On Sunday July 26th, Sarah Palin officially stepped down as governor of Alaska and turned the office over to Sean Parnell during a picnic held in Fairbanks. She intends to write a book and build a right-of-center coalition, but she left her long-term political plans unclear and refused to address speculation she would seek a 2012 presidential bid. Media stories from CNN and KSL Channel 5
Primary Alaska media stories from the Anchorage Daily News and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. The full text of Palin's speech can be read on Thomas Lamb's blog.
In a campaign-style speech, Palin said she was stepping down to take her political battles to a larger if unspecified stage and avoid an unproductive, lame duck status. "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 Fairbanks.
Free speech was also a theme of her farewell address, as Palin scolded some seemingly hell-bent on tearing down our nation and warned Americans to "be wary of accepting government largesse. It doesn't come free." She also lashed out against "anti-hunting, anti-Second Amendment circuses from Hollywood" that use "delicate, tiny celebrity starlets" to push their cause. "Hollywood needs to know -- we eat, therefore, we hunt," Palin told a cheering crowd.
Here is Sarah Palin's full speech via the Anchorage Daily News Alaska Politics blog. The first video starts out with an introduction by State Senator Gene Therriault, then Palin launches into her speech.
For those interested in what type of governor Alaska has now, you can watch Sean Parnell's inaugural address HERE. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner story HERE. While Parnell's clearly not the fiery orator that Palin was, he is considered a competent conservative who won't do the state any harm, and may even do Alaska some good. His primary areas of focus will be the economy and families. He strongly supports small business. Maybe he can finally open up Alaska for business. Parnell seems to remind me of Jon Huntsman in many respects, although Huntsman is a bit more polished.