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Is Sarah Palin's TV Show Hurting Her Political Career?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 16, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: As you may know, Sarah Palin has a hit TV show on cable and another best-selling book called "America by Heart," where she talks about her vision of what the country should be. But some say all of that stuff may be hurting her in the political arena.

Joining us now from Alaska is Governor Palin. You know, Charles Krauthammer, he's a smart guy. Even Clinton said that. Bill Clinton said he was a smart guy. We're talking to him about possible GOP contenders for president in 2012. Of course, your name came up. And he said, look, he's not quite convinced that the outside activities that you're engaging in would help you if you decide to run for president. Does Krauthammer have a point?

SARAH PALIN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: Well, bless his heart, he's probably used to those in the political Beltway who perhaps aren't out there working, but they're talking and they're meeting people and they're doing their strategery, whereas I'm working and I'm having a great time doing it. It's been a pleasure to bring Americans along for the ride to show them what America's Fort Knox, this land that we call Alaska has to offer and to film eight episodes to show Americans what it is that we do.

O'REILLY: Well, that's right.

PALIN: And what we have up here in terms of resources. It's a pleasure. And the book -- the book, of course, it's all about America's heart and our exceptionalism...

O'REILLY: Well, we'll get to the book. We'll get to the book in a minute.

PALIN: ...and how important it is to protect it. So I don't think there's anything non-presidential about writing the book.

O'REILLY: OK, we'll get to the book in a moment. The television show, you're out there and you're presenting your state in a very positive way. And it's -- you know, very entertaining program. Big hit for TLC. But how does that, in your mind, help you in the political arena, or does it?

PALIN: I told Alaskans that I was going to do all that I could to promote Alaska. And I'll tell you, TLC's debut show as the highest-rated show in that -- in that cable network's history. I think it's doing a good job for Alaska, for our economy and...

O'REILLY: OK, so you're promoting -- you're promoting the state that you love.

PALIN: Promoting Alaska.

O'REILLY: OK, good.

PALIN: And even more importantly, promoting domestic resources that we have in America that can be tapped into to allow us to be more secure, healthier, more prosperous. A lot of the show has to do with the resources that we have that need to be developed.

O'REILLY: OK. Now, Kate Gosselin and you, she's whining that she's hungry and she saw a turtle or something. I don't know what she's doing. And -- but, see, is that presidential, you and Kate Gosselin in the forest? People would say, you know, look, it doesn't elevate the governor, the former governor of Alaska. And you would say?

PALIN: I'm sorry that I'm not so hoity-toity. And you know, I don't do this before I make a statement or endorse a person or portray reality up here in Alaskan life. I don't do that.

O'REILLY: Did you make fun of her, by the way? When the cameras were off, did you mock Ms. Gosselin and did you make fun of her?

PALIN: No, but that episode certainly reflected a life lesson that I'm a believer in. And that is life is 10 percent circumstances, 90 percent how you react to circumstances. I think that was illustrated in that episode.

O'REILLY: All right. So you wouldn't appoint her, Gosselin, to a cabinet position if you were in Washington or anything, would you?

PALIN: What do you think?

O'REILLY: I'm just giving you a little jazz, governor. You know how I am, how immature I am.

PALIN: I know how you are, yes. I need you to come up here. We'll take you out camping and hiking and hunting.

O'REILLY: I'm coming. I'm coming next summer. I'm coming in the summer. Absolutely. I'm a tough guy. I'll be out there and I'll be skinning those moose or whatever you guys do.

Now your book, I enjoyed the book, because it's, you know, you can hear you talking on the pages. So chapter five is the rise of mama grizzlies, OK? And you're very famous for that expression. Can a liberal woman be a mama grizzly?

PALIN: A liberal woman who understands that it's individual rights and responsibilities that can pull one person up when they are exercised appropriately certainly can be a mama grizzly, because a mama grizzly is all about protecting the young. And we protect the young by teaching them how to work, not rely on another bear. In our case, not to rely on bigger government to solve problems and to provide solutions...

O'REILLY: So it would be hard then?

PALIN: ...to everything that we face. It's all about individuals. It's about family. It's about small community. It's about individual responsibility.

O'REILLY: OK, so it would be hard for a liberal woman who believes in a collective responsibility to elevate everyone -- that's the liberal philosophy -- to be a mama grizzly, because you're basically saying, look, the real mama grizzlies teach their kids self-reliance, to not, you know, go into the big government and share the wealth, share the land type of thing. So it would be hard for a liberal woman to be a mama grizzly?

PALIN: It would be hard, yes.

O'REILLY: OK. Also, in the book, you concentrate on the feminist angle. And you say that you are a feminist, but you resent the fact that that label has been co-opted by the left. Want to explain that a little bit?

PALIN: I think there's a lot of hypocrisy with women's rights groups and those who proclaim to be the only ones who can wear that mantel, that title of feminist. I think that they are, in some cases, hypocrites, and they do not empower women. In fact, they make women sometimes feel weak and incapable of taking care of themselves and their families, because so often these feminists think that bigger government needs to provide the tools, the -- everything that we need in order to survive and thrive in this country. I don't believe that. I believe it's all about a person's character and their work ethic and how they choose to take care of themselves and their family. That is how we all can make for a better nation as we all do that.

And I think that too many feminists today have decided, and I think it's been the case since the '60s and the '70s, they have decided that women need someone to take care of them. That's the most hypocritical feminist mantra that there can be.

O'REILLY: Why do you say you're a feminist?

PALIN: Because I am self-reliant and quite independent. And I'm lucky to have been brought up in a family where, really, gender hasn't been an issue. And brought up in a community and a state where you're expected, the women are, to work as hard as the men are and even engage in the same type of jobs that they are. And it is all about your work ethic and your character. That is what will progress you. It's not going to be reliant on government to do so.

O'REILLY: You made it on your own. You absolutely made it on your own. So if I come up there next summer, and you take us out, I want Van Susteren to come out there, too, all right? I want her to come out. And then you guys can take us out, and just give me a knife, and I'll handle anything that comes at me. That's all I need. Just give me a knife.

Governor, Merry Christmas. Thanks for putting up with us, as always. Always fun to talk with you.

PALIN: Thank you.

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