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. private citizen


    July 7, 2009 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  2. sara

    What else would you call it! . She's always attempting to "play" the victim.................... I'm watching for Sarah Palin to use the FOX CHANNEL to promote Hate, Racism, Division, Guns, Extremicism, Self righteousness and Violence. Why in the world would anybody care .... she will never be president or hold any high office...... idiots can only advocate hate and FOX CHANNEL will be her perfect Platform to do it. Some of us Americans are Not Sleep on this Weirdo from Alaska, where no diversity lives, her RALLIES and the projection of who she is. Wake up.

    July 7, 2009 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  3. Lois

    Sarah, when one quits a job midstream, they are a quitter. A comedian on TV has this much power? A blogger? Stop playing the victim. Worse things have been said about other politicians and their families. Poison darts aren't too much fun are they? When you shoot those darts off, it is ok, but for you to get them, it is horrible? Spend time raising your family. Stop crying, please. It is embarrassing for other women.

    July 7, 2009 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  4. Monica

    Go away!!!!!!!!!

    July 7, 2009 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  5. Independent from PA

    Now to the money: She needs the limelight and some cash; and she can't wait till the end of her term.

    Sorry, but she IS a quitter! This is definitely the easier way out.

    July 7, 2009 08:15 am at 8:15 am |

    Yes you are a quitter!!!-- All successfull politicians have readThe Prince " by Nicolo Machaivelli. Read it so you could learn that the "prince must be feared not loved" ...
    Fighters stay and fight..Quitters complain and resign...Now Hilary Clinton she is fighter.....
    What are 15 ethic complains in a life of a potician...You wanna to be loved ? sing a song or show more skin...Men will love you ..at least ...

    July 7, 2009 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  7. Those Ears Are Yummy

    No Sarah ... you are a dirty fighter. Nobody has to make this up .... the world saw this in the way you conducted yourself during the campaign. No matter how outrageous or mean spirited the diatribe, you didn't hesitate to hurl it.

    We've all seen dirty fighters quit before.... "ear biting" Mike Tyson is but one example. History is just repeating itself with you.

    YOU ARE A QUITTER and Americans can never trust you with executive office. You might get PMS at a critical time.

    July 7, 2009 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  8. Biased

    It is a shame that the media will always take the easy road and be critical of her rather than also look at the treatment she has been given since her name hit the National stage just a year ago.An MSNBC commentator got a several week suspension and short of firing for comments about Chelsea, while Letterman gets applauded by dems and excused by the media for jokes about the 14 yr. old Palin daughter. A liberal blogger photoshops a radio host face on a pic of the Palins' youngest son and it is lauded as funny yet if we ever saw a photoshop of someone on the faces of either Obama daughter there would be no end to the cries of racist behavior. I wonder if Sanford had resigned if he would be lauded as doing it for the good of his state, but yet Palin under constant ethics attacks and costing the people of Alaska money, gets classed a quitter. I have never in my senior lifetime seen such a double standard of how people are held to accoountability as I have seen with this woman. It has been a shameful display indeed.

    July 7, 2009 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  9. Kevin

    If the pressure was too great as Governor of Alaska, does she think it would be less as the president of the United States.

    I'm just happy that the GOP pundits have finally started recognizing that this lady would not be a good pick to run against the democrats in 2012. The fact that any conservative has seriously considered Palin for any office makes me ashamed of being a republican.

    July 7, 2009 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  10. Ms. M

    Could CNN and all of the other news media allow this woman to do what she plan to do; resign, quit, leave the public eyes. She is not the type of person that should lead anything let alone this country. Please let her go into hiding in Alaska forever!!!

    July 7, 2009 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  11. Tim

    I'm not a quitter, I'm just talking my ball and going home. When the going gets tough, Sarah Palin Quits!!!!

    July 7, 2009 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  12. Marty, FL

    Leaving the constitutional duties as Alaska's governor = Quitter

    Sorry, but no amount of spin can erase the fact for many Americans. Palin has lost credibility.

    July 7, 2009 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  13. Michelle in AL

    Quote: 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."

    Really? I think she just declared herself an idiot. How much longer is she going to drape herself in the flag and declare herself perfect?

    July 7, 2009 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  14. Elliott

    Um, no Sarah...you're a quitter. You see, when you have a job to do, but leave your job 16 months before it's over, that's called quitting.

    The people who voted for you in Alaska have been let down, because things got to be too hard. Sorry to say it, but that's life. If you were a fighter, then you would have stayed in the ring for the entire 12 rounds.

    Since you say you're a fighter, I would have to agree with you in a way. When you were tapped for the VP nomination, you seemed like a fighter who didn't prepare for your scheduled fight until a week before it took place, and you got clobbered.

    The people of Alaska deserve better and so do the people in the lower 48. You won't spin this on me, Sarah, you're a quitter. PERIOD.

    July 7, 2009 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  15. Duck Fallas

    "Our opponent ... is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."

    Game on, sister.

    Palin – Bachmann 2012

    July 7, 2009 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  16. Paul from Kissimmee

    She should sue these people that brought foward these ethics complaints. I mean, she had to waste time and money about wearing a jacket. I know the liberals enjoyed it, but any tue American that loves America should be upset about this. Ted Kennedy killed a girl, but since he's liberal, you'll just keep voting him in until his brain tumor finally takes him.

    July 7, 2009 08:24 am at 8:24 am |

    For the life of me I cannot understand this country's fascination with this woman. In my opinion, she has been a bad mother for exposing her children to all the mess since she came out of Alaska. She drags them before the cameras way too often, but perhaps they are just as camera hungry as she is, though I doubt it. She consistently spews some of the most hateful words that I have ever heard in her so-called speeches and tirades, and does not see that she is the cause of most of the media attacks against her. She obviously is not very bright, judging from her constant inability to speak coherently for more than five seconds, and she is totally blinded by ambition. It is ludicrous to in anyway think of this woman as a real leader of anything. Yet some of the citizens of this country continue to see her that way. Personally, she reminds me more of a nag who just won't shut up, than anything.

    July 7, 2009 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  18. lieNoMore

    Enough already!! This woman is psycho idiot. How she ever rose to a position such as governor of a state is nothing less than remarkably shameful. This brain dead moron makes Quayle, Reagan, and Dubya look like an intelligent pile of bricks.

    July 7, 2009 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  19. Billy3000

    She had her chance in the spotlight and came up wanting. It's time to move on. Unfortunately, it appears that she, as so many politicians and celebrities do, has surrounded herself with people telling her what she wants to hear. I'm afraid we haven't seen the last of her. Too bad for the Republicans. Democracy requires an articulate and effective opposition. So far the GOP has been about as effective in the opposition as the Democrats before them. This kind of media circus just makes all involved look more interested in gaining power than the daily grind of executing it.

    July 7, 2009 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  20. J

    Comment to the media...........great job on talking about something that is just a complete waste of time. She is loving the free publicity and if she makes a run in 2012 – what a joke that would be.

    July 7, 2009 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  21. Justin in Massachusetts

    What on earth would she have done if we had elected her and McShame to the Vice Presidency and Presidency? Step down 8 months into it because she couldn't handle it? Once again, I am 100% satisfied that I voted for Obama and not this clowny beauty queen. If Palin couldn't win against Obama in 2008, there's no way she's going to win against him as a sitting president in 2012.

    Case Closed, Obama/Biden '12.

    July 7, 2009 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  22. A Real American

    I'm not a quitter she said shortly after submitting her resignation.

    I'm also not a hypocrite. Nor clueless.


    Like my hip waders?

    July 7, 2009 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  23. Anonymous

    Shut up Sarah...you can't hack a term as governor. You are weak, inept, incompetent, delusional, and just plain stupid. When someone who sought the vice presidency can't even finish out their FIRST term as governor, it's clear that person was never ready for national office. Soon to be Ex-Gov. Palin, you have not and will not ever be anywhere near smart enough to be a national leader of this country. You are a disgrace to your state and a punch line in the other 49.

    July 7, 2009 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  24. Llibertarian

    This woman totally baffles me. She is saying that the media is unfair to her?????!??!!?!!?!? This coming from the woman who's only purpose on the campaign trail seemed to be fanning the flames of hate for Obama. Remember the rallies where she had crowds yelling "TREASON!!!" and "TERROIST...KILL HIM!!!"? Ms. Palin laughed and riled the crowd even more.

    Well Sarah....did you look this up in the bible? Maybe you should look under ".......what you sew, so shall you reap"

    July 7, 2009 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  25. dblzap

    Even though I am Quitting I AM NOT A QUITTER!

    What a crock

    The GOP is a laughing stock

    July 7, 2009 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
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