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Cherie Blair 'On the Record' on Women in Public Life, Gov. Palin

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," October 23, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: And a woman who knows what it's like to be in the spotlight, Cherie Blair. She is the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. During her years as first lady Cherie Blair took a lot of punishment from the press. They put her life under the microscope.

She just released her autobiography, "Speaking for Myself," and spoke to us about the U.S. presidential race.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you watched the way the media treats Governor Palin? Have you taken a look at that?

CHERIE BLAIR, WIFE OF TONY BLAIR: I think it's a fascinating thing the way the media treats any women in public life. You know, it is extraordinary, isn't it, that, in the end, the issues all seem to come down to what we wear, what we look like, much more than what we're saying.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why?

BLAIR: I don't know. I think they find it difficult to cope with women who have opinions and women who are actually making it in a man's world.

VAN SUSTEREN: In your country, you have Margaret Thatcher. Did she get treated a different way than--

Watch Greta's interview with Cherie Blair

BLAIR: I think so. Margaret Thatcher was an extraordinary phenomena. But she used her femininity, as I think many of the biographies of her show.

But the on the thing was she wasn't necessarily the best prime minister for women. For example, she never appointed a woman to her cabinet. She had very few women in her government. And she wasn't really in favor of improving women's maternity rights or things like that.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's so interesting, because, certainly American women know you name very well. They know Senator Clinton, Governor Palin, Mrs. Bush. I mean, the women -- there are few women that are high-profile, so you're an elite club to get whacked by us in the media.

It's astounding, sort of sitting by the sidelines-and, actually, I'm part of the media. But it must be tough.

BLAIR: Well, you know, I don't know what it was about me in photographs. But if you've looked at any of those photographs they took of me, I was always so glad when I would go around to meet people, because they invariably said to me you're much better looking in the flesh than in your photographs.

Most women I know don't like having their photograph taken, and it's true, I think, I'm pretty animated when I speak. So I was a gift for those who wanted to take photographs of me looking peculiar.

VAN SUSTEREN: In your book, you talk about the birth of your child and how that was going to become a media spectacle if the media got its ability to.

We're now going through something where Governor Palin is being asked to release her medical records. And, of course, she had five children.

And Senator Obama has a one-page summary from his doctor saying everything is fine. And Senator McCain and Senator Biden have released their medical records. You know, I imagine it's going to be a field day in the media for poor Governor Palin on her records.

BLAIR: One of the things is--us women, we tend -- in some ways that's to our advantage. We tend to go to the doctor more often, simply because, as you say, for pregnancy and all the related things. So she probably have far more records.

We have this issue, which wasn't so much about my health, though it was weird for me when I became pregnant again at 45 to see all the press discussing intimate details about my womb, which is not necessarily what you would want to share with everyone.

But we have this issue with my son, when Neal was born, about whether he had had the MMR vaccine, which it the triple measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. And he in fact had had that vaccine.

But there was a campaign going on in one of the newspapers to suggest that it wasn't safe. So much so, in fact, that vaccination rates went down.

And so the media were keen to know whether Neal had had the vaccine. And I by this stage had become very concerned. I did not want my children's health becoming a political issue.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there any advice that you have for Todd Palin, who is the spouse of Governor Palin? Should she become vice president, he's sort of -- do you have any advice for him?

BLAIR: Well, at least he won't have to have the dilemma about what to wear when he answers the door in his nightie, that's for sure.

(END VIDEOTAPE)


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