Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin closed the door on a presidential run Wednesday, removing the last big question mark in the Republican presidential field one day after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christieannounced he would take a pass on a White House bid.

Taken together, the announcements from the two popular Republicans appear to have finally crystallized the fluid GOP presidential field and made way for the final chapters of the nomination contest, which has evolved into a verbal slugfest between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

In her announcement, Mrs. Palin, the party’s 2008 vice-presidential nominee, who left her job as governor after just two years, said that after much prayer and serious consideration “I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for president of the United States.

“I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office from the nation’s governors to congressional seats and the presidency,” she said.

“We need to continue to actively and aggressively help those who will stop the “fundamental transformation” of our nation and instead seek the restoration of our greatness, our goodness and our constitutional republic based on the rule of law.”

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