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Sarah Palin To Quit Governor Post 18 Months Before Term Ends

Aired July 03, 2009 - 15:00   ET



RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM (voice over): You won't believe what the Honduran military is seen doing in this video. It's so telling. We've got it.

"I want my children." That's a quote from Debbie Rowe about Michael Jackson's two oldest kids. Uh, oh.

The first flight from Los Angeles to Cuba.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am just excited to be able to come with my daughter and share this experience. I have been wanting to come my whole life.


SANCHEZ: How soon before all Americans can go?

President Obama's first major military offensive well underway in Afghanistan. We are there. But we are also looking back. Can 4,000 U.S. Marines and sailors do what the Russians could not?

John Demjanjuk, alleged Nazi SS guard, accused in the killings of tens of thousands of Jews. What was he thinking? Or is he fit to stand trial? The ruling is in and we've got it. It is part of your national conversation for Friday, July 3, 2009.


SANCHEZ: Do we have the sound?

Hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez. As we start this newscast, literally, seconds ago, my producer, Chris Hall, told me in my ear there is some information we want to share with you. All day long we have been monitoring what is appearing to be a statement that Governor Sarah Palin in Alaska was going to make. We didn't know what she was going to say. We can now confirm -- and we are going to try to hook up with our sources up there, in Anchorage, in just a little bit.

Governor Sarah Palin, of Alaska, has just announced that she will not run for re-election as governor in Alaska in this coming term.

Chris, did I get that right? All right. CNN can now confirm that Governor Sarah Palin, of Alaska - I'm just repeating this almost for myself to make sure we get this right, as we report it on the air. The information that we are getting is this. Sarah Palin will announce, will announce shortly, that she will not run for re-election in Alaska in her next term.

We are going to have Candy Crowley, who is going to be joining us in just a little bit. In the meantime, we should tell you, because we made these phone calls and turned this around. When we got the information we had one of the folks here from our national desk come and tell us, Steve Brusca, this was likely to happen. So, our booker got on the phone, and called Anchorage, we called the newspaper there. And we called some reporters to monitor this speech for us. We are going to see if we can possibly turn it around so you can hear it as it happens. We are also now putting calls into Candy Crowley to make sure she can back this up for us.

But the information, again, confirmed, is that Sarah Palin will not seek another term as governor of the state of Alaska. I know what many people are thinking out there, politically. Does this mean that she is setting up for a run for the presidency that she hopes to be the candidate for the Republican -- for the GOP - in the upcoming election for the United States? It certainly is a viable question and important question.

Sarah Palin, for some time now has, as you know, been in the news. We have been following the situation for you from both Anchorage and where Sarah Palin made her run, or her bid for the vice presidency with John McCain.

She has been as controversial as anything else and also as popular as anything else. It is that double-edged sword that a lot of the political insiders say when they refer to Sarah Palin, there is likely not a Republican who has been as popular with one sector of the Republican Party, or at least those who follow the Republican Party, as Sarah Palin. I think no one can take that away from her.

On the other side of the coin, she has also been extremely controversial and been questioned by some within her own party. That's where the problem may be. Is she a total -is she a net win, or a net loss for the Republican Party as a potential candidate for heading up the ticket? That's a question that is going to be left for pundits and insiders to answer.

Certainly, it is important information that we received about Sarah Palin at this point deciding that she is not going to be running for re-election.

Now, there is another part of this story. I am going to get into this conversation in just a moment with Candy Crowley. There is also a possibility that because things have not been going as well in Alaska as they were for Sarah Palin, in the past, there is a possibility she has chosen not to run for governor again. Because she doesn't think her chances there would be very good. That may have absolutely nothing to do with her bid for the presidency of the united states. So there is a lot that goes into this. Part of that has to do with what's going on economically in the United States and the price of oil, which as some insiders in Alaska will tell you, as the price of oil goes, so goes the term of any governor of Alaska. Certainly, that comes into the equation as well.

Candy Crowley has been watching this for us for some time. She has been carefully monitoring what the speech might be. It seems that we are now able to confirm, ahead of time what it is. Candy is joining us, as you can see there now.

This is kind of stunning for anyone who is watching this, because if anything, Sarah Palin's name has been as tied to Alaska as just about any governor that certainly I have ever heard of in my lifetime, Candy?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, sure but maybe she would like to tie her name to some other states like Iowa and New Hampshire. It is very hard. If you want to run for president, I'm not saying she does, there could be multiple reasons for this apparent decision not to run again for government.

You know, the question is, what most candidates have found over the years from Bob Dole on, it is very difficult to have a day job and run for president. Her term runs through the end of next year. That brings us through 2010. I don't know if you remember, but about two years ahead of an election is when everybody starts running to Iowa and New Hampshire. That's really difficult to do when you have got a day job.

So, there would be reason for it if she has presidential ambitions. There would be reasons for it if she has just had it with the political world. We could certainly go back through any number of things that have happened.

SANCHEZ: What about what I mentioned a little while ago? Let's face it. Sarah Palin was extremely popular in her state. That's not to say she is not still popular in her state. I think just from my read, and maybe you can agree or disagree on this, her popularity may have waned somewhat in recent months. It may have to do with politics or the price of oil, what it is in Alaska these days. Could that just be a reason for her to say, look, I'm not going to go after thing this because it is not going to be as easy as it has been in the past?

CROWLEY: Listen, it has also been my experience that when politicians think they can win, they go ahead and do it. Her polls still have majority support in Alaska. At least the last ones we looked at. It was a Democratic leaning poll. It showed, yes, that she had gone down from the 80 percent she had when she was nominated or when she was selected by John McCain to run on the ticket with him. So it's gone down, but she still remains majority popular in Alaska.

You are right. She has taken a lot of hits, not just what happened in the national campaign. There has been investigations back home about what she did or didn't do to get a trooper fired. There had been any number of problems that cropped up, most lately with the stimulus bill. She wondered whether Alaska should sake some of the money.

So, and also, it tends to really tick people off back home, if they look up and their governor is giving a speech in Ohio.


CROWLEY: Or here, and it looks like they are not paying attention. You are right. It could be that. I think, looking at the polls, you would still have to bet on her to win should she choose to run again, even though, obviously, it looks like she is not going to do that.

SANCHEZ: I am kind of going to ask you a question that is a bit of a challenging one, I think.


SANCHEZ: No, but it's one that I think a lot of people are thinking about. If she were to run, would she today, as things stand, do you believe with your experience, and you are as experienced politically as anybody we have got here in this shop, would you consider her a front-runner?

CROWLEY: In the Republican Party?


CROWLEY: For the presidential nomination? No. I would consider her up there, at least if you go by what we have seen. You have got Mitt Romney, who is out there, who is, by the way, going into some of those states where you need early support, keeping those contacts going. You see Mike Huckabee, who also ran the last time around, who has certainly made signals that he might want to run again. When we see a poll among Republicans, they all tend to be up there in about the same range of popularity.

SANCHEZ: Here is one now. Chris Holm (ph), my producer, just popped one up for us.

CROWLEY: Yes, see, right.

SANCHEZ: Look at this one, Huckabee, 22, Sarah Palin, 21.

CROWLEY: Right, and Mitt Romney, 21.

SANCHEZ: So, they're really -

CROWLEY: Honestly, at this point, it tends to be whose name people recognize. This is the poll of Republicans. Nonetheless, people go, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, because they recognize a name. It is pretty far out to say too much about that kind of polling.

SANCHEZ: At this point, I think you're right. I think it becomes more of a popularity contest than anything else. It really comes down to nuts and bolts when they actually start debating and talking about the issues.


SANCHEZ: And then, it is all about who has more skeletons in their closets, as well


CROWLEY: Well, that happens a time or two.

SANCHEZ: Candy, here is what we are going to do. If we get this statement from her and we are trying to see if we can do that, we will play that. We might get you back. Are you going to be hanging around?

CROWLEY: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: All right. Thanks, Candy. We will go back to you.

Again, when she says it herself, you will hear it. We will have it for you right here. And to be perfectly honest about this, it kind of caught us by surprise. We knew she was going to speak. We were monitoring it. We didn't know exactly what she was going to say. Just before I started to say, Hey, everybody, I'm Rick Sanchez, here in the world headquarters of CNN, my producer said, stop, Sarah Palin just made this announcement. That's why we kind of fumbled and mumbled our way through that at the beginning. We were so happy to be able to have Candy Crowley to join us to give us kind of the background on that, that was necessary.

Now, this: We are committed to bringing you the very latest on what's going on with our troops, right now, in Afghanistan. As you know, if you watched yesterday, we have been reporting that this is a very important operation. It's an assault by 4,000 Marines to try and kick the Taliban out of the southern portion of Afghanistan. We have new information.

And also a look back at what's been going on there, not just since 2001 but back in 1981 when the Soviets were trying to do it. Amazing video we found. I want you to see it. Stay right there. We'll have that right now when we come back from this break.


SANCHEZ: Developing news coming in to us now. Just as we thought we were moving on to something else. Let me just stop myself and catch you up.

There are three pieces of information that I want to share with you now about this Michael Jackson situation, that we've been following for some time. First, let me get this out of the way.

You saw it here live. The final, definitive plans for Michael Jackson's memorial that you need to know about are out. They will be at the Staples Center. That's where the LA Lakers play, as you know. And where, ironically, Jackson held his last rehearsal before his death. This is the video you saw, as a matter of fact, from that area. Let me tell you a couple of things about this. I know a lot of people have been saying, well, with California's situation, how can they afford to pay for something like this? They are not. The company that owns this facility is paying for it. The only thing that taxpayers are going to have to pay for is usual stuff, like police and firefighters, who are going to be patrolling the grounds to make sure everybody is OK.

Moving on now. Here is the head turner that I wanted to share with you in the Jackson case today. Reports confirmed by CNN, that he, Michael Jackson, traveled with an anesthesiologist. And anesthesiologist who supplied Mr. Jackson with an IV pole to sedate him, to make sure, at times, he was quote, "under." That is in closed quotations, by the way, that's important.

And now there is also this, the Associated Press is now reporting that the powerful anesthetic known as Diprivan has also been found in Michael Jackson's home. Think about that. Diprivan, why is that important? Diprivan - as we heard from Doctor Sanjay Gupta, the last couple of days, on Larry King's show, as soon as this information came out that it may be a possibility - it is only used in operating rooms, and under very specific circumstances.

CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Doctor Sanjay Gupta has reached out to us now. He is in South Carolina. He is joining us to fill us in on what these two developments mean.

Let's start, Sanjay, if we can, with the Diprivan. Tell viewers what that is and how it is different from Oxycontin and some of these other drugs that we have heard about people abusing in the past.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. Diprivan is an anesthetic. It is also known as propofol.

Rick, as you mentioned, it is a different class of drugs than the narcotics. So it is not the same as Oxycontin or Demerol, or some of the other drugs that people have been talking about the past couple of days.

It is an IV drug, Rick, which means this isn't something you take by mouth. This isn't something that's taken outside the medical setting. Operating rooms, as you mentioned, ICUs, as well, and the medical setting in general. To have it in someone's home, frankly, is something I have never heard of. I have been talking to a lot of my colleagues in the world of anesthesia. They haven't heard of that either. So, this is very uncommon for it to be used in the home setting.

It is not a sleep agent, Rick; very important distinction. General anesthesia or anesthesia doesn't mean sleep. These are two different things. Yet, sometimes, as people have alluded to, as you mentioned, people have tried to use it as sleep agents. That's sort of what we know about Diprivan, and a little bit of the context as well.

SANCHEZ: I heard you say the other day, I think you were talking to Larry, I'm not sure if you were talking to me yesterday about this, but it is the kind of drug where once you have put it into the body, it takes immediate effect. As soon as you stop putting it into the body, it just stops. That's very different from most of the drugs that people take or most of prescription drugs that people can take, right?

GUPTA: Right, exactly. And it brings up a couple of important points. This is a medication that needs a continuous infusion. It has to be infused continuously. That means you need some sort of IV pump. You know, you can't just inject it into the vain and sort of wait a few hours. That isn't how it works. Within a couple of minutes, if it is not continuously infused, it stops working.

You also need to be monitored, because this is a medication that can slow down respirations. It can have an effect directly on the heart. So, typically, in hospitals, when it is given, someone is measuring the patients oxygenation and checking their heart rate, their blood pressure, making sure they are not having any untoward, or disastrous side effects for a medication like this.

SANCHEZ: Speaking of that, you have, in fact, been reporting and were the first to do so, giving you your own props on this, that Michael Jackson may have traveled with what amounted to some kind of mini- clinic, complete with an IV pole and an anesthesiologist, who may have medicated him from time to time. His fellow's name is Doctor Neil Ratner. According to reports, I want to be as careful in this, and as fair as possible.

Sanjay take us through this now. Given what you just told us about Diprivan, how does this become more significant?

GUPTA: This is based on a source that I have been talking to, and confirmed by another source, that, in fact, Doctor Neil Ratner, who is a board certified anesthesiologist, was traveling with Michael Jackson on his HIStory Tour. Now, Rick, that was back in '96, '97, so 12, 13 years ago.


GUPTA: And, according to the source, they said that he brought along lots of equipment, including the IV pole, including drips, including a rack that looked like it had lights and monitors and things like that on it. This is, again, according to the source, who is not a medical person,. And when this source asked Ratner, what is going on with all this elaborate equipment, he said, well, I'm trying to help him sleep. I take him down and then bring him back up in the morning, referring to Michael Jackson.

So, I have to tell you, pretty stunning to hear, first of all, just simply that an anesthesiologist would be traveling along with the -you know, on a rock star's tour. And then to have all this equipment with him as well. It was pretty stunning to hear.

SANCHEZ: On a bizarre scale of one to 10, how bizarre would you consider something like that? I mean, have you ever heard of anyone traveling with an anesthesiologist using this type of medication usually reserved for just surgeries?

GUPTA: No, I haven't. As you are being fair, I want to be fair as well. The source did not say for sure that they ever saw Diprivan or propofol at that time. SANCHEZ: OK.

GUPTA: Back in '96, '97. A couple of things, one is that again, you know the source is not a medical person. So, they wouldn't have necessarily known what it is. And second of all, this is 13 years later, fast forward. Diprivan wasn't as commonly used 12, 13 years ago as it is today. But there are, as you know, Rick, there have been all sorts of anesthetic agents and different generations for them over the years. There could have been a precursor or different sort of agent that the anesthesiologist was using.

SANCHEZ: There are two pieces of information there that are certainly salient to the story. And we are glad, Sanjay, that we had you to take us through this. Have a good weekend, all right?

GUPTA: Any time, Rick. You, too.

SANCHEZ: All right. When we come back we are going to be talking about the situation that's going on right now in Afghanistan. We are not only breaking down what happened there today, with our troops, our 4,000 or so Marines and sailors, but also asking an expert, if we couldn't do it in 2001, if the Russians couldn't do it in 1981, how are we going to be able to win in Afghanistan this time? If you can even call it a win? This is important stuff for all of us as Americans to consider. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: We welcome you back to the world headquarters of CNN. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Just to let you know, in case you missed it at the top of the show, we reported here, broke the news, I believe, that in fact Governor Sarah Palin, of Alaska, will be stepping down. Will not seek another term as governor of Alaska, with all the implications, of course, that that may bring. We are going to be following that story for you, as well throughout this hour. But again, if you missed it, that was the big, stunner headline at the top of the hour here at 3 o'clock.

Now, the other story that we are committed to following, as we were yesterday, on this "The Sanchez Show" to show you what our troops are doing right now to try and defeat the Taliban. This is an all-out Marine assault with the intent of pushing the insurgents out of the country's southern villages, where they have a stronghold.

Now, it is not a new battlefield. Right? We know that. But it is a new commander and chief. This is President Obama's first major military offensive. Not to mention, he is using a new commander there as well. He is using the best of the best, I mean, 4,000 Marines. Will it work? The question we are all asking - and hoping it will.

Here is what we are hearing today. Military sources tell CNN the fighting right now is heavy, but at times has also been intermittent. Marines are firing from helicopters and have taken control of at least one key city that was previously under Taliban control. Joining me is Eric Margolis. He is an author and expert on Afghanistan. He's good enough to talk to us about this.

How would you grade this president's first foray, first assault in Afghanistan? Is it doable?

ERIC MARGOLIS, AUTHOR, "AMERICAN RAJ": Well, it is too soon to tell what's happening yet. Doable, depends upon what the objective of the mission is. I'm not clear on it. I have talked to a lot of people just last week in Washington.


SANCHEZ: That's not good news. Hey, let me just stop you right there. When your second sentence, the second thing you tell me is you are not clear what the mission is, we go back to anybody who has ever known anything about military, if you don't have a clear mission, you've got a problem.

MARGOLIS: Well, the technical mission is clear.

SANCHEZ: Hold on. Hold on. I want to do something. I want to share with you something that when I came in to work today, I started looking through some old files, and I found something from 19 - did we lose him?

Hopefully, we will get him right back. Let's watch this and then we will bring him back. In 1981, the Russians tried to take down the Mujaheddin, which is essentially what we are trying to do now. They didn't have a lot of success. Why didn't they have a lot of success? Putting this in perspective is important. Because it makes you ask the question, if the Russians couldn't do it, can we do it now? This is about a minute and 30 seconds or something like that. Maybe just a little bit longer. But you will see, on the ground, in this grainy video what happened in 1981, as told by a reporter in 1981. Here, let's watch it together.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): December, 1979, the Soviet Army invaded Afghanistan. It was an invasion condemned by world opinion. It is was bitterly opposed by the Afghan people. Ever since the Soviet invasion, a war has been raging in Afghanistan.

Militaries that support the Mujaheddin and that means most militaries in the country are liable to be attacked and destroyed by Soviet aircraft.

The Russians have left a trail of destruction across Afghanistan. The fighting in the Pahshir Valley, north of Kabul, and later in the Logar Valley to the west, was a defeat for the Russians in which many of their tanks were destroyed.

In some cases, the Mujaheddin succeeded in capturing tanks intact and used them themselves. With captured Soviet weapons, Mujehadeen have the ability to strike back at the Soviet helicopters.

"The sole reason for our fighting against the government is Islam and we will keep on fighting until the country is once again under Muslim rule. If not, we will fight to the end."

When the night falls, the Mujaheddin go into action. Filming with special lenses, the camera reveals the freedom fighters moving into Kandahar City, itself. Their aim, to attack a government warehouse where they hope to capture further supplies of arms and ammunition.


Among their weapons, a recoilless rifle.


The warehouse is captured.


After a fierce battle, the Mujaheddin retire to continue the battle on another night.


SANCHEZ: Boy, here we go again. Breaking news. As we told you at the beginning of this newscast -- by the way, we going to get back to Eric Margolis in just a moment and let him amplify on what he meant by there is no clear mission in this assault in Afghanistan.

But first, back to the Sarah Palin story. We told you at the beginning of the newscast that CNN is confirming that Sarah Palin was getting ready to announce that she will be leaving the governor's office in Alaska. Now, we understand that she has, in fact, said that. Exactly how and in what description, we don't know. But to get more information, let's go back to Candy Crowley, now, and she can put some perspective on this for us.

What did she say? What do we know, Candy?

CROWLEY: Here is what we know. It is coming from our affiliates in Alaska. Because of transmission problems, we aren't able to see that right now. What they are reporting is it is not as though she is not going to run again. She is going to quit in a month. This puts an entirely different hue on what's going on here.


CROWLEY: Governors don't generally quit with 18 months to go in their term. A source has told our Peter Hamby, before this came out, that she was actually quitting, that the governor feels that she has done what she has set out to do. And that she has been heartened by the response she is getting in the Lower 48. But somehow the idea of quitting 18 months ahead of time begs further explanation. If she has given it, I'm not sure.

SANCHEZ: It's funny you say that. Because once you and I were done talking, I went over here to my Twitter board and I started reading Tweets like, Johnnie, go ahead, show Candy the one at the very top there. Like this one, there have been a plenty. Look at this. See that one right there in the middle. "Bulletin, Alaska governor confirms she will resign within weeks." I was thinking to myself, well, her term is not over. Here's another one. Same thing. Like all of a sudden I started reading all of these Tweets, and I know that we at CNN hadn't confirmed this yet, so I was a little careful about talking about it. But you are saying now these folks are right, she is quitting.

CROWLEY: Yes, that she is, according to our affiliate, she has already said in that news conference, as far as I know, still ongoing news conference, that she in a month or so, several weeks, she is going to resign and hand it over to the lieutenant governor.

SANCHEZ: Was she asked, why are you doing this? What was the reaction there, and what was her reaction when questioned about it?

CROWLEY: I am sure she will be asked, Rick. We aren't privy of this tape yet simply because of the transmission. I know you know, but for our audience, it's called "tape turn" and that is, when it is over, they will turn the tape and send it out to us.

SANCHEZ: Has there been, I know you have followed this situation with her as much as anyone in the past. I know there was the little letter man fiasco where David Letterman made a comment that just about anybody would construe as somewhat offensive, if not questionable.

There have been a couple of other situations that might cause someone to feel a lot of stress. But aside from those, is there anything going on with her that perhaps may lead her to want to make this decision? And the one thing that is still left out there is, hey, could she be pregnant again?

CROWLEY: Well, I certainly don't know the answer to that last thought.

But listen, absolutely, when something like this happens and it is not just, I'm going to serve out my term, and I'm not going to run for reelection but it is, I am going to quit in a month, you think, why?

There is not a normal explanation for that at this point. You think, is something about to come out? Is she tired? Is there some sort of personal thing going on here?

At this point, all we have is what our sources are telling us, and those sources are in her office. So you have to sort of take that in mind when they say, well, listen, she has done what she thinks she ought to do. But there is something that doesn't ring right here.

SANCHEZ: Yes, you are right. Although, from time to time, candy, you can figure you give somebody the benefit of the doubt and just say, maybe she -- we all think that because they are politicians and we see them in front of the TV camera all the time that they are just real resolute about this position.

But, you know, there is certainly nothing wrong with being a great mom and taking care of things for your family as well. And she ran with John McCain with a newborn. I mean, that's not something you see all the time.

CROWLEY: No, it isn't. But she didn't strike me as a person who would walk away from power certainly at the time. I think she very much wanted to be vice president.

I think we have seen since that she at least has left the door open to seeking perhaps in 2012 running again to be nominated. So again, we don't know.

SANCHEZ: Right, right.

CROWLEY: But it just is something as a reporter, your antenna goes, what? What's actually going on here? And that's obviously what we will be working on.

SANCHEZ: What's the why? What's the why Candy Crowley?

CROWLEY: Exactly.

SANCHEZ: What both of us are getting around to, and we better shut up before we get ourselves in trouble, because at this point, a lot of this is conjecture. Nonetheless, an interesting conversation about it, someone as visible as Governor Palin has been.

Candy, we will get back to you. Let us know if you get anything else.

CROWLEY: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: All right, when we come back, we will be talking to our own expert Eric Margolis, who told us a little while ago just at that outset, and interrupted him, and I kind of feel bad about that, but that there may not be a clear mission on what Barack Obama is doing right now in Afghanistan.

His reaction or amplification to that and whether or not we can do, based on what we just saw in the video, what the Russians failed to do. Two points when we come back. Stay with us.


SANCHEZ: Here we go. Looking back on Rick Sanchez here at the world headquarters of CNN. He might be able to get an answer to the question that we were just asking, the why in this. Why would Sarah Palin just up and quit all of a sudden, announcing she is going to be leaving the governorship of Alaska in just a couple of weeks?

We have been able to make contact with a reporter who was there at the news conference when Governor Palin made this stunning revelation. He writes for the "Frontiersman." His name is Andrew Wilner, and he's good enough to join us now.

Andrew, are you there?

ANDREW WILNER, "FRONTIERSMAN": Yes, I am. SANCHEZ: What was this like when she made this announcement? I imagine most of it caught a lot of folks by surprise.

WILNER: It certainly caught me by surprise. There weren't a whole lot of shocked faces standing around the podium, though.

SANCHEZ: I imagine she was immediately asked by a lot of you guys, governor, why are you doing this? What's going on? To which she responded what?

WILNER: Actually, she didn't take any questions. But she did say in her speech that she feels she can be more effective working outside of government, that complaints and various other things from national sources and national politicians have become somewhat of a distraction and has been spending too much state money.

SANCHEZ: What does that mean, that she could do more outside of government? I mean, is there any hint? Has she gotten a job at a pundit at one of the cable stations, or something that we don't know about?

WILNER: I kind of wish I knew what she meant by that, actually. There has obviously been speculation about if she is going to run for another office. But nothing was said in the speech that would confirm that at all.

SANCHEZ: Suppose is she was going to run for another office. Usually, you would say, when this term is done, I'm not going to run again, OK? But quitting doesn't necessarily set you up or even help you run for another office, a higher office, does it?

WILNER: I'd have to look at -- I don't do a whole lot of statewide stories. I am more of a local guy, and I'd have to look at the calendar, but I believe that the Senate race is coming up before the governor's race.

SANCHEZ: So you believe there is a possibility -- is there any talk of that? Is there any possibility that she is going to be trying to get one of the two Senate seats?

WILNER: There is certainly chatter. And it has been all over talk radio and various blogs that she perhaps she would try for a Senate seat.

SANCHEZ: But did she make any mention of that, or did she talk about that at all in her speech?

WILNER: No, she did not. She didn't say anything specifically about what she plans to do after stepping down as governor.

SANCHEZ: Did anybody try to reach out to her after she was walking away? Did anybody try to ask her anything, if there was any specific reason?

Let me back that up with this question as well as a second question that -- has there been anything that you guys know about there in Alaska that we don't know about in her personal life or anything she has been dealing with?

WILNER: Nothing that I have heard of on a personal level. And as to whether anybody tried to reach out to her, her staff came out before the press conference and made it clear she wasn't taking any questions. And I think everybody just kind of respected that.

SANCHEZ: Hey, Andrew, before I let you go, one last question.

When she said, just to be as concise here as we possibly can -- when she said I am not running for governor and it is because, and then you said something about that she could be more effective outside of government than in the government, can you get as close as possible to what her exact language was for us?

WILNER: I could certainly try.

SANCHEZ: Even if you have to check your notes, that's OK. I think it is somewhat important.

WILNER: Yes, I agree. "We know we can effect change from outside of government." And there were things in between this in the next quote -- "You are naive if you don't see a full-court press right now on the national level picking apart a good point guard."

SANCHEZ: She said that?

WILNER: Yes. That would be a reference I guess to her time as a basketball player.

SANCHEZ: Give us that last one again -- "You are naive --

WILNER: "You are naive if you don't see a full-court press right now on the national level picking apart a good point guard."

SANCHEZ: Picking apart, or picking a good point guard?

WILNER: Picking apart, as in they are taking her down.

SANCHEZ: Oh, I see. So she is basically kind of playing the victim here, sometimes politicians do.

WILNER: Well, those are her words.

SANCHEZ: That's interesting. Somewhat Clintonian, some would say. What was that at the beginning? She said she was more effective from the outside than from the inside.

WILNER: "We know we can affect change outside of government."

SANCHEZ: "We know that we can effect change outside of government."


SANCHEZ: So that was just left as that, not necessarily saying the reason I am stepping down is because I feel like I can affect change more outside of government, she didn't say that? WILNER: "I have never believed that I or anyone else needs a title to do this."

SANCHEZ: "I have never believed that I or anyone else needs a title to do this." Interesting.

Andrew, you're good, man, thanks. I really appreciate you getting on the phone with us and taking us through this. It's interesting.

We're expecting, by the way, to get this tape in the next few minutes.

Let me take you through this. It was about, oh, 40 minutes before we went on the air when somebody came to me back in our offices there on the Sanchez team, and said, look, it sounds like we are going to be able to get something out of Alaska, because Governor Palin is going to be making a comment.

We thought at the time, well, it's the Fourth of July, and she may just be giving a normal comment. We called her people. They said, we don't know what she is going to be saying at the time, and now this.

Let's bring Candy Crowley back into this conversation. Candy, did you hear what Andrew read to me from his notes?


SANCHEZ: What do you make of that?

CROWLEY: I make of it this is someone who is going to go out and reshape her image somewhere other than the governor's office.

Obviously, there is a bigger stage out there for her at this point than there is in Alaska. If she has designs on 2012, perhaps she can take her popularity. And, by the way, her approval rate just among Republicans is 80 percent nationwide.

Listen, I still think there is something here.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And here's why. Here's why. You know this, I know this, because both our moms and dads told us this. You don't quit a job unless you have another one or you have one at least lined up, right?

CROWLEY: Well --

SANCHEZ: You just don't quit for nothing.

CROWLEY: It isn't the quitting or the stepping down. It is the doing it early. Because certainly we saw Mitt Romney, who said I am not going to run again for governor, we saw Mike Huckabee say I'm not going to run again for governor because we knew they were going to run for president or certainly thought so.

So that would not be uncommon. It's the suddenly going OK, on June 25th, I am resigning, and I can work better outside government. It strikes me as peculiar. SANCHEZ: It leaves you wondering if there is something out there.

How about the part, that second part? Did you hear that, where Andrew said that she had also mentioned something about the point guard and I think --


SANCHEZ: -- the full-court press.

CROWLEY: Trying to bring down the point guard.

This has been a constant theme with Governor Palin from the time she stepped on to the national scene, which is she wasn't being treated fairly, that the media was after her, the politicians were after her. There's a pretty nasty look at what some people think of her in the political world in "Vanity Fair" this month.

And so there are any number of times that people have talked about it, she has talked about being --

SANCHEZ: Here it is. I think this is it. Candy, I'm sorry, I don't mean to interrupt you, of course.

CROWLEY: That's all right.

SANCHEZ: But I think Chris has got the tape up. Let's take it from the beginning, Claude, if we possibly can. Here is the tape coming in from courtesy of KTOU -- KTUU, thank you. KTUU, we thank you. Here it is.


GOV. SARAH PALIN, (R-AK) FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They kind of milk it, and I am not going to put Alaskans through that. I promised efficiency and effectiveness. That's not how I'm wired. I'm not wired to operate under the same old politics as usual.

I promised that four years ago, and I meant it. That's not what is best for Alaska at this time.

I am determined to take the right path for Alaska even though it is unconventional and it is not so comfortable.

With this announcement that I am not seeking reelection, I have determined it is best to transfer the authority of governor to Lieutenant Governor Parnell.

And I am willing to do this so that this administration with its positive agenda and its accomplishments and its successful road to an incredible future for Alaska, so that it can continue without interruption and with great administrative and legislative success.

My choice is to take a stand and effect change, and not just hit our head against the wall and watch valuable state time and money, millions of your dollars go down the drain in this new political environment.

Rather, we know we can effect positive change outside government at this moment in time on another scale and actually make a difference for our priorities.

And so we will, for Alaskans and for Americans.

Let me go back quickly to a comfortable analogy for me, and that's sports, basketball. And I use it because you are naive if you don't see a full course press from the national level picking away right now a good point guard.

Here is what she does. She drives through a full-court press protecting the ball, keeping her head up because she needs to keep her eye on the basket. And she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can win. And that is what I'm doing, keeping our eye on the ball.

That represents sound priorities, remember, they include energy independence and smaller government and national security and freedom. And I know when it is time to pass the ball for victory.

And I've given my reasons now, very candidly, truthfully. And my last day won't be for another few weeks, so the transition will be very smooth.

In fact, we look forward to swearing in Sean Parnell up there in Fairbanks at the conclusion of our governor's picnic at the end of the month.

And I really don't want to disappoint anyone with this announcement, not with the decision that I have made. All I can ask is that you trust me with this decision and know that it is no more politics as usual.

And some Alaskans it seems today, maybe they don't mind wasting public dollars and state time, but I do. And I cannot stand here as your governor and allow the millions of dollars and all that time go to waste just so that I can hold the title of governor.

And I don't know if my children are going to allow it any way.

Some are going to question the timing of this. And let me just say that this decision has been in the works for awhile. In fact, this decision comes after much consideration, prayer and consideration.

And finally, I polled the most important people in my life, my kids, where the count was unanimous. Well, in response to asking, hey, you want me to make a positive difference and fight for all our children's future from outside the governor's office, it was four yeses and one hell yes. And the hell yes sealed it. And someday I will talk about the details of that.

I think though, much of it for the kids had to do with recently seeing their baby brother Trig mocked and ridiculed by some pretty mean- spirited adults recently. And by the way, I sure wish folks could ever understand that we can learn, all of us, from someone like Trig. I know he needs me, but I know that I need him even more. And what a child can offer to set priorities right, know that time is precious. The world needs more Trigs, not fewer.

My decision was also fortified during this most recent trip to Kosovo to visit our wounded soldiers overseas, those who truly sacrificed themselves in war for our freedom and our security.

And we can all learn from our selfless, selfless troops. They are bold and they don't give up and they take a stand and they know that life is short, so they choose not to waste time. They choose to be productive and to serve something greater than self, and to build up their families and their states and our great country.

These troops, their important missions now, there is where truly the worthy causes are in this world, and that's where our public resources should be, our public priority, with time and resources spent on that, not on this superficial, wasteful, political blood sport.

So may we all learn from them.

Really, we just got to put first things first. And first things first as governor, I love my job. And I love Alaska. And it hurts to make this choice. But I am doing what's best for Alaska, and I have explained why.

So I think of the saying on my parent's refrigerator, a little magnet that says, don't explain. Your friends don't need it, and your enemies won't believe you anyway. But I have given my reasons. It is no more politics as usual.

And I am taking my fight for what's right for Alaska in a new direction.

Now, despite this, I sure don't want anyone, any Alaskan dissuaded from entering politics after seeing this real climate change that began in August.

No. We need hardworking, average Americans fighting for what is right. And I will support you because we need you, and you can effect change and I can, too, on the outside.

We need those who will respect our constitutional where government is supposed to serve from the bottom up and not move towards this top- down big takeover, but rather will be protectors of the individual rights who also have enough common sense to acknowledge when conditions have changed and they're willing to call an audible and pass the ball when it is time so the team can win. And that is what I'm doing.

Remember, Alaska, America is now more than ever looking north to the future. And it will be good.

So god bless you. And from me and my family to all Alaska, you have my heart. And we are going be in great hands, the capable hand of our Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell. And Lieutenant General Craig Hamilton will assume the role of lieutenant governor.

And it is my promise to you I will always be standing by, ready to assist. We have a good, positive agenda for Alaska.

Takes the words of General Macarthur. He said we are not retreating, we are advancing in another direction.

So with that, I'm going to hand this over to our good lieutenant governor. And again, I say thank you, and god bless you, Alaska.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, governor. It's with a heavy heart I hear those words. You have been a strong leader for our state. You inspired a nation and you have ignited the fire of real hope around the world.

It wasn't that long ago when in August of 2006 I walked into your campaign office and met you both after just winning the gubernatorial primary and the lieutenant governor primary.

And we sat together, kind of warily talked about how do we merge our campaigns together, and began to forge a bit of a trust. And I think you identified where that trust comes from now that it has grown so deeply, and that is because we share the joy of putting Alaskans first.

And I have seem that ingrained in you, it's ingrained in Todd and your family. And I just honor you for that.

I profoundly respect your decision, for I know the depth of character and integrity that brought you to that. Rare indeed are such selfless acts seen in the public arena.

Governor Palin has recounted well the achievements of the last 2.5 years. And I want to take a moment to assure Alaskans of the good team in place, some of whom are here.

This good team will move Alaska forward and speak to the concerns of Alaska. And I want to speak briefly about what Alaskans can expect.

Our talented team of commissioners, I would like them to stay. I intend to keep them working hard for our state. I will work with the governor to coordinate with the cabinet and staffs on a seamless and stable transition.

I will closely with legislators, community leaders, and all interested Alaskans to accomplish these ends.

I came into the office believing, as the governor does, is still strongly believe that the powers, rights, and responsibility of our government belongs to the people.

Alaskans can't expect me to focus on positioning Alaska for economic growth, the legacy of opportunities for our people and future generations. My top priority is just like our governor's -- let's get a gas line.

I will continue the course set by the governor that has produced forward progress these past two years. I will continue to support and promote responsible resource development and energy development of all kinds for Alaskans.

State government will live within its means. We are going to provide a stable investment climate for job creation. We proudly and resolutely commit our support to the military and the veterans and their families. We are going to protect second amendment rights.

Those are guiding principles that have maintained --


SANCHEZ: Well, there you have it. The stunning news that Sarah Palin is going to let her lieutenant governor take over as governor of Alaska.

Candy Crowley has been monitoring this with us. She heard the speech. I'll tell you what I was struck by as I heard this, Candy, not the fact she said -- I mentioned earlier in a kind of Clintonian way, all politicians do -- help me, protect me against the media, because they are going to criticize me, everybody does it.

But the way she said that. She says, almost, don't be surprised -- it's almost as if she was letting her followers know expect that I am going to be criticized heavily. And then she went into that whole point guard explanation of why she was resigning.

Why would anyone in a speech like this tell people to prepare for criticism? What criticism?

CROWLEY: Well, you know, it is called drawing the sting. If it happens she will be correct, and it is sort of the "I'm telling you the truth, other people are going to speculate. But this is the truth, and that is why I'm telling you. And it is not politics as usual."

So I, too, thought that was interesting. But I also think just, I am still unsure listening to that what the rationale is here. I heard her say she didn't want to waste millions of dollars in Alaska. I heard her say that trig, her son with Down syndrome, needed her home. And I heard her say she could be more effective outside office.

So those are the three reasons I sort of quickly wrote down as I was listening to her. It seemed to me the lieutenant governor seemed a little stunned. He was emotional about it.

So I think this story goes on for awhile you.

SANCHEZ: The setting was kind of strage.

By the way, the video is continuing. This is raw, unedited video that we're getting from Alaska. You're watching it with us. Let's see if there is any sound, by the way.

Let's just dependency see if there is anything revealing about this. This is in Wasilla, it's not in Anchorage. Again, we don't know what is on here. We are just kind of watching it together.

Important to note, for those of you wondering why is this setting what it is? She is in front of a lake behind a house somewhere. This is not her in her official capacity there as the governor in Anchorage. This is in Wasilla, the small town where she was mayor prior to.

Any significance to that, do you think, Candy?

CROWLEY: Well, I think a lot of politicians full circle, starting home, going wherever they go and coming back when they kind of put a period on whatever it is they are doing.

We just saw her with her parents, a couple of kids, her husband. So, obviously, they wanted this to be a family affair, not doing it. It may just be that is where she was at the time. I'm not sure where she has been for the last couple of weeks.

Certainly makes sense, the setting makes sense in light of the fact she grew up there and she was mayor there.

SANCHEZ: It seemed to me listening to the speech that it wasn't necessarily a very well rehearsed or even perhaps written speech. It seemed at times, although there were important points to make all throughout that you could tell she was very passionate about, that it kind of went in a lot of different directions.

CROWLEY: I don't think it was written. I don't she read off anything as far as I can tell. She may have had notes, but I didn't see a teleprompter. I didn't see her looking down. So this sort of came out of her head.

SANCHEZ: But this is an important speech. I mean, isn't this the kind of speech that most politicians would carefully go over and write with the help of some of their aides?

CROWLEY: Perhaps. But I have to tell you that I have seen her more doing this kind of speech, whether it was running for vice president or since then. We went out and listened to a speech she recently, earlier this month, I think in April. She tends to do it, and it has the feel of off the cuff. And I think that's what you heard there.

Now, whether she should have done it in a more straightforward, speechy manner, obviously, this is a format that she is much more comfortable in.

SANCHEZ: All right, Candy Crowley. I'll tell you what, it's stunning to watch this development. My thanks to you. I know you have to get ready for some of the reports that you are going to filing now.

CROWLEY: Thanks, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, Candy, appreciate it. Boy, I'll tell you what. This is stunning information. We didn't expect it. We knew when we were prepared for a statement coming from Governor Palin. We thought it could be anything from her wishing the people of Alaska a happy independence day to making some statement about state politics.

We did not expect she would be announcing she is actually stepping down as the governor of Alaska and giving all responsibilities within the next couple of weeks to the lieutenant governor of Alaska.

Her speech included a lot of information, a lot of anecdotes. She made mention, obviously, about what is going on with the military and her recent trip that she had taken to Kosovo and the effect that that had had on her as well.

But in the final analysis, the important point made by Sarah Palin is she is stepping down, because she feels she can do just as good for the people of Alaska from outside government as inside government.

Is there something else to it? Stay tuned. We'll be all over it and continue to follow it.

Suzanne Malveaux will be one of those who is going to be digging and drilling down on this story. She is live for us filling in for Wolf Blitzer in Washington D.C. at the "Situation Room."