Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and Tea Party favorite, announced Wednesday that she is not running for president, saying, "my family comes first."
She revealed her intentions on a conservative talk-radio show.
In a statement she issued to the Mark Levin Show and read by Levin on the air, Palin said:
"After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking 2012 GOP nomination for president of the United states. As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision."
She added: "I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office — from the nation's governors to congressional seats and the presidency."
In her statement, she said, "It's not about me, it's about all of us who are trying to wake up America."
She added that she will "help coordinate strategies to assist in replacing the president, re-taking the Senate, and maintaining the House."
Palin told Levin she is not considering a third-party bid.
"Not being a candidate, you are unshackled and able to be even more active," she said.
Palin also thanked her supporters who encouraged her to run "and especially those within the Tea Party and those who are independent and patriotic and know that a republic is worth defending and have been so supportive of the message that I have been privileged to share."
Sen. John McCain plucked Palin from relative obscurity in 2008 by naming her as his running mate. She electrified Republican activists for a while, delivering a well-received speech at the GOP national convention. But Palin later seemed overwhelmed by the national spotlight, faltering at times in televised interviews even when asked straightforward questions.
Palin's announcement Wednesday was much anticipated but not greatly surprising. Her popularity had plummeted in polls lately, even though she remained a darling to many hard-core conservatives. Some Republicans felt she waited and teased too long about a presidential candidacy. Some remained perplexed by her decision to quit her job as governor with more than a year left in her single term.
Palin also angered some Americans with a defensive speech shortly after a Democratic congresswoman was gravely wounded in an Arizona shooting in January that killed six people.
Palin's announcement came one day after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he would not run. Republican insiders say the field is set.
It includes former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whom party insiders see as the strongest contenders. Libertarian-leaning Rep. Ron Paul of Texas continues to draw a devoted following and former pizza company executive Herman Cain has gained in recent polls.
Voting in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary will start in about three months.
Because Palin's star had faded, it's not clear that her decision will have a big impact on the Republican race. Some analysts said Palin might have drawn significant conservative support, especially in Iowa. If so, she might have split that constituency with Perry, Cain, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and others, possibly giving Romney a chance to win the caucus with a relatively modest plurality.
Others felt Perry benefits from Palin's decision because it helps him portray himself as the best-known conservative alternative to Romney.
Republican adviser Matt Mackowiak said Romney benefits from Christie's decision, and Perry benefits from Palin's, so it's "a wash."
In a statement, Perry called Palin "a good friend, a great American and a true patriot."
"I respect her decision and know she will continue to be a strong voice for conservative values and needed change in Washington," he said.
McCain, whose staff often clashed with Palin, said he was confident "she'll continue to play an important role in our party and for our nation."
Bachmann issued the following statement: "Governor Palin is a dear friend of mine and I think the world of her. She has been an important voice in the conservative movement and has a lifetime of opportunities ahead of her."
Palin fans expressed frustration and disbelief on conservatives4palin.com, a supporter Web site.
"Oh! Big mistake, Sarah, for the country and for you. And why wait so long? Geez," wrote a poster identified as militantfeather.
Another, identified as Mark Dormann, said: "Sarah I feel betrayed. You are the one we are waiting for. No one else will reform America. ... you have broken my heart :("
Palin repeatedly stoked speculation about a presidential bid, in part by visiting Iowa, home of the leadoff nominating caucuses, seven times since leaving the governorship in 2009.
Last month, she gave a campaign-themed speech at a tea party rally that drew thousands to a town south of Des Moines.
"I've said all along she's a force in her own right," said Des Moines Republican Becky Beach, who became a friend and part of Palin's small circle as her key planning contact in Iowa. "In this capacity, however it takes shape, she'll be someone who has an impact on the 2012 election."
Palin loses the opportunity to seize a network of organized supporters in Iowa, put together by California lawyer Peter Singleton, who has spent the better part of the year in the state. He said there is no one candidate who can lay claim to the voter database, mailing list and team of campaign volunteers he put together in Iowa.
In her statement, Palin said, "my decision is based upon a review of what common sense conservatives and independents have accomplished, especially over the last year. I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office — from the nation's governors to congressional seats and the presidency. We need to continue to actively and aggressively help those who will stop the 'fundamental transformation' of our nation and instead seek the restoration of our greatness, our goodness and our constitutional republic based on the rule of law."
Text of Palin's official statement:
October 5, 2011
After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for President of the United States. As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country. My decision maintains this order.
My decision is based upon a review of what common sense Conservatives and Independents have accomplished, especially over the last year. I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office - from the nation's governors to Congressional seats and the Presidency. We need to continue to actively and aggressively help those who will stop the "fundamental transformation" of our nation and instead seek the restoration of our greatness, our goodness and our constitutional republic based on the rule of law.
From the bottom of my heart I thank those who have supported me and defended my record throughout the years, and encouraged me to run for President. Know that by working together we can bring this country back - and as I've always said, one doesn't need a title to help do it.
I will continue driving the discussion for freedom and free markets, including in the race for President where our candidates must embrace immediate action toward energy independence through domestic resource developments of conventional energy sources, along with renewables. We must reduce tax burdens and onerous regulations that kill American industry, and our candidates must always push to minimize government to strengthen the economy and allow the private sector to create jobs.
Those will be our priorities so Americans can be confident that a smaller, smarter government that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people can better serve this most exceptional nation.
In the coming weeks I will help coordinate strategies to assist in replacing the President, re-taking the Senate, and maintaining the House.
Thank you again for all your support. Let's unite to restore this country!
God bless America.
- Sarah Palin