Sarah Palin: My Father Raised a 'Tough Hunting Buddy'

Former Alaska governor opens up to Barbara Walters about life in Alaska.

ByABC News
November 18, 2009, 6:27 AM

Nov. 18, 2009— -- In an interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters, former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin opens up about her upbringing and her disagreements with Sen. John McCain's aides on how to tackle issues.

Growing up near the top of the world, the former Alaska governor describes a God-fearing, frontier kind of life in which she and her family raised chickens, caught fish and -- as everyone knows by now -- hunted moose.

In her new book, "Going Rogue: An American Life," which hit bookshelves Tuesday, Palin writes about moose eyeballs -- how her dad shot and carved up a moose and put the eyeballs in her hand.

Watch Barbara Walters' interview with Sarah Palin Friday on "20/20"

"My dad's a science teacher, and he tried to kill two birds with one stone," she told Walters. "What he would do is fill the family's freezer, and at the same time bring in specimens to his young students.

"He asked me to participate in that by holding the warm eyeballs, and in that event, I said, 'No, Dad, I just can't do that one.' ... He did raise a tough hunting buddy, but I did have my limits.

"Tough hunting buddy" until the end, Palin emphasized how her Alaskan identity is uniquely American.

"An Alaskan life is what I think an American life can be," she said. "We have a very independent, pioneering ... self-help spirit up there in Alaska where we take care of one another, very strong families, strong communities where, it's not government mandating that we all take care of each other. ... And that lifestyle, I think, more Americans need to recognize and appreciate."

Palin, a former beauty queen, was painted during the campaign as a moose-hunting, gun-toting, fly-fishing mother of five, whose philosophy on life and politics was colored by Alaska and her love of getting knee-deep in the outdoors.

She was Miss Wasilla one minute and Sara Barracuda the next for her hometown Warriors.

"Basketball was my life, growing up, yes," Palin said.

So does she think President Obama should have women on his basketball team when they go and play?

"I have looked in those photo ops for a couple of women, haven't seen 'em yet," Palin said, laughing. "Yes, I do, yes."

But Palin admitted that she has a slight height disadvantage when it comes to playing basketball with men.

"Well, I think he'd have that height advantage, and he would, he would smoke me if we were on opposite teams," she said. "But maybe I could make a good team on the basketball court anyway, with both of us playing our appropriate roles."

Sarah Palin discusses her political future and Obama's presidency with Barbara Walters. Read more here.