said in agreement.

Palin said there are pros and cons to the attention she and her family receive, but she feels "blessed" to have "the opportunity to have a platform to speak about issues that I'm passionate about."

And she said the gossip "rolls off my back."

Still, she made it clear in Thursday's interview that she didn't want to discuss Johnson, the father of her son. After Hennen broached the issue of her former boyfriend, she said, "I don't want to get into the Levi topic with you."

As to those who might raise an eyebrow at the notion of a single mother preaching the message of abstinence, she said, "I think that I'm one of the most qualified people to talk about it. I live as a single mom every day of my life. And I have to sacrifice many things for my son because I did have pre-marital sex."

Despite those sacrifices, she described 1½-year-old Tripp as "awesome" and "intelligent," saying "I couldn't ask for a better son."

"I want him to be happy and healthy and hopefully he'll play hockey," said Palin who described her family as "huge" fans of the sport.

Hennen and Palin ended the interview on a light note.

"And next time bring Tripp and we'll get him in a Sioux hockey jersey, okay?" Hennen said.

"Sounds good," Palin replied.