Q: You recently endorsed Rand Paul. Why? How did you reach that decision, and -- well, let's start there.
SARAH PALIN: He's got good domestic policy solutions that he wants to see implemented. He wants to rein in spending. He wants to limit the federal government's overreach. And I support that, and I'm happy to support him. Obviously, will not be agreeing with him on everything. He didn't agree with me on everything.
Q: Any examples?
PALIN: I, there will be plenty of things I'm sure, but no I'm happy to support him and I think this whole relationship that I will have with Dr. Paul is going to be I think reflective of other candidates that people may raise their eyebrows and say, why are you supporting them in a primary? I will do this when many of the positions can be supported but also my position on supporting competitive, rigorous contested primaries is very important.
Q: You really want to get involved in the primary process?
PALIN: Absolutely, because I do want competition to allow the cream of the crop to rise.
Q: And what does your support translate to, I mean rallies, fundraisers donations from the PAC, how does that â€¦?
PALIN: Yeah, whatever they need me to do.
Q: All of the above?
PALIN: Yeah, sure, sure, depending on what position we're in â€¦.
Q: You said the cream of the crop, what other, I guess, up-and-comers or maybe not up-and-comers, but what other potential candidates are you looking at to support and fund and campaign for?
PALIN: No doubt there are candidates who will not seek my support because some will perceive me as being too polarizing and if they're in more liberal districts or states they won't want someone like me who has been unfortunately by the media put in a box as being so parochial and myopic in terms of some positions that they won't recognize my own independence. So some people will shy away from my support that I could offer. But those who recognize that I do have strong opinions, a very strong independent streak in me and a lot of common sense and if they ask for my help, I'm gonna give it to them.
Q: Any particular races -- because even if you're not looking at candidates do you have any particular races you're looking at that you might want to sort of get in there and find someone who meets that criteria?
PALIN: Many of the Democrats who are continuing to support President Obama's misguided decisions like in Nevada, I will do whatever I can to help the other side of the aisle.
Q: Are you gonna get involved in that primary? There's Tarkanian, Lowden?
PALIN: Certainly in the general, because Reid's gotta go, and as for the primary right now I really like them both -- that's what my problem is, but we still have quite a few, quite a number of days to figure out what is best for the GOP in Nevada to help them out to defeat Reid and of course that's an easy one too, though, if the election were today, Reid goes, he would go down.
Q: Could you be sort of a, in certain sections of the GOP, sort of a king or queen maker or is that going too far?
PALIN: That's going too far because I do not have that power nor desire.
Q: OK, I wanted to ask you about the speaking fee again -- you said in USA Today and on your Facebook page it's going back to the cause. What does that mean? Is it going likely through SarahPAC to certain candidates and certain campaigns?
PALIN: I think the logistics of how it goes back -- I don't know if it goes through the PAC or not, I haven't talked to PAC treasurers or attorneys about it. I'm keeping it simple. I'm committing to not personally ...
Q: To potentially tea party candidates?
PALIN: Well the tea party is not a party but those who believe in what the tea party is all about -- limited government and a strong national security policy coming out of D.C., yeah I'm gonna support 'em.
Q: Any particular campaigns you're looking at, I mean you're talking about campaigns, going back to not any think tanks or anything like that but going to campaigns?
PALIN: The ones that I've already talked about and others that are on the docket.
Q: Rand Paul?
PALIN: We've already donated to Rand.
Q: Oh, you have?
PALIN: Yes we already have.
Q: Is there more on the way or is that yet to be determined?
PALIN: It is yet to be determined. There are hundreds of candidates on local, state and on the national level that hopefully we'll be able to help. Don't know how many and don't know specifically which ones it'll be today.
Q: Shifting course. A week or two ago you made waves by calling out Rahm Emanuel, calling for his firing for using the R-word.
PALIN: I said he shouldn't be in the president's inner circle calling the shots, policy decisions that are being made that affect Americans, he shouldn't be in the inner circle. That's what I called for.
Q: So you don't, given what happened over the last week, he called this meeting, he apologized. Is that sufficient or that's not sufficient, he should still go?
PALIN: Oh I think he needs to go for a variety of reasons. I think he gives horrible advice to our president obviously and I think he and some of the other president's advisers need to go. Look who the president has chosen with Van Jones and some of these other characters. I think if even if President Obama had a do-over he would ask for some changes in his administration.
Q: I mean who else comes to mind, rises up besides Rahm Emanuel?
PALIN: Well right now we're talking about ra--, we're talking about ---- Holder is giving poor advice on how we are to treat these terrorists, to bestow upon these terrorists the constitutional rights that our men and women in uniform fight and die for. These terrorists do not deserve these protections. And yet we are choosing, according to the White House, we are to choose to give them these protections. That's nonsense, they do not deserve these protectionsâ€�
Q: You think Holder should be out.
PALIN: He, just like Rahm Emanuel for a variety of reasons. I look forward as a matter of fact, to three years from now when the White House dramatically is shifted in terms of persons calling the shots.
Q: Back to the R-word for just a minute. â€¦ who reached out to you? And are you going to make this sort of a personal campaign or join another campaign?
PALIN: Special-needs parents reached out to me and obviously they know me well enough to know that I am sincere in my efforts to make this world a more welcoming place for those with special needs. I made that commitment during the GOP convention speech. They knew that they could come to me and ask and I was happy to do it, I'd do it again in a heartbeat and I'm not politically correct, I am not a word police person but there are some things, especially coming from the most powerful office in the world, in the free world, the chief of staff in that office being so demeaning and degrading to those with special needs. And remember too it's not as benign as the White House wants to spin this into. He didn't just use the r-word applying it to a plan, he called opponents of a plan f'ing retards. That's demeaning, degrading, it's beneath the dignity of the White House. That alone should I think make the president ask for that do-over with his chief of staff.
Q: Obama made a Special Olympics crack about a year ago.
PALIN: Yeah he did, and so that pattern there --
Q: Did you say anything then?
PALIN: I sure did, I did. I was the governor then and I made a statement saying you know, insensitive, come on, coming from the most powerful man in the free world, you should do better than that, Mr. President. Yeah I made a statement about that and was criticized for that too, but I don't care -- I â€˜m not gonna sit down and shut up. I'm gonna tell people that this pattern of not just the insensitivity, but the flippant way of perhaps looking at those who are less fortunate and are not part of that elite crowd there in Washington I'm sick of it and I'm gonna stand up and I'm gonna say something about it because I think I'm speaking on behalf of others who are concerned about it.
Q: Are you gonna join a group? I mean there's the r-word.org, it's sort of like trying to stop the word gay in a demeaning way, trying to stop the r-word.
PALIN: I don't believe that I have to join any word or police thing or organization â€“ I can speak out independently and say come on Mr. Emanuel enough is enough of that and Mr. President, come on, let's be civil, let's be professional and worthy of the positions that you have in the White House.
Q: Now, where do you see the future of the tea party movement and your role in it as well?
PALIN: The tea party movement is beautiful. It's a grassroots effort -- not a well-oiled machine that is replicated with the Dems or the Republicans thank goodness, because hopefully personalities and power struggles and titles won't get in the way of just doing what is right for this country and that's what the tea party's all about. Let's do what's right for this country, let's let our voice be heard on reminding Congress that we are taxed enough already. There are constitutional limits to what our federal government is trying to do, we're gonna remind them of that, and we are going to respect our Constitution and do all that we can to protect it.
Q: You think it helps the GOP and not divide it any way?
PALIN: It absolutely helps, no, and those who are fearful about it and those who are trying to stir up controversy about it -- they obviously are apprehensive in terms of the message getting out there and those people are gonna get thumped because this is a good message.
Q: The organizers at this convention are very serious about what they want to do in the November elections. Do you think that in some districts, many districts, the tea party support is gonna have to be sort of must-have support in some of these GOP primaries.
PALIN: Absolutely. In some of these districts, absolutely, and there's nothing wrong with that. Who can argue against the people's movement. It's like who can argue against it in America's past history, the movements that changed our views on civil rights and respect for equality in other arenas. This is what the tea party movement is all about too. Respecting our Constitution and not usurping the power of the people. All political power is supposed to be inherent in the people. Who can argue this movement?
Q: I know you don't necessarily think polls are all that accurate, especially two, three, four years out, but various polls show you toward the top of potential 2012 challengers. Again, going back to this question, would you consider â€“ if you felt the time were right, would you jump in the ring and challenge Obama?
PALIN: I would be willing to if I believe that it's right for the country. Today I see many, many other men and women across our country who are in as strong or stronger position than I am to take on the White House and if they're in a better position than I in three years, I'll support them.
Q: This poll said by I think a margin of about 4-1 among Republicans they thought you were more qualified to be president than Obama. Do you think you're more qualified to be president than President Obama?
PALIN: The whole qualification issue still perplexes me, because in the campaign we tried to bring attention to the fact that Obama had really not a lot of experience. And I do say that my executive experience, as an administrator, as a team manager if you will was, and so was John McCain's as a matter of fact, was stronger and we had more experience than Barack Obama did in terms of managing huge multi-billion dollar budgets and thousands of employees that I had just come from a position of that and that hasn't changed.
Q: But without McCain?
PALIN: And without McCain, I mean Barack Obama had 150 days in the U.S. Senate where he was able to vote quite often present, not have to make decisions, being one of many, not having to manage. His executive position now in the White House is as, whether he likes it or not, a manager. He has to make tough decisions. He has to be willing to fire people, though you don't make any friends when you fire people and I know that first hand because I've had to do that. And you have to make tough decisions, and not dither on issues. You have to make quick decisions in many respects and I think that President Obama with all due respect, his lack of experience is really made manifest in the way that decisions are made in the White House today.
Q: Is health care reform dead?
PALIN: I sure wish that the present tool being used to reform health care would die, but I don't trust as far as I can throw them some of the people who are saying ok, we'll slow down, we hear from ya' -- people, we're not gonna try to take over one-sixth of the economy. I don't trust these, some of these people, that it is dead. It should be dead, the tool that's being put together right now for health care reform. We need to just get back to, scrap this thing, look at common sense steps that can reform health care like the tort reform and purchasing insurance across state lines and allowing employers and employees to receive the same tax benefits when you purchase insurance, those common sense steps that have broad support. That's what we should be looking at, not big old government with a trillion-dollar plus price tag, we're gonna take it over and we're gonna run it better than the private sector can, so in that respect what they're working on today there in Congress and the White House, it needs to die."