KOTZEBUE - Gov. Sarah Palin returned to the spotlight Tuesday with an appearance in a remote Arctic village where she defended her perplexing decision to resign.
Palin signed a bill in this small town 30 miles north of the Arctic Circle that is intended to bolster law enforcement in Alaska villages. She was greeted with cheers by about 300 people and briefly took the floor to dance to the beat of Inupiat Eskimo drummers. Many lingered to get their pictures taken with the popular Republican governor and former vice presidential candidate.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Palin defended her decision to step down after a year in which she has been hit with a series of ethics complaints that have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to investigate.
"You would be amazed at how much time and resource my staff and I, the Department of Law especially, spend on this every day," she said. "It is a waste. We are spending these millions of dollars not on teachers and troopers and roads or fish research and other things that are needed in Alaska."
The bill signing was her first official appearance since her surprise resignation announcement Friday. She spent the long holiday weekend fishing with her husband and kids and attended an Independence Day parade in Juneau. She gave several interviews while wearing waders from her family's fishing spot before flying to Kotzebue.
She has not said what she will do next, but a book deal is in the works. When asked if she will run for president, Palin responded, "That's certainly not within my immediate plans."
However, she was quick to criticize President Barack Obama, ripping him for his economic plans.
Palin said the state will be better off with Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell as she gets consumed by a political climate that she considers vicious.
"Obviously conditions had changed so drastically on Aug. 29, the day I was tapped to be VP," she said. "The opposition research and the games that began there - which I think is the new normal in Alaska politics, until I hand the reins over to Sean Parnell - have been so distracting."
"I had promised no more politics as usual," she said. "I had promised no more ineffectiveness and inefficiencies. We will progress the state better with Sean in the governor's seat and me fighting for Alaska on the outside of government because of the conditions that have changed."
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