Sarah Palin Not Running For President

WASHINGTON (AP) - Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Wednesday she will not run for president, leaving little doubt that the
eventual Republican nominee will come from the current field of
contenders.

After months of leaving her fans guessing, Palin said in a
statement that she and her husband Todd "devote ourselves to God,
family and country." She said her decision maintains that order.

Palin sent the statement to supporters. She told conservative
radio host Mark Levin that she would not consider a third party
candidacy because it would assure President Barack Obama's
reelection.

In a video posted on Youtube, Palin said, "you don't need an
office or a title to make a difference."

Sen. John McCain plucked Palin from relative obscurity in 2008
by naming her as his running mate. She electrified Republican
activists for a while, delivering a well-received speech at the GOP
national convention. But Palin later seemed overwhelmed by the
national spotlight, faltering at times in televised interviews even
when asked straightforward questions.

Palin's announcement Wednesday was much anticipated but not
greatly surprising. Her popularity had plummeted in polls lately,
even though she remained a darling to many hard-core conservatives.

Some Republicans felt she waited and teased too long about a
presidential candidacy. Some remained perplexed by her decision to
quit her job as governor with more than a year left in her single
term.

Palin also angered some Americans with a defensive speech
shortly after a Democratic congresswoman was gravely wounded in an Arizona shooting in January that killed six people.

Palin's announcement came one day after New Jersey Gov. Chris
Christie said he would not run. Republican insiders say the field
is set.

It includes former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov.
Rick Perry, whom party insiders see as the strongest contenders.
Libertarian-leaning Rep. Ron Paul of Texas continues to draw a
devoted following and former pizza company executive Herman Cain
has gained in recent polls.

Voting in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary will start
in about three months.

Because Palin's star had faded, it's not clear that her decision
will have a big impact on the Republican race. Some analysts said
Palin might have drawn significant conservative support, especially
in Iowa. If so, she might have split that constituency with Perry,
Cain, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and others, possibly giving
Romney a chance to win the caucus with a relatively modest
plurality.

Others felt Perry benefits from Palin's decision because it
helps him portray himself as the best-known conservative
alternative to Romney.

Republican adviser Matt Mackowiak said Romney benefits from
Christie's decision, and Perry benefits from Palin's, so it's "a
wash."

In a statement, Perry called Palin "a good friend, a great
American and a true patriot."

"I respect her decision and know she will continue to be a
strong voice for conservative values and needed change in
Washington," he said.

McCain, whose staff often clashed with Palin, said he was
confident "she'll continue to play an important role in our party
and for our nation."

Bachmann in a statement called Palin "an important voice in the
conservative movement" with "a lifetime of opportunities ahead of
her."

Palin fans expressed frustration and disbelief on
conservatives4palin.com, a supporter Web site.

"Oh! Big mistake, Sarah, for the country and for you. And why
wait so long? Geez," wrote a poster identified as militantfeather.

Another, identified as Mark Dormann, said: "Sarah I feel
betrayed. You are the one we are waiting for. No one else will
reform America. ... you have broken my heart :("

Palin repeatedly stoked speculation about a presidential bid, in
part by visiting Iowa, home of the leadoff nominating caucuses,
seven times since leaving the governorship in 2009.

Last month, she gave a campaign-themed speech at a tea party
rally that drew thousands to a town south of Des Moines.

"I've said all along she's a force in her own right," said Des
Moines Republican Becky Beach, who became a friend and part of
Palin's small circle as her key planning contact in Iowa. "In this
capacity, however it takes shape, she'll be someone who has an
impact on the 2012 election."

Palin loses the opportunity to seize a network of organized
supporters in Iowa, put together by California lawyer Peter
Singleton, who has spent the better part of the year in the state.
He said there is no one candidate who can lay claim to the voter
database, mailing list and team of campaign volunteers he put
together in Iowa.

In her statement, Palin said, "my decision is based upon a
review of what common-sense conservatives and independents have
accomplished, especially over the last year. I believe that at this
time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other
true public servants to office - from the nation's governors to
congressional seats and the presidency. We need to continue to
actively and aggressively help those who will stop the `fundamental
transformation' of our nation and instead seek the restoration of
our greatness, our goodness and our constitutional republic based
on the rule of law."
---
Associated Press writers Kasie Hunt in Washington, Becky Bohrer
in Alaska and Tom Beaumont in Iowa contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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