Palin cites 'higher calling' on Facebook

PLANS UNDER WRAPS: Her facebook statement suggests a national agenda.

July 4, 2009 

Gov. Sarah Palin, along with daughter Bristol, left, watches the Juneau 2009 Fourth of July parade as husband Todd looks over son Trig and grandson Tripp, Bristol's son.

CLAIRE RICHARDSON / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

JUNEAU -- Outgoing Gov. Sarah Palin on Saturday laid the groundwork to take on a larger, national role after leaving state government, citing a "higher calling" with the aim of uniting the country along conservative lines.

A day after surprising even her closest friends by announcing she would step down as Alaska governor more than a year before her term was up, Palin was still keeping details of her plans under wraps. But in a statement posted on her Facebook account, she suggested that she had bigger plans and a national agenda she planned to push after she resigns July 26.

"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," she said.

Palin also cast herself as a victim and blasted the media, calling the response to her announcement "predictable" and out of touch.

"How sad that Washington and the media will never understand; it's about country," the statement said. "And though it's honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course we know by now, for some reason a different standard applies for the decisions I make."

Palin's personal spokeswoman, Meghan Stapleton, confirmed that the governor wrote the Facebook posting.

The abruptness of her announcement and the mystery surrounding her plans has fed widespread speculation.

Will she lay the groundwork for a 2012 presidential bid? Will she find a high-profile place in the private sector, maybe on the speech circuit? Will she drop out of the limelight and focus on her five children? Was she under investigation? (A Palin attorney vigorously denied there's any investigation.)

Palin, whose popularity in Alaska has dimmed amid ongoing ethics investigations, gave many reasons for stepping down: She didn't want to be a lame-duck governor; she was tired of the tasteless jokes aimed at her five children, including her son Trig, who has Down syndrome; she felt she could do more in another, still-to-be-defined role.

Sen. John McCain didn't rule out a return to politics for his former running mate, saying Saturday he believes "she will continue to play an important leadership role in the Republican Party and our nation." He gave no other details. Palin has kept a low profile since her abrupt announcement Friday at a hastily called news conference at her Wasilla home. All of her public communication since then has been on the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter or through statements released by her office.

At the same time, Palin informed her spokesman David Murrow early Saturday that someone using the name "exgovsarahpalin" on Twitter was spreading a false rumor that there was to be a party at her suburban home in Wasilla. Palin was afraid her home would be mobbed, and security was dispatched, Murrow said.

The governor spent the Fourth of July weekend in Juneau but was only spotted briefly on the sidelines of the capital city's parade.

She had been invited to ride in a convertible, as she did last year, but never told organizers whether she would attend.

Juneau parade director Jean Sztuk said officials drew up banners in case Palin showed and was willing to take part.

As the last of the parade's clowns and marching bands headed past her, Sztuk gave up on Palin.

"What governor wants to be at the end of the parade?" she asked.

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