Political Buzz June 10, 2011: Sarah Palin’s Emails as Alaska Governor Released

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

IN FOCUS: SARAH PALIN’S EMAILS AS ALASKA GOVERNOR RELEASED

 

Reporters load boxes containing thousands of pages of Sarah Palin's emails from her time as Alaska's governor Friday, June 10, 2011 in Juneau, Alaska.

Brian Wallace/Associated PressReporters loaded boxes containing thousands of pages of Sarah Palin’s e-mails from her time as Alaska’s governor on Friday in Juneau.

HEADLINES…

  • Read the Palin emails: Here are all of the state government emails of former Gov. Sarah Palin that were released on Friday by the state of Alaska. The state released them as mor than 24,000 pages of paper; we’ve scanned them into a series of searchable PDFs in roughly chronological order. They are big files – up to 30MB – so may take some time to download…. – Anchorage Daily News, 6-10-11
  • Full coverage: Sarah Palin’s e-mails releasedWaPo
  • Read Sarah Palin’s emailsLAT
  • The Palin E-Mails: A collection of e-mails between Sarah and Todd Palin and Alaska public officials during Ms. Palin’s first 22 months as governor. The messages were originally requested under state public records laws in 2008. The documents were released on Friday, June 10, at 9 a.m. Alaska time. E-mails are organized by the date of each conversation. The New York Times has redacted some e-mails to remove offensive language…. – NYT
  • Sarah Palin emails: The Alaska archive – who’s who: Nearly 25,000 pages worth of Sarah Palin’s emails from her tenure as governor are being released by the state of Alaska, spanning the start of her term in December 2006 to shortly after she was named Arizona Sen. John McCain’s vice presidential running mate in September 2008. Below is a guide to Palin confidants, critics and family members likely to appear in the correspondence…. – KTUU, 6-10-11
  • Glossary of Abbreviations: Following are abbreviations and acronyms found in the trove of Governor Palin’s e-mails released on Friday. – NYT
  • The Top Ten Revelations from the Sarah Palin Emails: At 8:37 a.m. Saturday morning, the New York Times tweeted “After scanning marathon, all 24,000 #palinemail documents are in our searchable, interactive viewer.” Regardless of whether you thought the Palin email trove was a waste of time like many, or were obsessively live-blogging the events like us, you can’t deny that the massive scanning and crowdsourcing of document review by major news outlets was a tremendous accomplishment. While revelations from the cache may continue to trickle in over the weekend, at this point the bulk of the emails have been combed through, and this is what we now know about Palin that we didn’t (necessarily) know before…. – The Atlantic Wire, 6-10-11
  • Five Discoveries from the Sarah Palin E-Mail DumpTime 6-10-11
  • In E-Mails, a Glimpse From Inside Palin’s Rise: Few could have been more surprised than Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska when Senator John McCain picked her as his running mate in 2008.
    Reporters in Juneau, Alaska, picking up boxes of hard copies of Sarah Palin’s e-mails on Friday.
    “Can you believe it!” she wrote in response to a staff member’s “Wow governor” message that Friday in late August when the choice was announced. “He told me yesterday — it moved fast! Pray! I love you.”
    Not two days earlier, Ms. Palin had been dealing with the sometimes mundane matters of one of the nation’s least populous states: a ballot initiative on mining, thorny personnel issues involving her ex-brother-in-law, and her personal request for “Alaska pins and governor pencils (or pens) to drop off at gladys wood elem school today after my afl cio speech.”
    A scan of Ms. Palin’s e-mails in the weeks just before and after she was chosen as Mr. McCain’s running mate on the Republican ticket — among some 24,000 pages of them released by the State of Alaska on Friday — show in minute detail how she went overnight from being a small-state governor who was midway through her first term to a dominant figure in Republican politics.
    One moment she was immersed in board appointments and the Miss Alaska beauty pageant, the next she was receiving advice from the likes of Newt Gingrich and fielding questions from the national news media, including whether she believed that dinosaurs and humans had walked the earth together…. – NYT, 6-10-11
  • Sarah Palin e-mails released on Friday: A cache of e-mails released Friday add vivid new color and fresh details to the complicated public portrait of Sarah Palin, who displayed many of the same strengths, and shortcomings, as Alaska governor that she would later bring to the national political stage.
    Often blunt and frequently impatient, Palin derided “old school” politicians and bureaucrats and acted as a champion of populist interests on issues ranging from energy policy to women’s rights, the e-mails show. Her relations with fellow politicians, including many Republicans, were often strained, and she relied heavily on her husband, Todd, and a close-knit group of aides to help cope with crises and shape policies.
    Palin felt passionately about issues of importance to her state, the documents show, and she waged battle with foes large and small. That included detractors on obscure government commissions as well as multinational conglomerates seeking access to Alaska’s vast oil and gas reserves. She twice refers to one major oil executive with a derogatory nickname and complains that phone calls with him did not go well.
    Palin also devoted significant attention to the portrayal of her and her administration in the press, regularly decrying “untruths” in media reports and working feverishly to push back on negative assertions. Targets of her ire ranged from mainstream newspapers to commenters on local blogs….
    The e-mails — some 24,000 pages total — were released in response to public-information requests from media organizations, who first began asking for the records during Palin’s run as the Republican vice presidential candidate in 2008. More than two years later, Palin has become a fixture in the conservative political firmament, a reality-TV celebrity and a barbed critic of President Obama who may, or may not, be pondering a run for the White House…. – WaPo, 6-10-11
  • News Outlets Pounce on Palin E-Mails: Reporters load boxes containing thousands of pages of Sarah Palin’s emails from her time as Alaska’s governor Friday, June 10, 2011 in Juneau, Alaska. Brian Wallace/Associated PressReporters loaded boxes containing thousands of pages of Sarah Palin’s e-mails from her time as Alaska’s governor on Friday in Juneau.
    News organizations that pored over nearly 25,000 pages of e-mail correspondence relating to Sarah Palin on Friday focused on her selection as Senator John McCain’s running mate in 2008, her relationship with the media and her style of governing.
    Many news outlets — what Ms. Palin, the former governor of Alaska, calls the “lamestream media” — sent reporters to Juneau for the release of the e-mails by the state government in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.
    The result? After a day of frantically poring over the correspondence, with the help of millions of online readers, there were no major revelations but plenty of attempts to dissect the background of a woman who might yet run for president…. – NYT, 6-11-11
  • Palin emails show engaged leader who sought VP nod: There are no bombshells, no “gotcha” moments. The emails of Sarah Palin — more than 24,000 pages of them released Friday by the state of Alaska from her first two years as governor — paint a picture of an image-conscious, driven leader, closely involved with the day-to-day duties of running the state and riding herd on the signature issues of her administration.
    She angled for the vice presidential nomination months before John McCain picked her — and hinted at presidential aspirations.
    The messages give a behind-the-scenes look at a politician who burst onto the national stage after serving as Wasilla mayor and less than two years as Alaska governor. They show a woman striving to balance work and home, fiercely protective of her family and highly sensitive to media coverage. She expressed a sometimes mothering side with aides but also was quick to demand answers or accountability…. – AP, 6-10-11
  • Palin E-Mails Show Her Combative and Engaged: In the three years since Sarah Palin stormed the national political stage, her brief tenure as governor of Alaska has often been reduced to caricature. Critics cast her as petty, preoccupied and disengaged. Supporters say she was a maverick reformer, a salt-of-the-earth true believer who bucked the establishment elite.
    Yet what is clear in the 24,000 pages of her e-mails released Friday — completing Ms. Palin’s transformation from one of the most obscure politicians in America to one of the most scrutinized — is that her governing style was not necessarily an either-or proposition. Sometimes she seemed to be everything all at once.
    She sought to be an encouraging leader one moment, lauding her team for a breakthrough on oil production: “You guys are doing awesome.” She could be distrustful and accusatory the next: “I can’t handle staffer leaks.” She would focus on the progress of substantive legislation, including supporting a major increase in oil taxes, but then become distracted by “un-flippin believable” criticism directed at her by a popular radio host…. – NYT, 6-11-11
  • Sarah Palin emails released from time as governor – but many withheld or redacted: After a years-long delay, the state of Alaska released more than 24,000 pages of emails from about 21 months of Sarah Palin’s time as Alaska governor on Friday.
    The emails were released as paper printouts to the media outlets that requested them, among them CBS News, which had a reporter in Juneau collecting the heavy boxes of emails. Media outlets paid $725 each for photocopies of the records.
    Journalists are now busy reviewing the emails for nuggets of information from Palin’s roughly half-term as Alaska governor, though the emails stop in September 2008, leaving almost of a year of her time in office uncovered. The state has said it has not finished reviewing the emails from late 2008 through the summer of 2009, when she abruptly resigned. It remains unclear when those emails will be released…. – CBS News, 6-10-11Check out the full collection of emails and documents here.
  • Sarah Palin emails: ‘The false assumptions are mind boggling’: Email conversations reveal pressure the former Alaska governor was under after she entered the vice-presidential race in 2008…. – Guardian UK, 6-10-11
  • Palin closely guarded her public image, emails show: Even before she became prominent in national politics, Sarah Palin defended herself against even the slightest criticism during her tenure as Alaska governor, newly released correspondence shows…. – LAT, 6-11-11
  • Media frenzy over Palin e-mail release was unusual even for her: The 13,000 Sarah Palin e-mails released Friday provided little new insight about her time as Alaska’s governor. But the frantic effort to obtain the messages, dissect them and post them online served as a watershed moment for the news media, whose zealous approach will no doubt be replicated on future stories.
    The spectacle on Friday was unusual even for Palin, who is known for her ability to inspire a media frenzy. Eager to be the first to post the messages online, news outlets — including The Post — dispatched reporters armed with scanners to Juneau for the 9 a.m. release of the e-mails, which were not distributed electronically but in stacks of printed paper.
    Back in their newsrooms, the outlets competed to get the documents online for the public first and to capture the coveted top spot on Google. Reporters tweeted every new revelation, from 7-year-old Piper Palin’s anxiety that her mother was leaving for another trip, to the governor’s outraged notes over the scandal known as “Troopergate.” And they “crowdsourced” the documents by inviting readers to assist in scouring the e-mails.
    The enormous effort drew criticism from some quarters, particularly Palin’s backers. Though Palin remains a very public figure, she is not in elective office and has said she has not decided if she will seek the Republican nomination for president next year…. – WaPo, 6-11-11
  • Sarah Palin e-mails show husband Todd’s key role: Sarah Palin’s reliance on her husband for counsel while governing the state is well-known; Todd Palin played a key role in helping to organize the controversial ouster of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan in September 2008, for example.
    In a March 2008 e-mail, Sarah Palin makes clear that Todd also weighed in on how to deal with Alaska’s burgeoning wolf population, a topic of debate at the time among officials and environmental experts. The governor told her fish and game commissioner in blunt terms that she opposed using state helicopters to hunt wolves and preferred paying private hunters. WaPo, 6-10-11
  • Sarah Palin emails hint at her governing style: In her time as governor, Sarah Palin was lavish with praise at times, quick to criticize her aides and also unapologetically impulsive.
    In one exchange, Palin aide Bruce Anders said he worried that her very gushing praise for an op-ed writer’s piece in support of her oil and gas policies would eventually become public. Palin said she was happy to provide an “attaboy” to writer Jomo Stewart, and said she wouldn’t apologize for going with her gut…. – WaPO, 6-10-11
  • Does Sarah Palin have a way with words? You bet – we ain’t misinformed Raft of previously unreleased emails reveal a unique style of communication and use of language: Sarah Palin may have numerous faults, but if the 24,000 pages of her emails released to the media in Alaska are anything to go by, adopting an artificial manner in public is not one of them.
    Her unique style of communication – a key component of her appeal to her fans, and source of endless fascination and amusement to her detractors – is as evident in her behind-the-scenes interactions as in her on-stage ones…. – The Guardian UK, 6-11-11
  • Sarah Palin emails: Treasure trove or waste of paper?: So far, there are no bombshells in the thousands of Sarah Palin emails released this week. But they reveal a fuller, more nuanced picture of one of the most powerful and controversial women in US politics today…. – CS Monitor, 6-10-11
  • Sarah Palin emails: An outpouring of support after Trig’s birth: In the days after her son Trig was born, Sarah Palin received an outpouring of support and well wishes, many from other parents of children with Down syndrome…. – LAT, 6-11-11
  • Email shows George W. Bush joked with Sarah Palin: Among the people talking up a vice presidential run to Sarah Palin before she was picked: George W. Bush.
    Palin wrote her chief of staff Mike Nizich about an encounter she had with the then-president in early August — about a month before John McCain selected her as the running mate.
    “The [president] and I spoke about military, [including] Track’s deployment and how Iraq is a different place than it was a year ago,” Palin wrote Nizich. “He also spoke about (and we joked about) VP buzz.”… – Politico, 6-11-11
  • Emails Show Palin Surprised by Nomination: Sarah Palin’s rapid transformation from a little-known governor to the vice presidential nominee on the 2008 Republican ticket was as much of a surprise to her as it was to the rest of the U.S., her email messages from the time show.
    “Can you flippinbelieveit?!” she replied to a note of congratulations from an official in her administration. “Thanks for your kind words – and for keeping the homes fire burning. Thank you! We love you guys!”
    The state of Alaska released more than 24,000 pages of email messages Friday sent to and from Ms. Palin during most of her tenure as governor. The messages show few signs of contact between her and national Republicans before she was announced as Sen. John McCain’s running mate on Aug. 29, 2008, or that she saw herself as a likely candidate…. – WSJ, 6-11-11
  • Sarah Palin emails: Aides giddy at prospect of VP pick: As Sarah Palin pushed for a one-year repeal of the state’s fuel tax in June of 2008, her jubilant aides crowed that the move would boost her standing as a possible vice presidential pick for Sen. John McCain…. – LAT, 6-11-11

SARAH PALIN EMAIL QUOTES

  • On Troopergate and the ethics investigations against her:
    “I do applogize if I sound frustrated w this one. I guess I am. Its killing me to realise how misinformed leggies [legislators], reporters and others are on this issue. The accusations and false assumptions are mind boggling.
    Referring to her former brother-in-law, Mike Wooten, who was in a messy divorce with her sister:
    “He’s still a trooper, and he still carries a gun, and he still tells anyone who will listen that he will ‘never work for that b*itch’ (me) because he has such anger and distain towards family. So consistency is needed here. No one’s above the law. If the law needs to be changed to not allow access to guns for people threatening to kill someone, it must apply to everyone.”
  • On God’s guidance: “I have been praying for wisdom on this … God will have to show me what to do on the people’s budget because I don’t yet know the right path … He will show me though.”
  • On her battles with Alaskan lawmakers over the budget:
    “I’m back here in DC speaking with Cheney [the vice-president] (sat with him the entire State dinner last night), will try to speak w/Bush [the then president] today … speaking with national reporters and all these governors all about AK’s [Alaska] proof that we can provide sound oversight of resource development, and here while I’m away I find out the legislature may undermine those efforts? It’s unacceptable if the nation is to believe we’re capable of responsible, ethical ramped up development that’s need in our state, for our nation. Referring to speaker of the Alaskan house, John Harris:
    “I think that’s the most stupid comment I’ve heard all year … his statement says it all re: his beliefs: ‘What the hell can we do …?’ Nice talk Mr Speaker, Reflects well on your commitment to ethical leadership”
  • On her possible selection to be vice-presidential candidate: “The Pres [George Bush] and I spoke about military. He also spoke about (and we joked about) VP buzz.”
  • On Barack Obama: “… a guy named Barack Obama.” email from February 2007:
    “He gave a great speech this morn in Michigan – mentioned Alaska. Stole ou[r] Energy Rebate $1,000 check idea, stole our TC-Alaska gasline talking points, etc. So … we need to take advantage of this a[nd] write a statement saying he’s right on.”
  • On false rumour that Trig, Palin’s fifth child, was in fact born by her daughter Bristol:“Hate to pick this one up again, but have heard three different times today the rumor again the Bristol is pregnant or had this baby. Even at Trig’s doc appt this morning his doc said that’s out there (hopefully NOT in their medical community-world, but it’s out there). Bristol called again this afternoon asking if there’s anything we can do to stop this as she receive two girlfriend-type calls today asking if it were true.”
  • On bear hunting: “I am a hunter. I grew up hunting – some of my best memories growing up are of hunting with my dad to help feel our freezer… I want Alaskans to have access to wildlife… BUT – he’s asking if I support hunting the bears in the sanctuary? No, I don’t… I don’t know any Alaskans who do support hunting the McNeil bears that frequent the viewing area.”
  • Palin-speak: “Keep hunting, keep being a true Alaskan… keep calling it as you see it – we love the mobster in ya.”
    – to her chief of staff, Michael Nizich: “Tibs [chief of staff Michael Tibbles] is going to be p#*(ed.”
    “Holy flipping A.”
    ‘Unflippinbelievable.”
  • On the pressures for her family: “Guys, I may be pretty wimpy about this family stuff, but I feel like I’m at the breaking point with the hurtful gossip … I hate this part of the job and many days I feel like it’s not worth it.”

SARAH PALIN EMAILS: FULL TEXT

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Sarah Palin Resigns as Governor of Alaska – For 2012 Presidential Run?

Sarah Palin said on Friday she will resign this month and will not run seek reelection.

Robert DeBerry/The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, via Associated Press Sarah Palin at the news conference on Friday.

THE HEADLINES….

  • Palin resigns as governor, leaves plans secret: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin surprised supporters Friday and announced she is resigning from office at the end of the month, leaving open the possibility she would seek a run for the White House in 2012….
    Palin hinted she had a bigger role in mind, saying she wanted to make a “positive change outside government.” But she kept supporters in suspense, promising on Twitter: “We’ll soon attach info on decision to not seek re-election … this is in Alaska’s best interest, my family’s happy … it is good. Stay tuned.”
    In a hastily arranged news conference at her home in suburban Wasilla, Palin said she will formally step down July 26, and Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell will be inaugurated at the governor’s picnic in Fairbanks. She said she had decided against running for re-election as Alaska’s governor, and believed it was best to leave office even though she had two years left to her term.
    “Many just accept that lame duck status, and they hit that road. They draw a paycheck. They kind of milk it. And I’m not going to put Alaskans through that,” she said…. – AP, 7-3-09
  • Palin to Resign as Governor of Alaska: Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska announced Friday that she would step down by the end of the month and not seek a second term as governor, fueling speculation that she is trying to position herself as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. Her decision follows a week of extraordinarily bad publicity, from within her own state over ethics inquiries and across the national landscape as top aides on her vice-presidential campaign and supporters have been engaged in a highly public feud that has spilled out in vociferous tones online on blogs and on television. Bloggers in Alaska, critics of the governor as well as former Palin supporters, suggest also that pending releases of e-mails among the Palins were about to expose her to further questions about her finances and governance issues…. – NYT, 7-3-09
  • Palin’s Resignation Has Many Asking, What Next?: Some political insiders questioned the political wisdom of her decision to quit in the middle of her first term as governor while others were reluctant to bet against her popularity. Sarah’s Palin’s decision to quit as Alaska’s governor at the end of the month left political observers scratching their heads and wondering, is this the beginning of Palin’s run for the the White House or the end of her political career?…
    “I am real surprised. It is real unconventional,” William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, told FOX News. “It would make sense to finish the governorship and then run for president in 2012. But Kristol didn’t count Palin out for 2012, calling her “crazy like a fox. “It’s a huge gamble — but some of her gambles have paid off in the past,” he said. “If I had to bet right now, I would bet that we just heard the first opening statement in the 2012 presidential race.”… – Fox News, 7-3-09
  • Prepping for a run for president? Howard Fineman: Palin is potentially a major GOP player in 2012 race: I have covered politics for a long time. I can tell when someone is running for president. Sarah Palin is running for president.
    On a sunny (slow news) day in Wasilla, Alaska, the governor and former GOP vice presidential candidate appeared before the cameras and announced that she was stepping down as the state’s chief executive 18 months before her term expires.
    Just like that — like the distant sound of a chain saw in a stand of northern pines — the 2012 Republican race lurched into gear…. – MSNBC, 7-3-09
  • Palin’s Resignation: Shrewd Move or Political Suicide?: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s decision to not only opt out of running for re-election but to resign as governor at the end of the month underscored the Republican lawmaker’s commitment to “no more conventional politics as usual,” as she said today in her announcement. But if Palin is serious about a 2012 presidential bid against President Barack Obama, how smart of a decision was it to bow out of the only public office she’s ever been elected to before the end of her first term?
    In her lengthy–and at times rambling–statement today in Alaska, Palin said she didn’t want to focus any more of her time or the state’s tax dollars in fighting off ethics complaints as her main reason to resign. “It’s pretty insane,” she said, “My staff and I spend most of our day dealing with this instead of progressing our state now.” From that starting point, it will be hard to make the case that she is ready to lead a country if she is incapable or unwilling to face her political enemies…. – WSJ, 7-3-09

POLITICAL QUOTES

  • Palin Announces No Second Term: I’ve never believed that I, nor anyone else, needs a title to do this – to make a difference… to HELP people. So I choose, for my State and my family, more “freedom” to progress, all the way around… so that Alaska may progress… 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 it means for Alaska, I thought about how much fun some governors have as lame ducks… travel around the state, to the Lower 48 (maybe), overseas on international trade – as so many politicians do. And then I thought – that’s what’s wrong – many just accept that lame duck status, hit the road, draw the paycheck, and “milk it”. I’m not putting Alaska through that – I promised efficiencies and effectiveness! ? That’s not how I am wired. I am not wired to operate under the same old “politics as usual.” I promised that four years ago – and I meant it.
    It’s not what is best for Alaska.
    I am determined to take the right path for Alaska even though it is unconventional and not so comfortable.
    With this announcement that I am not seeking re-election… I’ve determined it’s best to transfer the authority of governor to Lieutenant Governor Parnell; and I am willing to do so, so that this administration – with its positive agenda, its accomplishments, and its successful road to an incredible future – can continue without interruption and with great administrative and legislative success.
    My choice is to take a stand and effect change – not hit our heads against the wall and watch valuable state time and money, millions of your dollars, go down the drain in this new environment. Rather, we know we can effect positive change outside government at this moment in time, on another scale, and actually make a difference for our priorities – and so we will, for Alaskans and for Americans.
    Let me go back to a comfortable analogy for me – sports… basketball. I use it because you’re naïve if you don’t see the national full-court press picking away right now: A good point guard drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her eye on the basket… and she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can WIN. And I’m doing that – keeping our eye on the ball that represents sound priorities – smaller government, energy independence, national security, freedom! And I know when it’s time to pass the ball – for victory.
    I have given my reasons candidly and truthfully… and my last day won’t be for another few weeks so the transition will be very smooth. In fact, we will look to swear Sean in – in Fairbanks at the conclusion of our Governor’s picnics.
    I do not want to disappoint anyone with my decision; all I can ask is that you TRUST me with this decision – but it’s no more “politics as usual”.
    Some Alaskans don’t mind wasting public dollars and state time. I do. I cannot stand here as your Governor and allow millions upon millions of our dollars go to waste just so I can hold the title of Governor. And my children won’t allow it either. ? Some will question the timing. ? Let’s just say, this decision has been in the works for awhile…
    In fact, this decision comes after much consideration, and finally polling the most important people in my life – my children (where the count was unanimous… well, in response to asking: “Want me to make a positive difference and fight for ALL our children’s future from OUTSIDE the Governor’s office?” It was four “yes’s” and one “hell yeah!” The “hell yeah” sealed it – and someday I’ll talk about the details of that… I think much of it had to do with the kids seeing their baby brother Trig mocked by some pretty mean-spirited adults recently.) Um, by the way, sure wish folks could ever, ever understand that we ALL could learn so much from someone like Trig – I know he needs me, but I need him even more… what a child can offer to set priorities RIGHT – that time is precious… the world needs more “Trigs”, not fewer.
    My decision was also fortified during this most recent trip to Kosovo and Landstuhl, to visit our wounded soldiers overseas, those who sacrifice themselves in war for OUR freedom and security… we can ALL learn from our selfless Troops… they’re bold, they don’t give up, they take a stand and know that LIFE is short so they choose to NOT waste time. They choose to be productive and to serve something greater than SELF… and to build up their families, their states, our country. These Troops and their important missions – those are truly the worthy causes in this world and should be the public priority with time and resources and NOT this local / superficial wasteful political bloodsport. …
    First things first: as Governor, I love my job and I love Alaska. It hurts to make this choice but I am doing what’s best for Alaska. I’ve explained why… though I think of the saying on my parents’ refrigerator that says “Don’t explain: your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe you anyway.”
    But I have given my reasons… no more “politics as usual” and I am taking my fight for what’s right – for Alaska – in a new direction….
    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 my family – to ALL Alaska – you have my heart.
    And we will be in the capable hands of our Lieutenant Governor, Sean Parnell. And Lieutenant General Craig Campbell will assume the role of Lieutenant Governor. And it is my promise to you that I will always be standing by, ready to assist. We have a good, positive agenda for Alaska.
    In the words of General MacArthur said, “We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.” – State of Alaska, 7-3-09

HISTORIANS’ COMMENTS

  • Julian Zelizer “Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to resign in surprise move”: Princeton University professor Julian Zelizer said Palin’s future in public life depends on the reason she stepped down. “If there is any evidence that the decision was a result of political problems or looming scandals, she is done,” he said. “The Republican Party already feels to be in a moment of crisis,” after losing the presidency and control of Congress to the Democrats. He noted that in 2008 “she revealed many weaknesses … limited policy knowledge, association with fringe groups, weak performances on television and more.” – WaPo, 7-3-09
  • Gerald McBeath “Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to resign in surprise move”: “I think it’s good news for both the governor and for Alaska,” said Gerald McBeath, a political science professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Her immediate future is not in elected office, but as a media personality, he said. “And media personalities often end up in high political office.” – WaPo, 7-3-09

John McCain Vice-Presidential Pick…. Governor Sarah Palin

Democratic Convention Roundup

The Day That Was….

  • August 29, 2008: John McCain Chooses Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin as his running-mate, making her the first woman on the Republican ticket. – NYT, 8-30-08
  • August 28, 2008: Obama accepts historic nomination; first black nominee says he’d cut taxes, end oil dependence … Ohio woman seeks to debunk Internet rumors in convention speech … McCain makes decision on his vice presidential pick … – AP, 8-29-08
Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska in Dayton, Ohio, on Friday. (NYT)

Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska in Dayton, Ohio, on Friday. (NYT)

The Stats

  • Sarah Palin, Profile in the New York Times – NYT
  • FactChecking Obama: He stuck to the facts, except when he stretched them. – Newsweek, 8-29-08

In the News…

Historians’ Comments

  • Edward “Ted” Frantz, associate professor of history at U of Indianapolis on “Historian: McCain’s choice adds surprise element to historic race”: “It’s certainly historic for the Republican Party,” says Edward “Ted” Frantz, associate professor of history at UIndy. “This is a landmark election that will be studied throughout American history.”… “Except for the extreme insiders, I don’t think anybody anticipated this,” Frantz said. Palin’s youth may appeal to voters who otherwise have been attracted to Barack Obama’s youth-oriented campaign, Frantz said. And her gender might inspire support from Democrats who have not yet warmed up to Obama. “I think it’s designed for those disaffected Hillary voters,” Frantz said. – University of Indianapolis, 8-29-08
  • Professor Tom Baldino of Wilkes University, Pennsylvania on “McCain’s surprise VP pick is little-known woman governor”: “It clearly makes it more difficult for McCain to criticize Obama’s experience.” – AFP, 8-29-08
  • U.S. to make election history one way or another – Reuters, 8-29-08
  • Waldo Martin, Jr. on “Obama’s Significance in History Felt By Professors Faculty Members Reflect on the Meaning of Presidential Candidate’s Nomination at Yesterday’s Democratic Convention”: “I was thrilled,” Martin said. “The whole idea of his nomination is thrilling. In my lifetime, I would not have predicted this could happen.” Yesterday also marked the first session of the class that Martin is co-teaching with Mark Brilliant, an assistant professor in history and American studies, titled “Civil Rights and Social Movements in U.S. History: Struggles for Racial Equality in Comparative Perspective, World War II-Present.” Martin said he wants to examine how Obama has built a multifaceted coalition that includes young voters, African Americans and Democrats. “One thing that Obama talks a lot about is hope,” Martin said. “How do you sustain hope, possibility? How do you create change? These are the kinds of issues we talk about in class.” – Daily Californian, CA, 8-29-08
  • Mark Peterson on “Obama’s Significance in History Felt By Professors Faculty Members Reflect on the Meaning of Presidential Candidate’s Nomination at Yesterday’s Democratic Convention”: Obama’s rise to national prominence also carries significance for UC Berkeley scholars of early American history. One such individual is associate professor Mark Peterson, whose History 7A class will largely focus on slavery. “(Obama) is an African American who is somewhat statistically or historically in the minority in that the vast majority of African Americans in the U.S. have ancestors who were brought to the New World as slaves,” he said. “It gives him an interesting perspective on the variety of the American historical experience.” Peterson said he has known about the senator since before his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention-all the way back to the mid-1980s, when he saw a “tall, striking-looking” figure walking around the Harvard Law School campus. “I never met him,” Peterson said. “There are common people on campus that you just sort of recognize.” – Daily Californian, CA, 8-29-08
  • Robert Allen, an adjunct professor of African American studies and ethnic studies on “Obama’s Significance in History Felt By Professors Faculty Members Reflect on the Meaning of Presidential Candidate’s Nomination at Yesterday’s Democratic Convention”: For Robert Allen, an adjunct professor of African American studies and ethnic studies, the changes between 1963 and 2008 seem astonishing. “While I thought we were making great progress with the March on Washington, I thought we were also generations away from the possibility of electing a black president,” said Allen, who grew up in racially segregated Georgia. “For me, history has been speeded up.” The syllabus for Allen’s fall seminar, “Men of Color in the United States,” includes for the first time Obama’s memoir “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.” Allen said he plans to use it to study the politician’s background as a community organizer. Daily Californian, CA, 8-29-08
  • Sean Wilentz: Barack Obama vs. Jimmy Carter: More Similar Than You’d Think?: There are many ways, several ways in which Barack Obama’s candidacy, his rhetoric is more like Jimmy Carter’s than any other Democratic president in recent memory. He has talked about rejecting the old politics, attacking special interests and lobbyists, wearing his Christian ideals on his sleeve. All of that is very much Carteresque in many ways…
    He came across that way in his speech tonight in some ways. He tried to in terms of squaring the circle, and saying you can have this and you can have that. The difference is, I think, President Clinton did something of a better idea, gave you a better idea how he was going to do, which is what you were saying before, how he was going to do the things that he said he was going to do it…
    It is hard to judge judgment when you do not have a long record. Look, I am a Democratic liberal and I am all for him and I want to see him do well, and I think he is started to show something of that in the speech tonight. There was more meat on the bones, if you will, about not simply his judgment but about where he wants to take the country. But you do have to see how a person reacts under fire. Now, in some ways, you only find that out after a person is in the Oval Office; that is one of the gambles we take. You have to take a measured — make your own measured judgment really about what the person is saying to you, is the person going to deliver on what you want, and does that show the kind of thought, the kind of appreciation of the fix that we’re in as a country as well as what is good for us as a country to lead us forward. It is harder to do without a record, there’s no question about it, but you can tell something — that’s what a presidential campaign all about — you can tell something about that from speeches like tonight…
    For Barack Obama, I think just to build on what he started on tonight and to tell us more, particularly on foreign policy, actually. I think that that was not one of the strongest parts of the speech tonight. Not just to say that he can be commander in chief, but to show that he knows something about the international situation, that he an overall idea of the international situation and he’s going to act on it. – Fox News, 8-29-08
  • Gil Troy: Historical immortality Obama has made his mark by seizing leadership of the party that was once the bastion of racists – The Montreal Gazette, 8-29-08

On the Campaign Trail….

  • Senator John McCain of Arizona speaking in Dayton, Ohio:…I’m very happy — I’m very happy today to spend my birthday with you and to make a historic announcement in Dayton, a city built on hard, honest work of good people.Like the entire industrial Midwest, Dayton has contributed much to the prosperity and progress of America, and now, in these tough, changing times, after all you’ve done for our country, you want your government to understand what you’re going through, to stand on your side and fight for you. And that’s what I intend to do.That’s why I’m running for president: to fight for you, to make government stand on your side, not in your way.Friends, I’ve spent the last few months… … looking for a running mate that will who can best help me shake up Washington and make it start working again for the people that are counting on us.

    As I’m sure you know, I had many good people to choose from, all of them dedicated to this country and to getting us back on the road to prosperity and peace. And I am very grateful to all of them, and honored by their willingness to serve with me.

    And I’m going to continue to rely on their support and counsel during this campaign, and after we win this election, when the real work begins.

    But I could only choose one. And it’s with great pride and gratitude that I tell you I have found the right partner to help me stand up to those who value their privileges over their responsibilities, who put power over principle, and put their interests before your needs.

    I found someone with an outstanding reputation for standing up to special interests and entrenched bureaucracies; someone who has fought against corruption and the failed policies of the past; someone who’s stopped government from wasting taxpayers’ money… … on things they don’t want or need and put it back to work for the people; someone with executive experience, who has shown great tenacity and skill in tackling tough problems, especially our dangerous dependence on foreign oil; someone who reached across the aisle and asked Republicans, Democrats and independents to serve in government; someone with strong principles of fighting spirit and deep compassion…

    … someone who grew up in a decent, hardworking, middle-class family, whose father was an elementary school teacher and mother was the school secretary.

    They taught their children to care about others, to work hard and to stand up with courage for the things you believe in.

    Both of them were coaches, too, and raised their children to excel at sports.

    And I’m sure they taught them skills that will surely come in handy over the next two months.

    The person I’m about to introduce to you was a union member and is married to a union member and understands the problems, the hopes and the values of working people, knows what it’s like to worry about mortgage payments and health care and the cost of gasoline and groceries; a standout high school point guard; a concerned citizen who became a member of the PTA, then a city council member, and then a mayor, and now a governor…

    … who beat the long odds to win a tough election on a message of reform and public integrity. And I am especially proud to say in the week we celebrate the anniversary of women’s suffrage, a devoted… … a devoted wife and a mother of five.

    She’s not — she’s not from these parts and she’s not from Washington. But when you get to know her, you’re going to be as impressed as I am.

    She’s got the grit, integrity, and good sense and fierce devotion to the common good that is exactly what we need in Washington today.

    She knows where she comes from, and she knows who she works for. She stands up for what’s right, and she doesn’t let anyone tell her to sit down.

    She’s fought oil companies and party bosses and do-nothing bureaucrats and anyone who puts their interests before the interests of the people she swore an oath to serve.

    She’s exactly who I need. She’s exactly who this country needs to help me fight…

    … to help me fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second.

    My friends and fellow Americans…

    I am very pleased and very privileged to introduce to you the next vice president of the United States… … Governor Sarah Palin of the great state of Alaska.

  • Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska speaking in Dayton, Ohio:And I thank you, Senator McCain and Mrs. McCain, for the confidence that you have placed in me. Senator, I am honored to be chosen as your running mate.I will be honored to serve next to the next president of the United States.I know that when Senator McCain gave me this opportunity, he had a short list of highly qualified men and women. And to have made that list at all, it was a privilege. And to have been chosen brings a great challenge.I know that it will demand the best that I have to give, and I promise nothing less.

    First — first, there are a few people whom I would like you to meet. I want to start with my husband, Todd.

    And Todd and I are actually celebrating our 20th anniversary today. And I promised him…

    I had promised Todd a little surprise for the anniversary present, and hopefully he knows that I did deliver.

    And then we have as — after my husband, who is a lifelong commercial fisherman, lifetime Alaskan. He’s a production operator.

    Todd is a production operator in the oil fields up on Alaska’s North Slope. And he’s a proud member of the United Steelworkers union. And he’s a world-champion snow machine racer.

    Todd and I met way back in high school. And I can tell you that he is still the man that I admire most in this world.

    Along the way, Todd and I have shared many blessings. And four out of five of them are here with us today.

    Our oldest son, Track, though, he’ll be following the presidential campaign from afar. On September 11th of last year, our son enlisted in the United States Army.

    Track now serves in an infantry brigade. And on September 11th, Track will deploy to Iraq in the service of his country. And Todd and I are so proud of him and of all the fine men and women serving this country

    Next to Todd is our daughter, Bristol, another daughter, Willow, our youngest daughter, Piper, and over in their arms is our son, Trig, a beautiful baby boy. He was born just in April.

    His name is Trig Paxson Van Palin.

    Some of life’s greatest opportunities come unexpectedly. And this is certainly the case today.

    I never really set out to be involved in public affairs, much less to run for this office. My mom and dad both worked at the local elementary school. And my husband and I, we both grew up working with our hands. I was just your average hockey mom in Alaska, raising…

    We’re busy raising our kids. I was serving as the team mom and coaching some basketball on the side. I got involved in the PTA and then was elected to the city council, and then elected mayor of my hometown, where my agenda was to stop wasteful spending, and cut property taxes, and put the people first.

    I was then appointed ethics commissioner and chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. And when I found corruption there, I fought it hard, and I held the offenders to account.

    Along with fellow reformers in the great state of Alaska, as governor, I’ve stood up to the old politics as usual, to the special interests, to the lobbyists, the big oil companies, and the good-old- boy network.

    When oil and gas prices went up so dramatically and the state revenues followed with that increase, I sent a large share of that revenue directly back to the people of Alaska. And we are now — we’re now embarking on a $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence.

    I signed major ethics reform. And I appointed both Democrats and independents to serve in my administration. And I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress — I told Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks,” on that bridge to nowhere.

    If our state wanted a bridge, I said we’d build it ourselves. Well, it’s always, though, safer in politics to avoid risk, to just kind of go along with the status quo. But I didn’t get into government to do the safe and easy things. A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not why the ship is built.

    Politics isn’t just a game of competing interests and clashing parties. The people of America expect us to seek public office and to serve for the right reasons.

    And the right reason is to challenge the status quo and to serve the common good.

    Now, no one expects us to agree on everything, whether in Juneau or in Washington. But we are expected to govern with integrity, and goodwill, and clear convictions, and a servant’s heart.

    Now, no leader in America has shown these qualities so clearly or present so clear a threat to business as usual in Washington as Senator John S. McCain.

    This — this is a moment when principles and political independence matter a lot more than just the party line. And this is a man who has always been there to serve his country, not just his party.

    And this is a moment that requires resolve and toughness, and strength of heart in the American president. And my running mate is a man who has shown those qualities in the darkest of places, and in the service of his country.

    A colleague once said about Senator McCain, “That man did things for this country that few people could go through. Never forget that.” And that speaker was former Senator John Glenn of Ohio.

    And John Glenn knows something about heroism. And I’m going to make sure nobody does forget that in this campaign. There is only one candidate who has truly fought for America, and that man is John McCain.

    This is a moment — this is a moment when great causes can be won and great threats overcome, depending on the judgment of our next president.

    In a dangerous world, it is John McCain who will lead America’s friends and allies in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

    It was John McCain who cautioned long ago about the harm that Russian aggression could do to Georgia and to other small democratic neighbors and to the world oil markets.

    It was Senator McCain who refused to hedge his support for our troops in Iraq, regardless of the political costs.

    And you know what? As the mother of one of those troops, and as the commander of Alaska’s National Guard, that’s the kind of man I want as our commander in chief.

    Profiles in courage: They can be hard to come by these days. You know, so often we just find them in books. But next week when we nominate John McCain for president, we’re putting one on the ballot.

    To serve as vice president beside such a man would be the privilege of a lifetime. And it’s fitting that this trust has been given to me 88 years almost to the day after the women of America first gained the right to vote.

    I think — I think as well today of two other women who came before me in national elections.

    I can’t begin this great effort without honoring the achievements of Geraldine Ferraro in 1984…

    … and of course Senator Hillary Clinton, who showed such determination and grace in her presidential campaign.

    It was rightly noted in Denver this week that Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America…

    … but it turns out the women of America aren’t finished yet and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.

    So for my part, the mission is clear: The next 67 days I’m going to take our campaign to every part of our country and our message of reform to every voter of every background in every political party, or no party at all.

    If you want change in Washington, if you hope for a better America, then we’re asking for your vote on the 4th of November.

    My fellow Americans, come join our cause.

    Join our cause and help our country to elect a great man the next president of the United States.

    And I thank you, and I — God bless you, I say, and God bless America. Thank you.

  • President George W. Bush said in a statement after calling Palin to wish her luck: “By selecting a working mother with a track record of getting things done, Senator McCain has once again demonstrated his commitment to reforming Washington.” – AFP, 8-29-08
  • Mrs. Clinton issued a statement acknowledging the historic moment that John McCain chose Gov. Sarah Palin as his running-mate: “We should all be proud of Gov. Sarah Palin’s historic nomination, and I congratulate her and Senator McCain. While their policies would take America in the wrong direction, Governor Palin will add an important new voice to the debate.”
  • Senator Barbara Boxer sent a strongly worded statement calling Mr. McCain’s VP choice “dangerous”: The Vice President is a heartbeat away from becoming President, so to choose someone with not one hour’s worth of experience on national issues is a dangerous choice.If John McCain thought that choosing Sarah Palin would attract Hillary Clinton voters, he is badly mistaken. The only similarity between her and Hillary Clinton is that they are both women. On the issues, they could not be further apart.Senator McCain had so many other options if he wanted to put a women on his ticket, such as Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison or Senator Olympia Snowe – they would have been an appropriate choice compared to this dangerous choice. In addition, Sarah Palin is under investigation by the Alaska state legislature which makes this more incomprehensible.
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