- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 5, 2009

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a potential Republican rival of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for the White House in 2012, has called her abrupt resignation a “risky strategy” politically.

“Nobody knows whether it’s going to pay off or not,” Mr. Huckabee said on “Fox News Sunday.” “And even if she did get out primarily because of a feeling of being chased, that’s not going to stop if she continues in politics.”

Mr. Huckabee, who ran for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination before withdrawing from the race eight months before the November election, said Mrs. Palin’s hastily called news conference on Friday to announce her resignation has raised more questions than it answered.

“My political mentor, Ed Rollins, the other day on his radio show brought that up, that you don’t call a press conference that creates questions. You call one to resolve them,” the former governor said.

Mrs. Palin, the 2008 vice presidential nominee who has been seen as a likely presidential contender in 2012, said on Friday that her decision to step down from office July 26 was based in part on her family’s desire for her to quit.

But Mr. Huckabee, Arkansas’ governor from 1996 to 2007, said she was making a serious political mistake if she was resigning in order to shield herself and her family from media scrutiny.

“If that had been the case for me, I’d have quit about my first month [as governor] because I was a Republican governor in a state where 89 percent of my legislature were Democrats,” he said.

Karl Rove, a former senior adviser to President George W. Bush, also said on Sunday that he was “perplexed” by the governor’s actions.

“If she wanted to escape the ethics investigations and save the taxpayers money, she’s now done that, but it sort of sent a sent a signal that if you do this kind of thing to a sitting governor like her, you can drive her out of office,” said Mr. Rove on “Fox News Sunday.”

Mr. Rove said that Mrs. Palin’s decision has significantly hurt her chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

“When you’re a sitting governor, you have the tactical advantage, if you’re thinking about running for president, of turning down a lot of things with an excuse that people will accept: ‘I’ve got a job to do as governor,’” he said. “She’s now removed that.”

Mrs. Palin, during her Friday press conference, bemoaned the amount of time and money she had to devote to personal legal battles and overcoming negative press coverage.

“I cannot stand here as your governor and allow the millions of dollars and all that time go to waste just so I can hold the title of governor,” she said, referring to the alleged impact of multiple ethics complaints against her. All but two of the 15 ethics complaints filed against Mrs. Palin have been dismissed with no findings of wrongdoing.

Alaska Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, the next in line to be governor when Mrs. Palin steps down, said she has spoken with him about the toll the ethics investigations has taken on her. He said the legal bills for fighting the complaints already have cost state taxpayers about $2 million.

“That was just over the top, and I think she used the word ‘insane’ … in her remarks,” he said.

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