[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/09/19/todd.palin/art.tpalin.jpg caption="Critics want to know why Todd Palin was copied on hundreds of state e-mail correspondence."]
He's the man Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin affectionately calls her "first dude."
Todd Palin was introduced to the nation at the Republican National Convention as a blue-collar oil worker, a laid-back father of five and a world-record-holding snowmobile racer.
Todd and Sarah met in high school at a basketball game and eloped in 1988, six years after graduation. Todd grew up in Alaska and is part Eskimo. He's an avid outdoorsman and champion of the Iron Dog snowmobile race.
He's worked in Alaska's oil industry and as a fisherman. But in recent times, he's had another role. Some call him the "Shadow Governor."
In government circles and among the family's acquaintances, Todd Palin is known as his wife's greatest adviser and most loyal protector. One family friend said, "Todd is incredibly supportive and is willing to do whatever it takes to help Sarah."
Todd may appear quiet, almost shy, but he's made quite an impression on his wife's running mate, Sen. John McCain. On the campaign trail this month in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, McCain said, "He's not afraid of Washington, D.C.! He can take them on!"
Alaskans interviewed by CNN say Todd Palin has plenty of influence.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with