This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," September 9, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Yes, in Alaska, the home of Governor Sarah Palin. And if you don't know what she's doing these days, you're living in a cave because the governor of this great state -- and it really is a spectacular state, if you've never been here, it is gorgeous. But the governor is on the Republican ticket for the White House. Ten days ago it was announced, and the nation is talking all about Governor Sarah Palin.
And joining us tonight we have her sister, Heather Bruce. Nice to see you, Heather.
HEATHER BRUCE, GOV. SARAH PALIN'S SISTER: Nice to be here. Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: So pretty exciting for the family?
BRUCE: Very exciting.
VAN SUSTEREN: How did you hear about -- how did you first hear that your sister was being tapped by Senator McCain?
BRUCE: Well, we had heard about the gentle tapping months ago, but it was kind of a rumor on the Internet, maybe on some blogs, here and there in the newspaper. But you know, I didn't know whether to dismiss that or not. She just seemed too new in her position to be considered for that position.
But the morning of was a huge surprise, a huge surprise. Got a phone call from my little sister to turn on the TV, you're not going to believe what you're seeing. Sarah's on. She'll be on soon. They might be nominating her for the vice presidential position.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So this is pretty exciting for the family. I have an older sister. She's pretty bossy. You're the older sister. Are you bossy towards your younger sister a little bit?
BRUCE: I was. (LAUGHTER)
VAN SUSTEREN: We have a confession! We have a confession in Alaska. You were?
BRUCE: I was. I admit it. I was possessive, territorial, my space, my things. But I think after high school, that dissipated and we became friends. But there was typical sibling rivalry throughout the early years.
VAN SUSTEREN: As a little sister growing up -- not now. We won't go into that. But did she take direction from you?
BRUCE: Not very readily. You know, my space, my things -- she pushed the envelope a little bit, but I don't remember dominating her at all. No, there was no domination by me as the older sister. We were forced to cooperate in small spaces for most of our lives.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So when you were, let's say, in high school and you're the older sister, if I had asked you in high school, What's your sister going to do when she grows up, your answer would have been?
BRUCE: Something to do with reading books, I probably would have thought, because she always had her nose in a book, maybe something athletic, athletically-directed. She loved sports. She was good in sports. I never thought politics. That never really crossed the table as a topic in our house.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, she was a sports journalist for a while. Why did she quit that?
BRUCE: I don't remember the timeline why she quit that. She did start having babies, though, and redirected her energies for a while in Wasilla.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Let's talk about the "first dude." Every time I ask anyone about the first dude in the state, they always get a big smile on their face. What's with that?
BRUCE: What a nice-looking, hard-working man! That man is relentless with his energy, his ambition, his hands-on fathering. I think he's a good role model for American men.
VAN SUSTEREN: In terms of, you know, the spotlight -- the spotlight is on your family, the spotlight is on your sister. Is it hard to have so much of a spotlight on the family right now?
BRUCE: It's been difficult. We're starting to adjust, keeping each other lifted up, giving each other pats on the back, phone calls. But it's been hard to have to answer a lot of questions, try to remember a lot of things about Sarah. But there's been, you know, bitter and sweet mixed in here, to be...
VAN SUSTEREN: Want some advice?
VAN SUSTEREN: Don't read it. Don't read it! (LAUGHTER)
BRUCE: I'm staying off the blogs! Please, people. These blogs are horrible.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, but you keep going on, I bet, don't you?
BRUCE: No, I don't blog. I don't blog, but...
VAN SUSTEREN: But you read them?
BRUCE: ... Occasionally, at the end of an article, I might see this comment. You know, four or five words into it, and I can tell it's negative and I need to click off of those. Those...
VAN SUSTEREN: What have you been -- are you -- what have you been looking for?
BRUCE: Sometimes I'm looking for my name. Please don't mention my name. But I'm very protective of my family, and I don't like to see rumors or lies spread about my family, so...
VAN SUSTEREN: It's tough, isn't it.
BRUCE: It's painful. It's unfair.
VAN SUSTEREN: It is very (INAUDIBLE) Politics is a contact sport. It's harder than football. You know that.
BRUCE: I'm learning that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed, you are probably learning. Have -- after -- what is the first time you spoke to your sister after you heard that she'd been tapped by McCain?
BRUCE: I was at work and I saw a voice-mail had come across my cell phone, and it was Sarah, just saying, I just called to say, oh, my gosh, give me a call when you can. So I called her a couple of hours later. Actually, Piper picked up, described where they were and the bus they were riding on. And finally, she passed the phone to Sarah.
And I just said, Sarah, this is fantastic, but I always knew this was going to happen to you. And she said, When did you know that? What do you mean? And I said, years ago, I think when she lost the lieutenant governor race -- I'm not the only one who told her, You were destined for bigger things than this. This was a stepping stone, a great learning experience. You're going to move on.
VAN SUSTEREN: The night that she gave her speech accepting the nomination for her party, before she went out on stage -- I take it that you watched, right? You didn't watch something else.
VAN SUSTEREN: You were at home like...
BRUCE: I was glued!
VAN SUSTEREN: You were glued? I figured. Why'd I think that? All right. Now, that night, were you nervous before she went out there?
BRUCE: Extremely. I couldn't eat all day. My legs were shaking during that interview. I was in knots. But it only took a few minutes for me to calm down. She stepped out there with so much grace and confidence that it just -- she spread that energy through the camera to me, and I just felt really good about what I was watching.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, obviously, you know -- she's your sister, so you know her very well. Alaskans -- we've been here for a couple of days and -- no one refers to her, by the way, as Governor, as Sarah...
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes. We respectfully say Governor. We outsiders say Governor. What -- if you're meeting someone for the first time and you wanted to tell that person the single most important reason why your sister would make a good vice president, what would you focus on?
BRUCE: Honesty and integrity. And that may sound politically cliched, but she's proving it. And she's proving her intelligence, her resilience, her willingness to listen, to learn, and her servant's heart that she touts, but it's true. It's very, very true.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think -- I mean, looking around at this spectacular state -- and really, it's pretty, isn't it? It's not bad.
BRUCE: It's gorgeous.
VAN SUSTEREN: I know. You probably don't want people around the country to know about this so they'll come up here, the lower 48, right?
BRUCE: They can come visit, sure.
VAN SUSTEREN: So "visit" was the operative word. She didn't say "stay." Do you think your -- I mean, living in Washington, is that something you think your sister would like? It's a pretty stark contrast.
BRUCE: Oh, I think she would be fine.
VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, I'm sure she'd be fine, but I mean, it's, like...
BRUCE: Would she like it? Well, I've never been to Washington. She has. There's probably plenty of things to like about it, plenty of positive things about Washington. She'll probably miss some greenery and fresh air. But that woman is going to -- she's going to be adapting to wherever she is. She's going to be fine.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, she's going to have to go through this whole campaign season, day in and day out, probably going to get hit a little bit by the media, by her opponent. Hard on the family?
BRUCE: Yes. She's still my sister, and you know, vicariously, you feel that pain. And I don't like to see potshots taken and rumors and -- no, it -- yes, it's going to hurt a little bit.
VAN SUSTEREN: When she was -- first got involved in politics, she became a mayor, what did you think? Think that was a good choice for her?
BRUCE: Yes, it didn't surprise me. It seemed -- I was living in Anchorage all during that time, but it was quite a logical step, pretty bold from the city council, that she knew and she told us when we asked, Why would you do mayor? That's a lot of work to even campaign for with your lifestyle. And she just made it adapt. She adapted it. The whole process just seemed so natural for her -- hard-working, conscientious, able to wrap her arms around the family, the community. It just seemed like a natural step in her career.
VAN SUSTEREN: You raised the issue of family. Now, she's gotten a lot of attention about the fact that she has five kids and whether or not she can do the job of being vice president. Women every single day of the week have got six kids and doing the job.
VAN SUSTEREN: Women multi-task. But how does she juggle that? I mean, those of us who are sort of sitting in awe -- I mean, that's a lot of work. I mean, women do it all the time. There are a lot of women who work hard like that, but...
BRUCE: It is, but you know, she's got an age -- quite an age spread in her children, too. So the older ones are becoming independent and self- sufficient, and the middle ones help out with the younger ones. She has a great support network, our extended family. We help each other out. She'll pick up my kids, I'll pick up her kids. We have sleepovers at each other's houses. We tend to each other's needs the best we can.
VAN SUSTEREN: And Thursday is a big day in the family?
BRUCE: Right, up in Fairbanks.
VAN SUSTEREN: What's going on Thursday?
BRUCE: Well, it's going to be emotional.
VAN SUSTEREN: Tell us what's going on.
BRUCE: Track is going to be deployed with the rest of his troops up there to Iraq. And I'm hoping to get up there to see him. But it's pretty emotional. I'm having a hard time wrapping my heart around it, but I know it's the right thing.
VAN SUSTEREN: And the whole family's going to be there to wish him well, or at least many members of the family.
BRUCE: We're fine. We're working out the logistics right now to get up there and...
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, I think it's fair to say that your lives have been turned a little bit upside down in the last 10 days.
BRUCE: We're doing fine.
VAN SUSTEREN: Heather, thank you very much, and good luck to you. We appreciate you coming here.
BRUCE: Thank you.
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