Few people in recent history have packed more drama into a single year. Less than 12 months after Senator John McCain tapped the Alaska governor for a spot on the GOP ticket that's nearly a year of expensive clothes, botched interviews, a teen pregnancy and hordes of adoring GOP followers Sarah Palin stepped off the national political stage ... for now. In a surprise press conference in early July, Palin announced that she would step down on July 26, ceding the governor's mansion to Lieut. Governor Sean Parnell. The exit was vintage Palin: mesmerizing and confounding, full of both tangled language and the homespun charm she used to woo millions of voters. And, as usual, it set the political rumor mill churning: Was she preparing for a run at the White House in 2012? Fed up, as allies whispered, with carping media criticism and the unwelcome spotlight on her family? Eager to leverage her celebrity with a lap on the lucrative lecture circuit? Or perhaps dodging some new, soon-to-be-unearthed scandal? The only certainty, it seems, is that we haven't seen the last of her.
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