Typically a lame duck session refers to the time in between an election and the inauguration after a new administration has been voted in. Palin has never explained why she thinks a decision not to seek a second term turns a politician into a lame duck.
"With this decision I will be able to fight even harder for you, for what is right, and for truth," Palin said. "I have never felt that you need a title to do that. So as we all move forward together, let's vow to keep championing Alaska, to advocate responsible development and smaller government, and freedom."
Palin offered no real explanation as to how relinquishing her role as the state's most powerful and influential figure will give her greater ability to champion Alaska, or what she planned to do now that she has resigned, but a spokesperson said she would work on writing a book.
At times striking a defiant tone, at others displaying a home-spun folksy charm, Palin's speech recalled those rallies in the Lower 48 that endeared her to millions on the vice presidential campaign trail.
"First, some straight talk for some -- just some -- in the media ... democracy depends on you, and that is why our troops are willing to die for you," Palin said. "So, how about in honor of the American solider you quit making things up?"
That line received perhaps the loudest and longest ovation of the afternoon. After that she launched an attack on Hollywood.
"You're going to see anti-hunting, anti-Second Amendment circuses from Hollywood, and here's how they do it: They use these delicate, tiny, very talented celebrity starlets, they use Alaska as a fundraising tool for their anti-Second Amendment causes," Palin said. "Stand strong and remind them patriots will protect our individual guaranteed right to bear arms.
"Hollywood needs to know we eat, therefore we hunt."
From there Palin segued into an anti-big government screed, defending her opposition to federal stimulus money.
"We can resist enslavement to big, central government that crushes hope and opportunity," she said. "Beware of accepting government largesse. It doesn't come free and often accepting it takes away everything that is free.
"I resisted the stimulus package and we have championed earmark reform ... to break the cycle of dependency on a stifling, unsustainable federal agenda, and other states should follow this."
Palin also touted her accomplishments with ethics reform -- though she cheekily noted the law needs tweaking to "stop blatant abuse from partisan operatives," a reference to the spate of ethics complaints that have dogged Palin over the last year, including one where an investigator found probable cause of ethics violations -- and her work on the natural gas pipeline.
"What I promised, we accomplished," she said. "We have come so far in just 50 years. We're no longer a frontier outpost on the periphery of the world's greatest nation, now as a contributor and a securer of America we can attain our destiny in the promise of our motto, ‘North to the Future.'"
The speech was generally well received by a supportive crowd, but there were handfuls of protestors.
"She's Sarah, she says it the way it is. That's Sarah, that's why we love her," Bob Scewz said.
"Same type of speech with a little bit of defiance, and that's the Sarah Palin we know and love," Rep. Bill Stoltz, R-Chugiak, said.
"I feel as though Sarah used a lot of key words but didn't actually tell us anything," said Kate, who did not give her last name.
After Palin's speech, Parnell and Craig Campbell were sworn in. Campbell took the oath of office as lieutenant governor, though he still needs to be confirmed by the state Legislature, likely to occur during a special session on Aug. 10.
"I am honored and humbled to stand before you as your governor," Parnell said during his 13-minute inaugural address. "We will position Alaska for investment and for growth. State government can help produce an economic climate ripe for job creation.
"On economic policies I will not be constrained by a short-term view of our economy, but instead I will work for Alaska's future."
Campbell also delivered a brief set of remarks.
While Parnell is considered to be the 12th governor since statehood, he is only the 10th different person to hold the office. William Egan and Walter Hickel both served two non-consecutive terms and are counted twice.
Andrew Hinkelman reported from Anchorage. Contact Channel 2 News at firstname.lastname@example.org