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CNN "Anderson Cooper 360" - Transcript


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GOV. SARAH PALIN, (R) ALASKA: Some say things changed for me August 29th last year, the day that John McCain tapped me to be his running mate. And it was an honor to stand beside a true American hero.

I say others changed. And let me speak to that for a minute. Political operatives descended on Alaska last August digging for dirt. The ethics law that I championed became their weapon of choice.

Over the past nine months I've been accused of all sorts of frivolous ethics violations such as holding a fish in a photograph or wearing a jacket with a logo on it and answering reporter's questions.

Every one of these, though, all 15 of the ethics complaints have been dismissed. We have won, but it hasn't been cheap. The state has wasted thousands of hours of your time and shelled-out some $2 million of your dollars to respond to opposition research. And that's money that's not going to fund teachers or troopers or safer roads.

And this political absurdity, the politics of personal destruction, Todd and I, we're looking at more than $500,000 in legal bills just in order to set the record straight.

And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn't cost them a dime so they're not going to stop draining the public resources, spending other people's money in this game. They won't stop.

If I've learned one thing it's that life is about choices and one chooses how to react to circumstances. You can choose to engage in things that tear down or that build up. I choose to work very hard on a path for fruitfulness and for productivity. I choose not to tear down and waste precious time but to build up this state and our great country and her industrious and generous and patriotic and free people.

Life is too short to compromise time and resources. And though it may be tempting and more comfortable to just kind of keep your head down and plod along and appease those who are demanding, hey, just sit down and shut up. But that's a worthless easy path out. That's a quitter's way out.

And I think a problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just kind of hunker down and go with the flow. We are fishermen. We know that only dead fish go with the flow.

No, productive, fulfilled people determined where to put their effort, choosing too wisely to utilize precious time to build-up. And there is such a need to build-up and fight for our state and our country and I choose to fight for it.

I will not seek re-election as governor.

And so as I thought about this announcement that I wouldn't run for re-election and what that means for Alaska I thought about, well, how much fun some governors have as lame ducks. They maybe travel around their state, travel to other states; maybe take their overseas international trade missions.

So many politicians do that and then I thought that's what's wrong. Many just accept that lame duck status and they hit the road, they draw a paycheck and they kind of milk it. And I'm not going to put Alaskans through that. I promised efficiencies and effectiveness.

That's not how I'm wired. I'm not wired to operate under the same old politics as usual. I promised that four years ago and I meant it. That's not what is best for Alaska at this time.

I'm determined to take the right path for Alaska even though it is unconventional and it's not so comfortable. With this announcement that I'm not seeking re-election I'm determined its best to transfer the authority of governor to Lieutenant Governor Parnell.

So let me go back quickly to a comfortable analogy for me in sports, basketball. And I use it because you are naive if you don't see a full-court press from the national level picking away right now a good point guard. Here's what she does. She drives through a full-court press, protecting the ball, keeping her head up because she needs to keep her eye on the basket and she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can win. And that is what I'm doing, keeping our eye on the ball. They represent sound priorities, remember they include energy independence and smaller government and national security and freedom. And I know when it's time to pass the ball for victory.

And I've given my reasons now. Very candidly, truthfully and my last day won't be for another few weeks. So the transition will be very smooth. I cannot stand here as your governor and allow the millions of dollars and all that time go to waste just so that I can hold the title of governor.

And I don't know if my children are going to allow it anyway. Some are going to question the timing of this. And let me just say that this decision has been in the works for a while. In fact, this decision comes after much consideration; prayer and consideration.

And finally I polled the most important people in my life, my kids where the count was unanimous. Well, in response to asking, "Hey, do you want me to make a positive difference and fight for all our children's future from outside the governor's office." It was four yeses and one "hell, yes." And the "hell yes" sealed it. And someday I'll talk about the details of that.

I think though much of it for the kids had to do with recently seeing their baby brother Trig mocked and ridiculed by some pretty mean- spirited adults recently. And by the way, I sure wish folks could ever understand all that we can learn, all of us, from someone like Trig.

I know he needs me, but I know that I need him even more and what a child can offer to set priorities right and know that time is precious. The world needs more Trigs not, fewer.

I love my job and I love Alaska. And it hurts to make this choice but I'm doing what's best for Alaska and I have explained why. So I think of a saying on my parents' refrigerator; a little magnet that says "don't explain, your friends don't need it and your enemies won't believe you anyway."

Remember, Alaska, America is now more than ever looking north to the future. It'll be good. So God bless you. And from me and from my family to all Alaska, you have my heart.

And we're going to be in really great hands, the capable hands of our Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell. And Lieutenant General Craig Campbell then will assume the role of Lieutenant Governor.

And it's my promise to you that I will always be standing by ready to assist. We have a good positive agenda for Alaska.

Take the words of General McArthur, he said, "We are not retreating we are advancing in another direction."

So with that, I'm going to hand this over to our good Lieutenant Governor. And again, I say, thank you and God bless you, Alaska.


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