In many ways, 2009 was the Year of Sarah Palin.
Hardly a day went by when Palin wasn't getting some kind of attention – for better or worse – on TV, radio, Facebook, Twitter, as well as news outlets and blogs across the spectrum. For anyone in the business of attracting an audience, Palin and her family were the gift that kept on giving all year long.
This year, Sarah Palin ...
... shocked everyone by resigning as governor of Alaska in July halfway through her term, saying she would pursue a "higher calling."
... wrote "Going Rogue," a memoir that sold more than a million copies.
... attracted crowds of fans who waited in line for hours to have her sign their copies of "Going Rogue." But Palin was the target of tomatoes hurled in her direction by a man at the Mall of America in Minnesota. A Costco in Utah where she appeared later removed tomatoes from the shelves during Palin's visit.
... got mixed reviews for her remarks at an investment conference in Hong Kong in September, Palin's first speech since leaving office.
... revealed in a speech to an anti-abortion group in Indiana that she briefly considered ending her pregnancy last year when tests showed her son, Trig, would have Down syndrome.
... shook up the health care reform debate in August with this charge on her Facebook page: "The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care." In December, PolitiFact selected death panels as its Lie of the Year.
... wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed saying there would be no death panels in the health care bill after all because her warning "rang true for many Americans."
... made the GOP nervous when she said her husband, Todd, and oldest son Track are not registered Republicans, and she pledged to campaign for "candidates who believe in the right things" – even if they're Democrats.
... endorsed Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate in New York's 23rd congressional district, helping to knock GOP candidate Dede Scozzafava out of the race. Hoffman narrowly lost the House seat to Democrat Bill Owens.
... also offered her almost-son-in-law an olive branch – or at least a turkey drumstick. When Oprah asked if Johnston was invited to Thanksgiving dinner, Palin left the door open – saying he's "part of the family" and "is loved." He impolitely declined.
... feuded with David Letterman, who apologized for making a joke about one of Palin's daughters getting "knocked up" at a New York Yankees game by third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
... fired back at Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Facebook post titled "Greener Than Thou?" after the California governor criticized a Washington Post op-ed she wrote urging President Obama to boycott the Copenhagen climate change conference.
... denied in another Facebook post former Vice President Al Gore's charge that she's a global warming "denier."
... told a radio interviewer "it's a fair question" to ask whether President Obama is really an American citizen. Hours later, on Facebook, she declared that she had never "suggested that he was not born in the United States."
... complained – once again via Facebook – about Newsweek putting a photo of her posing in jogging shorts on its cover. She called the magazine's use of the picture, originally taken for Runner's World, "sexist and oh-so-expected by now."
... poked fun at herself and the news media in remarks at the Gridiron Club dinner, an annual gathering of the Washington insiders she usually scorns. Palin told the crowd that, earlier in the day, she'd gone for a jog – "or, as Newsweek calls it, a cover shoot."
... cut short a vacation in Hawaii because of the flap over photos of her wearing a McCain campaign visor with the name of her former running mate scribbled out with a black marker. The author of "Going Rouge" explained that it was just a failed attempt to "go incognito" -- not a slap at John McCain.
... inspired a year's worth of late-night humor, including William Shatner's dramatic readings of her resignation speech and selected Tweets on "The Tonight Show" in July. Palin got into the act in December, when she and Shatner shared the stage – each reading from the other's memoir.
... was named one of Barbara Walters' "Top 10 Most Fascinating People" for the second year in a row.
... wished everyone a Merry Christmas in a message posted – where else? – on Facebook.