OTR Interviews

Palin: GOP Infighting Playing Into 'Liberal Handbook,' Problem Is Obama's 'Socialist-Leaning Failed Policies'

Former Alaska governor takes on the media's coverage of GOP candidates, Chris Christie buzz, Herman Cain's success and her own aspirations for 2012


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 27, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, if your job review were this bad, you'd be fired! Gallup has a government job review, and here it is. Most Americans, 81 percent, say the federal government is doing a crummy job. Now, that's a 42 percent increase over the last 10 years. So should everyone in Washington get a pink slip?

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is here tonight. Good evening, Governor.


VAN SUSTEREN: Very well. Before we get to this poll, I am curious, though, about this, is that it's -- for about the umpteenth time, it appears that Governor Chris Christie is saying he is not going to run for President of the United States. In fact, even his brother was quoted today as saying, If he's lying to me about running, I'd be as stunned as I've ever been in my life. He says that the governor is not running. Your thoughts on that?

PALIN: I think that we can take Governor Christie at his word and say -- you know, he's been saying for a year now, his first year in office, that he was not interested in the presidency. And I think he kind of put the nail in the coffin of speculation that he would run by the announcement that he made today.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's sort of interesting, always the people who are not in the race -- I guess not always, but sometimes they get a lot of encouragement from others, a lot of glowing reports, and he certainly has been pushed by many Republicans.

PALIN: Many Republicans, but also just many in the media because for many in the media, this is like a reality show. I think Newsweek, an article that came out the other day, really nailed it when they said that there are media outlets that kind of create this reality show, this intrigue, and who's going to be the next "flavor of the week." And they prop somebody up in order to crush the person, it seems, later on.

But I think that a lot of the push for Chris Christie and for others comes not just from those within the party, but those inside baseball, within the media.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you raise an interesting issue because I guess the sort of the question is how should we cover these races and the speculation? How much is too much? And how do we know, you know, when we're not pitting one against the other, and how to develop the issues. Even the debates sometimes look a little bit like we've put them up on -- like -- almost like a game of, a contest. But...

PALIN: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... we need to get the information for the voters. So how should we do this?

PALIN: We do. The challenge is in this very quickly changing news cycle world that we are in, you know, there's a lot of information out there. There's a lot of white noise out there. And the viewers and readers then really have to be the filter themselves, trying to find out what's the important information out there.

I am a proponent, though, of the media providing as much coverage of candidates in order to vet these candidates as possible. We learned our lesson in electing Barack Obama, who was not vetted by the media. The media did not do its job, I believe, the last go-around. So learned a lesson. Now we're embracing of as much information and vetting of every candidate as possible.

But again, I do believe that there's a lot of entertainment value and ratings value involved in this quasi-reality show that is being created through the GOP primary at this point. It's quite fascinating. It's interesting. A lot of viewers, a lot of readers, we don't have time to, you know, sit in front of the TV 24 hours a day and try to get all the most important information. So you know, we're filtering it ourselves and taking what's important to us and making decisions based on that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me turn to this poll that I just read a second ago, 81 percent say the federal government is doing a crummy job. Now, that's up 42 percent over the last 10 years. Now, that's sort of an equal opportunity. I don't think it's saying the Democrats or the Republicans. I think it's saying it's everybody in government. How do we turn that around?

PALIN: Well, first, I think 81 percent of Americans are realizing that we have politicians who are spending our money recklessly, and we've said enough is enough. And yes, there need to be pink slips sent to those politicians who are so disconnected from what's going on in the real world.

What's going on in the real world, which outside the political Beltway they call flyover country, I guess, the heartland of America, is we're having a tough time finding jobs and keeping jobs and believing that our economy is going to be solvent and we won't be a country on a road towards bankruptcy.

And this disconnect that we're seeing made manifest in our politicians in Washington, D.C., where they're just incurring more debt and they're creating more regulations, which kill more jobs, and they're just engaging in these nonsensical policies like Obama's new jobs bill, quote, unquote, "jobs bill" that he's proposing.

We're seeing this disconnect, and we're saying, you just don't get it, politicians. You really are absent from what's going on in the real world, where we have to balance our budgets and we have to be productive in order to make it, make that bottom line. And you know, we have to live within our means. And you know, the elites in a far away place in institutions in Washington, D.C., they're not living in the real world.

VAN SUSTEREN: How does, though, a politician, though, connect with the people and get it across so it doesn't just sound like more like, Blah, blah, blah? When the politician gets up on the air, probably many of us can sort of mouth the answers for the politician because we know these people for better, for worse, so well, and that they're going to say. It's quite predictable.

But how does a politician actually connect with someone in the heartland, for instance?

PALIN: That's a great question. I think what helps is for that politician is to have a foundation of having come from the real people of America, the working class, those who make up the majority of Americans who are so extremely concerned about the direction of our country.

Take Herman Cain. Look at why he's doing so well right now. He's, I guess you could say, with all due respect, the flavor of the week because Herman Cain is the one up there who doesn't look like he's part of that permanent political class. Herman Cain -- he came from a working class family. He's had to make it on his own all these years. We respect that.

That has an automatic connection with the electorate, where we say, We can relate to him, he knows the issues, the problems that we face every day, and he's determined to do something about it. He's not elite. He doesn't seem to allow us to be disenchanted with what it is that he's proposing because what he proposes in terms of solutions, Greta, for our economy, are based on time-tested truths and common sense and true economic principles that will work.

So Herman Cain is a good example of a connection with the voters and why his message, good messenger, he's resonating with the people.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's sort of interesting about -- you know, in watching the straw poll votes in Florida that you were talking about, Herman Cain winning by -- he trounced, basically, Governor Perry and Governor Romney, the two supposed front-runners -- is that the media was so shocked, that they seemed so surprised. And I'm sort of curious as to what extent, you know, the media doesn't really go out and talk to the American people. And you know, I wonder if people -- if the people watching it from the heartland, if they were surprised that he won in Florida.

PALIN: We are not surprised that he, as a messenger of common-sense conservative pro-U.S. Constitution principles, is doing well. Many of the elites in the media were shocked.

And you know, I think it's kind of humorous to see the way that the media is covering these candidates. Let me give you an example of this. Earlier today, Greta, on Fox News, you had a host who said Sarah Palin in the polls, she's way, way down there in the polls. And I'm kind of scratching my head, going, Wait a minute. On another network, on CNN just the other day, they showed a poll where I was, like, within 5 points of President Obama. I was doing well, much better than many of the other candidates.

And I'm thinking all this misinformation and contradictory information, contradicting information from even hosts here on this network itself, it adds to, I guess, the disconnect even -- not just the permanent political class, but many in the media also because sometimes, they don't do their homework. And many times, a host or a reporter, they have their own agenda and they interject their agenda in the information they're providing their viewers and readers.

So didn't surprise me or many of us that Herman Cain was doing well, but certainly surprised many in the media because sometimes they don't do their homework and they do perpetuate misinformation.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well ... I did do a little homework. And since you raised the topic, so it seems fair game, I actually have some notes from a New York Times article from today. And it says a recent poll has you trailing President Obama I have by 4 points. For some reason, my memory is that 5 points. So that's The New York Times today says 4 points.

So I did a little homework. So that brings up a fair issue, and that's the question of it's also reported in the article that there's a lot of chatter that you're going to make a decision very soon, in fact, even something went out to donors that you were, quote, I think, on the verge of making a decision whether to run or not. Are you going to -- you know, what's the latest on that?

PALIN: Well, I don't know what went out to voters that said that I'm on the verge of...

VAN SUSTEREN: Donors, I think. Donors.

PALIN: OK. For logistical reasons, though, yes, certainly, decisions have to be made. And I think that's why Chris Christie made his statements, or his brother at least made a statement for him today, because you have to get your ducks lined up in order to get your name on ballots. So decisions have to be made in an expedient manner.

I'm going to keep repeating, though, Greta, through my process of decision-making with my family and with my close friends as to whether I should throw my name in the hat for the GOP nomination or not for 2012 -- is a title worth it? Does a title shackle a person? Are they -- someone like me, who's a maverick -- you know, I do go rogue and I call it like I see it, and I don't mind stirring it up in order to get people to think and debate aggressively, and to find solutions to or the problems that our country is facing.

Somebody like me -- is a title and is a campaign too shackling? Does that prohibit me from being out there, out of a box, not allowing handlers to shape me and to force my message to be what donors or what contributors or what political pundits want it to be? Does a title take away my freedom to call it like I see it and to affect positive change that we need in this country? That's the biggest contemplation piece in my process.

VAN SUSTEREN: Here's the thinking, though, is that there's no question you can rattle the media. I read also in my homework today that there's a lot of speculation because you haven't twittered or been on your Facebook page in 10 days, that you're thinking of running. And I suppose if you were on your Facebook and Twitter page, they'd be saying the same thing because looks like she's gearing up and trying to -- I mean, you know, either way, they're going to be talking and chatting about you. And you can create that effect.

But the fact is, if you want -- let's take a foreign policy situation like Israel and our relationship to the prime minister, Netanyahu. You can't be on the sideline, you know, poking things and doing things and driving the media mad to create a change there because the policy of the United States does matter, certainly on an international platform.

PALIN: OK. Well, let's take an example of our relationship with Israel and maybe my effecting of a positive or negative position that America would take in terms of supporting our number one ally in the world, Israel.

No, instead of just sitting back, throwing stones, writing on Facebook or Twitter about what I think, you take action. I took action. I went over to Israel. I had dinner with the prime minister and his family. We formed a good relationship there.

And I was able to express what I believe the majority of Americans still, in terms of our relationship with Israel, in speaking with the prime minister. And I told him that we do support Israel, and if he were to hear or perceive that our government is kind of poking our ally in the eye, well, don't believe that that is the voice of the majority of the American people. We are their friend.

So that's an example, Greta, of not just sitting back, rattling cages in the media, but actually doing something about an issue that needs to be addressed.

VAN SUSTEREN: Except let me take it one step further. I mean, yes, you can have an effect that way. I agree with that. But we'll use this as an example, is that if you are the president of the United States, or anybody, as you can probably sit down with President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu, maybe together, maybe in separate rooms, and so there is -- there is a bigger platform being president than being sort of someone who is, you know, driving an issue or getting the debate. I'm not saying it's without value, I'm just saying that there's more power being president.

PALIN: Yes. There's also, though, the belief that I have had since I started in public office 20 years ago, you don't need a title to make a difference, truly. In campaign mode, so often a candidate, certainly this is where I was in the VP campaign, being molded, being shaped, Greta, being caricatured by those around you, which prohibits the freedom that one needs to really make a difference and influence and begin some aggressive debate that is needed.

So yes, you know, that's a debate right there itself, whether a title is needed to make a difference, or someone can be rogue, can be maverick, can be passionate about issues and get people to think very wisely about the decisions and the candidates that we need in order to make good decisions for our country. Which is the best place for that individual to be?

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, one quick question. I'm going to change topics. Do you think you could win?

PALIN: I do. I wouldn't have gone this far in my thinking about whether to run or not had I not had the confidence to believe that Americans are ready for someone out of the box, certainly outside of the permanent political class, who wants to quash crony capitalism and say, No, empowerment of the individual, our families, our small businesses, someone who is a proponent of that, like me, could win.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now I'll change topics. In terms of the Republican field, totally off --you -- but this question is that, how do -- how does any candidate, whether it's a Democratic candidate, President Obama, or a Republican candidate, reach the independents? Because from all the chatter, you know, they're the ones who are going to make this decision who the next president -- what's the actual reach without sort of the usual, Blah, blah, that we always hear? How do you reach them?

PALIN: Well, we have to remember that independents make up the majority of American voters. And independents are busy living their lives, raising their families, running their businesses. They don't want to be bogged down with, say, the infighting within the Republican Party that's going on.

Instead of hearing the bickering within the Republican Party itself, as they're all on stage beating up on each other, just playing right into the liberals' handbook there and their playbook, we have to focus for independents on what the problem is. The problem today is Barack Obama's socialist-leaning failed policies that will bankrupt this country.

Independents want to know that Republicans get it, that that Republican candidate gets it, very basic, very simple, very common-sense time-tested truths that can be applied toward solutions. Independents -- they're not going to get bogged down with that inside baseball stuff that goes on. They just want to know that we are sensible, that we understand economic principles, and that we know what works to get the economy roaring again.

VAN SUSTEREN: On GretaWire, I put up a poll, asked why people vote, social issues or economic this time. Overwhelming in favor of economic issues because that's what people are really worried about, and that's I guess a predictable result. But I'm sort of curious. If -- and I think it's going to be miraculous because I understand the late date -- but if, for instance, President Obama were to turn everything around, unemployment goes down, housing starts up, great stability in the Dow, everything changed and we're in a total upward trend on all the economic indicators, would you support him?

PALIN: No. No. He has a track record of failure. He has a track record of actually believing that European-type socialist policies would work in the United States of America, which would create this atrophy of our foundation of free markets and free men.

No. He has proven to me and to so many other Americans that -- no, no matter what happens in the next 14 months, Barack Obama is not the one. He's not the savior of our country or our economy. Absolutely not. I would not support him.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, thank you. Nice to talk to you.

PALIN: Thanks so much, Greta. Talk to you soon.