This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 26, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: What are we going to do about jobs? We need jobs! President Obama spoke last night about the economy. Is he on the right track? And is he aggressive enough?
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin joins us live. Good evening, Governor.
SARAH PALIN, FOX CONTRIBUTOR/FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Hi, Greta. How are you?
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm very well, but there are a lot of Americans aren't. They need jobs. What are we going to do about jobs? Do you have an idea that's any way different from what the president said last night because we're looking for all options?
PALIN: Well, speaking of last night, that was a tough speech to have to sit through and kind of try to stomach because the president is so off base in his ideas on how it is that he believes the government is going to create jobs. Obviously, government growth won't create any jobs. It's the private sector that can create the jobs.
And his theme last night in the Speaker of the House was the "WTF," you know, "Winning the Future." And I thought, "OK, that acronym, spot on." There were a lot of "WTF" moments throughout that speech, namely, when he made the statement, Greta, that he believed that we can't allow ourselves to, I guess, eventually become buried under a mountain of debt. That right there tells you he is so disconnected from reality! The problem is, we are buried under a mountain of debt, and jobs cannot be created by the private sector. We cannot grow and thrive and prosper as a nation when we are buried under this $14 trillion debt.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, the thing that I find enormously distressful -- and I'm lucky that FOX sends me out on the road so much because I get to meet people across the country. I get to walk the streets of small towns, medium towns. But even today, everyone was so excited because the Dow hit 12,000, then it fell back a little bit, but like, that was some huge, great thing. And I thought to myself, yes, big deal. The rich people can put money in the market. They can run it up past 12,000. But what about the person who's trying to get a job, who's been unemployed for six months, two years, who's having to shutter his or her business? I mean, it's like the attention's in the wrong place.
PALIN: Yes. Exactly. The Dow goes up and down. What we have seen in terms of consistency, though, is 20 months of nearly 10 percent unemployment, 17 percent of underemployment. And government is not doing anybody any favors by thinking that just growing more, spending more -- the president's new term for spending more money and growing government is "investing."
Now, well, government is not doing our job creators any favors by growing government and taking over more of what the private sector could and should be doing, certainly not doing anybody any favors when, as he said last night, he still supports taxing a higher rate on the job creators. He says it's the 2 percent of the population that are the rich. Well, those 2 percent are the job creators. And it is punishing success, by the way.
VAN SUSTEREN: So what do -- what would you do? What should we do? Because as a practical matter, I mean, if you do lower taxes, it is indeed true there's less revenue into the treasury, so we get deeper into debt and our deficit gets higher. I mean, it's a sort of a trade-off. But on the other hand, it gives private businesses a chance to have a little more money to try to get the economy going. But you know, what exactly would you do differently than what the president is suggesting?
PALIN: Obviously, stop digging this hole that we are in. We have got to quit incurring the debt and exercising the deficit spending that Washington, D.C., has gotten just too comfortable with. And we do need to cut the budget, not just stall the spending spree that we have been on, on this historic level of government growth, but actually start cutting.
We need to cut these things that aren't constitutionally mandated, that are kind of on the periphery, the fluffery like NPR and National Endowment for the Arts, those type of things. Those are obvious. But we also have got to not fund "Obama care" -- that's a job killer -- not fund any kind of cap-and-tax program -- that, too -- energy dependence on foreign countries and locking up more of our lands, those are job killers.
We've got to look at the entitlement programs. And for new enrollees, we have to be honest with them and let them know with these entitlement programs, that the benefits are not going to be the same benefits that those who have already paid into these programs for so many years are going to receive.
Now, Congressman Ryan and Rand Paul, John Stossel -- there are so many good Libertarian and conservative ideas already out there. We've just got to start applying those with the political will that is needed in Washington.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, there are so many things that, you know, in terms of trying to get revenue -- I know it's chump change, but I -- and I know I even sound like a broken record on it, but for the last two nights, we've been talking about the fact that the American taxpayers made $160 million in attorney bills for some people who mismanaged Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They're getting off with a civil investigation, not a criminal investigation -- $160 million, that's chump change.
Last night, the president talked about the fact that we have -- the Department of Interior regulating salmon and we have the Department of Commerce regulating salmon. We hear about the SEC having lawyers who are downloading porn. Fire them. I mean, there are just -- I mean, I realize it's chump change, but it's almost, like, politicians won't clean up their own house. They run the government. They're the leaders.
PALIN: Now, that is exactly why Americans are so frustrated with Congress and with this White House. You have 435 House members. You have 100 senators. You have nine Supreme Court Justices and one president. You add up that number, and you look at those 500-some people and you realize they are the ones making the decisions that affect our everyday lives and affect our opportunities to either create more jobs or see unemployment continue to stay consistent at the level it is or even grow, unfortunately, in the future. They are to be held accountable.
People are frustrated with what goes on in Washington because you hear a lot of lip service. You hear the rhetoric. We heard it last night. And yet we don't see the changes.
That's why I'm excited about the Tea Party Movement, though. Look at the strength of Tea Party Americans ushering in, yes, some changes through the people that they elected. When you have people who are strong and principled and standing strong on their convictions about a smaller, smarter government and what we can do to shrink government, allow the states and our local communities and our families and businesses to have more control over our own lives, then we have hope because of people like Tea Party patriots, who are not going to just embrace the status quo that Washington politicians would be so used to.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask you about some of the entitlement programs. I mean, let's talk about unemployment insurance. A lot of people have been unemployed for almost two years. And on occasion, we've extended the benefits. You know, what do we do about these people, people who really want to work and have tried because there's a lot of -- there's a lot of structural mismatch between skills that are needed in jobs and skills that people have. I mean -- I mean, people aren't just -- a lot of people aren't just collecting unemployment because they want to sit home and eat chocolates. They'd much rather work. Yet, you know, what are we going to do -- how do we help these people and actually get them back to work?
PALIN: We go back to the fundamentals of how it is that the private sector can create jobs. That's getting big government off our backs. It's allowing our job creators to keep more of what they earn so that they can reinvest according to their own priorities. And then they can hire more people and get people off those unemployment rolls. And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand just these common sense solutions because they've been tried in the past and they've proven in the past.
And they're proven in local communities when we cut taxes and then jobs are created. They're proven in states when we have to sue the feds when they overreach and try to thwart the 10th Amendment rights that a state would have. We see a problem with that going on on the federal level, too, by the way, Greta, is Barack Obama, our president, believing that it is a federal, centralized government and its growth that can be the solution to the problems that we face. Instead, allow the states to have more control. Allow our local communities, those on the front lines that - - the government that governs least governs best, and that usually is the most localized government.
VAN SUSTEREN: You mention the Tea Party, so I have to ask you about last night. The Republican response from Congressman Ryan from the great state of Wisconsin, I might add, had the Republican response. And then Congresswoman Michele Bachmann had the Tea Party response. And there was a lot of sort of grumbling behind the scenes at the Capitol last night about her giving this Tea Party response. Your thought. Was she trying to steal the thunder from the Republican Party? Was -- is she a spoiler? Is she going rogue? Is she doing something important?
PALIN: I love it when anybody goes rogue for the right reasons. And no, I appreciated that her message complemented Representative Ryan's message, and that was fine. Both of their messages, too, those conservative, common sense messages that they had on how to get the economy back on the right track, were really good and they were sound.
They were sound because they were in opposition to President Obama's message, which basically was, Hey, the era of big government is here as long as I am, and I'm going to find a way to make you pay for big government. That was the president's message. Now, both Michele Bachmann and Paul Ryan had messages that said, No, it's not big government growth that's going to be the answer. It's got to be our private sector being allowed finally to grow and thrive and to prosper. That's the solution.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think that -- I mean, it -- totally political strategy if -- you know, if I were running the Democratic Party and running the Republican Party, the first thing I'd worry about is that a sort of divide and conquer, that now Michele Bachmann is dividing the Republican Party. That seems great for the -- for the Democratic side.
PALIN: Well, you know, I've been accused of dividing within that establishment of the Republican Party, too, for some years now, and I don't see it as division. This is one thing that I love about the Republican Party. We believe in competition, even within our own party, you know, and we don't have just the fighting instincts of a bunch of sheep, like I think a lot of Democrats do. Instead, you know, we can duke it out in that marketplace of ideas within our own party. And we can have individuals and individual character traits within politicians being able to be made manifest in the way that we express our views.
That's all good. And we have healthy debate within the party. But I don't see that there is a fundamental division just because Michele Bachmann gave a speech last night that complemented another Republican speech. As a matter of fact, today I think you're going to see dozens, if not hundreds of those who have seats in Congress giving their responses, as Michele Bachmann did last night.
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, if you're going to -- we're going to have more questions with you, so please stick around. Also ahead tonight: We have a new one, and that's a ferocious new debate is exploding over the president's health care bill. It is doubtful the White House saw this one coming. And that is coming up. And later: There is a big different between hearing about it and seeing it with your own eyes. And tonight, you're going to see it with your own eyes, illegal immigration. You've never seen anything like this - - detainees restrained and being delivered back to Mexico. We take you behind the scenes. We're back in just a few minutes. We are live at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida.
VAN SUSTEREN: Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is still with us. And Governor, last night there was a lot of discussion about the Sputnik moment that the president talked about. Do you agree with him? Do you -- and is this our moment?
PALIN: That was another one of those WTF moments, when he so often repeated this Sputnik moment that he would aspire Americans to celebrate. And he needs to remember that what happened back then with the former communist USSR and their victory in that race to space, yes, they won, but they also incurred so much debt at the time that it resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union.
So I listened to that Sputnik moment talk over and over again, and I think, No, we don't need one of those. You know what we need is a "spudnut" moment. And here's where I'm going with this, Greta. And you're a good one because you're one of those reporters who actually gets out there in the communities, find these hard-working people and find solutions to the problems that Americans face.
Well, the spudnut shop in Richland, Washington -- it's a bakery, it's a little coffee shop that's so successful, 60-some years, generation to generation, a family-owned business not looking for government to bail them out and to make their decisions for them. It's just hard-working, patriotic Americans in this shop.
We need more spudnut moments in America. And I wish that President Obama would understand, in that heartland of America, what it is that really results in the solutions that we need to get this economy back on the right track. It's a shop like that.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Governor, let me ask you a personal question. I understand that Bristol Palin might have a new job. There's a -- what's Bristol's new job?
PALIN: Well, speaking of Bristol, she's standing just a few feet away from me here as kind of my assistant today, hard-working, independent young woman. She's doing a lot of things right now. And yes, she has a job offer to do some reporting and hosting for a radio show. And not sure if she's going to take that one or one of the other job offers in front of her. But hard-working young woman, good example for some others.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. You know, one of the other things the president talked about last night was civility and how we treat each other. And then sort of the -- you know, we teased Congress last night, the date night. I even teased Leader Pelosi when she was on the air last night, who was her date and everything. Are we being -- are we moving towards an era of more civility, where we even treat politicians with a sense of fairness and decency, or was that just last night?
PALIN: Oh, I watched that whole date night thing, the musical chairs orchestration last night, a little bit perplexed, wondering, you know, what all that theater was about. I'd rather that there had been more focus on what we believed that the president would say and what actually was said instead of, you know, the whole theatrics involved there. I thought that was a bit odd.
But healthy debate is important. The right to petition our government vigorously and respectfully is important. And yes, civil, which means civility, it means being well-mannered, that's very important. But we can't underestimate Americans who are very passionate about finding solutions to the problems that we face. And if that involves some healthy, vigorous debate, then allow it to be so.
VAN SUSTEREN: One quick last question. The media -- are we -- I mean, are we part of the problem? I know that you've been critical of the lamestream media, but are we -- are we challenging and are we asking and inquiring and getting information from our politicians, or are we being mean and nasty and trying to create a lot of trouble for all of you?
PALIN: Oh, the media is definitely a major part of the problem of the -- there's a problem of incivility in this nation, definitely, because so many in the media, the lamestream media, picking up on what goes viral with lies and innuendo and rumors that are in the blogosphere and elsewhere. For the lamestream media to pick up some of those things and run with it without getting facts, that perpetuates the problem that we have with some negative discourse in this country. So definitely, the media is a big part of the problem, and I certainly would like to see a lot of that changed.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it would -- it would be nice to see if we can have more discussion. I think that maybe -- maybe we're on to something in politics, in the media, to sort of really go after policy and learn things, or maybe it's just a passing fancy. But I guess time will tell. Governor, thank you.
PALIN: Thank you. And no, I would like to see a lot of that hypocrisy in the media cleaned up and -- you know, on all sides. That certainly would help in our country. Thank you, Greta.