Sarah Palin has stepped down as Alaska governor to write a book and build a right-of-center coalition, but has left her long-term political plans unclear and refused to address speculation she would seek a 2012 presidential bid.
In a fiery campaign-style speech, Palin yesterday said she was stepping down to take her political battles to a larger if unspecified stage and avoid an unproductive, lame duck status.
"With this decision, now, I will be able to fight even harder for you, for what is right, and for truth. And I have never felt that you need a title to do that," Palin said to raucous applause from about 5,000 people gathered at Pioneer Park in Fairbanks.
Palin said she also wants to campaign for political candidates from coast to coast, and continue to speak her mind on the social networking site Twitter, one of her favourite venues to reach out to supporters.
Free speech was a theme of her farewell speech at a crowded picnic in Fairbanks, as the 45-year-old outgoing governor scolded "some seemingly hell-bent on tearing down our nation" and warned Americans to "be wary of accepting government largesse. It doesn't come free."
She also took aim at the media, saying her replacement, Lt Gov Sean Parnell, "has a very nice family too, so leave his kids alone!"