Palin emails don't contain any bombshell, 'gotcha' moments

There are no bombshells, no "gotcha" moments.

The emails of Sarah Palin -- more than 24,000 pages of them released Friday by the State of Alaska from her first two years as governor -- paint a picture of an image-conscious leader involved with the day-to-day duties of running the state and riding herd on the signature issues of her administration.

She angled for the vice presidential nomination months before John McCain picked her -- and hinted at presidential aspirations.

The messages give a behind-the-scenes look at a politician who burst onto the national stage after serving as Wasilla mayor and less than two years as Alaska governor. They show a woman striving to balance work and home, fiercely protective of her family and highly sensitive to media coverage. She expressed a sometimes mothering side with aides but was also quick to demand answers or accountability.

They seem to depict a more moderate Palin who worked to find a state response to global warming -- she has since dismissed studies supporting climate change -- and gave props to then-Sen. Barack Obama for his support of a natural gas pipeline in Alaska.

The records, comprising more than 13,400 emails, shed new light on Palin's rise from little-known governor to national political sensation. The emails end in September 2008, shortly after her selection to be McCain's running mate. It was then that citizens and news organizations first requested the records.

Three years later, Palin is a best-selling author, reality TV star, sought-after speaker and kingmaker, successfully supporting dozens of candidates in last year's elections.

Her recent bus tour of the Northeast as well as an authorized documentary about her time as governor, have fueled speculation that Palin will run for president, but the Republican says she hasn't decided.

In Anchorage, people watched the release of the emails with interest, some blaming the media for paying too much attention to the outdated records.

"I personally think they're afraid of her," said Richard Giese, who sold flowers at the Anchorage Farmer's Market on Saturday. "They're digging up a lot of stuff, some of it true. I won't deny that. But I think they are afraid of her for the election."

Gail Sieberts, who was shopping at the market, called it a distraction.

"We're glad she's not here anymore," she said. "Our state is running better, and we don't need all the drama."

While much of the country was taken by surprise when Palin became the Republican vice presidential candidate, her emails suggest she was angling for the slot for months, and that she may have been courted even earlier.

As the national attention intensified, Palin seemed frustrated and overwhelmed by the constant media spotlight. After the nomination and before, she became most angry when the attention was on her family.

On Sunday, April 6, 2008, Palin's father passed along reports that rumors swirling of daughter Bristol's pregnancy were coming from the office of Palin critic and fellow Wasilla Republican Sen. Lyda Green. Palin asked aides to find out whether a newspaper reporter and television reporter had heard the rumor from the Green staffer or former Palin aide.

Palin called the circulating rumors "flippin' unbelievable."

"Bristol does want it squashed -- we just don't know how to do so without making it a bigger issue," Palin wrote of her eldest daughter.

The delay in releasing Palin's emails, which had been requested by media organizations and citizens, has been attributed largely to the sheer volume. The emails were sent and received by Palin's personal and state email accounts, and the ones being released were deemed state business-related.

The state withheld 2,275 pages for reasons including attorney-client, work product or executive privilege; an additional 140 pages were deemed to be "non-records," or unrelated to state business.