Page last updated at 00:38 GMT, Monday, 27 July 2009 01:38 UK

Palin resigns Alaska governorship

Sarah Palin takes swipe at media

Former US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has formally resigned as Alaska governor, 18 months before the end of her term in office.

She announced her resignation abruptly on 3 July, leading to speculation of a bid for the presidency in 2012.

She handed over to Alaska's Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell at a picnic ceremony in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Mrs Palin, who is dogged by ethics probes and legal bills, gave few clues about her political future.

'Grizzly bear'

But she reiterated her commitment to "keep championing Alaska".

"When I took the oath to serve you, I promised... to steadfastly and doggedly guard the interests of this great state like that grizzly guards her cubs. As a mother naturally guards her own," she said.

"And I will keep that vow wherever the road may lead."

"I cannot express enough there is no plan after July 26
Meghan Stapleton
Palin spokeswoman

Mrs Palin also took aim at the media, who she has accused of treating her and her family unfairly.

"How about, in honour of the American soldier, you quit making things up?" she said to the gathering of television camera crews and reporters at the event.

She added that her replacement, Mr Parnell, "has a very nice family too, so leave his kids alone!"

Mr Parnell, 46, has promised to pursue many of Mrs Palin's initiatives, including a controversial natural gas pipeline.

"We share the same core values," he told the crowd, saying the main focus for his administration would be the economy.

The BBC's Jane O'Brien in Washington says Mr Parnell is far more experienced and low-key than Mrs Palin.

This will come as a relief to Alaskan officials, as they can focus on the issues without the distraction of having a superstar running the show, she adds.

'No plan'

Although Mrs Palin's next steps remain unclear, reports say she is working on an autobiography and could host a television chat show.

But a spokeswoman for the Palin family earlier dismissed the claims.

Sarah Palin has upset the applecart of expectations, to the chagrin of those who want her to stay out of the way
BBC News website reader Jim Wittstruck, Minnesota, USA

"I cannot express enough there is no plan after July 26. There is absolutely no plan," Meghan Stapleton told the Associated Press news agency.

"[On Monday] we'll sit down and say, 'OK, here are your options. How do you now want to effect that positive change for Alaska from outside the role as governor?'," Ms Stapleton added.

Mrs Palin, 45, shot to fame as John McCain's Republican running mate in the election of November 2008, becoming a lightning rod for praise and criticism alike.

She said a major factor in her decision to quit as Alaska's governor was the mounting legal cost she and the state faced in fighting nearly 20 ethics charges.

But she has insisted her opponents would not "find any dirt".

However, an independent state investigator says her legal-defence fund - formed to help pay more than $500,000 (£304,000) in lawyers' fees - is itself an ethics violation because it uses her government job for personal financial benefit.

Her popularity rating has fallen to 40% in the wake of her resignation, a Washington Post-ABC poll showed.

But her supporters defend her as an outstanding leader with a strong Christian faith and unwavering support for her family.

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