This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 21, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, the 5:00 PM deadline has now passed. The drumbeat, though, is loud. It's getting louder. But it sure isn't getting to Congressman Todd Akin in Missouri. He blew off the 5:00 PM Central deadline to drop out of the Senate race. Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan jumping into the fray, urging him to quit.
Congressman Akin is trying to unseat Democratic senator Claire McCaskill. Now, it all started during an interview, when the conversation turned to abortion. Congressman Akin said, If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
Well, then all hell broke loose, and the highest-ranking party members have been urging him to quit the race. So now that Congressman Todd Akin missed a deadline and won't bow out, should the GOP kiss its chance of winning the Missouri Senate seat goodbye?
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin backed Akin's Republican primary opponent, Sarah Steelman. Governor Palin joins us. Good evening, Governor. And I think it's only fair to take a few seconds and to gloat a little bit. You chose the candidate that the Republican Party didn't -- you know, didn't vote in in Missouri, and now all the leaders in the country, Republican leaders, are trying to get Akin to go. So I think they probably love your choice.
SARAH PALIN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR/FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Well, I won't gloat about it, but I was right. And Sarah Steelman's supporters and campaign staff, we were all right in knowing that Sarah Steelman is the right person for the job to represent Missouri and to allow common-sense conservatives to take back the Senate to halt what it is that Barack Obama has done to this country.
Sarah Steelman was the right person. I supported her then, and I'm going to continue to support her.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it looks like Senator Claire McCaskill ought to be sending a fruit basket tonight to Congressman Akin because he certainly has -- I mean, he has certainly jeopardized the chances for Republicans to take that seat. And Senator Claire McCaskill really was on the ropes. But now, boy, things have turned around, haven't they?
PALIN: Well, see, that's the point, Greta. Claire McCaskill and the Democrats thought that they were so clever in fighting so hard to get Akin on the ballot as the winner in the GOP primary. And you know, many of us who recognized that cleverness, that craftiness from the left, because we're kind of getting used to the games that they play, wanted to do something about it.
And Sarah Steelman and her motto and her campaign being "The status quo has got to go" was absolutely right on in saying, you know, we need somebody who has a strong record of reform, of fighting crony capitalism, of fighting the good old boy network, of fighting ignorance in the Senate. And Sarah Steelman was going to be that person.
Now we do have opportunity, even though Todd Akin has said that he's not going to drop out. And bless his heart, I don't want to pile on Todd Akin because, in some respects, I understand what he's trying to say here in standing on principle, that he doesn't want to be perceived as a quitter. But you got to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em.
Believe me, I've walked it before. I know when you have to hold that mantle and then hand it to someone else in order to progress a positive agenda. That's what I had to do in Alaska.
In order to take back the Senate and promote the ideas and policies of respecting and protecting the sanctity of human life and respecting the idea and policies that would perpetuate a strong economy based on empowering hard-working individuals, instead of growing dysfunctional, indebted government, we've got to take back the Senate, and Missouri is a must-win state.
The way we do that is to have someone like Sarah Steelman be able to run, even if it's as a third party candidate, to be able to run and help us take this back.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, are you urging her to run as a third party? Because he -- lookit, this guy -- I mean, saying -- frankly, I have yet to figure out what, quote, "legitimate rape" is. And he's also quoted as saying, "From what I understand from doctors, getting pregnant from a legitimate rape is rare." I mean, the guy's -- I mean, look, this is flat- out weird. There's just no way to describe it.
PALIN: You know what, though, Greta? Just...
VAN SUSTEREN: Flat-out weird.
PALIN: You know, close that chapter, though, of what he said and what he meant and how he will try to explain what he meant. Close that, and now just deal with the pragmatism in front of us, these decision that have to be made on when the deck is stacked against you, when your funding has been pulled, when all the bigwigs, not just in the establishment but those hard- core supporters, have pulled their support from you as the GOP primary winner, in Todd Akin. When that support is gone, that would be needed in order to beat Claire McCaskill, help take back the Senate, when it's gone. That's when you have to use discernment and know when to fold them.
VAN SUSTEREN: So I'm unclear. Are you suggesting he get out or are you suggesting the Republican party still back him?
PALIN: No. I'm suggesting that he get out. He should have reached that deadline today, I believe, personally, and gotten out of the race, but because he did not do that, Greta, then we have to figure out, OK, well, what is next? Again, without trying to pile on Todd Akin and what he's going through right now, maybe it is a third-party run of Sarah Steelman that I can get behind, and, granted the status quo has got to go would be an odd name for a third party, but we'll coin it, adopt it, run with it if that's what it takes in order to get a commonsense constitutional, happens to be pro-life woman in Missouri to clean up this mess that's been created and at the same time take back the Senate, which means we get to take back the country and put government back on the side of the people.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's interesting, I don't think they're piling on him. You know, it's not like it's a gaffe, like he said the wrong word or something. I mean, he says it like he understands from doctors. Did he make it up? No doctor is coming out and saying this. This is more than a gaffe.
And what he's done to the Republican party is not only is he going to risk the chance of the Republican party gaining the Senate by winning Missouri, but he's also done one of the worst things you can do in politics, is by handing your opponent ammunition and as the Democrats have been talking about a war on women. Well, now he's handed them so much ammunition on this by his bizarre statements.
PALIN: That's what I mean, by the cards stacked against you. Good, bad, or ugly, that's what he's facing. This is not going in his favor. You have to step aside from self, from your self-desire to get in there and deserve and do what you believe is right, and you have to, in a sense, take one for the team. And you have to step aside, hand the mantel to someone else.
VAN SUSTEREN: He's not going to. Apparently --
PALIN: He has until September 25th to do it. If he doesn't do it, then it will be third party then. We'll do whatever we can to not quash this opportunity that we have to take Missouri for the good of the country and for the good of every citizen of Missouri, to take it back, put government back on the side of the people. The only way we do that is to have a conservative win in Missouri, to defeat Claire McCaskill, who is highly unpopular. Look at the polls. She's still behind Todd Akin today, barely, but even despite all this chaos that's going on, that's indication of how unpopular she is.
It's doable. It's winnable, Missouri is. And that leads to winning the Senate. That leads to reversing a lot of the things that Obama and Biden have done to put our children and grandchildren in the chains of dependency, to shackle our kids and grandkids in the debt that they have continued to perpetuate, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you made a call to Sarah Steelman, or do you spend to, or do you have any advice for her tonight?
PALIN: No, because here's the deal. I also know my mission that I'm on is to help and not to hurt. Maybe Todd Akin needs to learn a little lesson from me. You need to know when to step back and wait to be invited to be important and not invite yourself to the party. What he's doing right now, Greta, bless his heart, he's inviting himself back into this general election that's coming up, and he's going to get defeated. And that's unfortunate. That is why we have to think pragmatically about this, and we have to think, well, what's another option? Is a third-party another option? If it is, let's go. The status quo has got to go. Let's do what we can to get there.
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, thank you. Always nice to talk to you. Thank you, governor.
PALIN: Thank you.