Sarah Palin: Why I Resigned

07/07/2009 AT 07:55 AM EDT

In her first interview since her stunning announcement Friday that she was stepping down from her state's highest office, Sarah Palin – in the middle of a fishing trip in a remote corner of Alaska – breathlessly told NBC's Andrea Mitchell that the beginning of the end of her governor's job took place on Aug. 29, the day John McCain chose her as his running mate in the 2008 Presidential race.

"Everything changed" that day, Palin said on Tuesday's Today show. "Nothing would be the same for our administration."

Once she entered the national spotlight, says Palin, "The choice I had to make was, how am I going to react to the circumstances, to the changed conditions? Am I just going to keep plugging away, keep my head down and not going to affect any more change, because every time we try to do something we get hit with an ethics-violation charge or a lawsuit, because that's the political game that's being played right now, even though we've won every one of them that's been thrown our way."

Palin also said that in fending off the various ethics challenges against her and her administration has so far yielded her a $500,000 legal bill.

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