'Factor' Debut, Part 3: Does Sarah Palin Want to Lead a Populist Movement in America?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 23, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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Now for the top story tonight, the final part of my interview with Governor Palin. We begin this evening with the hateful attacks she has endured.


BILL O'REILLY, HOST: You, I think, have been hammered by the media more than any other politician, except Richard Nixon, in my lifetime. What is it about Sarah Palin that makes some Americans, primarily on the left, but you've been hammered on the right, too. I'm sure have you heard David Brooks of The New York Times say:


DAVID BROOKS, NEW YORK TIMES: She's a joke. I mean, I just can't take her seriously. We've got serious problems in the country.


O'REILLY: What is it about you that brings out these strong negative emotions?

Click here to watch Sarah Palin in the No Spin Zone!

SARAH PALIN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: If there is a threat at all that perhaps I represent, it is that the average, everyday hardworking American, their voice is going to be heard and their — what our voice is saying right now is we're telling the federal government and we're telling the elites who think that they are — can and should call all the shots for all the rest of us, trust us, and that we know what our federal government's role is supposed to be in our lives. It's supposed to be minimal.

O'REILLY: But that's not logical. That doesn't offend me.

PALIN: That's why it's perplexing as to why I would be, you know, kind of clobbered left and right.

O'REILLY: You don't know really? You're sincere about you don't know why you're the lightning rod? You don't know why?

PALIN: Only if it is because I'm representing a normal American.

O'REILLY: Why don't they like normal Americans? Why don't The New York Times like normal Americans or NBC News? Why should they have disdain for the regular folks?

PALIN: Because I think that, obviously, they wanting so much control over our lives, I think perhaps that there is a little bit of threat there that the average American is going to rise up and our voice is going to be louder and louder. And we're going to tell our government no, we expect you to work for us. We're not going to work for you. We expect things to turn around here quite quickly, even if that means that the elites are not going to be in control anymore. I'm talking about the media. I'm talking about those in bureaucracy that are calling the shots for us. That's why the tea party movement, I think, is beautiful. And I think that it is empowering for so many of us to be watching what's going on with the tea party movement where we're saying that's me. I think it's beautiful what's going on right now, and perhaps that is threatening to some who don't want to cede any control.

O'REILLY: I think that's a good analysis, but what I get from talking to you for the past hour is that you, Sarah Palin, want to lead that movement. You want to lead it.

PALIN: I do not need a title, and I do not necessarily be the one to lead it.

O'REILLY: You — no spin.

PALIN: I don't need to.

O'REILLY: You want to lead that populist movement. I can see it in your eyes. You want it.

PALIN: I'm willing to assist. I know in my heart and soul that the experiences that I have gone through, I believe that kind of what's all been put together in my life can benefit the average, everyday, hardworking American because I have been where they are. I'm experiencing what they're experiencing, and I'm willing to assist, but again, I don't have to be the top dog.

O'REILLY: Weren't you happier as a regular mayor of Wasilla, Alaska? Go out and have fun at night. No controversy. Do your job. Raise your kids. Weren't you a happier person then that you are now?

PALIN: I'm a very happy person now because I'm doing what I want to do. And I am as normal now as I was back then when I was the mayor of Wasilla and still raising my kids and going to hockey games and going hunting and trying to teach my kids to be good citizens of this country. I'm the same person today as I was then, minus, I guess, a little bit of the spotlight.

O'REILLY: Yeah, but all those expensive clothes and everything.

PALIN: Yeah, right.

O'REILLY: Well, I appreciate you coming in, governor, and taking the fire. And I've read the book, and I recommend it. It's a very interesting read…

PALIN: Thank you.

O'REILLY: ...about how a person like you, normal person, everyday American can rise up to be where you are now. I think it's a great American story.

PALIN: Well, I appreciate that. And I want people to read my book and see my record, know what it is that I stand for, and judge me on that. It's not all about just those 68 days of the vice presidential campaign, my participation with John McCain. But it's about a record in local office and in statewide office that was built upon common sense solutions plugged in for the people that I was serving and never forgetting that it was a very honored position that I was given as an elected official representing people. And then if they still think that I'm controversial and whoever that dude is, Brooks…

O'REILLY: Yeah, The New York Times guy.

PALIN: ...still calling me a whatever, then so be it. But read in my own words who I am, what I stand for. Don't believe the things that are made up.


O'REILLY: And once again, I appreciate Governor Palin taking the time.

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