Video: 24,000 pages of Palin emails released

Investigative reporter Bill Dedman of msnbc.com
By Bill Dedman Investigative reporter
NBC News
updated 6/11/2011 2:25:04 AM ET 2011-06-11T06:25:04

If your idea of an engrossing tour through American history is reading 24,000 pages of emails from Sarah Palin's first two years as governor of Alaska, then set aside some time this weekend. A free, searchable, online archive of the former governor's public records is online now at msnbc.com.

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That free, public, searchable archive is now complete, with 12,045 documents and 24,361 pages, hosted by msnbc.com at http://palinemail.msnbc.msn.com. Though it took more than two years for the state to release the emails, on paper, they were returned to electronic form in just 12 hours. We're live-blogging the release at Open Channel, even as citizens in Juneau continue on Saturday reading the documents. The Twitter feed @openchannelblog has updates, with the hashtag #palinemail.

Among other glimpses into her time in office, the emails read so far show an inexperienced governor focused as much on burnishing her image as on crafting public policy. Palin helped to write and rewrite an op-ed column to be submitted under a friend's name about controversy involving a state-controlled dairy. She did a fake TV interview with the answers written by her staff already on the teleprompter for her to recite. Even as she signed on with the McCain campaign, she urged her staff to put out some statement under her name every day, so Alaskans would know she was still focused on the state.

At 9 a.m. Friday in Juneau (1 p.m. ET), the governor's office in Juneau released to reporters 250 pounds of printed emails sent between the former governor (and her husband) and 50 state officials.

"The thousands upon thousands of emails released today show a very engaged Gov. Sarah Palin being the CEO of her state," said a statement from the treasurer of SarahPAC, Tim Crawford. "The emails detail a governor hard at work. Everyone should read them."

Those who enjoy tweaking President Barack Obama for using a teleprompter may note this email: On March 20, 2007, Gov. Palin's staff was setting up an interview on natural gas issues with Energy TV from Canada. Here's how the interview was conducted: Her press aide, Sharon Leighow, asked the questions, and the answers were posted on a teleprompter for Palin to read. Then the fake interview was uploaded by satellite to Energy TV. "You're awesome," the governor told her staff. "You're all awesome. What a day..." Here's a copy of that email. (PDF file opens in a new window.)

The list of withheld documents itself is 189 pages, showing the 2,275 withheld pages, and is online now at msnbc.com. Here's the link to our blog, where you'll find the large PDF file. Among those emails withheld from the public were those detailing potential state appointees, judicial candidates and others having to do with legal advice, settlements and staffing issues. Others appeared  to have nothing to do with state business, such as one message about "children, dinner, and prayer."

Others removed from public view include several having to do with newspapers and editorials, including two citing a “response to Juneau Empire article.” Another two related to a “child custody matter,”  and a meeting with “W. Monegan,” who had served as the Alaska public safety commissioner until being dismissed  in July 2008 in connection with the scandal known as "Troopergate."

At the time, Palin had reassigned commissioner Monegan because of performance-related issues. Monegan said his forced resignation may have been tied to his reluctance to fire Mike Wooten, an Alaska State trooper, who is also Palin's ex-brother-in-law and at the time was embroiled with Palin’s sister, Molly McCann,  in a contentious child custody dispute.

When the Alaska Legislature appointed investigator Stephen Branchflower to look into possible ethics violations by Gov. Palin's role in the Troopergate case, the Palin administration's response was to spread rumors about his wife to attack his credibility.

In a series of emails on Aug. 1, 2008, the governor and her aides discussed how to respond to the inquiry. The conversation is heavily censored. The current governor's office withheld most of the e-mail thread. 

But the progression is clear. It starts with the subject line, "Fw: Branchflower," with questions posed by the Anchorage Daily News, which asked whether the Palin administration's planned to cooperate with the investigation. The content is mostly marked "Privileged or Personal Material Redacted."

Then Palin changed the subject line to "Re: Fairness?: Branchflower." We can't see what the governor wrote.

Then the governor changed the subject line again, to "Re: MRS.: Fairness?: Branchflower," with this message from her Blackberry and her Yahoo account gov.sarah@yahoo.com: "Just got another call about Mrs. Blanchflower [sic] having retired after working FOR Walt at APD and the conflict involved there." Walt is apparently Monegan, whom she had dismissed.

Press aide Sharon Leighow replies, "I dropped all sorts of questions about linda," referring to Branchflower's wife, "... license lasping [sic] ... Walt association etc."

Palin replied again from her Blackberry, "Thank u."

That email thread is available here in a PDF file.

Long-delayed records
The records were requested by msnbc.com, other news organizations and citizens in 2008, when the relatively unknown Palin was named as Sen. John McCain's vice-presidential running mate. Their release has been delayed so long that the 2012 presidential campaign has started, with Palin the possible wild card in the Republican field.

Keeping public business private
Although Palin ran for governor on a platform of openness and transparency in government, it became clear when she was running for vice president that she and her aides had moved much of their email traffic on public matters to private Yahoo accounts, presumably out of reach of the state's public records law.

Get updates on Palin emails at breakingnews.com

But one half of these conversations did become public records: Journalists and citizens requested under state law any emails sent between those private Yahoo accounts and government accounts.  Specifically, the records to be released include emails that went between the Yahoo accounts of Palin or her husband, Todd, and about 50 top state officials: the governor, her senior staff, her Cabinet, department heads, and some other state agencies. More than 2,000 pages are being withheld for privacy and other reasons allowed under state law.

An old-fashioned reading room
Msnbc.com opened one copy of the paper records immediately to citizens of Alaska, to whom the records belong. Volunteers contacted through the League of Women Voters and the Retired Public Employees of Alaska gathered at Juneau's Centennial Hall convention center, chewing through bagels and the stacks of documents. They will continue their work on Saturday. The volunteers looked for significant or interesting emails, stuck a post-it note on the pages, and passed them to journalists, who also were reading through the 24,000 pages. Exact copies of the best of those emails were posted online immediately.

Slideshow: Sarah Palin: Republican star for 2012? (on this page)

A modern electronic archive
In the same room, a more modern approach was under way. A second set of the documents was be scanned for msnbc.com by Crivella West, an analytics and investigative-research company from Pittsburgh, returning the records to their original electronic form, allowing anyone anywhere to join in the crowdsourcing.

The archive, hosted by msnbc.com, is co-sponsored by Mother Jones magazine, another original requester of the documents, and by Pro Publica, the nonprofit investigative newsroom. A similar archive was created by msnbc.com and Crivella West for a smaller batch of 3,000 pages of Todd Palin emails last year. Those emails showed the vigorous role the "first dude" played in the operation of state government.

Waiting longer than she was in office
Palin was governor for 966 days, before ending her term abruptly. As of Friday, msnbc.com's request for public records was pending for 997 days.

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At $725.97 for the latest set of documents, that price is a bargain, only 3 cents a page for the photocopying, compared with the state's first cost estimate of $15 million for search and copying costs during the 2008 campaign, when officials were flustered by the burst of attention focused on their governor. At that point Crivella West offered to do the work for the state for free. The state didn't respond to the offer, but msnbc.com teamed up with the company to plan an online archive.

Executives in the office of the current governor, Sean Parnell, Palin's former lieutenant governor, said they could not figure out how to release the electronic records in an electronic form, not after certain records had to be printed so portions could be blacked out or withheld entirely. The emails are being handed out in six boxes of paper, at a cost of $725.97 per set, with free handtruck service to the curb.

Video: Wikipolitics: Palin fans try to rewrite history (on this page)

Palin previously told Fox News, her employer, that she was not afraid of anything that might be revealed in the documents, that "every rock" had already been kicked over. She also said that "a lot of those emails obviously weren't meant for public consumption."

The digital revolution in reverse
Here's how the state of Alaska dealt with the requests:

  • The governor's office chose the set of 50 employees and gathered all their correspondence with the Yahoo accounts of the governor and her husband. (That wasn't exactly what any of the document requesters had asked for, but the state essentially was saying, if you don't like it, sue us.)
  • State employees and interns opened each e-mail, one at a time, and converted it to a PDF file, and printed that file.
  • Lawyers for the state suggested which parts to withhold or black out, according to exemptions in the state records law. Palin's attorney was allowed to offer opinions on any possible privacy violations, but suggested no changes to the state's decisions, the governor's office said. The final decision was made by the governor's office.
  • And finally that paper was sent to the printer to make photocopies for distribution to journalists, who now will scan those documents back into something like their original form.

Not a complete picture
The boxes of 24,199 pages of processed emails were ready to be doled out in a third-floor conference room of a state office building known to locals as the “Spam Can,” because of its apparent resemblance to the famous tin containing the processed meat product.

Another 2,275 pages are being withheld by the state, under exemptions in the state law regarding privacy, attorney-client privilege, executive privilege, and a deliberative privilege exempting "work-product" discussions of public policies. These exemptions are not mandatory — the governor's office could release all of the records, but it has chosen to withhold the 2,275 pages. Many of the state employees making these decisions had worked in the Palin administration.

Depending on how liberally the state applies these exemptions, the documents may reveal more about the tone and character of the Palin administration than they tell about her policies. A common theme among journalists gathered in Juneau was that they expected no blockbuster news, but that it's important for the journalists to follow through on requests for public records, no matter how long it takes.

Video: Can Palin beat Obama if economy tanks? (on this page)

The state has taken the legal position that these executive exemptions apply even though many emails on official state business were also copied to Todd Palin, who held no state office, other than husband of the governor.

The state also is withholding "140 pages of emails that were determined to be non-records," according to Linda Perez, administrative director in the office of Gov. Parnell, a former oil-and-gas lobbyist who has won his own term of office since completing Palin's term.

And some of the pages that will be released will have information blacked out, or redacted.

The state has promised to release a log of the withheld items, as required by state law. That log will also be posted on msnbc.com at Open Channel.  The log released with the earlier release of Todd Palin emails was not very descriptive. Although the state law requires custodians of public records to release all of a document that can be released, the governor's office appeared to withhold entire emails if even part of the document fit an exemption.

Other holes in the record
The records are limited in several other ways as a window into how Sarah Palin governed:

  • The records cover only the first 21 months of her time in office, up until September 2008, when she was a vice-presidential candidate and the requests were made. They therefore won't tell us what was being discussed during the 2008 campaign, or over the next 10 months until Palin left office in July 2009 before her term ended. Requests are pending for records from those last months of her public service.
  • They don't include all email sent between one Yahoo account and another, as apparently was the custom in the Palin administration even for discussions of official business. A legal challenge now in the state Supreme Court addresses the broader question of whether all the governor's emails about state business, even if conducted between Yahoo accounts without passing through state computers, should also be considered a public record.

Some of the withheld emails have already been available to one citizen, former Palin aide Frank Bailey, who has written a tell-all book, "Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of Our Tumultuous Years." The state attorney general is looking into his use of the emails for profit.

Media scramble
Confronted with more than 24,000 pieces of paper in an electronic age, in a town inaccessible except by boat or airplane, journalists made some fits and starts.

The Anchorage Daily News and ABC News plan to put the records online as well. The New York Times and The Washington Post, which recently joined the request for records in the tradition of "I'll have what she's having," have announced they plan their own electronic archives.

The Post's political blog, "The Fix," at first announced on Thursday that it was recruiting a select group of 100 people to read through the documents, and then late Thursday abandoned that plan, explaining, "We have had a strong response to our crowdsourcing call-out on the Palin emails. We've reconsidered our approach and now would like to invite comments and annotations from any interested readers."

The Associated Press, another early requester of the records, announced it would fly the documents to the Lower 48 to scan them, creating an archive that would be open only to its member newspapers and customers, not the public, though by then the free public archives from others should already be online.

Video: Palin defends her telling of Revere’s ride (on this page)

Other organizations expected to pay for the records were the British paper The Guardian, Bloomberg News, CNN, CBS and The Los Angeles Times, according to Perez, the administrator in the governor's office.

Other news companies, including The Wall Street Journal and The Newsweek Daily Beast, didn't buy the documents, but sent reporters at the last minute, begging to piggyback on the spade work of others.

Even the online news organization The Huffington Post, which apparently isn't purchasing a copy, posted a plea asking its readers to help it go through them. It said it "expects to start receiving some of these emails Friday afternoon,"  but didn't say how.

Even citizens have to pay
Andrée McLeod, the Republican activist who has taken the state to court several times in her fight for Palin public records, was told that she could not pick up her copy of the records at the governor's satellite office in Anchorage, where she lives. Gov. Parnell's office gave McLeod a choice of paying an additional  $443.73 for shipping to Anchorage, or paying for a flight down to Juneau to reveiw the records by appointment sometime next week.

McLeod complained to Parnell in a letter: "You have transferred more positions from Juneau to Anchorage than other governors, not counting Sarah. For all intent and purposes, you occupy the Anchorage office as much as the Juneau one... Am I to understand that when it's convenient for you and your staff, the Anchorage office becomes a viable extension of your Juneau office, except when it serves the public re: the review of these emails as stated in the Public Records Act?”

Msnbc.com writer/editor Sylvia Wood contributed reporting in Juneau.

Links
Live blog of the Palin email release, from msnbc.com's Open Channel

Twitter feed: @openchannelblog, or hashtag: #palinemail.

The public archive of emails.

Background
Here are links to our previous coverage, with details on the requests, the state's explanation of the delays, and the shifting estimates of the costs.

Alaska must release Palin emails by May 31, state AG declares

Quest for Palin emails may exceed her time in office

Want Palin's emails? That'll be $15 million

Search the archive of Todd Palin emails

Palin emails reveal a powerful 'first dude'

Palin lawyer responds to msnbc.com story

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Explainer: Emails reveal snapshots of Palin's term

  • Highlights from the former vice presidential candidate's time as governor of Alaska.

  • Palin spots trouble for travel expense records

    Aug. 6, 2008
    The Anchorage Daily News requests copies of records, and the governor (not her staff) noticed that some forms were not signed, others had no explanation of the travel purpose, and others were missing entirely from the records being released.

    "But I'm not going to worry about those either I guess," Palin told her staff. "We need to be prepared to take heat for findings in these Gov's Office travels as some of the TAs (travel authorizations) are obviously inconsistent and blundered."

  • Complains about coverage

    March 18, 2007
    Gov. Palin complains that an article in the Juneau Empire newspaper described information being held back from the public (relating to the transition committee reports on the Alaska Permanent Fund). The lawmaker says to her staff, "If there's something you can do to help un-do the records withholding issue that at least three reporters are sort of up-in-arms about, please do so. I campaigned on open and transparent government. I don't know why the issue covered in the article today was ever NOT made public." She says the "gist of the article is so disappointing because it's 180-degrees from where I want to be with information deserving to be seen by the public."

  • A vandalism case?

    May 12, 2008
    The state attorney general, Travis Colberg, her old friend from Wasilla, e-mailed the governor with the subject line, "Vandalism case." The entire email is withheld under "confidential/attorney client privilege." We see only her reply from her Blackberry, "Got it. Thank you."

  • Palin: 'Huck's a good pick for me'

    Image: Mike Huckabee
    Chip Somodevilla  /  Getty Images file
    According to emails from early 2008, Palin liked what she heard from Huckabee.

    Early in 2008
    Palin wrote an email about a conversation she had with Mike Huckabee, who at the time was locked in a battle with Ariz. Sen. John McCain for the Republican nomination for president. As her Jan. 30 email indicates, Palin was still deciding whom to endorse, but liked what she heard from Huckabee, a Baptist minister and former Arkansas governor.

    “He called. Very cool. Unless McCain calls, Huck's a good pick for me, just fyi. He says he's all for gasline and anwr- very cool.”

    Click here to read the email

  • Staff ghost-wrote a newspaper op-ed

    September 2007
    Gov. Palin's staff ghost-wrote a newspaper op-ed piece for her ally Kristan Cole in 2007, during the controversy over a dairy called Matanuska Creamery. (This is a well-known controversy in Alaska, where the it's known as the Mat Maid dairy. You can read a summary here.)

    n September 2007, Kristan Cole, Palin's good friend and chairwoman of the creamery's board, submitted an op-ed piece. Deputy press secretary Sharon Leighow sent around an e-mail: "Folks - This is our final draft of the Mat Maid Op/Ed to be submitted on behalf of Kristan Cole. Thoughts?" Palin responded to the group, "i'm tweaking it." The conversation continued the rest of the day, with another aid, Bruce Anders, writing, "I edited substantially from the original, and including some major rewrites and deletions."

    Click here to read the email

  • Requests alcohol 'removed from the People's House'

    May 6, 2007
    As the mother of two teens during her time in office, Palin sought some help from her staff in keeping the alcohol in the governor’s mansion away from young people. She wanted it boxed up and “removed from the People’s House,” according to one email dated May 6, 2007.

    “Here's my thinking: with so many kids and teens coming and going in that house, esp during this season of celebrationstt for young people - proms, graduations, etc, I want to send the msg that we can be - and "the People' s House" needs to be - alcohol-free. There's a lot of booze there - its too accessible and may be too tempting to any number of all those teens coming and going.”

    Click here to read the email

  • Fake interview

    March 20, 2007
    Palin's staff was setting up an interview on natural gas issues with Energy TV from Canada. Here's how the interview was set up: Her aide, Sharon Leighow, asked the questions, and the answers were posted on a teleprompter for Palin to read. Then the fake interview was uploaded by satellite to Energy TV. "You're awesome," the governor told her staff. "You're all awesome. What a day..."

    Click here to read the email

  • 'A guy named Barack Obama'

    Pete Souza  /  The White House
    President Barack Obama meets with, from left, Senior Advisor Pete Rouse, Communications Director Anita Dunn and Deputy Chief of Staff Mona Sutphen in the Oval Office, Oct. 13, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

    February 19, 2007
    An email shows a meeting planned between Palin and Pete Rouse, described as "chief of staff for a guy named Barack Obama." At that point Obama may not have heard of Palin either.

  • Opposed to hunting in protected area

    Jan. 2, 2007
    Sarah Palin reminds an aide that even though she’s a hunter, she’s opposed to bear hunting in the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary, 200 square miles of protected wildlife habitat located approximately 250 miles southwest of Anchorage.

    “I am a hunter. I grew up hunting - some of my best memories growing up are of hunting with my dad to help feel our freezer... I want Alaskans to have access to wildlife... BUT - he's asking if I support hunting the bears in the sanctuary? No, I don't... I don't know any Alaskans who do support hunting the McNeil bears that frequent the viewing area."

    Click here to read the email

Photos: Sarah Palin

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  1. A scene from the TV show Sarah Palin's Alaska. Sarah Palin ready to head up the river in Todd's boat to see the fish counting in Dillingham, where the Palin family usually spend 4th of July. (Gilles Mingasson / TLC via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Sarah Palin is handed Sophie, a 10-week-old puppy, for a signature during the kick-off of the Tea Party Express bus tour at a rally on Monday, Oct. 18, 2010, in Reno, Nev. (Julie Jacobson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Sarah Palin talks to supporters at an "Evening with Sarah Palin" event on Wednesday, May 12, 2010, in Rosemont, Ill. (Jim Prisching / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. People walk by a window display of "Going Rogue: an American Life", a book from former Republican vice-president candidate Sarah Palin, as it hit stores on November 17, 2009, in New York. Palin's book has already become a bestseller, with pre-release sales knocking Dan Brown's latest thriller off the number one spot on Amazon.com. (Emmanuel Dunand / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. In the November 23 issue of Newsweek: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sarah? She’s Bad News for the GOP - And For Everybody Else Too, Evan Thomas looks at the impact of Sarah Palin on politics. The cover sparked controversy with Sarah Palin blasting the "out-of-context" cover as "sexist" because the photos were originally published in 'Runners World.' Palin took issue with Newsweek using a photo from an article about fitness to promote an analysis piece contemplating her relevance in politics. (PRNewsFoto via Newsweek) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. This photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009 shows talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, second from right, with former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her daughters, Willow, right, and Piper, left, during the taping of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in Chicago. Although Sarah Palin didn't answer Oprah's question about whether or not Levi Johnston was invited for Thanksgiving dinner, Sarah told Oprah that Levi is "still part of the family" and "he needs to know hes loved. When Palin was asked about a 2012 run, Palin said, "It's not on my radar screen." (George Burns / Harpo productions via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announces that she is stepping down from her position as Governor in Wasilla, Alaska on Friday July 3, 2009. The former Republican vice presidential candidate made the surprise announcement, saying she would step down July 26 but didn't announce her plans. (AP Photo/The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, Robert DeBerry) (Robert Deberry / The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Susan Wynalek, right, of Coltsneck, N.J., her daughter Stephanie, center and son Brett participate in a "Fire David Letterman" rally across from the Ed Sullivan Theater, on June 16, 2009 in New York. The protest was held in response to jokes he made on "The Late Show" about Sarah Palin and her teenage daughter. (Mary Altaffer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Sen. John McCain concedes victory during an election night rally in Phoenix, Ariz., on Nov. 4, 2008. The Republican and running mate Sarah Palin were defeated by a wide margin. (Mike Blake / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Sarah Palin accepts the vice-presidential nomination before a packed house at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. In her speech, she criticized the “Washington elite” that had raised questions about her qualifications. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Sen. John McCain, center, greets Bristol Palin and her boyfriend Levi Johnston as running mate Sarah Palin looks on. (Charles Dharapak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. This picture provided by John McCain's campaign shows his running mate Sarah Palin, left, meeting with first lady Laura Bush, center, and McCain's wife Cindy in Minneapolis on Sept. 2, 2008. (Johnmccain.com / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Sen. John McCain greets supporters as he arrives with running mate Sarah Palin, center, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at a campaign rally in O'Fallon, Mo., on August 31, 2008. (Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Bristol Palin, 17, holds her brother Trig during the campaign rally where Sen. John McCain introduced her mother as his vice presidential running mate in Dayton, Ohio, on Aug. 29, 2008. (Stephan Savoia / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. An enthusiastic crowd greets Sarah Palin at the rally where Sen. John McCain introduced her as his running mate. (Matt Sullivan / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Palin and her family: son Track and husband Todd, in the back, daughters Willow and Bristol on each side and daughter Piper in the front. (Alaska Governors Office via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, seen here on Aug. 13, 2008, describes herself as a "hockey mom" and an occasional commercial fisherwoman. She oversees a state that’s hardly shy about admiring her swept-back hair and celebrated smile. Bumper stickers and blogs have proclaimed Alaska and Palin: "Coldest State, Hottest Governor." (Marc Lester / AP ) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Sarah Palin visits Army Pfc. John Kegley at a U.S. military medical center in Landstuhl, Germany, on July 26, 2007. (Airman 1st Class Kenny Holston / USAF) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Sarah Palin chats with Alaska-based troops serving at a desert camp in Kuwait on July 25, 2007. (Spc. Wesley Landrum / US Army) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Laurie Serino, left, talks about high food and energy prices with Sarah Palin in Barrow, Alaska, on June 30, 2008. Palin had proposed that state lawmakers approve $1,200 emergency payments to Alaska residents to help deal with rising costs. (Al Grillo / AP ) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Sarah Palin and her husband Todd hold their baby boy, Trig, in Anchorage on April 23, 2008. Palin's fifth child was born with Down syndrome. (Al Grillo / AP ) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Appearing at the state elections office in Anchorage on March 14, 2008, Sarah Palin announces her endorsement of Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, center, in his run for Alaska's congressional seat. Parnell had just filed to run against incumbent Republican Don Young. (Michael Dinneen / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Typically seen in black or red power suits while reading text messages on Blackberrys in each hand, Sarah Palin has appeared in Vogue, the fashion magazine. (Win McNamee / Getty Images ) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Sarah Palin is sworn in as Alaska's governor on Dec. 4, 2006, in Fairbanks. Alaska's first female governor, she took office on an ethics reform platform after defeating two former governors in the primary and general elections. Holding the Bible is her husband, Todd Palin. (Al Grillo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Sarah Palin, along with one of her daughters, poses with the caribou she shot in Alaska. Palin grew up hunting and fishing and is a member of the National Rifle Association. (Heath Family via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Sarah Palin, then Sarah Heath, worked as a news anchor in 1988 for KTUU-TV in Anchorage, Alaska. (KTUU-TV) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Sarah Palin poses for a photo after she won the Miss Wasilla beauty pagent in 1984 in Wasilla, Alaska. She went on to compete in the Miss Alaska competition, where she finished as a runner-up. (Heath Family via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Sarah Palin, a star basketball player in high school, stands with her brother, Chuck Heath, and sister, Heather Heath, in Wasilla, Alaska. (Heath Family via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. This undated photo provided by the Heath family shows Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, then Sarah Heath in Alaska. (Heath Family via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. This undated photo provided by the Heath family shows Sarah Palin, then Sarah Heath, holding shrimp her father, Chuck, caught in Skagway, Alaska, where he was a school teacher for 5 years. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. This 1964 photo shows Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with her mother, Sally Heath, in Wasilla, Alaska. Palin was the first Alaskan to run on a national ticket. (Heath Family via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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