Palin Resignation: Didn't Want 'Lame Duck Session'

Says she hopes to be more effective helping state by being out of office.

ByABC News
July 24, 2009, 11:28 AM

July 26, 2009 — -- Sarah Palin officially stepped down as Alaska's governor late Sunday, saying she thought she could more effectively serve the people of the state by leaving office.

She went out with a bang, delivering a fiery 15-minute long speech to a crowd of supporters in Fairbanks, Alaska, in which she lambasted the media and touted Alaska's history of energy independence.

Midway through her speech, it sounded as if Palin was back on the vice presidential campaign trail, stumping for fiscal conservatism, the development of natural energy resources, and moral conservatism.

Yet she gave no hint as to her future in politics, saying only she stepped down in order to spare Alaskans "politics as usual" from her governorship turning into a "lame duck session," with a year-and-a-half to go.

The decision to step down has bewildered even some of her most loyal supporters.

Analysts say she is now in uncharted political territory.

She is scheduled to appear at the Reagan Library for an event in August. But, what else? Will she seek higher office or cash in on speaking engagements and a TV deal?

If anyone truly knows, they're not saying -- including Palin's husband Todd, the so-called "first dude."

"It's been an awesome experience and she's very happy to serve the residents of Alaska and onto the next chapter of life," he told ABC News.

But again, the question everyone's asking: What next?

"I guess well just have to wait and see," he said.

Earlier, not even her father, Chuck Heath, seemed to know to know her plans.

"I'm sure she has something else in mind," Heath said. "[But] I don't know. I spent two days with her over the Pale River, and she'd be a good poker player -- she didn't lead on to what she wants to do."

Palin herself had little to say about her post-weekend plans.

"Come Monday, I'm going to be finding new avenues to keep working hard for Alaskans," she told ABC News.

Even as she served up hot dogs Saturday at an event in Anchorage in her last weekend as governor, a smiling Sarah Palin remained mum about what those "new avenues" might be -- unless you count her brief tweets on the social networking site Twitter.

Foreshadowing the freedom to speak her mind as a private citizen, she recently wrote, "ten days till less politically correct twitters fly from my fingertips."

She also wrote about listening to a country song called "Rollin," by the country duo Big & Rich, and quoted the lyrics, "ain't gonna shut my mouth -- I know there's got to be a few hundred million like me -- just trying to keep it free."

As she headed off Saturday evening to the final stop on her farewell tour -- Fairbanks, Alaska -- Palin tweeted again about what she'll be listening to in her camper: "RdTrip7 hrs wKid Rock/Martina McBride/Big&Rich/Grtchn Wilson/Billy Currngtn/Hank/Toby/VanP/Blk I P's/Greenwd/Straight/etc&USO artists=heaven"

Lost in all the smiles is the odd fact that she will leave office and step down early for no stated reason other than a vague notion of trying to save Alaskans the cost of her many legal battles over ethics complaints.

On stage Friday night, Palin said, "This being my last time to speak to the valley community as your governor, I do want to tell you sincerely that I love you, I appreciate you and your support, the support that you've shown my family. God bless you and God bless America."

Palin has easily embraced her weekend "picnic tour" of Alaska, which kicked off Friday in her hometown of Wasilla before moving on to Anchorage and ending today in Fairbanks before handing over power to Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell.

"I'm very happy to get to be here in Wasilla," Palin told ABC News early Saturday. "I'm in my hometown and looking forward to spending more time in my hometown."

The Wasilla crowd was hopeful of greater things to come for their local Republican heroine.

"I think Sarah should be president," said town resident Becca Buyse. "I think she would do a much better job. She has the people's interest."

Larry J. Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said that success is in the cards for the soon-to-be former governor.

"What's she heading to is a lot of money and continuing fame," he said. "So she's not giving up anything, she's gaining a great deal."

Larry J. Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said that success is in the cards for the soon-to-be former governor.

\"What's she heading to is a lot of money and continuing fame,\" he said. \"So she's not giving up anything, she's gaining a great deal.\"

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