Palin resignation motivated by 'higher calling'

Sarah Palin says her decision to resign as governor of Alaska was motivated by “a higher calling”, and she promised to keep fighting for conservative causes on a national stage.

With debate still swirling about the implications of her bombshell announcement last week, Mrs Palin lashed out at coverage of her resignation in the media, which she said would never understand that “it’s about country”.

Meanwhile, her lawyer was threatening to sue media organisations that indulged in “defamatory” speculation about darker motivations for her resignation.

In her often rambling speech announcing her decision on Friday, the governor said that, having decided not to run again when her term runs out in 2010, she did not want to be a “lame duck” and would therefore go before the end of this month. She cited other reasons, too, including pressure on her family, the mounting legal costs of defending herself against accusations of ethics violations, and the desire to pursue conservative causes from outside government. So vague was the speech that commentators interpreted it variously as the start of a 2012 presidential run and as a retirement from politics.

Mrs Palin has been seen in public only briefly since making her announcement, and was a no-show in the 4 July parade in the Alaskan capital Juneau, but she did post a statement on her Facebook page which hinted that she saw a future role for herself in conservative politics.

“I’ve never thought I needed a title before one’s name to forge progress in America. I am now looking ahead and how we can advance this country together with our values of less government intervention, greater energy independence, stronger national security, and much-needed fiscal restraint. I hope you will join me. Now is the time to rebuild and help our nation achieve greatness!”

And she reflected on the coverage of her announcement, saying: “The response in the main stream media has been most predictable, ironic, and as always, detached from the lives of ordinary Americans who are sick of the ‘politics of personal destruction’.”

Thomas van Flein, her lawyer, followed up her complaints with a four-page letter to the media, warning organisations not to give credence to long-standing rumours from the blogosphere that Mrs Palin might be under federal investigation for ethics violations. “Just as power abhors a vacuum, modern journalism apparently abhors any type of due diligence and fact checking before scurrilous allegations are repeated as fact,” he wrote.

The speculation as to the governor’s motives and her likely next steps in public life continued on the Sunday television talk shows.

Karl Rove, former president George W Bush’s chief political adviser, said he was “a little perplexed” about the decision to abandon her post almost a year and a half early. “She's not going to be able to escape media attention."

And a former Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, who some thought could be fighting Mrs Palin for the support of the party’s evangelical base in 2012, said he would have resigned as Arkansas governor after “the first month” if he had taken Mrs Palin’s approach. “The challenge that she's going to have is people who say, 'Look if they chase you out of this it won't get any easier for you.’”