Palin Steps Down as Governor With Shot at Media | NBC New York

Palin Steps Down as Governor With Shot at Media

Ex-veep candidate hands over office to Lt. Gov. Parnell, tells media to "quit makin' things up"

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    Many speculate the polarizing Alaska gov could be a GOP rival to President Barack Obama in 2012, but it's unclear what the future holds for John McCain's former running mate.

    Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin officially stepped down and took a parting shot at the media and unnamed critics on her way out.

    In a fiery campaign-style speech Sunday, Palin said she was resigning to take her political battles to a larger if unspecified stage.

    "With this decision, now, I will be able to fight even harder for you, for what is right, and for truth. And I have never felt that you need a title to do that," Palin said to raucous applause from about 5,000 people gathered at Pioneer Park in downtown Fairbanks.

    Palin scolded "some seemingly hell bent on tearing down our nation" and warned Americans to "be wary of accepting government largess. It doesn't come free."

    She also took aim at the media, saying her replacement, Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, "has a very nice family too, so leave his kids alone!"

    And she told television cameras: "How about, in honor of the American soldier, you quit makin' things up?"

    She didn't elaborate, but Palin said when she announced her resignation July 3 that she was tired of the media focus on her family and felt she had been unfairly treated by reporters.

    Palin was a relatively political unknown a year ago when Republican presidential candidate John McCain selected her to be his running mate. The partisan election created problems for Palin when she returned to Alaska.

    Her once congenial relationship with lawmakers soured, and Palin became the target of nearly 20 ethics complaints.

    She cited the resulting investigation's financial toll as the main reason she was quitting 17 months before her term was complete.

    Palin's first order of business as a private citizen is to speak Aug. 8 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. She also wants to campaign for political candidates from coast to coast, and continue to speak her mind on the social networking site Twitter.

    "Beautiful Frbnks morn," she wrote Sunday her Twitter page. "Cabinet members here w/ me & Lt Gov to serve @ picnic, then changing of guard ceremony; Great to be in Golden Heart City!" 

    Many speculate the polarizing Alaska gov could be a GOP rival to President Barack Obama in 2012, but with a laundry list of ethics probes, mounting legal bills and plummeting approval ratings dogging her legacy, it's unclear what the future holds for John McCain's former running mate.

    Some have said Palin may host a TV or radio show -- but a spokeswoman for the Palin family said she has no plans to run for president or ink any media deals.

    "I cannot express enough there is no plan after July 26," spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton told the AP. "The decision (to quit) was made in the vacuum of what was best for Alaska, and now I'm accepting all the options, but there is nothing planned."

    Palin has attended a series of picnics starting Friday in Wasilla, her hometown, when she spoke to a crowd of more than 1,000 about their support.

    "I appreciate the support you have shown me and my family," she said. "I love you, and God bless America."

    Palin made the stunning announcement that she was resigning on July 3, about 17 months before her term as Alaska governor was over.

    "I will take the battle nationally and I won't shy away from challenging the powerful, the entrenched, the corrupt and anyone standing in the way of getting our country back on the right track," she said in a written statement to The Washington Post.