OTR Interviews

Palin Hits Back at Biden for Saying Tea Party Acted Like 'Terrorists' During Debt Debate

Former Alaska governor takes on vice president's characterization of the Tea Party, the debt deal and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 1, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Today the vice president accused the Tea Party of acting like terrorists over the debt ceiling debate. Yes, terrorists! Now, was that just political snarkiness in the heat of battle, or is the Tea Party under attack by the establishment? Former Governor Sarah Palin joins us. Good evening, Governor. And Governor, it's pretty heated here in Washington. But tell me, is that just political snarkiness, or do you think that the people, the establishment, political parties, both sides of the aisle are on the run and just don't like the Tea Party?

SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: You know, I think independent patriots who happen to be believers in Tea Party principles, you know, reining in government and realizing that we're taxed enough already and that we need a strong national defense, those things that Tea Party patriots have been taking a stand for, are getting kind of used to being called names, you know, racists and inciters of violence and being accused of things that we have nothing to do with.

But I suppose it's a bit more appalling to have been called acting like terrorists today from he who is second in command of the most powerful office in the world. It's quite appalling and certainly proves how out of touch this White House is when it comes to realizing what the silent majority of Americans are seeing and feeling.

What we're feeling, Greta, is that growing more debt isn't going to get us out of debt and raising taxes in a down economy is a bad idea, and we're taking a stand in light of those -- those issues that I just brought up. And so to be called a terrorist because of our beliefs from the vice president, it's quite appalling. It's quite vile.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I'm actually sort of surprised by many here in Washington response to the Tea Party. It's not like it's a big surprise. I mean, each one of these members of the Tea Party ran campaigns, and it's very obvious what -- what they promised to each of their constituents. And so it wasn't like a big surprise what they were going to do when they come from Washington unless they sort of just rolled over and went with the establishment. I mean, this was pretty self-evident. I mean, not -- I mean, although I am surprised by many of the votes today, but I guess many are sort of practical and they did get the balanced budget amendment on the side. But it's, like, it's not a surprise. I mean, I guess people thought that they would be different when they came to Washington.

PALIN: Yes. Perhaps some of these talking heads and some of these liberal politicians who refer to Tea Party patriots as terrorists, perhaps they thought that they were going to be just typical politicians, where they get into office and then they changed their stripes. You're making a great point there in that it should not be a surprise to the politicos when they realize now that many of these Tea Party patriots, who ran for office, and were supported by just independent Americans who want the best for the most exceptional country on earth, that once they got into office, they were going to fulfill their promises, and their promises were to not to take steps to incur more debt, not when we're $14 trillion in debt and we're drowning in that unsustainable, immoral debt that we're handing to our kids and our grandkids. So no, the steps that the Tea Party patriots are taking today, it should not come as any surprise when they're sticking to their principles.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, I think -- it will be interesting to see what happens. The Tea Party, I think, had an enormous victory, because they did change the discussion here in Washington. It's a little bit like trying to change the direction of an aircraft carrier. It's not easy. So they certainly, I mean, that's huge. And I'm sort of curious whether the American people will now sort of take a bow, those who are Tea Party activists, and go back to their lives, which are very busy and very full, and they're worried about their own lives, or whether this is now going to -- now they'll take this victory and move on. I don't know.

PALIN: Well, I think that we shall take this victory and make sure that our politicians in office today are learning from this victory, realizing that it's not 100 percent pure, genuine victory because realize, Greta, we just handed the most liberal president, I believe, in U.S. history a $2.4 trillion debt increase. We're allowing him to increase the budget even more, and without guaranteed cuts, and without guaranteed reforms. And we have to make sure that we realize that, yes, this is a victory, because Tea Party patriots did shift the debate. However, there's so much more work to do in order to get the economy back on the right track and to restore the exceptionalism that is America.

VAN SUSTEREN: That does take some time though. I mean, we can't just all of a sudden throw a switch. We have to work our way into -- you know, into any sort of change, you know, in whatever direction it is. I see this as a very significant change that the people are talking about in this country. So the only thing that sort of -- you know, in terms of this particular deal, there is that balanced budget amendment vote on the side, which I think is a significant victory. The one thing I'm curious about though, maybe it's just my cynicism, is the fact that I think most cuts are in the back end, after the election, which I think the Republicans care about and the Democrats care about because they don't want their constituents cut in any way. That's the kind of stuff I don't like. I don't like that it was pushed through at the last minute while they all go off on their five-week recess and nobody has read it. I don't like that bit. I want people to read it and think about it.

PALIN: Right. A couple of things there. One is Obama did get what he wanted in terms of not having to deal with this issue until after the election. So that was his part of a victory there. But another thing in terms of timing of all this, what happened to the pledge that our congressmen had made to America, saying that they would post online for three days any bill before it was voted upon? They've already broken that pledge. You know, and doggone it, that makes us disappointed in our politicians in Washington, D.C. We want to make sure they're fulfilling the promises that they've made. But yes, there's -- it's a step in the right direction. Yet still, you know, I'm not celebrating as a pure 100 percent victory the actions that have been taken because, again, we're handing a very liberal president and his colleagues a check in order to spend even more money that we don't have. We're not taking the steps still to reform entitlements so that those safety nets can be there for future generations. And we're not taking steps, Greta, to become energy independent. We're still over there talking to dictators, talking to foreign country leaders, asking them to ramp up development of energy supplies when we have those God-given resources here, underfoot, that we should be developing in order to be energy secure, one more step to get the economy back on the right track.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, thank you. And it will be interesting to see what they do, if they do a last-minute number on that continuing resolution, which I keep talking about, that expires at the end of September. We'll see whether they pull an all-nighter for that one as well. Thank you, governor. I'm taking the last word on that. Thank you.

PALIN: Thanks.

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