Palin/McCain To Bring 'First Dude' to White House?

Does the husband of GOP VP candidate represent outdoorsmen?
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Does the husband of GOP VP candidate represent outdoorsmen?

Last week, presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain shook up the presidential race by choosing little-known Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. While Palin brings a unique brand of excitement and controversy to the ticket, both the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal take a deeper look at her often seen-but-not-heard husband, Todd.

A consummate fisherman and outdoorsman in the Alaskan mold, Todd Palin is a four-time champion of the Tesoro Iron Dog competition, a 2,000-mile snowmobile race that follows the path of the Iditarod. In the most recent race, he finished fourth despite having to be towed in by his partner and breaking an arm after being tossed from his snowmachine (Alaskan for snowmobile). He manages to host the occasional tea party for Alaska's former first ladies, but he himself prefers to be called "first dude."

But can this mechanized brand of outdoorsman draw interest from the pro-outdoors voting bloc? While Palin and McCain's views on the environment sometimes clash with wilderness-centric voters, potential vice first dude Todd Palin might hew closer to an outdoorsy mentality than any other candidate or significant other (despite his choice of purring engines and gasoline over hiking boots and power bars).

What do you think, backpackers? Do the Palin's adventure-sports streak sway you one way or another? Have at it in the comments section below or, for the truly brave, in our political forum.

— Ted Alvarez

A Low-Key Outdoorsman Faces a National Role (NY Times)

Alaska's 'first dude' keeps things low-key (Wall Street Journal)