NEW YORK -- Bristol Palin, arguably the nation's best-known unwed teen mother, embarked on a media tour Wednesday to argue that abstinence is a realistic way for teens to avoid unwanted pregnancy -- a view not shared by the father of her infant son.
Palin, the 18-year-old daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, walked the red carpet in midtown Manhattan with Hayden Panettiere of NBC's "Heroes" and ace Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Garza. The three appeared at a town-hall meeting for teenagers organized by The Candie's Foundation, which works to reduce teen pregnancy.
Wednesday was National Teen Pregnancy Awareness Day.
Clad in jeans, a black T-shirt and high heels, Palin posed for a crush of cameras as flashbulbs popped and photographers shouted "Bristol! Bristol! Over here!" A publicist guided Palin through the gantlet, admonishing reporters, "Bristol isn't answering any personal questions."
Palin gave birth in December to a baby boy, Tripp. She and the baby's father, Levi Johnston, have since ended their relationship.
Johnston has given several television interviews about his relationship with Bristol and the Palin family. He appeared on CBS' "The Early Show" Wednesday, saying abstinence was "not realistic" for many young people. Palin began the day with appearances on ABC's "Good Morning America" and NBC's "Today," where she said she wished she'd waited to have sex.
"Regardless of what I did personally, I just think that abstinence is the only way you can effectively, 100 percent foolproof way you can prevent pregnancy," she said.
During the town meeting, moderated by "Good Morning America" host Chris Cuomo, Palin didn't stray from the script. But she also offered a narrow glimpse into her experience as a teen mother after Cuomo asked her how her life had changed since giving birth.
"You don't have friends, can't just go to the movies, get your hair done. You put your baby first," she said.
Had she not had Tripp, "I would have been to college out of state, hanging out with my friends, a lot more freedom," Palin said.
Palin's promotion of abstinence was a turnaround from what she told Fox News in February. Then, she said that teens should avoid sex, but abstinence is "not realistic at all."
Johnston, on CBS, echoed that earlier view. He said sexually active teens need to learn about contraception as well.
"Abstinence is a great idea," Johnston said. "But I also think you need to enforce, you know, condoms and birth control and other things like that to have safe sex. I don't just think telling young kids, 'You can't have sex,' it's not going to work."
On ABC, Palin said Tripp is getting chubby and is starting to giggle. She called him "the love of my life," but said she wished she could have had him later in life.
Sarah Palin announced her daughter's pregnancy on Sept. 1, days after Sen. John McCain picked her to be his Republican vice presidential running mate.