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Palin vs. Clinton — duelling weddings on the horizon

Hillary Clinton & Chelsea

WASHINGTON (KATAKAMI / THE STAR.COM)  – It may fall short of Duelling Nuptials. But as an estimated 500 Clintonistas ready for the political wedding of the season, suddenly the Palinistas are rattling their teacups over a surprise re-engagement in the House of Sarah.

First Daughter Chelsea Clinton’s date is firm: she and fiancé Marc Mezvinsky tie the knot July 31 at the Astor Mansion in Rhinebeck, N.Y., 150 kilometres upstate from Manhattan. It will be, by all accounts, a celebrity-studded splash with a guest list ranging from Barbra Streisand to Steven Spielberg.

Teen mother Bristol Palin has no date, nor even, apparently, the approval of mama Sarah, the former vice presidential candidate. But the estranged father of her grandson and often-vocal thorn in her mother’s side, Levi Johnston, 20, is back in the picture, Bristol Palin revealed to US Weekly. Not merely dating but re-engaged, as of two weeks ago.

“It felt right, even though we don’t have the approval of our parents,” the younger Palin said. “It is intimidating and scary just to think about what her reaction is going to be. Hopefully she will jump on board.”

Sarah Palin did not tip her hand in a statement to NBC news, saying only: “Bristol believes in redemption and forgiveness to a degree most of us struggle put in practice in our daily lives.”

The former Alaska governor’s Twitter feed showed that she was spending the day enjoying a meditative climb up a “tiny sliver” of Mt. McKinley — “cool air & elevation = good 4 the soul.”

In this magazine cover image released by Us Weekly, Bristol Palin, daughter of 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, poses with Levi Johnston and their son Tripp on the cover of the July 26, 2010 issue of “Us Weekly” magazine.  (Getty)

Uncertainty on the Palin side, however, didn’t stop Washington watchers from making hay with the surprise development. Author and journalist Danielle Crittenden quickly posted a mock-invitation at the Huffington Post website, announcing Bristol and Levi’s nuptials will take place at Church of the Rock in Wasilla, Alaska, followed by a reception at “Tailgaters Sports Bar and Grill.”

Crittenden’s make-believe dialogue, written in text-speak, describes an exasperated Bristol pleading for an answer from Sarah after a series of electronic invitations go answered. “Mom, this is getting SUPER AWKWARD!!!! The only time u talk 2 me is like thru the frikkin today show. U and dad HAVE to attend ok??? Like we’re not even asking for a gift. Just b there OK?! Or we r gna b all over the frikkin enquierer again.”

The couple, thrust into the national spotlight as expectant teen parents during Palin’s 2008 vice-presidential run, broke up after their son’s birth. Their romance devolved into a messy tabloid drama as Johnston posed for Playgirl, trashed Sarah Palin in interviews and fought with the Palins over custody.

Then, earlier this month, Johnston told People magazine he was “unhappy and a little angry” after the breakup and told lies about the Palin family. He said that against his better judgment, he said things about the Palins that “were not completely true.” He said he had apologized. He didn’t specify what lies were told.

They tell US Weekly they reconnected while working out a custody plan and got engaged two weeks ago.

The romance between Clinton and her fiancé has received far less attention. Mezvinsky is an investment banker, and son of a former congressman and congresswoman. Clinton and Mezvinsky have known each other since childhood.

For now, the Clinton wedding is a far surer bet — and one certain to challenge the Palins for celebrity gossip space, given the guest list disclosed Wednesday by the Hudson Valley News.

Among those who made the Clinton cut: Singer Streisand, director Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, media moguls Oprah Winfrey and Ted Turner. Reports also said former British prime minister John Major and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin are among the expected guests.

Oh yes, and President Barack Obama. Him too.

With files from Associated Press

Palin vs. Johnston

“There wasn’t much parenting in that house. Sarah doesn’t cook, Todd doesn’t cook—the kids would do it all themselves: cook, clean, do the laundry, and get ready for school.”

Johnston, in Vanity Fair, October 2009

“We both kept telling her we were definitely not going to let her adopt the baby. I think Sarah wanted to make Bristol look good, and she didn’t want people to know that her 17-year-old daughter was going to have a kid.”

Johnston, in Vanity Fair, October 2009

“She would blatantly say, ‘I want to just take this money and quit being governor.’ She started to say it frequently, but she didn’t know how to do it.”

Johnston, in Vanity Fair, October 2009

“ ‘Where’s my retarded baby?’ … She’d say it kind of regularly. I think she was joking, but that doesn’t make it right.”

Johnston, on the CBS Early Show, October 2009, describing how Palin allegedly referred to her son Trig, who has Down syndrome.

“We’re disappointed that Levi and his family are engaging in flat-out lies, gross exaggeration, and even distortion of their relationship. It is unfortunate that Levi finds it more appealing to exploit his previous relationship with Bristol, than to contribute to the well being of the child.”

Palin family statement, April 2009

“We have purposefully ignored the mean spirited, malicious and untrue attacks on our family. We, like many, are appalled at the inflammatory statements being made or implied. Trig is our ‘blessed little angel’ who knows it and is lovingly called that every day of his life.”

Palin, October 2009, reacting to Johnston’s claim that she referred to her son as “retarded.”

“Consider the source of the most recent attention-getting lies. Those who would sell their body for money reflect a desperate need for attention and are likely to say and do anything for even more attention.”

Palin, October 2009, questioning Johnston’s credibility (who was about to bare all for Playgirl) after he told CBS he knows things that could get Palin “in trouble and could hurt her.”  (*)


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