This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," September 3, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: It's very late in the evening here in St. Paul, but the energy level inside this arena is still incredible. Senator McCain just bagged enough votes to be the nominee, and people here are absolutely ecstatic. But the star tonight -- Governor Sarah Palin of the state of Alaska. She stepped out on the stage and right here moments ago. And the audience went crazy for her.
In the past six days since Governor Palin's name was added to the ticket, everyone has something to say about Governor Palin, and many people have negative things. So, how did she do with her big speech? Does she fight off her critics and win people over? Correspondent for NPR and FOX News political analyst, Juan Williams, joins us. Juan, it sounds like she could take a punch.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it sounds like she can throw a punch to me. I was surprised at how much power she has as a newcomer on the stage, to go after Barack Obama as effectively as she did. It wasn't -- some people said to me out tonight, they said, you know, she really brought the red meat. I don't think that was it. I think she was really like a knife fighter. She was expert in cutting and slicing, parrying and thrusting, against Obama and used humor. That business about, you know, you written two autobiographies but you haven't written a piece of legislation, the thing about.
VAN SUSTEREN: That was like a knife going (ph) to the chest. That one hurts.
WILLIAMS: And the business about the staging, you know, the Styrofoam pillars being taken back, I think that was pretty effective stuff. The challenge here and what I've been hearing from the Democrats around the country as they've been this, they say, "You know, she is terrific, but the question is, what will happen when she goes off script." But you know what? That to me is a little bit of sour grapes because you got to give her this night. She really performed well.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, but I mean, that's the same, you know, it's the same criticism that Senator Obama got last week, at Senator Obama. I mean, these are celebrations, last week, it's the Democrats, this week, it's the Republicans and there's a friendly audience for both these speeches.
VAN SUSTEREN: We should expect that and it really truly (ph) as we know of what happen --what's going to happen at the debate? I was actually thinking tonight, what do you think Senator Biden is thinking tonight because he's going to have to go up against him?
WILLIAMS: You know, my sense is that in some way she benefited from the low expectations. Nobody knew if this mayor of a small town, governor of a relatively small states speaking ...
VAN SUSTEREN: Not rather a small state, I mean, population.
WILLIAMS: No, it's population-wise. I was quick to clarify. If she was able to in this really heated volcanic cauldron here, you know, in front of this intense audience, millions watching on TV, would she hold this together, could she deliver effectively? She performed like a champ (ph), and you know, Republicans and Democrats, it's time to give her credit, she can in this game.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I think, even the behind the scenes, the fact that you can get beaten up so badly, so soon, whether it's deserved or undeserved and stepped out on the stage and deliver it go out on the stage and deliver it what appears to be great confidence, I think, that sort of, you know, test of the metal.
WILLIAMS: I agree. And I think it says something about her preparation. You know, I don't know exactly because I never in terms of Alaska politics but I'm told that when she was challenging Frank Murkowski for governor -- remember, he was the incumbent -- that she went up against him and took on him and won. And won handily in terms of defeating the incumbent Republican in the Republican primaries before she went on to become governor.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. As soon as lights go off and tomorrow starts up, now all the journalists go through and see -- you know, and we go through with a microscope and we test her and we dig to everything she's ever done, whether -- you know, we do this to all the candidates, right?
WILLIAMS: Yes, this is exactly what's going to happen. And you know, actually (ph), there's going to be a lot of question where she said, here's what the job entails in terms of being a small town mayor. She took credit for lots of things, including pipelines that go to Alaska. People are going to ask questions exactly ...
VAN SUSTEREN: What her contribution was.
VAN SUSTEREN: We're going to - all right, Juan, thank you.
WILLIAMS: You're welcome, Greta.
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