By Sarah Kliff
At 17, Mike Knopf is the youngest delegate at the Republican National Convention. He's also the same age as Bristol Palin, Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter--revealed yesterday by the McCain campaign to be five months pregnant. "I've known a couple of people who it's happened to, and surprisingly it really isn't that bad," says the high-school senior from Dubuque, Iowa. Below, excerpts on his take on what it means for young conservatives:
NEWSWEEK: What was your first reaction?
Mike Knopf: The conservative base that has supported Governor Palin is made up of people that believe in strong family values, morals and ethics. And I think it just reinstills that, to see a teen carry a pregnancy to term--that's very strong of her.
How do you think young people in the Republican Party are going to react to this?
I’ve talked to all my friends and we all feel different ways about it. But I think when it comes down to it, it's a big character judgment. And young people recognize she made the right one. Being a teen mom isn't the worst thing in the world, and she has supportive parents, so I really think it just shows how much Sarah Palin cares about family values.
Do you think McCain knew about this when he picked Palin?
I think so. I figured McCain would figure this is just going to show what kind of family values she had.
So this is a good thing for people your age in the party?
It has nothing to do with the reason we picked her; she's a squeaky clean governor. She’s got great values and great judgement. Despite what the liberal media is trying to say, she has nothing to be ashamed of.