[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/07/palin.resignation/art.palin.interview.cnn.jpg caption="Sarah Palin's attorney said there is no legal reason that compelled her to resign as governor."]
Special to CNN
"Everything changed on August 29 in politics in Alaska," Sarah Palin told NBC's Andrea Mitchell this week. The reference was to the day last year when John McCain announced that Palin, a 44-year-old mother of five who became Alaska's governor only in December 2006, would be his presidential running mate.
McCain's surprise pick altered the trajectory of the 2008 campaign - for a few weeks, at least - and launched Palin, until then an unknown political neophyte, on the path to global celebrity. But it also set in motion a chain of events that, a little more than 10 months later, would culminate in Palin's surprise announcement that she would leave her office effective July 26.
Before the day she joined the 2008 Republican presidential ticket, Alaskans saw Sarah Palin as a champion of ethics in government who had twice defeated oil interests, governed with Democrats in a bipartisan manner and brought down powerful members of her own party. She enjoyed record approval ratings, and her major initiatives had all been signed into law.
But the good times didn't last. By the following July, Palin's approval numbers had sunk to the mid-50th percentile, the coalition on which she governed had collapsed, and most of her time was spent combating a hostile media and frivolous ethics complaints.
What happened? The campaign.
Filed under: Sarah Palin
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with