July 7th, 2009
05:00 AM ET
14 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. John

    She quit, didn't she? Therefore, she's a quitter.

    July 7, 2009 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  2. MADinAZ

    Three little words that were all the rage some months back:

    "cut and run"

    July 7, 2009 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  3. Michael

    Typical Republican – says one thing and does another. You already quit honey. You said yourself you couldn't handle the intense scrutiny so you quit your job.

    You're a quitter!

    July 7, 2009 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  4. james

    Ahhhh, You QUIT your job HALF way through your term...yep your a quiter!

    July 7, 2009 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  5. Papa

    Um. You're not a quiter..But you quit..That would make you a...

    July 7, 2009 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  6. B. Lewis in Austin

    Anyone remember that during the presidential campaign tht Palin accused Obama/Biden of waving a white flag in Iraq? Perhaps, she needs to borrow that flag now that she has given up?

    In the world of politics, it doesn't take long for someone's words come back to bite them.

    July 7, 2009 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  7. Dawa sherpa

    i think that you made big mistake for 2012 and for GOP.
    that's all i want to say for the Palin

    July 7, 2009 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  8. She's So Predictable

    It doesn't matter what she says, she is a quitter. And just for the record, let's cut to the chase, she is leaving for one reason, and one reason only-MONEY. So all this talk of doing it for the state and yada, yada, yada means nothing. She is doing it for the money, money, money. As soon as she signed that book deal it was adios amigos, I'm off to the lower 48.

    The same greedy, self involed women who threw John McCain under the bus when she went "mavericky" and said "What have I got to lose" will be riding high on the political talk show hog.

    Wasilla hillbillies will now be free torun the country and lap up the gravy train. She's another Hillary,just without the education and the class.

    July 7, 2009 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  9. John From CA

    So she claims to be a "fighter" and then blames "the tremendous pressure, time and financial burden of a litany of ethics complaints" for her resignation. Wouldn't a fighter continue to FIGHT those complaints? Stating a reason for quitting doesn't mean you're not a quitter.

    July 7, 2009 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  10. Hello its me Sarah

    "I am not a quitter. I am a fighter," or "I am a fighter, but a quitter also. Enough said well the media please leave me alone, no but I need them it's all about me...me...me. I wish my brain would stop wondering and let get back to the real issue. I'm I a quitter???

    July 7, 2009 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  11. Allan

    I am not a quitter, she said, as she quit.

    July 7, 2009 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  12. Chester

    I guess Pit Bulls aren't as mean and tuff as we thought. She is have the diplomate, schollar, leader that Hillary is. Palin is not leader in any sense of the word.

    July 7, 2009 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  13. AcidEatingLiberal

    Oh! And yes you are a quitter! Did you not just step down 18 months early from your job? They call that quitting. Whether you work at Taco Bell or as governor of a state, when you give notice you are essentially quitting and are therefore a quitter. But just as if you worked at Taco Bell Sarah nobody will miss you when you are gone and someone more qualified will take your place. The people at Taco Bell are much smarter than the people ofAlaska because they never gave her a job! Right wing nutjobs in Alaska! I swear!

    July 7, 2009 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  14. Ernestine

    The article says: 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.

    Will this lady stop making excuses. Complaints were because you weren't doing your job, you were off on a jet somewhere being in the spotlight, you can only blame yourself. So when did you have time to govern your state, I have no pitty for you,

    July 7, 2009 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  15. Lee Baxter

    GO AWAY! Narcissistic Personality Disorder must be an awful burden on someone. The worst part is not even realizing you have it. Now we can add "quitter" to her resume.

    They're not laughing with you, honey, they're laughing at you.

    July 7, 2009 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  16. babe40

    she is a quitter

    July 7, 2009 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  17. Squigman

    I'm sorry, but the actions dont jive with the words. The next time I hear a republican state the followiing " A winner never quits, and a quitter never wins", I'm gonna throw up.

    July 7, 2009 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  18. Marie in California

    Palin will be back. And I'll be there to support her in whataever she chooses to do.

    July 7, 2009 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  19. Kevin

    Yeah, Ok.....sure....

    July 7, 2009 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  20. AcidEatingLiberal

    Besides when you had people chanting drill baby drill at your trailor trash campaign rallies i thought you were talking about what every high school boy in wasilla does to bristol on friday nights. Give Dave a break!

    July 7, 2009 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  21. Jeff

    Palin resigning over the pressure of the office of governor of Alaska? Scary considering this woman almost became 2nd in command of the United States. She has quit everything she has ever done in her life because it was too much work for her. She is a joke and is not qualified to be President of the United States must less President of the P.T.O.

    July 7, 2009 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  22. PUMA

    the media is such a fail

    palin moving on to bigger things.

    July 7, 2009 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  23. End Of An Error

    Yep, just because Sarah Palin is quitting the job she was elected to do, she is definitely not a quitter. Quitting in mid term makes her a fighter – just like she claims.

    How obvious can that be, people? Everyone knows we should characterize people by how they want to be characterized and not by their own actions, deeds, etc. It is so easy to misinterpret actions like quitting, cheating, cruising airport bathrooms, or any of the other things elected officials in this country like to do.

    We should always ASK the politician how we should interpret their actions instead of basing judgments on the things they actually do. It's really very simple.

    July 7, 2009 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  24. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    "I am not a quitter. I am a fighter," No, actually you're pretty much a quitter, and a pathetic one at that.

    July 7, 2009 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  25. marcus

    omg... lol... let's try and be honest for a minute... palin is definitely a quitter.. and, who can blame her.. she'll make boatloads of money giving speeches to right-wing knuckleheads... do you think she actually cares about alaska ??? lol.. not a chance.. she found her cash cow, and it is her with the freaks on the right.. congratulations.. this woman has NO political ambitions now.. she'll get a tv show on FOX, ripping obama and the dems.. why on earth would she consider a run at the presidency ??? she can't handle that kind of pressure.. and, she sure couldn't win over the important "thinking" american vote..

    July 7, 2009 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
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