Published November 01, 2008
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," October 31, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight: "Get off our plane." Yes, that's the direction by the Senator Obama campaign to three newspaper reporters. Now, the three reporters no longer have their seats on Senator Obama's campaign airplane. And the question is why. Are newspapers that do not support Senator Obama being punished? You get the inside story from an editor of a newspaper that lost its seat.
But first, Governor Sarah Palin of the state of Alaska goes "On the Record," and she brought her family with her. We bet you've never seen this before. We're live in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on one of the most -- in one of the most important swing states in the entire election. Now, most polls put the Republican ticket behind in Pennsylvania, but both campaigns are fighting hard here. We think both sides must know something that we don't know.
Moments ago, we spoke to Governor Palin on her campaign bus. And two of the governor's daughters, Willow and Piper, her son, Trig, and the "First Dude," Todd Palin, came along for the ride.
VAN SUSTEREN: It's really nice to see your family, I must admit that I have to start with the costume. You're a snow princess?
PIPER PALIN, GOV. PALIN'S DAUGHTER: Uh-huh.
VAN SUSTEREN: Who came up with that idea?
PIPER PALIN: (INAUDIBLE)
VAN SUSTEREN: What were you last year?
PIPER PALIN: I was a princess.
VAN SUSTEREN: So it's sort of -- you sort of like the princess idea.
PIPER PALIN: Yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did you have fun -- was it was fun out trick or treating tonight?
PIPER PALIN: Uh-huh.
VAN SUSTEREN: What did you get?
PIPER PALIN: (INAUDIBLE)
GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: What's the best?
PIPER PALIN: I think these are the best.
VAN SUSTEREN: Which are the best, the Dots? Yes, when you get older, you eat those, you lose your fillings. Is there any rules, or you get to eat everything you want, or does your mother sort of...
GOV. SARAH PALIN: What is the rule, Pipe?
PIPER PALIN: I don't know.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Have we forgotten the rule already?
PIPER PALIN: Yes.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Trying to ration it, right? That's the key, is to ration it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, Happy Halloween. I guess this wasn't exactly what you anticipated how you were going to spend your Halloween last year when you thought about it.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: That's true! (INAUDIBLE) Halloween being in Pennsylvania (INAUDIBLE)
VAN SUSTEREN: And even Trig. It's Trig's first Halloween.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: He was an elephant?
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Yes. Got nice and cuddly warm out there for a while, then he got bored.
VAN SUSTEREN: You got a pass? You don't have a costume?
PIPER PALIN: She used to, but (INAUDIBLE)
VAN SUSTEREN: What'd she -- what was it?
PIPER PALIN: (INAUDIBLE)
VAN SUSTEREN: Who did all the decoration?
PIPER PALIN: Amy.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Amy, one of the gals on the campaign. Piper carved the pumpkin that she's so proud of.
PIPER PALIN: And one of -- at the rally, Willow's pumpkin (INAUDIBLE) she put hair on hers and a face. And it was at the rally.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Oh, it ended up at the rally? Good job! (INAUDIBLE)
VAN SUSTEREN: And Todd, you don't have a costume. Where's your costume?
TODD PALIN, HUSBAND OF GOV. SARAH PALIN: I'm Todd today. (LAUGHTER)
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that's a good one. And you are?
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Tina Fey!
VAN SUSTEREN: That's a great costume. You're doing a good job imitating how she looks. How did you do, surprise this neighborhood?
GOV. SARAH PALIN: We did. And it's so nice that the mayor knew that we were in town (INAUDIBLE) the mayor's wife. So he jumped out and kind of escorted us around. That was really nice. And what a nice all-American town, so safe that the kids are out there walking on the streets and just having a good time tonight. It was a great place to be.
VAN SUSTEREN: Can you do this in Wasilla? I mean, where I grew up, now people trick-or-treat earlier in the day.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: We do it in Wasilla, but we're usually trouncing through some snow at this time. But yes, we're out there doing it.
PIPER PALIN: Mom?
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Yes, darlin'?
PIPER PALIN: We start at, like, 9:00 o'clock, when it's, like, midnight (INAUDIBLE).
GOV. SARAH PALIN: True. I love your concept of time. It's nonexistent. That's so nice. Yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: How's the campaign trail been? You seem to have stolen the show. I mean, every time I look up, you know -- you know -- you know, we're all watching you.
PIPER PALIN: I like the campaign trail.
VAN SUSTEREN: You like it? What -- any thought on what a vice president does? What's your thought?
PIPER PALIN: I don't know.
VAN SUSTEREN: No idea?
PIPER PALIN: No.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: What would a vice president do?
PIPER PALIN: Go to a lot of rallies.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Oh, that would be nice (INAUDIBLE) all the vice president did, but...
VAN SUSTEREN: You guys exhausted yet?
GOV. SARAH PALIN: No! We're energized. It's like running, you know, where you get your -- you know, when you hit your stride and then you get that second wind towards the end. That's what I feel like. We are in that groove, and it's so great.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I guess, I mean, I shouldn't -- I wouldn't expect, Todd, you'd get exhausted. I mean, I've seen what you do in February. So I mean, I guess that this is sort of -- actually might not be bad training for you.
TODD PALIN: I'm used to this with our lifestyle, you know, the Slope schedule, work days, nights, and then commercial fishing and Iron Dog. But she's the one that's out there in front and leading the charge, along with the senator. So they're both just -- still have a lot of energy.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: He has an amazing amount of energy. He's up before others and asleep after others. And he's the one motivating the team to, Keep going, let's go, we're getting there! Have fun! He's always saying, Have fun!
VAN SUSTEREN: Four years ago, when you watched other campaigns, did you have any clue what a campaign was really like? I mean, now that you're on the inside, racing around the country.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: I always had great admiration for these candidates. Remember, I was telling you about the admiration that I had for Hillary being able to keep up -- as she was keeping up through those primaries, she in particular, because, you know, it takes a little bit of extra effort for those who have make-up to put on, and you know,trying to figure out the right clothes.
These guys are wearing just a uniform, putting on their suit and tie and not a whole lot of that extra effort even there in terms of aesthetics. So I had great admiration for her, but knowing that it had to have been grueling. But as Todd says, we're kind of used to a very active and unconventional lifestyle full of schedules that demand a high amount of energy.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, but we chase you, so I mean, I have some appreciation for how difficult it is, through the different time zones and working the long hours. I mean, it's not -- I mean, on the inside and even for us, it is not the easiest thing to do.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: It's not. I'm thankful that, again -- and maybe this has something to do with growing up around sports also, knowing that, you know, you've got to endure. And again, coming from a world of being a runner, understanding that you have to count on that second wind, especially at a time like this, with 100 hours left in the campaign. You got to count on that and let that get kicked in and take you to the finish line.
VAN SUSTEREN: Are you exhausted at all?
WILLOW PALIN, GOV. PALIN'S DAUGHTER: No, it's fun.
VAN SUSTEREN: Really? You like it?
WILLOW PALIN: Yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: It's not just -- I mean, you don't want to be home?
WILLOW PALIN: Oh, I don't know. It's fun.
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, I've been -- I've seen the home. I've seen the water. I've seen the mountains. You know, it looks like a pretty -- you know, it looks like a nice place to live.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: It's a beautiful place to live. Awesome. But you know, what an opportunity to get to see around this entire wonderful country and meet the most amazing people, who are so enthused about positive change that they know is coming, and to get to work with John McCain and this whole team. It's been absolutely amazing.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it's retail politics. I mean, it's hitting -- it's hitting different groups, hitting different states. It's interesting. It's not -- you know, when you look at it on TV, it's so different than when you actually see the handshaking, talking to the people.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Yes. True.
VAN SUSTEREN: Issues -- you know, the American people, there aren't many issues that they haven't heard everybody talk about so far. But you know, this is -- we're at the contest stage, obviously. And now, you know, if you win on Tuesday, you're going to have to start thinking about how you represent people who you may not have agreed with. How do you do that?
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Oh, sure.
VAN SUSTEREN: How -- I mean, we always hear this sort of "uniter" stuff, but how do you -- how do you reach out (INAUDIBLE)?
GOV. SARAH PALIN: That is a great question. And that's where my experience as an executive gets plugged in. As mayor, of course, you're working in a nonpartisan, bipartisan manner all the time. You're filling potholes and you're making sure your police department is fully funded. You're taking care of the people whom you are serving, never letting excessive partisanship on that level get in the way of just doing what's right.
And then on the state level, too, as governor, being able to reach out across party lines, me appointing Democrats and independents and Republicans in my administration, got the track record to prove that that's the way I operated, getting along with those who perhaps don't agree on every single issue. But that's what you got to do. Especially in this time of great challenge for America, that's what we have to do.
And John McCain, of course, is the leader on that front, too, being the maverick, taking on his own party when he had to, taking shots from the other party, too. He's got the scars to prove it. He's that leader on bringing everybody together, uniting everyone. A solid front is what America needs at this time to win the war and to get this economy back on the right track, and he's going to be able to do that.
VAN SUSTEREN: No matter who wins on Tuesday, is that 50 percent of the people are going to be really unhappy. I mean, you know -- you know, there's this 50 percent, and it's going to take a lot of mending. I mean, it's, like, you know, for different issues, issues that -- you know, that 50 percent of the country agree with on you and -- you know, let's pick an issue like maybe global warming or something like that, is that, somehow, now you're not just talking to people who agree with you, you've got to convince people that -- you know, to work things out. How do you do that? You know, we hear about uniting, but how do you do that?
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Well, you start by not discrediting or invalidating someone because of a position that maybe they take that you are in disagreement with. You learn from them, and you do -- you're able to find middle ground on so many of these issues, like global warming, the causes of it, but more importantly, what do we do about it to clean up our planet? There is always a way to work with another person.
And again, I think it bodes well, too, where we're going here with our family, that's quite diverse, different politics all mixed into our family. That's been a good, solid foundation for me, understanding how maybe we disagree on some of the particulars on an issue. We don't have to be screaming at each other, though. Let's find a way to work together and solve a problem. That's what we've done in our family and in my businesses and also in governance.
VAN SUSTEREN: It's sort of interesting. There are a couple jobs in government that have no job description. One is first lady. You know, whoever -- you know, each first lady sort of defines it herself. We're going to have to maybe define, you know, what the husband does of a vice president. But the vice president also (INAUDIBLE) sort of defined. We've seen Vice President Gore. He sort of made it more active. And Vice President Cheney, as -- he's assumed certain roles, you know. What's your idea of what -- what do you sort of envision the job as?
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Well, they've to be exclusively, of course, concentrating on the administrative side of governance. And there again, that's where my executive experience will be put to good use. But John McCain and I have spoken a lot about the missions that we'll be on together and about where he would like to see me lead. And energy independence is first and foremost what I will be able to help, in a supportive role, be able to help him get this nation firmly on that path towards energy independence.
And it's paramount that we do this, otherwise we are going to be continually reliant on foreign sources of energy, circulating hundreds of billions of dollars a year into foreign countries, instead of right here creating jobs here with domestic solutions for drilling and mining safely and alternative sources of energy being tapped into right here. So energy independence will be something that I lead on. And that, of course, is coming from my experience as an oil and gas regulator and governor of the large -- huge energy-producing state of Alaska. I'll be able to do that.
But also, our mission that he wants me to help lead on also with the transformation of government that is so necessary right now, reforming it, putting it back on the side of the people so that Americans will never believe that they have to be working for government, that government has to be working for the American people. So working on that. And then helping the families who have children with special needs, another mission that I'll be on. Look forward to working on that, too.
VAN SUSTEREN: Much more with Governor Palin is coming up next, but now it's time for your live vote. Now, Governor Palin just told you how much she admires Senator Hillary Clinton's performance on the campaign trail. So go to GretaWire.com and answer this question. Do you think that Governor Sarah Palin will attract a substantial number of Senator Hillary Clinton's supporters? Yes or no. We're going to read your results at the end of the hour.
And up next: If Senator McCain wins the election, Governor Palin is next in line to become president if something horrible happened. What specifically will Governor Palin do if she gets that infamous 3:00 AM call? The governor will tell you next.
Then there is new information tonight from a campaign surrogate about who is going to get a tax increase if Senator Obama becomes president. The new information could mean you get a tax increase. We have a tape you need to hear, and then you decide yourself. An innocent gaffe by the Senator Obama campaign, or is this the real story and you were misled?
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich goes "On the Record." That's next.
VAN SUSTEREN: We are live in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. And moments ago, Governor Sarah Palin, in the campaign bus with Todd and three of her children went "On the Record."
VAN SUSTEREN: In the event something horrible would happen and you ended up being president -- I mean, not through the usual procedure, but the unusual -- if you got that 3:00 in the morning call, I mean, whatever it may be, whether it's some country being actively hostile against Israel or something, what's the process? What -- sort of -- how would you go about -- what's the first thing you'd do when you get that 3:00 o'clock phone call?
GOV. SARAH PALIN: You assemble your national security team right then. And of course, everybody's always going to be standing by, ready to assist. But you do not blink when you have to make a decision to defend on the home front, to defend American lives. And that is, of course, the top of any president and vice presidential team's agenda is to protect American people, so in not blinking there, you -- in assembling your team and your advisers, you make the right call and you make sure that Americans are protected.
VAN SUSTEREN: When you talk to Senator McCain, is it mostly about strategy or are you talking big picture right now?
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Both. Both. But not so much strategy about the campaign at all because we both are so confident that we are on the right path, and in these final days of the campaign, we're acknowledging that people are understanding the stark contrast between the two tickets. And that's good.
This is the place we need to be right here, still as a bit of an underdog in these last few days, but realizing that Americans are really starting to hear what our opponents are talking about when they talk about spreading the wealth, taking more from our small businesses and from our families and then redistributing other people's hard-earned money according to a politician's priorities, that that is -- that is not good for this uniquely American, pro-entrepreneurial system that we have that has allowed our country to be the greatest country on earth.
We realize that more and more Americans are starting to see the light there and understand the contrast. And we talk a lot about, OK, we're confident that we're going to win on Tuesday, so from there, the first 100 days, how are we going to kick in the plan that will get this economy back on the right track and really shore up the strategies that we need over in Iraq and Iran to win these wars?
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, today, I don't know if you know, Governor Richardson said $120,000 was the middle class cut-off. I don't know -- is that a gaffe, or do you think that's their position? Because (INAUDIBLE) I mean, we can all do gaffes.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Right.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, we're all guilty of those (INAUDIBLE)
GOV. SARAH PALIN: No, I don't think it's a gaffe. It's confirmation that it's been, I think, a phony economic plan released by Barack Obama that -- at first, remember it was $250,000 and you're not going to be hit with a tax increase. Then it dropped down to, what, $200,000 and now -- from Joe Biden, his acknowledgement. And now all the way down to $120,000, I think it was that we've heard today, $120,000, $150,000.
Before you know it, we're going to be back down to that annual income of $42,000 a year that Barack Obama has already supported seeing increased taxes on people, hardworking American individuals making just $42,000 a year. Then I think a phony plan, in these terms. He has not been candid with the electorate in terms of what the details are in his economic plan until Joe the plumber finally got him to say what, in plain language, are your intentions for these higher taxes? Of course, he says, essentially, it's to spread the wealth.
VAN SUSTEREN: She tough, Todd?
TODD PALIN: She's tough. I've learned to just get out of her way when she's on a mission.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is she tough?
PIPER PALIN: Yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is she the disciplinarian?
PIPER PALIN: Yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know what that means?
PIPER PALIN: No! (LAUGHTER)
VAN SUSTEREN: Is she boss?
GOV. SARAH PALIN: I don't know who's really the boss when it comes to making sure you're doing your homework, you're brushing your teeth. Who's the boss?
PIPER PALIN: You!
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Oh, I thought you were going to say him. OK, we're a team on that one.
VAN SUSTEREN: By the way, what do you want to do when you grow up? Have you thought about it?
PIPER PALIN: Don't know yet.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: What do you want to be, darlin'?
PIPER PALIN: I don't know.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Don't know yet? That's right. You got lots of time to think about it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Up next, one of the two biggest reasons Governor Palin says that you should not vote for Senator Obama. And why does Todd Palin think it is almost scary how much alike Senator McCain and Governor Palin are? Those answers are next.
And then former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is here. He's watching our interview with Governor Palin, warming up in the bullpen, getting ready to go "On the Record." Stay tuned for the Speaker.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now part three of your interview with Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska. And she is with her three children, and of course, the "First Dude."
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, you know, before economics hit us so heavily in the last month or so as a topic, the thing that grabbed people's attention was illegal immigration. And that was the big problem for a long time. What's your thought on that? I mean, what's -- how do can we fix the illegal immigration issue in this country?
GOV. SARAH PALIN: We've got to secure the borders, and we can't be considering this broad range of amnesty that some would want. We've got to secure the borders and prove to the American people that the federal government is serious about this, and it's got to be a comprehensive approach to dealing with the immigration challenge that we have -- securing the borders, working with our border governors and mayors. They're there on the front lines, understanding what some of the solutions can be, if only they have an administration who will work with them.
And McCain has a great comprehensive approach that he wants to take to this. It includes dealing humanely, too, with the 12 million or 13 million illegal immigrants that we have today also. But until we secure the borders, I don't think Americans are even going to believe that we're serious about fixing some of the problems that are just inherent with this challenge of so many illegal immigrants here.
Now, unfortunately, with McCain's supporting proposal for this comprehensive approach to fixing problems there, there were about five poison pill amendments provided in the comprehensive approach that McCain wanted. And Barack Obama voted for those poison pills, killed the whole initiative, and we still have the problem that we have today.
Illegal immigration, though, is a perfect example of how these parties had better start working together, the D's and the R's, get it together if they're serious about addressing the problem of illegal immigration. It's not a Republican or a Democrat problem. It's all of America's issue.
VAN SUSTEREN: What's the single -- in your mind, the single most important reason not to vote for the Democratic ticket?
GOV. SARAH PALIN: There are two. I can't ratchet it down to one.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK, give me the two.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: OK, on the two -- on the economic front, they are going to -- I believe they're going to put this nation on a course that will erode the work ethic and the entrepreneurial spirit that has grown this country into the greatest country on earth because their idea of taking more from our families and more for government from our small businesses will kill job creation opportunities and it will kill that idea that you will be rewarded for your hard work ethic.
And unfortunately that kills opportunity, too, for us to be generous and compassionate with our fellow Americans. The Democrats, it seems -- on this ticket anyway, as led by Barack Obama, seems to want government to mandate that we be generous and compassionate with one another via spreading the wealth. That is not the American way. We don't need to go down that road.
John McCain has a better idea, and that's spreading opportunity by allowing our businesses to keep more of what they earn and produce so that they could hire more people, grow the economy that way, provide more for their employees but not have government mandate it.
And then on the national security front, hands down, no question, John McCain has got to be our next Commander-in-Chief. He knows how to win a war. He knew the strategy that was needed there to get us victory within sight in Iraq. He'll know what to do there also, as we did with the horrendous problems that are erupting in the areas around Afghanistan also.
He's paid the price. He's been tested. He is not one to invite this international crisis that Joe Biden is promising will happen if Barack Obama is elected. On national security issues, it's got to be John McCain as our commander-in-chief.
VAN SUSTEREN: Todd, what's the reason to vote for your wife? Why are you going to vote for her?
TODD PALIN: Why? Because you know, Senator McCain and -- they are so much alike, it's almost scary. I mean, the first time that we met the McCains and spent a few hours on the road, and they just feed off each other and they just understand what government's role is. And that's what makes them such a great team.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: We understand what government's role is, in that it -- the American people should not feel that they are working for their government. Government needs to be working for the American people. And government has a limited role in terms of providing tools, infrastructure tools for families, for our businesses, and then kind of getting out of the way and letting our families and our businesses grow and thrive and prosper.
We put our faith in the American people. We don't put our faith in growing bigger government. And that, too, is as opposed to Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, we're not voting for the spouse, we're voting for the candidate. But I'm curious, what don't we know about Todd?
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Oh, my gosh. He is just an all-around hard-working good dad. I don't know if people realize what a good dad he is. He has his hands full, of course, when he gets off the slope or off the commercial fishing waters. He pretty much takes over a lot of the household duties and allows me to do what I got to do there as governor of Alaska. And it's a busy job. And I anticipate and get to look forward to that, also, right, working there in the White House. He's quite humble and unpretentious and very, very confident and secure in who he is. Maybe this kind of role would bother some other guys, but Todd's, like, Hey, we're a team, we're a partner. I couldn't do this without him.
VAN SUSTEREN: Are you going to win Tuesday?
GOV. SARAH PALIN: I think we are. I believe we are. I think the momentum is on our side. Again, we're hitting our stride and -- the campaign itself and the message gathering that second wind that is needed right at this most appropriate time. I see nothing but good things in store on November 4.
VAN SUSTEREN: Piper, if you could vote, who are you going to vote for?
PIPER PALIN: My mom.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you. Thank you all very much.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you very much. Thank you.
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