This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 23-24, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, you are "Going Rogue." The country has been talking about her for a week, and tonight former Alaska governor Sarah Palin goes "On the Record." In minutes, you are taking a ride on Governor Palin's book tour bus.
But first, Governor Palin gives you the inside story on her dinner with Reverend Billy Graham, talks about the health care battle and rates the best and worst of President Obama. Governor Palin "On the Record."
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, nice to see you.
SARAH PALIN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Thank you so much. You, too.
VAN SUSTEREN: So Governor, do they read in Alaska?
PALIN: Yes, we read in Alaska! We stay in touch with the real world.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I'm just teasing you.
PALIN: That's funny.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, we should probably say you have an Army T- shirt on. So just to sort of set the stage, where were you today?
PALIN: Heading to Ft. Bragg. Can't wait to meet the troops and those who love the troops. And the book is dedicated to patriots who serve our country and have served in the past. So there'll be a great book-signing event, where we can there, thanking these guys and gals.
VAN SUSTEREN: Last night, you had a special dinner?
PALIN: Oh! It was special, with Billy Graham, with his family. It was quite significant to me, he being a -- one of my heroes, such an icon. Beyond that, though, but who he is as a personality or a character, just his advice that he has given to me, though maybe he didn't know that he was giving it to me over all these years, but to so many of us, and his counsel, through his teachings. It meant so much to get to meet him face to face and thank him and hear from him personally. It was a wonderful evening.
VAN SUSTEREN: How is he? Because you know, his health -- he's an older gentleman.
PALIN: Mentally, he is so sharp. He is there and had great conversation. Physically, of course, at age 91, anybody's going to slow down a little bit. But he's a beautiful, beautiful human being, and it was such a pleasure to get to speak with him.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we've been lucky to go to North Korea, of course, with Franklin, his son. Franklin at the dinner?
PALIN: Franklin was there. Oh, I so enjoy always speaking with Franklin. He's done a lot of good work up in Alaska. Samaritan's Purse has helped rebuild through some -- some pretty challenging times in some of our villages, schools, community centers, homes. They just finished up some homes this last summer that had been devastated by an ice slide up there. Very generous. And his heart there is with Alaska. He's got a place up there. He's quite the outdoorsman. And great to get to speak with him, too.
VAN SUSTEREN: As I was driving to get here today, I heard on the radio that the -- since you're doing the Army visit today -- unemployment for people returning home from the war is at 15 percent.
PALIN: That's atrocious, huge numbers. And it's not just, of course, military returning home and our troops. Geez, they deserve the employment opportunity, I think, moreso than anybody else. They're making these sacrifices, putting their careers, putting education opportunities even on hold so that they can get out there and serve their country, serve something greater than self. To be essentially punished by this lagging economy right now, by not seeing job opportunities upon their return is unacceptable.
Job opportunities are going to be created when our federal government will quit taxing those who are creating the jobs -- not quit taxing, but reduce the taxes and start incentivizing small businesses especially, so that this economy can become more robust. We'll see jobs created, not government doing the creating of it, private sector. And then our troops are going to be able to come home and capitalize on some of the great things that our American industry and job opportunities that should be there waiting for them.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you talk about the -- that it's not the military. That's, indeed, true. We've got unemployment in Detroit, for instance, of 15 percent. Nationwide, 10.2 percent. California, Nevada, Rhode Island, all these states are getting hit terribly. In light of the fact that we do have this stimulus bill, it was passed in February and signed, what would you -- what would you do now if you were in charge?
PALIN: I would not start talking about a second stimulus package. This is bogus idea out there that growing more debt, another trillion- dollar stimulus package that we hear rumored about in Washington, D.C., that's being talked about -- when the first stimulus package that was almost a trillion dollars of moneys that the public coffers did not have -- to spend this again in a second stimulus is nonsense to most Americans.
The first stimulus package hasn't even been spent entirely, and it certainly hasn't been measured for any kind of success. So for Congress to start talking about, and the White House, a second stimulus package makes absolutely no sense.
What we need to do is reduce capital gains tax, reduce taxes on corporations and small businesses and our income so private sector, our families, our businesses can keep more of what we earn, can prioritize for our needs, reinvest, create jobs. That's how -- that's how the economy is going to roar back to life.
President Reagan did that back in the early '80s. He stayed true to his convictions that smaller government, tax cuts would rebuild the economy. It worked. Let's learn from what he did back there in the '80s, not go down this nonsensical road growing more debt, building more government and expect that somehow, magically, everything is going to just work out OK.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well one of the problems that we do have is there are different needs in different communities. For instance, Detroit has a different need than maybe Montana or something. We have such a huge country with different industries. How do you account for the fact that maybe the poor African-American in Detroit, who has no skills, might be so vastly different than someone who loses a business in northern California?
PALIN: Oh, fundamentally, everything is the same. Fundamentally, America's economy was built on free market enterprise. It was built on these principles that allowed the private sector to grow and to thrive and prosper and for our families to keep more of what we earn. Where we are right now in America in about the last 11 months is seeing this reversal of those principles that were applied to build up our economy.
All of a sudden, we're thinking it's OK to grow debt in our country. It's OK to borrow money from countries that we will soon be so beholden to. It's OK to print money out of thin air and think, again, that everything's just going to magically work out.
Fundamentally, everybody is equal in America. Everyone has equal opportunity to earn and produce and build. And the fundamentals of a strong economy have got to be applied again, as they were, like I just said, back in the '80s, when Reagan faced a worse recession than what we're facing today. Let's learn from that piece of American history and apply the same solutions.
VAN SUSTEREN: What about health care reform? I assume that -- I assume that you want some health care reform. Maybe I'm wrong. Do we need health care reform?
PALIN: Of course, we do, because rising health care costs just crushing some of our small businesses, especially, small businesses that want to provide health care coverage for their employees and they can't because it just costs too much. So there needs to be reform there.
There's common sense solutions to this reform that we need to see. We can allow the interstate competition between insurers to let people go across the state line and buy insurance, instead of the prohibitions that we see today. We can cut down on the waste and fraud that President Obama insists will pay for his multi-trillion-dollar health care reform package that he wants the public to adopt. We can look at tort reform measures that will help reduce the costs.
We don't have to just assume that the only solution to the health care challenges that America faces is for government to come in and take it over. That's one sixth of our economy. Heaven forbid that the American people just give up on families and private sector industry and think, OK, government, you bureaucrats, you take it over. We can't figure out any innovative solutions, no intelligent solutions coming from us. Government, you do it for us.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it seems to me that there are -- I mean, there's the -- the rich we don't need to worry about. I mean, of course, there's the, you know, question of whether you want to tax the rich and I -- or more, and some do, some don't. Then you've got the middle class who might be out of jobs. But then you've got the very poor. And what do we do about the very poor in terms of employment or even in terms of health care, in terms of even all the proposals put out there by the Republican side of the aisle? We still have a segment of our society who are really down and out. We have hungry people in this country.
PALIN: And the very, very poor are taken care of. Nobody's going to be turned away from a hospital emergency room, for instance. Today, they're not turned away if they can't pay for that coverage. And that's fine. That's good. That is that compassionate heart of the American people and -- and of our government. They're not going to be turned away.
But even the very poor need to be able to capitalize on those free market principles that have to be applied to get our economy roaring back to life and not look at -- government shouldn't be looking at increasing the taxes on what government bureaucrats call the very rich. The very rich, for the most part, are business owners, small business owners who are creating the jobs.
If -- if taxes rise so rapidly on a small business that are creating - - they're just going to move their wealth elsewhere. That's why we are exporting some of our job opportunities into foreign countries, where it's cheaper to do business over there because the American government is increasing the taxes. We're disincentivising businesses and not allowing them to expand and hire more people. So the very poor will be made much healthier, much more prosperous if our economy can get back on the right track by those free market principles finally being applied again.
VAN SUSTEREN: Up next, more with Governor Palin. What does Governor Palin think is the best thing about President Obama, and what does she think is the worst thing? Governor Palin, no holds barred, next. Then, get on the bus. You are taking a ride on Governor Palin's book tour bus. We know you love going behind the scenes. That is where we are taking you minutes from now.
VAN SUSTEREN: Continuing with former governor Sarah Palin.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Across the board, on every topic, whether it's foreign policy or the economy, whatever, what's the best thing you've seen President Obama do and what's the worst thing, in the short time he's been president?
SARAH PALIN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: I appreciated so much the other night, when he's in China and he suggested that condemnation of the human rights abuses in that country. Of course, I'd like him to be bolder about it, but probably some of his people didn't even want him to go that far in that condemnation. I appreciated that he was bold enough to go ahead and tell China that their human rights abuses are not acceptable in our eyes.
The worst thing -- you know, I think that there's been a lack of acknowledgement by our president in understanding what it is that the American military provides in terms of, obviously, the safety, the security of our country. There was the comment made the other night, you know, about, you know, the troops make for a good photo op, and, Hey, I'm giving you guys a raise, and that's the applause line you need to...
VAN SUSTEREN: What do you want from him?
PALIN: I want him to acknowledge how -- the sacrifices that these individual men and women, our sons, our daughters, our moms, our dads, our brothers and sisters are providing this country to keep us safe, this service that they're providing that is to something greater than self. They're making sacrifices. They're putting -- they're putting so much on hold right now so that the homeland can be safe and they can -- and they can fight for democratic ideals around our world. I want to see more acknowledgement and more respect given to them, not just with that...
VAN SUSTEREN: But just words? You mean, you want words from him, say, you know, Hey, great job?
PALIN: No, I want to see them equipped. I want to see them given everything that they need, including strategies, a surge strategy in Afghanistan, for one, so that they know that they're there for victory, they're not there just biding their time as lives are being lost.
I want our president and this administration to listen to the advisers who they hired, McChrystal, for one, back in March, telling the president, Here's what we're going to need there and then ramping up that advice lately, saying, Mr. President, here's what we need in Afghanistan to win, to make sure that those terror cells don't grow, so that those terrorists don't come back over to the homeland in America, on our soil, and kill innocent Americans. I want him to listen to his advisers. That's what he asked for.
VAN SUSTEREN: He's -- one of the criticisms that there is is that he's been listening too long, you know, that the -- he got the -- he got the -- McChrystal gave him that information in August. On the other hand, we don't want any sort of rush to, you know, judgment in terms of, you know, when he should make a decision. Do you expect that decision to have been made by now by the president, or do you appreciate...
PALIN: I do.
VAN SUSTEREN: ... that sort of the -- the consultation, the continued consultation?
PALIN: How long does consultation and talk among bureaucrats go on? No, the American people want action one way or another, and our troops deserve that, too. They need to know what's in their future, even personally and for their families and for their employment and education opportunities, even for practical reasons.
Our military needs to know where are we going in Afghanistan. Are we going to listen to McChrystal? And are we going to provide that counterinsurgency strategy that includes more reinforcements being sent and get the job done, or are we going to keep kind of dithering around and not knowing, so many of us who really are war-weary, not knowing how long is this going to go on.
And why are we sending troops over there, unless the goal is to win, is to kill the terrorists and stop this growth of the cells and make sure that we're doing all that we can to secure the homeland and to fight for the ideals in a country that, believe it or not, I -- I think they want us there because they want us to assist.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think we can win in Afghanistan? The Soviet Union had their problems in the early 1990s. They ran home. They got out of there. We've been there eight years now, and it just -- it seems to be getting worse. We have more problems there. And of course, it's bleeding into Pakistan. Can we really win there? Are we being -- are we being truthful to ourselves?
PALIN: We have to, and that's what the president's advisers are saying. We have to win there, and here's how we can win. And that's why it's so important for the president to listen to McChrystal, to listen to the -- those who are there on the front lines, there on the ground, telling him what it is that we need with this new strategy.
VAN SUSTEREN: Up next, what does Governor Palin think about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton? This answer might really surprise you. Then you take a ride on the governor's book tour bus as it rumbles down the highway. You go behind the scenes in minutes.
VAN SUSTEREN: More with former Governor Sarah Palin.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: What about Pakistan? We've got a country that has nuclear weapons. We've just given them $7.5 billion. We were there with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently, and the Pakistanis are furious at the Americans. They were even very unhappy that the $7.5 billion came with strings attached. They thought that was quite offensive and insulting. And then we've got India, which says, Why are you giving them the money? We're not the ones growing terrorist cells. We didn't get the money. What would you do there?
SARAH PALIN: Geez, well, with India, we have to make sure that we're working closely with India, the largest democracy in the world, such a strategic partner of ours. We have to make sure that India and Pakistan know that, Hey, the last thing that this world needs is conflict between these two countries. That's the last thing that we need. In fact, they both need to understand that each other are not the problem, the Taliban is the problem. There needs to be a concerted effort on both parts...
VAN SUSTEREN: How?
PALIN: ... to make sure that the Taliban is controlled. Pakistan's doing some right things right now. They're cracking down internally on that growth of the terror cells there. India needs to support them doing that.
And India, I would hope -- and we have a great relationship with the prime minister there. In fact, he's coming over to have -- Singh's having dinner with Obama here in a couple of days. I would certainly hope that the relationship that America can kind of be in the middle of and help forge a stronger alliance between the two countries will be -- certainly will be implemented very soon because the last thing that we can afford is for this growing superpower, India, to have this kind of conflict with Pakistan and this distrust between them. The leaders need to come together.
Maybe that's what President Obama -- maybe that's where his -- his -- his gift, his talent that he wants us to believe that he has in being a forger of good relationships -- maybe this is where it can be made manifest! It has to be. It has to be. And he's willing to do it, he says.
VAN SUSTEREN: How do you do that, though? I mean, it's, like, you know, people have tried. Secretary of State Clinton has tried. I mean, how do you get these countries to talk to each other and not to be at each other's throats and be saber rattling?
PALIN: Well, that's -- and that's the nature of superpowers, too, is that saber rattling, and is that -- that -- that seeking of even more power. The world is so volatile right now, especially when we talk about the nuclear arms, though -- the world is so volatile that we cannot afford to hesitate to at least attempt to bring these leaders together and get them to understand again we have a common enemy. Pakistan, India, America, we have a common enemy, and it is the terrorists.
Why can't we forge an alliance there, a military alliance even, to finally get rid of those terrorists in Pakistan that are threatening and have -- and have attacked Mumbai and some of the areas in India? Why can't we get these folks together and forge that relationship that's so necessary? It's such a volatile world where parts of our world could be literally be blown up with these nuclear arms. We cannot afford to hesitate at all in at least attempting to bring these leaders together.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I hope you didn't think that I was suggesting we give up in Afghanistan or any of these places. I'm really challenging you because -- because I -- I certainly don't have the answer to any of these places.
PALIN: Not one person does. A president does not have the answer, and he needs to be humble enough to admit that he doesn't have all the answers, but that's why he builds a team around him to advise. That's why he chose McChrystal, his own person, to tell him what is it that we need in order to win in Afghanistan so that our homeland is safe?
McChrystal is telling him what we need, and that's enough, I believe, of the discussion and of the strategy sessions on where we should go. You know, I won't accuse him of playing politics with this, but if there's any hint, any hint of politics being played in this, he needs to let that just get out the door, put that aside, listen to his advisers, the team that he has created, and get this thing over with.
VAN SUSTEREN: How about Secretary of State Clinton? She's been globe-trotting. I don't mean that in a derogatory way, but just that she's been hitting all these countries. How's she doing?
PALIN: I think she's doing a great job, and Americans appreciate that she is out there. And you know, she's -- she's got a boss. Her boss is -- is President Obama, and -- and you know, she's not going to get ahead of him. So again, it's all the more reason that the man whom America -- whom we elected will listen to those who are his team, including Hillary Clinton, and do what's right for our country.
VAN SUSTEREN: President Ahmadinejad of Iran is in Brazil, and that, of course, has caused some consternation on the part of the United States. What do you think about the president of Brazil entertaining Ahmadinejad?
PALIN: I wish that the president of Brazil would put his foot down and start telling Ahmadinejad what we want to tell him, and that is it is unacceptable that this madman regime of his to ever threaten Israel to wipe it off the face of the earth and -- and to spew his hatred over America.
And I would hope that the president of Brazil would -- would forge even better relationships with France, with Britain, with America and start looking at joining us in the sanctions that we should be applying to Iran instead of just talking about the sanctions, all these great ideas that we have to not allow them to capitalize on favorable monetary deals or continued imports of petroleum, refined petroleum products, but actually sanctioning this country until they start changing their behavior. I'd like Brazil to join in that.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, this afternoon, (INAUDIBLE) with the military, and I know that you have a big afternoon. We're going to be chasing you around. So we'll catch up with you again on the bus.
PALIN: OK. Appreciate it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Up next, you take a ride on Governor Palin's book tour bus. Plus, Governor Palin answers these questions: Why did she resign her office? And what didn't the governor put in her book that she wanted to include? That and much more next.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now you are taking a ride on Governor Palin's book tour bus as it rumbles across the country. We hopped on the bus with Governor Palin after a book signing at Ft. Bragg.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: That felt like a campaign or a political rally. That didn't feel like a book signing.
SARAH PALIN: Oh, it just felt like a great opportunity to honor our troops and for them to be able to tell me a little bit in just a couple of seconds there what they're expecting with their government. And I heard a lot from them. It was a great opportunity.
VAN SUSTEREN: What, some of them give you any advice?
PALIN: Oh, they all give me advice. Yes, a lot of them do, and it's all good. And it's, Keep up the faith, fight hard, not necessarily, you know, suggesting that I need to do something with a title or to run for office, but just, you know, really seeking some hope and wanting to know that people are looking out for them.
VAN SUSTEREN: That raises the question about why did you quit?
PALIN: Because it was the best thing for the state of Alaska to be able to progress the conservative agenda up there without the distraction that the new normal in Alaskan politics had become where every time I turned around, there was a lawsuit or frivolous ethics violation charge.
And that was prohibiting my administration from doing the work for the people. It was costing the state millions of dollars, thousands of staff hours to fight these frivolous, adversarial, opposition-researcher efforts that were thrown at my administration while I was there.
And I was not going to run again for governor, so instead of hunkering down, quitting, basically, as a governor by sitting behind my desk and not doing anything, not speaking out for fear of having another ethics violation charge, I said no. They're not going to win and we're going to get out there and fight harder for Alaskans, fight harder to Americans by handing the reins over to our lieutenant governor for my last year in office. He'll progress the agenda. I will get out there and fight even harder.
VAN SUSTEREN: When is that term up? Is that up in one year?
PALIN: We have 36 governors that are up for re-election. The seats are open in 2010, Alaska's governor is one of those.
VAN SUSTEREN: Any heartbreak in quitting.
PALIN: I loved my job, absolutely. There was a lot of personal consideration and council sought before I made the decision that in the best interests of Alaska I needed to step aside.
There was heartbreak there because Alaska is my home. I will be buried there. I love Alaska. I loved serving the people there.
But the people who really care about Alaska, who really care about me and my family, they knew that this was the best decision.
And I think it came, at the end of the day, saying that the people who get it and understand an opportunity to get out there and fight for Alaskan issues on a different plain, I do not have to explain any more to them. Your friends do not need the explanation and your enemies are not going to believe you anyway.
VAN SUSTEREN: It's no secret I thought the media was unfair to you. I think they were unfair to Secretary the State of Clinton as well. I think you guys should get challenged on the policy.
VAN SUSTEREN: But the thing is you have got a lot of fans out here cheering for you. I think a lot of people are looking forward to seeing what your political future is, and one thing that lingers out there is that when it gets hot, when it gets heated, do you quit or are you tough?
PALIN: I am not a quitter. And it's like my dad said. I was not retreating. I was reloading. And that's exactly what I've been able to do.
And if I was still the governor today, I would be shackled by the adversaries, but those who were hell-bent on seeing personal destruction and personal bankruptcy of me and my family. That is why they kept finding one after another after another of these lawsuits and frivolous ethics charges. And we won one after another after another.
In fact I thought of you the other day, Greta, because we got word that we won the issue of me wearing the Arctic Cat coat. I wore a snow machine coat, and you interviewed me.
VAN SUSTEREN: It was cold. I would have worn whatever they gave. I would have word an ABC coat or a CBS jacket it was so cold.
PALIN: So somebody filed something against me for wearing it, saying I was advertising a brand in public. That cost tens of thousands of dollars to fight. And we just won it the other day, and I thought it was good to have that out in front of you and god and everybody else, and Greta.
But the politics of personal destruction, things like that that I just went through for those months in Alaska, it's why good people stay out of politics. That's why good people say, "I am not going to put my family out there like that," because you become ineffective is you start hunkering down and kowtowing about what they are going to do to you next.
Instead we were like, no, you're not going to win you guys. We are going to get out there and we are going to fight even harder, and here is how we are going to do it.
VAN SUSTEREN: There are a lot of people out there, you can tell, and I know that you have never said what your plans are in 2012, and I'm not going to ask you because everyone keeps asking you the same question and I have heard the same answer, that you have not made any decisions.
But a lot of people out there are pushing for you. If they were to persuade you to run, or if you made the decision based on your family, how do you say when they start doing that personal destruction, because that's what's going to happen, that you could still overcome it the second time on a national scale?
PALIN: Is not the same scale, because in Alaska our administration is set up a little bit differently than anywhere else you're going to find in the country or the federal government where the governor is not protected by the department of law when these frivolous ethics violations charges are filed against you. I have to pay personally for the defense, and I am still paying personally for the defense of all the frivolity.
Those charges filed by fake people -- a fake British soap opera actress filed something against me and I am still paying the bill. I am still paying the bill to defend myself against stupid things like that.
That is not going to happen elsewhere because, again, more and more people are realizing that things like that that keep good people away from politics -- people are expecting that kind of change, the ethics reform so that those kinds of actions can't prohibit someone from wanting to serve for the right reasons.
And I do want to serve for the right reasons. I do not know what position it will be, but I will be out there fighting hard, working for everyday, common sense Americans who are sick of things that are going on in the country that really are turning government away from them.
It's becoming more and more, Greta, where the American people are feeling more that they are having to work for the government rather than the government working for them. I want to turn that around in whatever position I can.
VAN SUSTEREN: When I have gone to these rallies when I was on the campaign trail, people are crazy about you. The enthusiasm is for you -- and, of course, President Obama got an enormous enthusiasm at his crowds, too. But there are people, I do not know what to call it, but they love you.
PALIN: It's not for me, though. It's for a common sense voice that is speaking what they're wanting to hear because it's what they're believing to. They're saying we have to quit digging this hole of debt, we have to quit growing government.
And I am agreeing with them, and I'm saying, exactly, and here is what I did in Alaska to slow down the rate of government and to veto overloaded budgets and the things we were able to accomplish there.
It's our building energy-independent projects. People are looking at me as just a representation, I think, of what it is that they want to see and what they believe in. It is not me personally. It is just the common sense voice of the everyday American.
VAN SUSTEREN: A blogger from California asked me to ask this, what didn't you put in the book, or what did you have to take out? You can't have a book that's 50,000 pages thick? Is there something you would have liked to have included?
PALIN: That is a great question.
VAN SUSTEREN: It's not mine. I wish it were mine. You didn't say that any of mine were any good, but you said that that the blogger's was good. Thanks a lot.
PALIN: No, I think that we covered a lot of important facts, events, situations. I personally would have had a much better time writing the book if it had been about anybody but me. I hope I never have to write about myself again.
Probably like you, too, Greta. Would you want to sit down and write about yourself day after day?
VAN SUSTEREN: Not particularly.
PALIN: No. but I am wanted have my voice heard finally on so many of the questions that have been asked of me the last year, people saying, "Why did you do that?" war, "I heard through the press that you did this."
I'm like, no, no, no. I'll tell you the truth, and here's how things unfolded in all these different situations.
But I am glad that that writing exercise is over. It was a compilation of a lot of journals that I have kept since I was a little girl about Alaska and about school and about my career. Compiling all that was not a difficult thing to do, but having to singularly focus on myself wasn't a fun thing to do.
SARAH PALIN "ON THE RECORD" INTERVIEW, PART II, NOVEMBER 24
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: You are hitting the road, more of our interview with former governor Sarah Palin, behind the scenes on her book tour bus.
VAN SUSTEREN: How about Facebook? You're now speaking to people on Facebook. I mean, are you actually doing this or you have -- let me back up. Do you have a staff?
SARAH PALIN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I have a small staff. And no, I'm actually...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... because you've had a very small staff.
PALIN: Yes, in fact, this morning, I posted -- last night, couldn't sleep. This is so typical. Couldn't sleep because just kind of burning in me again was this reminder, and I'll use Facebook to remind Americans that I'm hearing them as they're on this book tour and they're coming up to me and they're whispering to me, or they shout it loudly, they say, We've got to get this country back on the right track. And the things that are going on now, we don't agree with. Why aren't they listening to us? Why isn't Congress listening to us with health care reform, for instance?
So couldn't sleep last night, just wanting to put, you know, my thoughts, my heart on paper, being able to do that via BlackBerry and then post it this morning on Facebook. Yes, those are my messages. And just want to let the American people know what's going through my mind last night. I hear you. I'm there with you. I want to do something about it. And asking Americans, too, Keep the faith.
VAN SUSTEREN: How -- I mean, you haven't said you're going to run. And I'm not going to (INAUDIBLE) but I mean, in the back of your mind, you must think, How can I reach the people who don't agree with me?
VAN SUSTEREN: OK? I mean, it's easy to reach the people that agree with you. How do you reach the people who are a little farther to the left and way far to the left from you?
PALIN: I think that those people are going to start seeing that the direction of our country right now has got to change. And whether they agree with me personally on my values or the -- some of the issues that I really grabbed hold of and tried to progress with -- whether they agree with that or not, I think what they're going to agree with is that we have to build a stronger nation economically and in terms of national security.
And the things that I'm standing for, they're such common sense measures that have to be undertaken in order to get there for America with national security, with the economy. I think they're going to be agreeing with that. But I'm never going to please everyone. There's no -- there's no need to even try to please everyone. Some people will -- if it comes from me, they'll automatically not like what the idea is or what the position is.
VAN SUSTEREN: So how do you win over the people that don't -- I mean, who may have that sort of kneejerk reaction, if you want to -- if you want to talk to them, if you want to reach them, at least have them consider what you have to say?
PALIN: Well, for instance, the book is a good tool to get -- hey, read the book, and if you still don't like the positions that I take or if you don't like who I am after reading the book, unfiltered through the media, then so be it. You know, I'm never going to win you over. But at least give me a shot there in trying to figure out who I am, what my record is, what my accomplishments are and what I represent.
And then, Greta, if I can't please them, I can't please them. I'm not going to try. I'm not going to change who I am or compromise my positions, my values, in order to placate or to try to get some demographic or some group of people on board with me if they just don't get it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is it fun to be a politician, or is it rough, or I mean, how do you describe it? I mean, I guess -- I don't know if you're a politician right now. You have been historically, and now an author, I guess. I don't know. That's what I call you today, I guess. But I think of your career as a politician. Is it fun?
PALIN: Public service is fun.
VAN SUSTEREN: How about the rest? I mean, because there's a lot to it. It's not just public service. I mean...
PALIN: The public service, the administrative tasks, I love it. That's why I loved my job as governor. I loved my job as a city manager, a strong mayor. I loved those positions of effecting change, of helping people. And I loved that.
Some of the -- some of the crap that goes on, on the periphery, it has a lot to do with the media making things up and trying to create a caricature -- that stuff's not that much fun. But so what? We plow through that stuff so that we -- I do, anyway -- so that I can concentrate on what the administrative tasks should be, how that change should be effected and how -- how to hear from the people and message back to people so that we're all on the same page as we're trying to progress on an agenda. So some of the stuff on the periphery that is obviously not a whole lot of fun to go through, plow through it, put up with it.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's sort of interesting. When I was reading your book, I thought that the part that -- I don't know, that struck me -- I guess everyone takes a piece that strikes them -- is that the three-week period between the time you learned about your son, Trig, and the time you got to tell Todd because you wanted to tell him -- there was a -- he was on the slope, North Slope, and you wanted to tell him in person about your son. I can't -- I can't imagine a tougher time in a person's life.
PALIN: Yes, it was -- it was kind of a lonely time, I mean, having -- having the news that wasn't -- I wasn't able to share yet with Todd. But also a good time of introspection to figure out, Wow, how am I going to handle this, knowing that Todd would probably handle it better than I would initially and knowing that I was going to draw strength from him. It was refreshing, of course, to finally get to tell him. And then we moved together on how to handle the situation.
And as expected, yes, he handled it well. He saw the good and the challenges in the news at the same time, and he's just been awesome through all this. And of course, Trig, now that he's here, can't imagine the world without him. He's amazing to us. And he's perfect to us. We love him more than anything.
VAN SUSTEREN: I sort of wondered in reading it -- I mean, everyone reads the book, you know, with his own eyes or her own eyes. And I know that horrible, wicked rumor about, you know, whose -- whose child Trig was, and I wondered -- you know, I sort of wondered if that three-week period -- because you were sort of silent about it as being, you know, governor and being in the public eye -- I wondered if that was sort of, like, you know, people didn't realize what was going on in your life, and so all the sort of the rumors get rolling. I wondered if that contributed to it.
PALIN: I don't know. But you know, that stupid tinfoil hat conspiracy that people, they still won't let go of it. You know, they're still...
VAN SUSTEREN: It's still on?
PALIN: Yes, they still bug my doctor about it. They still bug my attorney. And they bug us about it, about who is Trig's real mom. It just -- I don't know, it's just...
VAN SUSTEREN: Cruel. I mean, it's really up there on top -- in terms of cruel, it's really up there.
PALIN: It just makes absolutely no sense, either, you know, no sense at all. But yes, people just -- I think there's some shallowness and some loneliness in people who want to perpetuate such a thing. And it's -- it's -- that stuff isn't that much fun to go through. But again, I've said this before, that those kind of personal shots, those kind of political shots, too, that we take, at the end of the day, they don't mean a whole lot, not when you consider that real devastation in a person's life is losing a child or having an ill parent or losing a job and not knowing how you're going to take care of your family. Those are the things that really matter.
So all of this political personal tabloidization of me or my family or of my record is -- it's quite ridiculous. It is such a waste of time. So we don't waste our time on it. We plow through it, as I say, and we move forward.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it's -- you know, they're not doing this about other candidates right now.
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, so it's -- I mean, you're the one who's the target, I mean, to the large extent. I mean -- I mean, I've -- and like I said a moment ago, is that Secretary of State Clinton's gotten hit. Is it a gender thing?
PALIN: I think a lot of it is a gender thing. And I think that women's rights groups who don't come and say, Hey, I may not agree with her policies, but the things like Newsweek did the other day, putting a picture me in shorts on the cover of Newsweek, that's sexist! That's ridiculous. And I'm going to call it like I see it.
Some people say, Well, you kind of sound like you're whining or like you can't handle it. Bull! I can handle it, and I'm speaking up for other women, too, who may go through things like this in the workplace or in other arenas. I'm saying, you know, Enough is enough of that kind of stuff. I expect to be treated equally, not with kid gloves. But I expect that if I'm going to be called out on something, I expect that in a campaign, for instance, my opponent better be called out on the same thing.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, a lot of women might say that if you -- you know, if you don't -- if you don't fight, you're going to get it -- you're going to get it back at you again. But the other thing, too, is that when -- oftentimes, when women complain, they're whining.
PALIN: Yes. And I don't buy into that...
VAN SUSTEREN: I don't, either!
PALIN: You know why, Greta? Because I tried both ways. I went through months of not fighting back, of just zipping my lip, A, for fear of being charged with something up there in Alaska as a governor for speaking out on something that wasn't state business because I've been through that, too. But B, because it is a tough call. What do you fight back on? Some of the shots that are taken, you have to weigh the pros and the cons.
What I decided was I won't necessarily fight back on all the petty stuff because that just would waste my time, and since there's 24 hours a day, I'd never get anything else done if I fight back. But when they come attacking my kids, when they touch my kids, like any other mom in our country, I will fight back and I'll set the record straight. And that's where I've kind of drawn the line is say, No, you don't touch my kids.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, books have sold like hotcakes. You're breaking all sorts of numbers. People are standing in line to see you. Have you ever stood in line to see a celebrity?
PALIN: I have.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I know that. That's why I asked.
PALIN: Twice. Twice. Once was Herschel Walker came up to Alaska years ago to sign posters in a sporting goods store, drove through a snowstorm to go see him. And then the other one was Ivana Trump. She was at JCPenney in Anchorage, Alaska, years ago, selling a perfume. Happened to be in the store, stood in line, had her sign whatever she was signing. And then turned around and there's a reporter asking me, Why are you standing in line to see her? And I said, Because up here in Alaska, well, one, we -- a lot of us, you know, we smell like salmon -- I'd just gotten off the salmon season -- salmon year-round. Having someone like this in our presence, oh, gosh, we're just so honored, we're so flattered. And she's selling good perfume. So yes, twice I've stood in line.
VAN SUSTEREN: And -- and certainly were thousands have stood in line for you. They love you, don't they.
PALIN: Well, they love the message. They love having it. Everyday, average American who goes through the same challenges and has the same joys as they do. I think they just appreciate having someone fighting for them.
VAN SUSTEREN: Tired yet?
PALIN: Not tired yet. No. Having a ball!
VAN SUSTEREN: Any idea how many books you've signed so far?
PALIN: No. No idea. I haven't even asked the guys yet how many we've signed. We're just -- we're going. It's like running a marathon. You know, you're taking one step at a time and really enjoying every minute of it and knowing that at the end of the day, we'll have accomplished something good. We will have gotten a message out there unfiltered and let Americans see who this average American is who's been given some pretty extraordinary opportunities.
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, thank you very much. Nice to see you.
PALIN: Thank you so much.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you for the ride on the bus, too.
PALIN: Thanks. Good. Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Up next, more with Governor Palin. She says we are moving backward and President Obama has a pre-9/11 mentality. Now, what does she mean by that? Find out next.
VAN SUSTEREN: More with former governor Sarah Palin.
VAN SUSTEREN: How do you describe the President Obama foreign policy direction, philosophy, with President George Bush 43? What's the difference?
PALIN: I think it's been summed up for me most clearly when I hear people talk about, Well, do we have a pre-9/11 mentality in the federal government or is it a post-9/11? I think, unfortunately, we're going backward to a pre-9/11 mentality. And we're not understanding that the enemies in this world, the terrorists, are wired. They are operating in a way to seek this destruction of America and her allies.
We saw that on 9/11, that manifestation of their hatred of innocent Americans. Now, we learned so much from that. And I thank President George Bush for understanding how important it was to build up our military and to build alliances to make sure that that never happened again. And it seems like it's kind of politically incorrect to thank President Bush for his security efforts and keeping our country safe and not seeing any attacks since 9/11.
And I think that we need to emulate much of what he did militarily. I'd like to see our President Obama start looking in that direction, and realizing that so much changed after 9/11. There was that clear illustration of evil empires, hating America, wanting to destroy our country. And the shift in thinking in the federal government at that time I thought was very valuable, much healthier for America than where we are today.
It seems like we're kind of backing up a little bit. We're kind of going along with almost this assumption that it'll never happen again and maybe we can just talk the terrorists out of ever wanting to attack America or our allies.
VAN SUSTEREN: I just -- when I look at sort of the world and think, you know, What would I do, and I think to myself is that, every time you move one chess piece, you create another problem. And of course Pakistan, India, the best example. The minute you help Pakistan, India's mad, and saying, you know, of course, you know, Why aren't you helping us? And every time we do something in Pakistan, we've got to worry about Afghanistan. I mean, there's just -- it's almost like every single piece you move on the board makes it seem like the most insurmountable problem.
PALIN: Well, you know, go back to India and Pakistan, though. Our role in this scenario is to keep that good relationship with India, though, and tell them that we are there to support them, too, in their...
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, then they want $7.5 billion. And we don't have any money. We're getting down to the bottom.
PALIN: (INAUDIBLE) they sure have a heck of a lot of our jobs. We've exported so many of our jobs to India, and this is so unfortunate. And it's because of decisions that our federal government has made in this disincentivizing our own businesses and industry in America to be able to keep jobs here. We're going to be able to do that if we reduce the taxes on the job creators and allow our small businesses especially to get to reinvest and hire more people here.
VAN SUSTEREN: So it all sort of loops back.
PALIN: It all loops back. And it loops back to what our -- to the way our country was formed. And we were going to be different than any other country and we were going to strive to be the superpower militarily and economically. And I want our country to get back to that, and I think most Americans agree with me. We have the willingness, we have the ableness, to get back to where we were and to forge ahead in that direction. That's what I want to see.
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