July 7th, 2009
05:00 AM ET
5 years ago

Palin says she is not a quitter


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNN) - Sarah Palin's not a quitter, she wants the public to know.

"I am not a quitter. I am a fighter," Palin told CNN on Monday while on a family fishing trip, on the heels of her Friday bombshell announcement that she was resigning as Alaska's governor.

Palin did her interview standing on the shores of Dillingham, Alaska, wearing hip waders. She granted 10-minute interviews to CNN and three other news networks Monday.

She resigned because of the tremendous pressure, time and financial burden of a litany of ethics complaints in the past several months, she said. The complaints were without merit and took away from the job she wanted to do for Alaskans, Palin said.

The decision to resign a year and a half before her term ends, and her rambling, often-disjointed resignation speech Friday, fueled days of debate among political analysts.

Speculation has run rampant that Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate in 2008, will seek the presidency in 2012.

When pressed about her future, Palin would say only that she would work in public service. She did not rule out a run for the White House or any other political office.

Palin is to leave the governor's office in late July.

The days since her resignation had been exhilarating and she loved being in Dillingham, a town of only a few thousand people and no cell phone service, Palin said.

On Monday, her personal lawyer also spoke about her resignation.

No legal "bombshell" or personal scandal lies behind Palin's resignation, but off-color jokes by talk-show host David Letterman contributed to her decision to step down, Thomas Van Flein said.

The governor needed a break after being "on duty now for two and a half years solid," he said.

"There is no bombshell. There is no shoe to drop. There are no investigations of any type that I'm aware of - no IRS audit, no federal investigation, no state investigation," Van Flein told CNN. "There is no legal reason in terms of a legal problem that compelled the governor to resign."

Friday was "deliberately chosen" for the announcement because of its proximity to the July Fourth holiday, Van Flein said: "She declared her independence from politics as usual."

Palin reiterated that statement in her interview.

Rep. Les Gara, an Anchorage Democrat and a frequent Palin critic, said everyone was "wildly surprised" by Palin's announcement.

"A lot of us were pretty disappointed in the concept that she can't finish out a governor's term," Gara said. Palin's resignation speech was "kind of similar to everything that has gone wrong since the governor has gotten back from her vice presidential campaign," Gara said.

"When she came into office, everything was about openness and transparency, and now everything's about excuses," he said.

But Rep. Jay Ramras, a Fairbanks Republican who leads the state House Judiciary Committee, said when it comes to public opinion, "The concrete hasn't set up yet."

"Those that seem to have responsibilities to manage businesses that manage people seem to be much less tolerant of what she did," Ramras said after attending Independence Day events over the weekend. Those people consider her "a quitter," he said.

"And then there's another group, where Gov. Palin has been successful in being able to imply - and certainly these people have inferred - that she was a victim."

The 45-year-old governor had faced intense scrutiny since Sen. John McCain picked her out of relative obscurity to be his running mate last year.

Though her acceptance speech drew rave reviews, her subsequent shaky performance in network news interviews, the drama surrounding her 18-year-old daughter's pregnancy and two ethics probes into her earlier firing of the state's public safety director dogged her throughout the rest of the campaign.

"In my opinion, she was the national campaign for Republicans last fall," Van Flein said. "I know John McCain was the candidate, but the decision was really about Sarah Palin and could she take on Obama. That was a lot of weight on her shoulders to carry that campaign, and they almost pulled it off."

As Election Day neared with McCain trailing in the polls, campaign aides began sniping at Palin as a "diva" who ignored top advisers and lacked "fundamental understanding" of key issues in the race. The McCain-Palin ticket ultimately lost to Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden last November.

Van Flein also said Palin would remain involved in public service, with no other decisions made at this point. But Gara said it was clear to him that Palin has her eye on another bid for national office.

"We can all guess," he said. "My guess is the governor wants to be president, and that's what she should have said at her press conference."

Palin thought she would stop being a "lightning rod" once she returned to Alaska, but "it never really did simmer down," Van Flein said. Ethics complaints from critics led to her paying back taxes on state per diem funds she received while living at her home in Wasilla, outside Anchorage; another investigation led to her paying about $8,100 in travel expenses for her children.

Van Flein said the state's ethics process, which Palin signed into law, has been "abused" to harass her and may lead Alaskans to ignore more serious allegations. And he said Letterman's early June joke about one of her daughters being "knocked up" by New York Yankees outfielder Alex Rodriguez "demonstrated to her that there's some sort of disconnect here."

"When people don't accept normal bounds of decency making jokes like that about children, maybe this is not good for the state right now," Van Flein said. "And maybe somebody else who is not the subject, and whose family is not the subject of this scrutiny, can move the state forward."

Letterman said the joke was aimed at Palin's older daughter, Bristol, who had a son with her high-school boyfriend in December. However, Palin was in New York traveling with her 14-year-old daughter Willow at the time, and she accused Letterman of making jokes about sex with an underage girl.

The CBS "Late Show" host ultimately apologized, saying "If you have to explain the joke, it's not a very good joke."

Despite leaving office about two-thirds of the way through her term, Palin "is not a quitter," Van Flein said. He added that she "already accomplished her major goals," including winning legislative approval for a massive natural gas pipeline.

But Ramras, who calls himself "a pro-development, conservative Republican," called that assertion "crazy." Though the pipeline project won approval in the state Legislature, Alaska has yet to establish a "durable and predictable" financial structure that will get producers to commit to the plan.

"Anyone who thinks we've started anything is delusional. ... What she did was she created a Gordian knot and then handed it off to someone else," he said.
- CNN's Matt Smith contributed to this report.


Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Robin in Tampa, FL

    If Palin decides to run in 2012 she will be facing a President who will have accomplished many of his campaign goals in his first years in office. While she will have the stigma of having abandoned her constituents halfway through her first term before she actually accomplished any of the goals she campaigned on.

    July 7, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  2. EyesWideOpen

    What's really hilarioius is that this woman, along with her zealot followers, actually think she may have a shot at the presidency?! I promise you she has influenced even more people not to vote for her than she did in 2008, even before she resigned!
    Oh and David Letterman contributed to her qutting? Sarah needs a new lawyer if this idiot is prone to saying things that are that ridiculous...lol.

    July 7, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  3. Marie

    God I hope SHE DOES NOT RUN IN 2012.

    July 7, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  4. PJ- New York Independent

    The far left liberal nut jobs are scared to death of this woman.

    The liberals keep saying Palin doesn't stand a chance and that she's stupid, etc. etc. (their usual mean spirited comments/attacks). If Palin 'will never win' then why are the liberals spending so much time and money attacking her? Like I said- they are scared to death of this woman. Once Obama finishes dismantling the US and loses more and more support from the Independents (the one's who voted him in)- it will be interesting to see what happens. At that point- even Sarah Palin will have a chance. Stay tuned liberals....

    July 7, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  5. Neiki

    Thank God she's gone!! What a pathetic display of double-standard! Get on with your life & stay out of America's future!! Palin has wasted enough of our time.

    July 7, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  6. Duncan

    The one thing that bugs me the most about this whole deal was her comment that OTHER PEOPLE have resigned their posts to pursue greater callings and we didn't criticize them. The comment was obviously about President Obama. Here's the difference, Mrs. Palin: the President left his Senate seat BECAUSE HE WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT!

    You still have yet to articulate what "higher calling" you are supposedly leaving to fulfill. If it is RUNNING for President, how dare you compare yourself to the person who was actually ELECTED to that office?

    Palin's behavior–and more importantly what passes for her "logic"–is bizarre and confusing.

    July 7, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  7. Steve A. , New Braunfels , Texas

    By golly, I just might vote for her in 2016, why the hell not............

    July 7, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  8. Bill in Albuquerque

    Give me a break, it is amazing this women could have been a heartbeat away from the President of the United States.

    July 7, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  9. democrat in az

    Let me get this straight, if you leave office, by your own choice, you are'nt a quitter? With that reasoning if you get drunk every night you are not an alcholic. One more stupid quote from the Alaskan airhead. Good-bye dummy.

    July 7, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  10. m gaspard

    Did she quit? Yes, that equals quitter. A true fighter would go on. Winners never quit.

    July 7, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. WJQ

    "I'm no quitter" she says just after quitting. What am I missing?

    July 7, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  12. James From Chicago

    OMG.. Is this woman ever going to learn she is not wanted and has
    made a fool of herself. Can you imagine if she decides to run for President in 2012 what a complete disaster that will be. Thanks\
    God she resigned, she does not have the brains for any political
    office. She should go pose for Playboy.

    July 7, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  13. Get Over it!

    Okay, so if "resigning" and leaving office before your term is up is not quitting .... what is? She has been criticized in the media, so she is packing up her "crayon box" and going home? And, this is the woman some of you wanted in the White House????? Come on! Yes, Sara you quit....... get over yourself. When you walk out on the people who elected you .... you are a quitter! Let's just call it like it is.

    July 7, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. DSH

    Huh? She did quit and all she fights is the media and bloggers.

    July 7, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  15. Tami - Colorado

    Please just go away......................................

    July 7, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  16. J

    Soooo long Palin! About time you stop being irresponsibile with other peoples lives. Congrats Alaska , hope the new governor actually does something for you guys!

    July 7, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  17. Clint

    Can't wait until she is just a footnote in the conservative lightweight division, a la Dan Quayle. Watching her chase her delusions of being a viable candidate for 2012 will not be pretty.

    July 7, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  18. Tina

    She is not a quitter...she is more like a TickleMe Plant! She folds up her leaves and lowers her branches under pressure. If you watch the TickleMe Plant video you will understand! It is a real plant that MOVES when you Tickle It! The leaves instantly close and even the branches droop when Tickled! I found the TickleMe Plant Greenhouse to grow it indoors at http://www.ticklemeplant.com Use code TEACHER to take $2.00 of any TickleMe Plant product.

    July 7, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. INDEPENDENT VOTER

    OH! This, EXPLAINS why she QUIT...Cause she NOT a quitter! Is this some sort of RNC/GOP/Alaskin lingo?

    July 7, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  20. D. Tree

    Going on a "Family Fishing Trip" with CNN and three other networks.... see, Sarah Palin really IS like the rest of us! :-D

    July 7, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  21. southerncousin

    More fodder the for the left wing nut jobs. Pile on. Remember the way is now cleared for people to make sexist and demeaning comments about the Obama family thanks to the nasty, gutter dwelling liberals.

    July 7, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  22. Tom

    Palin is not only a quitter but also a pathetic liar.

    July 7, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  23. Tim in NC

    Yes... you are...

    But thanks are in order, you have done more damage to your own political career than anyone else EVER could have.

    The last thing we need is someone in the Whitehouse with a "victim" mentality, or who is going to resign just because David Letterman made fun of them.

    July 7, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  24. Shucks

    Now she can devote all of her free time to dividing the country every chance she gets. The republicans will surely blame the liberal democrats for her resignation. I blame only one person. Palin herself. She so much desired the spotlight, but only on her terms, and only when she wanted it. In America that is not the way it has been for 30+ years. The media bated her and she bit every time. She was an embarrassment for the republican party trying to find itself. Don't worry being the true politician that she doesn't want anyone to think she is, will be in the limelight every chance she gets. I just hope she can take the heat of being nothing more than a mouth piece. At least she was Governor before, now she is just media fodder.

    July 7, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  25. KING

    . . . but then she quit and waded away, gnawing a stick with her rodentlike front teeth and keeping an eye out for salmon. "President?" she muttered. "Well, but only for a year. Then I'd like to be a fire chief and ride on the big red fire engine, and after that I could be an airline stewardess and get everybody drinks!" Suddenly she dove after a fish and was seen no more.

    July 7, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
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