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. 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 |
  2. Roger

    Mrs. Palin please shut your mouth. You are only bringing more humilation upon yourself.

    July 7, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. Paul , St. Louis MO

    Her last days in office are on a fishing trip. This is the true work ethic of the Governor. She is not a quittier but she quit. She is now on her way to a book deal and to make lots of money for being a Governor for about 2 to 3 years and leaving her during her term.

    July 7, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. Pat Dunedin Fl

    One who does not finish a term, is a quitter. This is the highest
    political office in Alaska. She let her state down. Thank God
    the public can see right through her and she did not win in
    November. She will say it was family etc. Then she should
    stay out of politics. Maybe she has a hormone problem and
    has mood swings. I think she loves attention and suffers from
    Anita Bryant syndrome. Everytime she comes on the
    TV , I feel a sudden urge to hurl. Please do not give her any
    more FREE Air Time!!!!!!!!

    July 7, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. Barry in MO

    Ummm, Sarah, you resigned your office; ergo, you are, in fact, a quitter.

    What happened to the self-proclaimed pit bull? Last I checked, fighters put up their dukes and slugged it out in tough situations. Sarah went fishing?

    Nice to know that if she were president and things got tough with North Korea, she could blame the media, feign indignation and resign. THat's not a maverick, that's a quitter.

    July 7, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. kgeukes

    And pigs fly!!!!! This woman has yet to give us the real reason why she "didn't quit". I figure it's because she couldn't handle the heat of the job. She's a quitter and if she thinks she has a chance to become Prez, then she's delusional. Stay home, take care of your children and maybe, just maybe, your younger daughter won't wind up preggers like big Sissy!!!!

    July 7, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  7. Karen-phoenix

    She's a quiter!!! She quite 5 colleges, she quite the mayors job in Wassilla, she quite her job with the oil line company and NOW she quite the govenors job!!! When she quite all those colleges she kept going to less accreditied ones and looks like she is doing the same thing!!! NO MORE PALIN!!! She a NUT case!!!

    July 7, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  8. Edward Veidt

    She quit because of pressure?

    And she thinks she can handle being president? Oh, please.

    July 7, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. Carlos L. Harrisburg PA

    Ok let me see if I get this. She is not a quitter but she is living office a 18 months before her term. And that makes her a fighter how. It sounds to me like a quitter. ( If you can not take the heat get of the kitchen ) and she did.

    July 7, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. Ken in NC

    If Gov Palin is a fighter as she says, then I suspect she has taken one to many punches to the head. She punches back at everything said about her and her family. Now I admit I am not a Palin supporter but her family should be off limits. Having said that, my thoughts are that she inserted her family by bringing them with her almost everywhere she went. As a politician, she needs to develope a thinker skin so she does not take every attack personally.

    July 7, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. D. Tree

    "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."

    However, Palin claims they were "Without Merit."

    LOL, reminds me of the Wizard of OZ: Pa no attention to that man behind the curtain!

    July 7, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. CHUCK


    July 7, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  13. Randall - Desert Storm Veteran

    No Sarah. You are not a quitter. But the whole world is glad you did. Now be a good Playmate and go make some moose stew in the nude.

    July 7, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  14. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    You know guys, I feel bad for her, I do. She doesn't deserve this but do you know what I think the problem is???

    I know what she is trying to do, she is basically trying to erase "politician" our of her skin...or body, if you wanna talk sexy is up to you, LOL!!! But the point is, she's trying to erase it, she wants it away, she does. But that's the problem, she doesn't understand, she has to go way back when she started...guys, she's not actor, a teacher, a student, etc, she was in the Vice Presidential ticket, she's the first female for the GOP, does she understand that? The meaning?

    And when I hear talk about "reformer" "loser" or whatever, I think it is all speculation. I remember I said I was gonna follow her before on Twitter(hey, is what I do, LOL!!) but do you know why I don't? She's not worth it, she's not. She's not intimate, she's not affable, she is not who I think she is, that's why I don't follow her. And I sure as hell ain't gonna go on the bandwagon. Is the same defense..."She's real. She's honest. She's a mom. Etc." You know, I don't need to get remember who's real or not, all I need to get reminded if you are worth being my President...

    She doesn't like it, she doesn't. And let alone her T.V appearances, my goodness. I give her this...she tries, she does. But boy, she hopes people remember her for what she did, but unfortunately, people already remember for what she didn't do.

    I'm gonna tell you right now, even in her Facebook or Twitter, she ain't even intimate, or let alone, out there. The people that are following her or like her are really all she has and that's how she's communicating? Let alone from day one the election was an afterthought, and now she's taking a page out of my boy?? How ironic, you could already see the future...

    By the way, tell me how I did that??? LOL!!! 🙂 Work baby, work.

    But I hope she's fine, I pray for her, I do. But boy...I'm glad she ain't special to me, LOL!!! 🙂 Ouch!!!!

    She's doing it wrong, wrong...

    July 7, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  15. Kelby In Houston, TX

    "I am not a quitter. I am a fighter," Palin told CNN
    So, you're fighting back by quitting? Are you serious?

    "She resigned because of the tremendous pressure, time and financial burden of a litany of ethics complaints in the past several months, she said."
    Usually, people get fired for a litany of ethics complaints.

    You would think that once she retired her post, we could retire her from the ticker. Now everybody is disappointed

    July 7, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  16. Glenn Doty, Columbia, SC

    That's right! Palin is NOT a quitter! That's why she quit... because she's a fighter, and fighters always quit when the going gets tough...


    Well, she's not any less sensible or coherent than she was when she was campaigning to be a heartbeat away from the presidency (and the heartbeat in question is pushing 80)... I wonder if her flock of screaming fans still support her as she "fights" (quits) all the tough stuff she has (had) on her plate... (and goes fishing).

    July 7, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. Keith A Sillsbury

    I quit but I'm not a quitter. After two and a half years I need a break? Good one, hey terrorists we call a time out, my shoe lace is untied. yeah sarah stay in public service, someone needs to ride on the back of the truck picking up the trash. It'd be a good lesson in humility for you. The republican party is comming to its end, they don't know who they are or what the people want. Now theres room for the green party and the independant party and others. Hopefully the news will give them the air time or Obama will change the rules to level the playing field. your carreer in politics is over sarah, good bye and good riddance.

    July 7, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  18. Charlie in Maine

    Maybe things work differently in the new Republican party. Sanford shows he has the best interest of SC at heart by refusing the stimulus package for his people (then arranging his own) and staying put when even his own friends want him gone, Sarah Palin proves she is not a "quitter by um...............quitting, George Bush proves he is compassionate by invading and occupying a country who never attacked us, Newt Gingrich proves he is smart by saying the stupidest tthings. Does anyone else see a pattern here?

    July 7, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  19. Razor Willy

    What a nut job

    July 7, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  20. Jack

    How can Sarah Palin possibly think this is a good step towards the White House and how can any of her supporters possibly endorse this? Will she quit the presidency, too, whenever she feels like she's done enough? Does she resign because there is too much media scrutiny? It's never going to go away if she's president... it will only get worse. Palin has made it clear that she will run away when the going gets rough. How can anyone possibly rally behind her? George Bush turned the Republican Party into a national punching bag and anyone who promotes Sarah Palin as the face of conservative politics is only prolonging the sad, sorry joke. Please... I'm begging the Republican leadership to find a reasonable, rational and real candidate that can rise above the three-ring circus with broad, forward-looking ideas and legitimate crossover appeal. The only people at the top of the party now are cartoonish buffoons living in their own delsuional world where successful spin is the ultimate endgame and reality becomes so warped as to honestly believe that anything they say out loud becomes truth.

    July 7, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  21. church of realism

    Only Palin could quit as gov and state with a straight face that she's not a quitter. Up is down, left is right if you're a republican.

    July 7, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  22. Sharon

    I am sorry, but Sarah Palin did quit her position as Governor before her term was up. She made this decision. Regardless of her reasons, bottom line is Sarah quit!!!!

    July 7, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  23. Another point

    Gov. Palin has a great list of accomplishments in her time in office but the presidential election was her undoing. Alaskans have different life styles than the lower 48. You'd be hard pressed to find an Alaskan politician who hasn't hunted and fished as that's the norm. The liberal public who as liberals should stand for allowing others to live the life styles they choose are disallowing that in her case. What has happened to liberalism and therefore being non-judgemental in America? Look in the mirror, liberals. The future ain't pretty.

    July 7, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  24. anita ms

    Oh please Sarah save your excuses! You quit on the Alaska people and let them all down! You was never ready to be a governor, yet alone the President of the US. You cant handle the pressure people put on you, guess what get over it and grow up gal! They redicule then Senator Obama, with rev wright, clinging to there guns, even his wife with her phrase im proud of my country for the 1st time in my adulthood, and etc see the strong survive Sarah and endure until the end maam! It wasnt easy for him and he hung in there. Even Hilliary got beat up and came out on top she didnt quit you sore looser! Politics are not for you and you shouldnt have never been governor in the first place. grow up and get a life!

    July 7, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  25. John

    If you quit something, like your job, you are a quitter. That is the definition of a quitter...someone who quits something instead of seeing it through to the end.
    David Letterman was a factor in her stepping down???? A comedian helped to drive out a sitting governor?
    She needs a break after being on-duty for 2 years? What happens if she is elected President? She'll just quit if it gets too exhausting?
    Wake up. this woman is a joke – Alaska will be better off.

    July 7, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
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