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. Palin needs a giant "Q" on her forehead!

    Palin saying she's not a quitter does not make it so. Clearly she's asking people, "Which do you believe: me or your lying eyes?"

    Palin is an arrogant, whining QUITTER....who strangely sees herself as worthy and capable of being president.

    She can't hang in as a governor of a single state for a full 4 year term – supposedly because media and critics scrutinize her too much. Why should anyone believe she could hang in as president of an entire nation of 50 states for a full term when the glare of scrutiny is many times stronger?

    July 7, 2009 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  2. Marry

    Just for a change. This time there is ONE very positive thing to be said about Mrs. Palin! She is realizing that she is in over her head as Governor of Alaska and backed off. It would have been nice if she had continued and given us all peace of mind by announcing that she will never seek public office again!
    But bad news followed immediately: “She did not rule out a run for the White House or any other political office.” She definitely is suffering from megalomania (among other conditions) if she thinks that she has what it takes for that job!
    If she scares most thinking people? Of cause! She makes people like Ahmadinejad of Iran look like a thoughtful moderate by comparison.

    July 7, 2009 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  3. Isabelle

    Quite frankly, Palin's erratic behavior indicates she is unfit to serve the public in any capacity whatsoever. Her inability to communicate a clear, concise message, instead babbling in incoherent broken english, leaves little room for anything other than her inevitable political defeat . She is, as she has clearly shown, a quitter.

    July 7, 2009 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  4. Sharon - NC

    Let us all not forget that she's quitting to take advantage of a big book and TV deal 'for country'. The ethics complaints must have been slowing down in Alaska, thus, no coverage or nothing to become the victim of, and no attention.

    July 7, 2009 06:27 am at 6:27 am |

    The GOP continues to throw her under the bus. Stick a fork in her. She is done. I will enjoy the fun watching her steal their money while she kills their chances to win again. Run Sarah run!

    July 7, 2009 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  6. KirksNoseHair

    Palin: "I'm not a quitter"

    Um, Sarah, I have to clue you in on something:

    You quit.

    That makes you a quitter. This is an unmitigated fact.

    July 7, 2009 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  7. A little sad

    Actually, her being a quitter is my favorite thing about her.

    July 7, 2009 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  8. shinden58

    Quitter. Would she resign from the presidency if some cracks a joke about her disfunctional family? She has had her 15 minutes now lets relegate her to the dust bin of political history.

    July 7, 2009 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  9. Nora

    And she wants to run the country? She quit running Alaska. Can she really handle running 49 more states? The day she takes office in the White House is the day I move to Canada.

    July 7, 2009 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  10. KJL

    Unfortunately for Sarah Palin, good looks can only carry you so far in politics, at least with intelligent voters. She hated the taste of defeat she got as John McCain's running mate, and would rather quit than get voted out of office. It will be better for the entire country if she makes her millions selling books or religion.

    July 7, 2009 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  11. Willy Brown

    The fact that she still pisses off you liberals is more the reason to vote for her. She rocks your little liberal pea brains.

    July 7, 2009 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  12. some guy in New Hampshire

    She quits her job but she's not a quitter. No, I don't hate women and no, I don't hate conservatives. But, given this person's history of melodrama, ham-fisted self-promotion, and egregious hypocrisy ("I fought to bring the Bridge to Nowhere to Alaska until it became a laughingstock and then I bravely rejected it") how is anyone to take Sarah Palin seriously?

    July 7, 2009 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  13. kathy leonard

    Sarah – go away. Stay home and raise your children.

    Quit covering this woman people and hopefully she will fade away and her 15 minutes will be gone forever. I think she picked this time because tall the media are on Michael Jackson and not her.

    July 7, 2009 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  14. kishen c.rao

    why did she quit? from Alaska, Person who quits is a quitter.....right?
    again she lies.........folks....just know this...we need to fix more substantial problems than this lady....Fixing Health Care...for all americans....Just know this, Health Care is killing Americans...Robbing the nation....I am writing with tears....congress, senate...just fix it...if you need my vote...Pres. Obama, just don't sleep till health care is fixed...Insurance groups, Hospitals, Doctors, Pharmacy companies are robbing the nation and americans.........just fix it now!!!!!

    July 7, 2009 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  15. Dave

    "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. "

    Well, I guess the Orwellian World of the Bush Administration has returned full force, now. IN addition to this not amking ANY sense at all, poor Sarah quit because of a joke from David Letterman...how sad...how very, very sad...PLUS she's "a victim"....awwwwwww

    July 7, 2009 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  16. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Typical GOP... and typical moron Palin... it's true because I say so...


    July 7, 2009 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  17. Bludgeon

    She's not a quitter, but she quit? Hmmmm. This woman has a serious trouble dealing with reality. But we already knew that, didn't we? The thought of her a heartbeat away from the nuclear trigger is terrifying.

    July 7, 2009 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  18. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    She's also a clueless pathological liar.

    July 7, 2009 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  19. No Caribou Barbie

    She also wasn't a viable Governor, Vice-Presidential candidate and a lot more. You resign, you quit.

    July 7, 2009 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  20. Enlightened Voter

    The lies and hate she spewed during the campaign trail are just returning back to her. It's called Karma, nothing more, nothing less.

    July 7, 2009 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  21. Capt. Snarky

    So Sarah was raked over the coals regarding "family travel" at the states' expense, to the point that she was forced to repay the monies involved.

    So, I read over on another news outlet about Michelle Obama and her daughters touring the Kremlin, while daddy toils with Medeved. Are they repaying us for the girls' sight-seeing tours?????

    July 7, 2009 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  22. Joel

    Looks like a quitter to me =)

    July 7, 2009 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  23. Joe citizen abroad

    She quit because of a comedian? You've got to be kidding.

    While Sarah Palin is playing "victim," the rest of us are dealing with the real world with real challenges that are there, every day, when we wake up. They don't go away. And they have precious little to do with Sarah Palin.

    Is there no limit to this woman's ego? She is not the center of the universe. She is not part of our problems, or part of our solutions–by choice. She is media noise.

    May her political career rest in peace.

    July 7, 2009 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  24. Dale

    For someone who hates the media as much as Sarah does, she sure does love talking to them.

    She was on a fishing-trip and had no reason to give the "evil liberal media" any of her time; especially if they were such a large part of her reason for quitting (or, at least, how those supposedly close to her keep saying).

    Why didn't she just turn them down? Footage of her from a distance enjoying her fishing with her family, while a reporter reluctantly states that she refused to do an interview would have sent a much stronger message that she (as Nixon put it) "won't be kicked around" any longer. This way it looks like all that matters to her is to be in the spotlight and made herself look like a liar and a fool. Once again.

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

    The media's (cnn's) constant negativity I cant blame her although I have a feeling she is going to become a leader.

    July 7, 2009 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
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