Sept. 5, 2008 -- For a man well seasoned in dealing with the Alaskan back country, Todd Palin is still adjusting to the wilderness of Washington and the searing national spotlight that was thrust on him and his family when his wife, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, was tapped to be the first ever female Republican vice presidential nominee.
"Is it just me or do things move quick around here?" he joked yesterday at the "Tribute to Cindy McCain" event in Minneapolis, the first event at which he spoke publicly. "Just a few nights ago, I was on the North Slope working the night shift and here I am today."
But where he is today is not much compared to where he could be come January -- in Washington, serving as the nation's first Second Man or, if he has his way, Second Dude.
Todd took on the moniker First Dude when his wife became governor of Alaska, just another step in his wife's rocketing political career.
"If I had a crystal ball a few years ago, I might have asked a few more questions when Sarah decided to join the PTA," he said.
The snowmobile veteran has recently gotten a crash course in national politics, including the important lesson that his private life is an open book.
"Todd is a story all by himself," Sarah Palin said in a speech this week. "He's a lifelong commercial fisherman, a production operator in the oil fields of Alaska's North Slope, a proud member of the United Steelworkers of America and world champion snow machine racer."
Longtime ice racing partner Scott Davis told ABC News that even on the race course, Todd is happy to let others take the lead.
"Every year I come across the finish line, I try to get Todd to come up beside me and he won't do it," he said. "I mean, he's the kind of guy who wants me to finish first."
Despite such a gracious racing attitude, Todd is a four-time champion of the Iron Dog race, is a grueling week-long snowmobile race across Alaska.
"I think the best thing about Todd Palin, he's a man's man," family friend Kristan Cole told ABC News.
"He knows how to fix the boiler or the toilet or the sink or whatever," Davis agreed. "It's very common in Alaska. We don't have the luxury of calling the Roto-Rooter guy. We just do it ourselves."
Some of Todd's friends worry he might not fit in Washington where snow jackets are replaced with suits, but they are sure about one thing -- he'll be standing behind his wife.
"When my wife starts talking about reform, corruption and making government work for the American people, it's best just to move out of the way," he said.