Alaska Gov. Palin resigning

July 3, 2009 9:15:02 PM PDT
In a surprising move, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announced that she is resigning from office at the end of the month.She would not explain why she plans to step down, raising speculation that she would focus on a run for the White House in the 2012 race.

The former Republican vice presidential candidate hastily called a news conference Friday morning at her home in suburban Wasilla, giving such short notice that only a few reporters actually made it to the announcement.

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Sarah Palin told reporters she believed that Alaska would be better served if she stepped down.

"Once I decided not to run for re-election, I also felt that to embrace the conventional Lame Duck status in this particular climate would just be another dose of politics as usual, something I campaigned against and will always oppose," Palin said in a statement released by her office.

"It is my duty to always protect our great state. With that in mind, my family and I determined that it is best to make a difference this summer, and I am willing to change things, so that this administration, with its positive agenda, its accomplishments, and its successful road to an incredible future, can continue without interruption and with great administrative and legislative success," she said.

Palin compared herself to a good point guard facing "a full court press from the national level."

"She knows exactly when to pass the ball so that a team can win," Palin said.

Earlier this week, Palin and her political operation was portrayed in an unflattering light in the new Vanity Fair.

Her popularity has waned as she waged in partisan politics following her return from the presidential campaign. Her term would have ended in 2010.

Palin said she planned to make a "positive change outside government," without elaborating. She also expressed frustration with her current role as governor.

"I cannot stand here as your governor and allow the millions of dollars and all that time go to waste just so I can hold the title of governor," Palin said.

Later, on Twitter, she promised supporters more details: "We'll soon attach info on decision to not seek re-election ... this is in Alaska's best interest, my family's happy ... it is good. Stay tuned"

Her last day will be July 26.

Spokesman Dave Murrow says Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell will be inaugurated at the governor's picnic in Fairbanks at the end of the month.

Palin, a Republican, was elected governor in 2006.

Sen. John McCain chose her as his running mate during the 2008 Presidential election.

Palin, 45, and her staff kept her future plans shrouded in mystery, and it was unclear if the controversial hockey mom would quietly return to private life or begin laying the foundation for a presidential bid.

Palin's spokesman, David Murrow, said the governor didn't say anything to him about this being her "political finale." He said he interpreted Palin's comment about working outside government as reflecting her current job only.

"She's looking forward to serving the public outside the governor's chair," he said.

And Pam Pryor, a spokeswoman for Palin's political action committee SarahPAC, said the group continues to accept donations on its Web site, with an uptick in funds after Palin's announcement.

She was a controversial figure from the start, with comedian Tina Fey famously imitating her elaborate hairstyle and folksy "You betcha!" on "Saturday Night Live."

Most recently, she led a public spat with "Late Show" host David Letterman over a joke he made about one of her daughters being "knocked up" by New York Yankees baseball player Alex Rodriguez during the governor's recent visit to New York. Palin's 18-year-old daughter, Bristol, is an unwed, teenage mother.

Letterman later apologized for the joke.

Palin's family and the ridicule they endure being in the public eye was part of her decision. She complained that her 14-month-old son, Trig, who was diagnosed with Down's syndrome, had been "mocked and ridiculed by some mean-spirited adults recently." She didn't elaborate.

Palin also complained that her 14-month-old son, Trig, who was diagnosed with Down's syndrome, had been "mocked and ridiculed by some mean-spirited adults recently." She didn't elaborate.

Fred Malek, a Republican strategist who has advised Palin over the past year, said Palin was "really unhappy with the way her life was going."

"She felt that the pressures of the job combined with her family obligations and the demands and desires to help other Republican candidates led her to decide not to run again. Once that decision was made, she realized, why not do it now and let the lieutenant governor take over and get a head start on his election," Malek said.

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Some information from The Associated Press


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