OTR Interviews

Why Todd Palin Endorsed Newt Gingrich

Sarah Palin's husband explains why he endorsed the former House Speaker's presidential campaign


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 9, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Big news from Alaska tonight. A Palin endorsement, but it's not Governor Sarah Palin, it's her husband Todd Palin who is making the big announcement and the big news. He is endorsing former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. So why did he choose speaker Gingrich and will his wife follow suit? Todd joins us by phone from Wasilla. Good evening, Todd. And tell me, why did you decide to endorse speaker Gingrich?

TODD PALIN, SARAH PALIN'S HUSBAND, (Via Telephone): Good evening, Greta. I think Newt is the best conservative that can run against Barack Obama. Obama is going to have projected a billion-dollar war chest campaign fund, and of course he'll have a lot of the media in his corner. And Newt is a proven reformer. You have to have a proven record to go up against the Obama machine. And so he --

VAN SUSTEREN: Go ahead, I'm sorry.

TODD PALIN: Go ahead, Greta.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: And I interrupted you, Todd.

TODD PALIN: What's that?

VAN SUSTEREN: I said I interrupted you. I'm sorry, so I'll ask you. You were going on to talk about speaker Gingrich and why you chose him.

TODD PALIN: Well, he's just a proven reformer, Greta. And you know, he's not afraid to fight, fight for the working. And so that's why I'm behind him.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you call and tell him you were going to choose him?

TODD PALIN: I spoke with a couple of his campaign staff today and then eventually I spoke with Newt, yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why now? Why as the polls are just about to open here in New Hampshire?

TODD PALIN: Well, watching Newt from the beginning of all the debates, I just appreciate how he got his poll numbers back up the old- fashioned way and bringing it to the debates. And the American people are impressed with his experience and message and ideas. So I just appreciated the fact that he didn't have to spend a lot of money to do that because he wasn't in a position to do that.

But I just felt that now would be a good time, we had a good choice in Iowa, New Hampshire is up tomorrow, and then South Carolina, but just to kind of if anything to let him know at least one Palin is behind him now.

VAN SUSTEREN: You mentioned Palin. He was out with my colleague Sean Hannity about an hour ago and he said this. He said that he had had some conversation with you, I don't know when, but that he said Sarah said a few days ago Mitt was the weakest candidate we could put up. Your thought? Is that what the governor says is that Mitt Romney is the weakest candidate the Republicans can put up?

TODD PALIN: I'm not sure if she said that or not. She may have. But I think that, you know, we need to have the strongest candidate to go up against this machine. And again, he's a proven reformer and he's worked in the past with President Clinton and balance the budget. It was huge, and he can do it again.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you expect, by the way, the governor to be making an endorsement anytime soon?

TODD PALIN: I'm not going to speak for her. You'll have to ask her when and if she does get behind a candidate. But for right now, at least there's one Palin behind Newt.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you miss the race, Todd? There was also, there's always a lot of talk whether or not your wife would be in the race. Or are you content to watch it from the sidelines and endorse Newt Gingrich?

TODD PALIN: Well, it's been an amazing process to watch. I just can't believe how, you know, just really commercialized now and all the money that's spent on the campaigning. And no, I'm glad that she decided to stick this one out.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, very exciting. And the polls open in just over an hour in New Hampshire. And I suppose you'll be watching in Alaska and we're watching here. Todd, thank you.

TODD PALIN: Thank you, Greta.