Get ready to see more of Sarah Palin around the continental U.S.: The Alaska Governor and former vice presidential hopeful says she will step down as governor at the end of the month, "We know we can effect positive change outside of government... It is my duty to always protect our great state. With that in mind, my family and I determined that it is best to make a difference this summer, and I am willing to change things, so that this administration, with its positive agenda, its accomplishments, and its successful road to an incredible future, can continue without interruption and with great administrative and legislative success." Politico reports, "Leaving office at the end of the month, [Palin] will be able to travel the country more freely without facing the sort of repeated ethics inquiries she’s been fending off since returning to Alaska earlier this year."

Here's 7 minutes of her 18 minute speech (which was something else—here's the text of her full, basketball analogy-filled remarks):

The Caucus reports, "Her decision follows a week of extraordinarily bad publicity, from within her own state over ethics inquiries and across the national landscape as top aides on her vice-presidential campaign and supporters have been engaged in a highly public feud that has spilled out in vociferous tones online on blogs and on television. Bloggers in Alaska, critics of the governor as well as former Palin supporters, suggest also that pending releases of e-mails among the Palins were about to expose her to further questions about her finances and governance issues." The Democratic National Committee issued this statement:

Either Sarah Palin is leaving the people of Alaska high and dry to pursue her long shot national political ambitions or she simply can’t handle the job now that her popularity has dimmed and oil revenues are down. Either way - her decision to abandon her post and the people of Alaska who elected her continues a pattern of bizarre behavior that more than anything else may explain the decision she made today.

Ouch! Sources tell NBC News' Andrea Mitchell that Palin is out of politics for good.

Vanity Fair's scathing profile of Palin offered this post-2008 election observation, "The conventional wisdom among Palin’s supporters in the Republican establishment was that she should go home, keep her head down, show that she could govern effectively, and quietly educate herself about foreign and domestic policy with the help of a cadre of experienced advisers. She has done none of this."