ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - More than 24,000 pages of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s emails show her getting to grips with mundane state issues, feuding with the media and dealing with her sudden rise to national prominence, but do not appear to contain any damaging material.
Alaska released the correspondence on Friday more than two and a half years after news organizations requested it under state open-records laws.
The initial request to see Palin’s correspondence with other state officials — much of it on private Yahoo email accounts — was made in 2008 shortly after Republican presidential nominee John McCain chose Palin as his running mate.
Palin was then the subject of a legislative probe into accusations that she had abused her power as governor to seek revenge against a state trooper who had been married to her sister.
The emails, some heavily redacted to remove private or privileged information, come from the first two years of Palin’s governorship, from December 2006 to September 2008.
About 2,400 pages were withheld because state attorneys deemed them to contain privileged information. Requests to see emails up to Palin’s resignation as governor in July 2009 are still pending.
The New York Times, The Washington Post and cable news channel MSNBC worked all day Friday and overnight to scan the emails and post them online, inviting public response.
Highlights of the emails so far include:
* Palin herself came close to quitting over media reports on her family: “Guys, I may be pretty wimpy about this family stuff but I feel like I’m at the breaking point with the hurtful gossip about my family,” Palin wrote to aides. “I hate this part of the job and many days I feel like it’s not worth it ...”
* Palin was shocked by the media attention — including questions about dinosaurs — after being named vice presidential candidate: “Arghhh! I am so sorry that the office is swamped like this! Dinosaurs even?! I, too, will continue to be dismayed at the media and am thankful you and Sharon are not part of the strange going’s-on in the media world of today,” she wrote to her communications chief, Bill McAllister, in September 2008.
* Palin’s aide Ivy Frye sent a template e-mail to various supporters to send to the Anchorage Daily News protesting harsh coverage of Palin: “Hey, (redacted) Cut the body of this email and paste into a new email and send to email@example.com.
* During the McCain campaign, she was sensitive to criticism from Alaskans that she was neglecting her state duties: “Pls make sure we’re getting state business announcements out to the public under my name as often as possible,” she wrote on a personal email account to her chief of staff Mike Nizich in September 2008.
The six cartons of documents include emails from Palin’s official account as well as two private Yahoo accounts — chiefly firstname.lastname@example.org — which she used to conduct state business, a practice that critics said was an attempt to circumvent Alaska’s open-records law.
The emails “show a very engaged Governor Sarah Palin being the CEO of her state,” said Tim Crawford, treasurer at SarahPAC, Palin’s political action committee. “The emails detail a governor hard at work. Everyone should read them.”
Palin has not said whether she would run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.
MSNBC’s searchable database of the emails can be found at http://palinemail.msnbc.msn.com
Writing by Bill Rigby, editing by Chris Wilson