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. cm

    Then if she runs fro President and she wins... Please God don't do this to Us.... she will quit if things are to rough and she can not take the heat? To much for commitment.
    "If you can stand the hit then get out the kitchen"

    July 7, 2009 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  2. J.V.Hodgson

    Of course she plans a run for president. She needs the book money, and speeches and TV earnings to fund it and not waste it on legal fees. And learning how not to say I can see Russia, and failed inteviews of the past.
    Sorry to say there was not a member of that family that did not like the fame and attention of her GOP VP run gave her and them.
    Problem is two fold
    1) The media hate her for not ansering whether she plans another political run.
    2) Worse still I do not think the GOP will nominate her again as she proved not to bea team GOP player with McCain, and has zero appeal to Democrats and most independents.

    July 7, 2009 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  3. AlwaysThinking

    Of course she says this – the woman lives and breathes the GOP playbook of do one thing, label it another, hope the poor saps don't figure it out.

    Look, she's living in la-la land. When she took the oath of office to become governor of Alaska, I'm positive there wasn't a line about doing her duties until things got rough or inconvenient (or until she signed a book deal). She is not fulfilling the responsibilities she was elected for – she's quitting.

    She can prattle on all she likes about how no one understands her and we're all out to get her. She's a quitter and a runner – and that's the plain truth.

    July 7, 2009 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  4. AlwaysThinking

    Quitter (noun): One who quits; one who gives up too easily. Syn – Defeatist.

    'Nuff said.

    July 7, 2009 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  5. Michael Fallai

    You quit your job, Sarah, and not because you got elected to a better job. That makes you a quitter.

    How can this woman wonder why she is so thoroughly mocked? She's a walking, talking embarrassment to Alaska, the GOP, Christians, and women in general.

    July 7, 2009 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  6. Emi

    Who cares!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 7, 2009 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  7. ttofast70@comcast.net

    You betcha! "You are not a crook." Ha ha.

    July 7, 2009 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  8. Meg

    She's not a quitter, and she quit her job just to prove she's not a quitter. Oooookaaaay. Your 15 min are up now miss palin, please prove your even less a quitter by quitting to talk to the media for at least a week.

    July 7, 2009 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  9. S M R

    This women is insane. GOD PLEASE HELP US.

    July 7, 2009 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  10. Mark of Saint Louis

    Of course the Libs ripped Palin and wasted Alaskan money and resources on trumped up ethics charges against the Governor which have been proven all to be without merit. That's what they do. What more could we expect from the leftists?

    July 7, 2009 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  11. S M R

    If you are "not a quitter", why are you quitting?

    July 7, 2009 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  12. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    I would have more respect for her if she finished her term then ran for President. She is more like America than the Liberal Elitist that was just recently elected, that was her appeal. She was not brought up in the corrupt Chicago Polical Machine. Sorry but I will have to consider someone else for the Primary for 2012, but I will vote for her in the election if she wins the primary before I would vote for Obama who is a liberal democrat who wants to spend and tax us into debt for his European Style Socialism/ Wefare State.

    July 7, 2009 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  13. Peter E

    For somebody who supposedly hates media attention, she sure is eager to give even more interviews just so the cameras stay on her.

    July 7, 2009 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  14. Limbaugh is a liberal

    'Palin thought she would stop being a "lightning rod" once she returned to Alaska, but "it never really did simmer down,"'
    Did I miss something? Through all these months did she actually return to Alaska? No! She neglected her state, instead continually traveling the country, making appearances at fundraisers, and campaigning for 2012. She has only herself to blame for the attention focused on her!

    July 7, 2009 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  15. Dennis

    This woman is annoying and ignorant. Why does the media have to continue to give her coverage? She's done. Let's wash our hands of her and move onto more productive political figures.


    July 7, 2009 03:20 am at 3:20 am |
  16. Mike,Texas

    Why is she not a quitter,she never explained that one.The new beverly hillbillies of politics.I would vote for some of my friends and they are smarter than her.She could cost america a fortune in learning palin english.I dont understand her,she speaks in code.

    July 7, 2009 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  17. Kara in AK

    I, for one, think she's a quitter. Bye Failin' Palin!

    July 7, 2009 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  18. Frederik

    Resigning mid term with no apparent valid reason? Deserting the people who elected her when the going gets tough? Yeah... she's definately a quitter. A quitter who only looks out for number 1.

    July 7, 2009 03:25 am at 3:25 am |
  19. beermo

    You're a quitter, Sarah, and nobody likes a quitter! Ramas is on to something – you're just crazy and delusional. How does quitting prove you're not a quitter? I think you just shot yourself in the head with that meandering speech. Just go away, please!

    Quit, baby, quit!

    July 7, 2009 03:35 am at 3:35 am |
  20. Sandra

    Would she have stepped down if she was elected VP last November? The mnedia pressure she feels now pales to what she would have received had the McCain ticket actually won the election.

    July 7, 2009 03:38 am at 3:38 am |
  21. Jimmy, Alaska

    For the lower 48ers who doesn't know anything about Palin. She kept her promises for a year and a half till election came, unlike Obama in 10 days. At least she read a bill before signing it, unlike Obama. At least she knows where the taxpayers money is going, unlike Obama. At least she had a half billion dollar surplus in 6 months, while Obama quadrupled the deficit in six months. At least she didn't pal around with a former terrorist, unlike Obama.

    July 7, 2009 03:38 am at 3:38 am |
  22. Big D

    Sarah just go away. How are we to expect you to assume the pressures of a Presidential candidate, when you can't handle a late night talk show host? I found myself looking in the fridge for dressing to put on that word salad "I quit" speech. You seem like your harmless, really... as long as you stay out of politics. Use that journalism degree you got from 4 different colleges, or just go fishing with Todd and the kids.

    July 7, 2009 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  23. Bill from CA

    Last I looked, 'resigning' was another word for 'quitting.' Palin showed that she couldn't even handle the responsibilities of governing a state of less than 700,000. What makes her think anyone will think she could handle the responsibilities of governing a country of over 300 million? She walked out on the state of Alaska and by doing so, abandoned the oath she took to serve her constituents. Until we hear a legitimate explanation, her resignation/quitting will be one of disgrace.

    July 7, 2009 03:55 am at 3:55 am |
  24. tba

    Palin is a quitter, look at her she couldn't take the jokes nor could she handle the politics. Thats why she quit letting those Alaskan voters down. She basically gave them a slap in the face. If she couldn't handle being a govener for a state how does she expect to be President? As president you take more critical decision and more critics attack you. She needs to go think about this long and hard.

    July 7, 2009 03:55 am at 3:55 am |
  25. S M R

    I don't hear Rush backing you up on your decision.You know why? Even Rush isn't that dumb.

    July 7, 2009 03:57 am at 3:57 am |
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