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Sarah Palin

Fox News Contributor

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Why She Matters

Palin, a relative unknown before the 2008 presidential election, managed to do what no GOP presidential candidate could for their party throughout the Republican primary: energize the conservative base.

Months after her bid as the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee failed, Palin shocked the political world when she resigned the Alaska governorship in July 2009, citing the distraction of the media glare.

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At a Glance

  • Career History: Reality show star (2010); Governor of Alaska (January 2007 to July 2009); GOP vice presidential nominee (2008); Wasilla Mayor (1996 to 2002); Chairwoman Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (2003 to 2004); Wasilla City Council member (1992 to 1996); Television sports reporter (1987 to 1989); Co-owner commercial fishing operation (1988 to 2007); Owner, snow machine, watercraft, and all-terrain vehicle business (1994 to 1997)
  • Birthday: Feb. 11, 1964
  • Hometown: Wasilla, Alaska
  • Alma Mater: University of Idaho, B.S. in communications-journalism, 1987
  • Spouse: Todd Palin
  • Religion: Christian
  • State Office: P.O. Box 110001Juneau, Alaska 99811-0001(907) 465-3500
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Path to Power

Palin often credits days playing basketball in high school for giving her an edge in the political arena. She helped clinch the state title for her team in 1984 with a free-throw in the final minutes of the championship game. "This really sounds hokey, but that was a turning point in my life" she told the Anchorage Daily News after winning Wasilla's mayoral race in 1996. "We were supposed to be the underdogs big time. You see firsthand anything is possible and learn it takes tenacity, hard work and guts."

Born in Idaho, but raised in Alaska, Palin had something of a tomboy's upbringing. Her father, Chuck, is an avid sportsman who taught his daughter to hunt, fish and trap game. Palin later parlayed her love of the outdoors into several business ventures, working alongside her husband, Todd, for a time as a commercial fish operator. She also made periodic appearances as a television sports anchor on KTUU, Anchorage's NBC affiliate.

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The Issues

Since resigning as Alaska governor, Palin has continued to dominate the national media landscape and remains a potential 2012 presidential contender. She mainly communicates through her Facebook page (she has more than two million fans) and Twitter accounts, and remains a Fox News contributor.

Her 2010 reality-TV show, the Discovery Channel's Sarah Palin's Alaska, showcased Palin and her husband, Todd, as well as their kids, exploring what the channel called America's "final frontier." Though the ratings were solid, the show wasn't renewed (Palin didn't want to commit: a sign of 2012 taking precedence?).

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The Network

In some ways it's easier to count those who aren't in Palin's inner circle than those who are. Her closest political ally is undoubtedly her husband, Todd.

In 2010, she relied a bit on Rebecca Mansour, who spoke for Palin in public when the former governor didn't do so personally (a rare occurence).

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Additional Resources

  1. Erika Bolstad, "Palin for earmarks before she was against them," McClatchy Newspapers, September 4, 2008
  2. Sarah Palin interview, "Alaska 'Frustrated' Governor Palin on Our 'Nonsensical' Energy Policy," Investor's Business Daily, July 11, 2008
  3. Palin Facebook page, Jan. 12, 2010
  4. Tom Kizza, "PALIN: Her reputations as a crusader had perfect timing," Anchorage Daily News, October 24, 2006
  5. Jonsson, Patrick, The Christian Science Monitor, 'Dancing with the Stars': Is tea party conspiracy helping Bristol Palin?, Nov. 10, 2010
  6. http://www.sarahpac.com/
  7. Balz, Dan, The Washington Post, Palin caught in crosshairs map controversy after Tucson shootings, Jan. 12, 2010
  8. TLC Official site
  9. Martin, Jonathan, Politico, "Sarah Palin Resigns, Blasts Press, Starlets," July 27, 2009
  10. Palin, Sarah, The Washington Post, "The 'Cap And Tax' Dead End," July 14, 2009
  11. Ryan D'Agostino, Sarah Palin interview, "What I've Learned," Esquire Magazine, January 13, 2009
  12. S.J. Komarnitsky, "New Mayor, Sharp Knife," Anchorage Daily News, October 3, 1996.
  13. Bumiller, Elisabeth and Cooper, Michael, "Palin Assails Critics and Electrifies Party," The New York Times, Sept. 4, 2008
  14. Palin endorsement map, The Washington Post
  15. Rice, Lynette, EW.com, Sarah Palin's Alaska: No second season. (Dang?), Jan. 7, 2010
  16. Rush Limbaugh, The Rush Limbaugh Show, August 29, 2008
  17. Balz, Dan, The Washington Post, Palin caught in crosshairs map controversy after Tucson shootings, Jan. 12, 2010
  18. Richard Mauer, "GOP chief settles, is fined; Randy Ruedrich: Party Chairman admits violations, to pay $12,000." Anchorage Daily News, June 23, 2004.