The former vice-presidential candidate, who was banned from giving press conferences by John McCain's campaign team during the election, finally held her first at the Republican governors' conference, now being held in Miami. But it lasted only 10 minutes, with a Republican official intervening to try to cut it off after she had answered only three questions. She eventually answered a fourth.
Palin, who has given a string of television interviews this week to bolster her credentials for a presidential bid, appealed in her speech to the party's right. She called for a return to traditional Republican values, which she defined as restricting federal spending and limiting the role of the federal government in general.
"Losing an election does not have to mean losing our way," she said, but she appeared nervous and uncertain.
She used the press conference to try to put the 2008 campaign behind her, and to switch focus to the next test for the Republicans: the 2010 elections for Congress and 36 governorships.
US political websites that normally only attract small numbers were inundated with hundreds of comments. On the Politico website, some hailed her as a political rock star while others said her performance confirmed the wisdom of the McCain team in keeping her away from the press. "She makes absolutely no sense when she talks," one said.
She has not yet declared she will stand in 2012, but this week did tell an interviewer she was awaiting a signal from God.
In Miami yesterday, she described her fellow Republican governors as the bedrock of the party, and well placed to help it rebuild.
She will face competition from fellow governors such as Bobby Jindal, Charlie Crist and Tim Pawlenty for the presidential nomination. But almost all the media attention at the conference was on Palin.
Another potential candidate, Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, told other governors at the conference on Wednesday night: "Anybody here tonight that has thought about the 2012 presidential election needs to keep their eye on the ball. We don't need to talk about 2012."
Asked at the press conference whether she planned to stand in 2012, Palin said: "As far as we're concerned, the past is the past, it's behind us. And I, like all of our governors, we're focused on the future. And the future for us is not that 2012 presidential race. It's next year, it's next year and our next budget, and the next reforms in our states, and in 2010 we're going to have 36 governors' positions open across the US."
The governors' conference has turned into an inquest into what went wrong in the recent presidential and congressional elections. The governors have divided into two camps: those such as Palin who argue for a return to conservative values, and those such as Crist, the governor of Florida, who favour broadening the appeal of the party.
In her speech, Palin called for the governors to support Barack Obama's administration, but at the same time urged them to act as a brake on the Democratic White House and Congress if they attempted to raise taxes.