FAIRBANKS — Sarah Palin blamed the news media and declared government spending can destroy "everything that is free," as she ended her brief but dramatic run as Alaska governor on Sunday.
Palin's resignation became official in front of a sun-baked crowd of thousands at Pioneer Park in Fairbanks as Sean Parnell was sworn in as governor to finish the 16 months remaining in her term.
Parnell, who has been Palin's lieutenant governor and her loyal ally during her two-and-half-years in office, gave a speech praising Palin and saying he would continue her course on major issues like the proposed natural gas pipeline. He called for limited state spending but said he also wanted to work on domestic violence and school dropout issues. He laid out broad goals without proposing any specific new policies.
"Here's my vision for our families: I want Alaska to be a place where every child has a safe home or a safe home to go to. I want Alaska to be a place where every child has the right to earn his or her way to college or job training ...and I will assure that Alaska continues to help the neediest among us, whether younger or elder, from public or private resources," the new governor said.
But it was Palin who the people came to see, either to show her their love, to jeer (there were some protest signs and heckling) , or simply to gawk at the celebrity spectacle she has become.
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