New Book Explores Gov. Sarah Palin's Career, Faith

This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," October 3, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GOV. SARAH PALIN, VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Probably less than successful interview that I had recently with mainstream media.


PALIN: No. You know what in? In response to the critics after that interview, what I should have told them was, I was just trying to keep Tina Fey in business, just giving her more information.



MACCALLUM: All right.

Video: Watch Martha MacCallum's interview

A lighter moment on the campaign trail today, Governor Sarah Palin poking fun at the comedian who's been poking fun at her, "Saturday Night Live's" Tina Fey. The governor making her way across four cities today, in the crucial election state of Florida.

With more on this, on Governor Palin now, and the fact that the 2008 race, is a man who just wrote on the vice presidential nominee. Joe Hilley is the author of "Sarah Palin: A new kind of leader — An Exploration of Palin's Career, Family, Faith and More."

Joe, what drove you to write a book about Sarah Palin?

JOE HILLEY, "SARAH PALIN" AUTHOR: Well, this book began like all great projects, with a call from my agent saying, "Do you want to write a book about Sarah Palin?" And then when I got into her character, I realized this was a story that could not be made up.

MACCALLUM: And what did you find so interesting about her and did you get to meet her and sit down with her?

HILLEY: Well, I didn't get to sit down with her, but what captured me was when she came on the scene, everyone was talking about how she changed the political landscape, and I thought, that's not correct. We're missing the point. America has changed. Not just this one election. But American politics has changed and she's the kind of leader that we will see more and more of in the 21st century.

MACCALLUM: How has it changed?

HILLEY: Well, we have gone past the tipping point in a culture where we're inundated with information and where change is the constant factor. And so, the traditional plotting politics that we've had in the past can't keep up. This was the reason why we're so frustrated with how far behind the curve we are in healthcare, and in education, and in other areas, it's because the kind of leadership that we've always had traditionally, which has been slowing moving.

MACCALLUM: Stuck in the mud, right?

HILLEY: Right — and kind of methodical can't keep up.

MACCALLUM: Let me — in your research, you know, one of the things that people have pointed to about her is her sort of folksy style and the way she talks and everything which is greatly appealing to some people and other people don't like it. In your research on her, has she always talked that way, or is this sort of something that's gotten stronger as she's headed into this campaign?

HILLEY: I think it's gotten a little more stronger, but she's always had this straightforward kind of personality. What you see is what you get. In fact, that's one of the qualities that I point out in the book, which is she is genuine and she is authentic.

MACCALLUM: Well, the other thing that people say is that she — you know, they think she's not experienced enough, because she would be, quote, "a heartbeat away from the presidency." What did you find in your work on her that would you make you, you know — do you feel confident or not about that?

HILLEY: Well, in the past, the way we grew our leadership, we expected them to come in at the bottom, and work their way up and serve a long apprenticeship. And if you put in your time, you were considered qualified, and prepared at the same time.

If you judged her, that traditional way, the only thing she was ever qualified for in a traditional qualification was to be a member of the PTA, yet she won election to the city council. She won election as mayor. She unseated an incumbent Republican governor who had been a six-term senator. And she did a good job at each of those levels.

And so, that intrigued me. I wanted to know how she was able to do a good job with seemingly no qualifications, and that led me to understand that things have shifted and she has these qualities that I pointed out in the book.

MACCALLUM: That you think are right for right now.

HILLEY: For now.

MACCALLUM: . in such a way that people are changing the way they look at politicians and how they have to earn their stripes.

HILLEY: And for the way the time has changed. As well as the era has changed.

MACCALLUM: We will see. Joe Hilley, thank you very much. Good to talk to you.

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