TIME's Interview with Sarah Palin: 'It's All for Alaska'

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Jim Watson / AFP / Getty

Exiting Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

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When you resigned from the AOGCC [Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission], that was a huge catapult for you. Do you think this might catapult you as well? Or do you see it as kind of a selfless move, more for the state than for you?
It's all for the state. For me personally, it's extremely tough to make a decision and an announcement like this because I love my job and I love Alaska. This is who I am. This is what I am. And serving the people of Alaska is the greatest honor. But when you know that you come to a point when you cannot effect the change because of circumstances that have so greatly changed, and that happened on Aug. 29, the day that I was tapped to run for VP. Circumstances have so drastically changed, I just have to be realistic about it and I have to be honest about it and say Alaska — certainly, Alaska, our state's fine without me at the governor's desk — but Alaska's going to be even better off in terms of progressing and reaching our potential and our destiny with Sean Parnell coming in, taking over the reins. Same agenda, same staff, but it turns down the volume on the distractions that had been ramped up on Aug. 29.

Why make the announcement on July 3? Because I think that date more than anything set people off — right before the three-day weekend. People assume scandal.
Yeah, that's amazing to me. That hit me like a ton of bricks there, this assumption that there must be something more to it than the altruistic, sincere and articulated reasons why I know that this is best for Alaska, that there was speculation that there must be scandal. July 3 is the eve of Independence Day. It is meaningful to be able to say, Look, there needs to be freedom all the way around here to progress. Alaska, we're going to continue to waste resources and time if this political game continues, and it will only continue, because it's a game of political, personal destruction is what the attempt is. But for me personally, it doesn't affect me like the way some people would assume, personally. Anybody growing up in Alaska is pretty tough and rugged. And, you know, I've been in politics since 1992. Local politics is really tough too, so on a local level, on the state, jumping on an international stage, I've got those years under my belt and I expect and even invite the constructive criticism and those things that hold a public servant accountable, and I invite that. But the circumstances have changed, where we have seen this allowance of critics who lie, who stymie progress and who try to paralyze an administration. That hurts a state. That's not fair to the people of the state. And that's why I said circumstances — my choice is to react to the circumstances, maybe unconventionally, but wisely and fairly to Alaskans.

At one point during the campaign you said Hillary Clinton whines a little bit too much about being in the public eye. Do you now sort of sympathize with her?
What I said was, it doesn't do her or anybody else any good to whine about the criticism. And that's why I'm trying to make it clear that the criticism, I invite that. But freedom of speech and that invitation to constructively criticize a public servant is a lot different than the allowance to lie, to continually falsely accuse a public servant when they have proven over and over again that they have not done what the accuser is saying they did. It doesn't cost them a dime to continue to accuse. That's a whole different situation. But that's why when I talk about the political potshots that I take or my family takes, we can handle that. I can handle that. I expect it. But there has to be opportunity provided for truth to get out there, and truth isn't getting out there when the political game that's being played right now is going to continue, and it is. When you realize that it doesn't cost them a dime and it's a fun sport for some, you know it's going to continue. I love Alaska too much to put her through this in a lame-duck session.

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