This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 2, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Now to one of the states holding its caucus on Super Tuesday, Alaska. Two dozen delegates are up for grabs in the closed caucus of Alaska. So which candidate might have an edge?
Now, in 2008, Governor Mitt Romney won the Alaska caucus with almost 44 percent of the vote. Congressman Ron Paul finished third with 17 percent. But that was four years ago, and of course, much has changed. So how is it looking this year?
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin joins us from Wasilla. Good evening, Governor.
SARAH PALIN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR/FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Hi, Greta. How are you?
VAN SUSTEREN: Very well. Well, you all -- you all always talk about the lower 48, so right now, we're going to talk about the upper 1, the state of Alaska, in terms of your big caucus. Tell me, going into this caucus, has any candidate come up to Alaska and campaigned?
PALIN: No. None of the candidates seem to ever want to come up to Alaska. It must be too tough up for them up here, these conditions, unfortunately. They need to get up here and they need to see what Alaska has to offer in terms of workforce and energy resources that can secure our nation.
They haven't been up here, but some have made an effort. Newt Gingrich did do a teleconference with supporters and others up here in Alaska to talk about energy just recently.
As you mentioned, Romney won four years ago. Wouldn't be surprised if he wins again. There's also a strong libertarian streak here in Alaska, so Ron Paul, it made sense that he did well four years ago. He'll do well again.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, it's sort of interesting, you know, the Alaska vote is a fascinating one because of the libertarian aspect to it. But I'm sort of curious, you know, about the other candidates. Speaker Gingrich -- you hear anyone talk about him, or Senator Santorum, or is it just basically -- is this a Romney/Ron Paul fight?
PALIN: No, it's not just Romney and Ron Paul because as we just mentioned, Newt Gingrich has made that effort to explain to all of America that Alaska is very resource-rich. We have hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of clean, green natural gas up here just waiting to be tapped. We have billions and billions of barrels ever oil.
We have a strategic location on the globe, obviously, so close to Russia, so close to trade zones and Pacific Rim countries that we trade with. And our strategic location ultimately does help secure our nation. Alaska has a lot to offer.
Newt recognizes that. He has spoken to Alaskans about it in his teleconference, and that bodes well for him and allows us to respect his position in this presidential campaign.
But it's a very small process in terms of numbers participating up here in a closed caucus. It's basically a presidential preference poll that is taken. And out of our entire population, only about 14,000 people actually are able to participate. And you have to be registered as a Republican to participate in the process up here in choosing the nominee.
People like my husband, Todd, who's an independent Alaskan, an independent patriotic American -- he can't even participate in the process because it is closed.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. What's also sort of fascinating is that when -- of course, when you take the state of Alaska and you put it on the lower 48, you're almost half the size of the lower 48. And these caucuses -- I mean, they're going to be held, I assume, all over the state in some very sort of remote areas, and even sort of the organizational aspect is actually quite different than in other states.
PALIN: Yes. The caucus, if you will, some in small communities are actually held in people's homes, and a local restaurant, perhaps, and local churches. Again, very small process. So not always -- as I think is universal across the nation, not always indicative of what a general election outcome would look like because no matter who it is who comes out on top in terms of nominating that GOP candidate coming from Alaska, I'll bet you the majority of Alaskans are still of the mindset that it must be anybody but Obama.
We're a very pro-military state up here. We recognize what it is that our men and women in uniform sacrifice for all of us to keep us secure. And at this point, we're watching Obama with his naive apologies to savages in Afghanistan who turn around and kill our soldiers. We look at things like that, the actions of our sitting president, and we say, Anybody but Obama.
And that is why, Greta, the Alaskans whom I speak with, we're so tired of the pettiness within that GOP process of -- you know, the folks are bickering back and forth about different tactics taken within their campaigns and in this nominating process.
We're trying to remind these candidates, stay focused on the main thing, and that is get a commander-in-chief whom our troops deserve! Get a commander-in-chief who will keep our nation safe, who understands our Constitution and the number one job of a president is to keep this homeland and Americans safe.
When we don't see that coming from our own president, we get very perturbed and very impatient with the pettiness of GOP campaigns that bicker at one another. And we say, stay focused on the main thing. The main thing, replace Barack Obama in November 2012!
VAN SUSTEREN: Is it fair to say -- I mean, different parts of the country have different challenges, different problems, different employment, unemployment rates. In Alaska, I assume that the key issue that drives most of the vote is centered around your state's industry. Besides tourism and wildlife and hunting, there is the oil industry.
Is that -- is that, do you think, the vote, whether you go Republican or Democrat or even how you vote within a particular party, driven mostly by issues relating to oil and energy?
PALIN: Most Alaskans are independent and we're not obsessed with the obsessive partisanship on either side of the aisle that get in the way of just doing what's right for the people. We believe in the United States Constitution and in our state constitution.
I think, Greta, too, because we are such a young state -- we're just barely over 50 years old -- as we got to learn from other states and maybe some parts of other states' constitutions that we didn't want to emulate and the strengths of other Constitutions that we did want to emulate, we were able to put together a real fine constitution for our state that says we will be as self-sufficient as possible. And we do that by developing our God-given resources up here.
That's what our constitution says in our state. Unfortunately, the federal government, who has our -- our -- obviously, our U.S. federal Constitution in its purview, has not adhered to their end of the bargain. They have not let Alaska develop all our resources. Less than one half of 1 percent of Alaska lands are even in the private sector's hands. Government essentially owns the state of Alaska.
And when the federal government does not allow us to develop our resources, thus we are sort of at the beck and call of budgets in the federal government to fund much of our services -- we don't want to be in that position. We want to stick with our end of the bargain when we became a state 50-some years ago and we said we'd be as self-sufficient as possible.
We just want the federal government to allow us to live that out by developing our resources, and then we won't be on the federal government's dole to the degree that we are today.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's sort of an interesting bit of political tidbits, since we're talking about super-Tuesday -- the first time you and I crossed paths because the Alaskans have always been very -- very active in politics, was in I think 2004, when a mayor of Wasilla came up to me at the Republican convention I was covering.
PALIN: I remember that! I chased you down a hall, Greta, and I said that I'd always wanted to meet you. And when I met you, I said, Man, on TV. You know, I thought you were, like, six feet tall. And you said, "Well, I am."
PALIN: And I was so impressed there with your boldness! But Greta, also, though, because...
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me just add one thing. The funny thing is, though, then I then had to -- once you became the nominee, I ended up chasing you down every hall and across every state.
PALIN: I know! No, no, no. But listen, since we are an energy-rich state and we know that William Seward, back in Lincoln's cabinet all these years ago, secured the territory of Alaska, purchased it from Russia so that we could ultimately some day secure our union with our resources -- well, it's time that Alaska is allowed to actually do that.
When we watch our president today manipulating U.S. domestic supply of energy and bowing to enemies, asking them to ramp up energy production for us, it really infuriates us because we know that we have the resources up here.
When manipulation of our U.S. currency is devaluing the dollar, which ultimately jacks up energy prices, when you look at your household budget, we say that's ridiculous. We need to replace Barack Obama with someone who understands the energy security that is just at our fingertips, and Alaska has a lot to do with that.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, last time around, Governor Romney in 2008 won the primary in Alaska at 43 percent. If he doesn't equal that and he comes in -- but still wins, is that a win?