- The Washington Times - Friday, February 5, 2010

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Meghan Stapleton, an aide and adviser to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, said Wednesday she is resigning at the end of the month to spend more time with her young daughter.

The former TV reporter and anchor has been close to Palin since late 2006, when Palin was elected governor and tapped Stapleton to lead her communications team.

Stapleton was often the public face — and defender — of Palin when Palin was the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008.

Fred Malek, a Republican strategist who also has advised Palin, called Stapleton’s resignation “clearly a loss to Team Palin.”

“But at the same time,” he said, “Meg has other obligations, and I think she has her priorities right.”

Stapleton said she plans to enjoy simple things such as ice skating and skiing at home in Alaska, without having to worry about checking her BlackBerry.

“Taking care of the governor was my priority for the last, I guess it’s been almost 3 years, and now I just want to personally refocus and spend some time with my precious little one,” said Stapleton, who turned 38 on Wednesday.

Stapleton also acted as a spokeswoman for the Palin family on matters such as the relationship between Palin’s daughter Bristol and Levi Johnston, the father of Palin’s grandson.

Stapleton lived with Palin in San Diego when Palin was finishing her book, “Going Rogue,” and was involved with the book tour and with Palin’s political action committee, SarahPAC.

Stapleton said she gave notice last week after speaking with Palin over time about balancing family and work. Palin has five children.

Stapleton said her time with Palin was an amazing experience because of the way she manages and operates.

“I was just so involved, and she made sure all of the employees with the state were just so involved in providing their opinions, and she would make the decisions from there,” Stapleton said. “It was just a great opportunity.”

She said she would happily advise Palin in the future if the former governor sought her opinion.

Palin is currently a Fox News contributor who is seen as a potential 2012 presidential candidate.

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