Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) announced this morning from her home in Wasilla that she will not be seeking re-election and that she will be stepping down in a few weeks. Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell will be inaugurated as Alaska’s governor on July 25. A local NBC affiliate reports that “there was no immediate word as to why she will resign, though speculation has been rampant that the former vice presidential candidate is gearing up for a run at the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.” Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News yesterday that Palin “is not a serious candidate for the presidency.” “You cannot sustain a campaign of platitudes and clichés over a year and a half if you’re running for the presidency,” he said.
After running through her accomplishments as governor during the announcement, Palin said, “This success I am proud to take credit, for hiring the right people.” She said she decided to “veto” those “stimulus dollars” because “some of those dollars would harm Alaska and they harm America.” “So that Alaska may progress, I will not seek re-election as governor,” she said, adding, “I’ve determined it’s best to transfer the authority of governor to Lieutenant Governor Parnell.” Watch it (note the video feed cut out before Palin finished her statement):
Announcing her resignation, Palin assailed “political operatives” who “descended on Alaska” after her VP nomination and added that fighting ethics violations allegations ever since “hasn’t been cheap.” She also said she is looking at “a half a million dollars in legal bills,” calling it “pretty insane.” See Palin’s full statement here.
,Calling into Fox News after the announcement, Bill Kristol said, “If I had to guess, we just saw the opening statement of the 2012 campaign.”
Later writing on the Weekly Standard’s blog, Kristol digs in:
If Palin wants to run in 2012, why not do exactly what she announced today? It’s an enormous gamble – but it could be a shrewd one.
After all, she’s freeing herself from the duties of the governorship. Now she can do her book, give speeches, travel the country and the world, campaign for others, meet people, get more educated on the issues – and without being criticized for neglecting her duties in Alaska. I suppose she’ll take a hit for leaving the governorship early – but how much of one? She’s probably accomplished most of what she was going to get done as governor, and is leaving a sympatico lieutenant governor in charge.
,Palin tweets: “We’ll soon attach info on decision to not seek re-election… this is in Alaska’s best interest, my family’s happy… it is good, stay tuned”
,MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports:
“Talking to people who are very close to Sarah Palin, I have been told that she has told her supporters that she is out of politics, period. She is fed up with politics. She doesn’t like her life. She feels like she has to raise her family. She’s sick of the commute from Wasilla to the capital and she really does not want to run for higher office. This is not the case where she is stepping down in order to figure the way for a presidential run. In fact, she has told some of her biggest backers in the national Republican Party that they are free to choose other candidates for 2012.”
,Palin political adviser Fred Malek said that Palin isn’t ruling out a future run for office, and he expects her to help other Republicans raise money. “She’s not going to go hide in a cave,” Malek said in a telephone interview. “She’ll continue to be a major friend and force for Republican figures in this country.”
,Alaska Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell responds: “It is with a heavy heart that I hear these words.”