OTR Interviews

Palin blasts 'absentee' president's 'crony capitalism on steroids' in ObamaCare PR campaign

Former Alaska governor takes on the $20 million PR campaign to promote 'ObamaCare', Biden's criticism of the Tea Party


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 22, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: The Obama administration is launching a public relations blitz and you're going to pay for t. The $20 million PR campaign will promote "ObamaCare" specifically to encourage to you stay healthy. That's right!

And here's something else to think about. They are spending taxpayer millions, 20 of them, in fact, to promote the law that the Supreme Court could in about four weeks declare unconstitutional.

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin joins us. Good evening, Governor.


VAN SUSTEREN: I'm very well. Governor, I'm always in favor of smart expenditures, but right now, the government's -- at least, there's a new contract by HHS to help explain and promote the new health care, including telling the American people to stay healthy, about the president's -- about the "Obama care," and that statute could -- don't know -- be declared unconstitutional in four weeks, so perhaps they should wait.

But I'm curious, your position.

PALIN: This is one of the stupidest things I've heard coming out of the Obama administration. Not only is this, of course, pending in court, and I think it will be deemed unconstitutional, but this is a propaganda piece, which I think violates many of the procurement laws and other laws applicable to government contracts. This is propaganda. It's just promoting "ObamaCare."

And $20 million -- take it one step further and find out how did this PR firm even be awarded the $20 million contract? It's crony capitalism on steroids, Greta! The $20 million is going to a firm that employs and has as head honchos Obama surrogates! It's payback for their support of Obama.

And this comes on the heels of another $6 million HHS contract that went to another Obama crony, who happens to be the crony who Jeremiah Wright alleges was bribed with $150,000 to hush up until the election was over.

Connect the dots! The $20 million contract is just part of the crony capitalism that corrupts Washington, D.C.!

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I would -- I would prefer if they waited until the Supreme Court made its decision because if the decision is to keep the statute, that's one thing, versus if they ended up tossing it out in whole or part, we may have spent the $20 million all for naught.

But let me tell you another thing about this, is that I have your letter dated today, May 22nd, and it is written to the honorable Kathleen Sebelius, who is the -- who's in the cabinet. She is secretary of HHS. And it was signed -- and it was sent by Rob Portman, a senator, Republican senator from Ohio, and he's on the subcommittee on contracting oversight.

And in his letter, he says, "On February 28th, as part of the subcommittee on contracting oversight's ongoing oversight efforts, Senator Claire McCaskill," which I want to point out is a Democrat, so this is bipartisan -- "and I," meaning Senator -- Senator Rob Portman, "requested basic information about HHS contracts for the acquisitions of public relations, publicity, advertising or similar services from fiscal year 2008 to the present. The subcommittee," and this is a bipartisan request, "asked for a response by March 16th from Secretary Sebelius from HHS" -- and still has received absolutely nothing from the HHS, nothing from the secretary, didn't even bother, and it's a -- finally, we have bipartisanship in this city, and it gets blown off by the secretary!

PALIN: Yes, well, another example, too, of efforts in this bipartisan -- the rhetoric, anyway, that we hear coming from our president, saying that he embraces and yet really, he has nothing to contribute to the cause of bipartisanship in order to get things done for the people.

The president can step in and tell his department head there, Sebelius, to answer the senators' questions and let the public get to the bottom of this. So here again, I'm going to go to the top and I'm going to point the finger at President Obama, who is an -- he's an absent commander-in-chief. He's an absent CEO from our nation's capital. And he's not doing his job, staying on top of his people whom he has put in place to oversee these programs, these contracts, in order to do the people's business.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it -- but it's -- you know, it's -- it's also rude! I mean, it's, like, you know, here's a letter from a Republican senator and a Democratic senator to a cabinet officer about very important issues which result in millions and millions of taxpayers' money being spent, and no reply letter, and it's, like, you know, two months later. You would think that the secretary could at least say to an assistant, Could you -- could you write these two senators, Republican and Democrat, and tell them I'll get back to them when I can. I'm swamped. But (INAUDIBLE) falls into a dark hole and just absolutely nothing! But anyway...

PALIN: And you know why he gets away with it, Greta? You know why he gets away with it, though, the president and these cabinet members being rude to our elected officials trying to do the people's work? Because the media lets him get away with it! You're the first reporter, the first host that I have heard even bring this up. And I hope that others will follow suit and get to the bottom of it.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me move on to the vice president. He says that the Tea Party -- he's giving a speech today on economics, part of a campaign speech, and he said this about the Tea Party. He says, "Imagine where we would be if the Tea Party hadn't taken control of the House of Representatives. A group (ph), they're honorable people, but a group set on obstructionalism. They have an overwhelming goal, prevent Barack Obama from a second term."

Let's talk about this obstructionalism. Is that what this is about? Is that -- obviously, I know that you're a fan of the Tea Party, but what's your response to the vice president on behalf of the Tea Party?

PALIN: Well, the vice president is very, very out of touch with what constitutional fiscal conservatives are trying to accomplish through the Tea Party movement. And that's just to awaken the rest of America to the road that we are on, that President Obama and Vice President Biden have us on, and that's a road towards bankruptcy.

And the Tea Party movement is, thank God, obstruct -- trying to obstruct any more growth of government that will put us over the edge. If it weren't for the Tea Party grass roots movement, full of those who believe that a smaller, smarter government is the answer to many of our problems -- if it were not for the Tea Party, we would be in much worse shape after those 2010 elections that at least did usher in some people who will put government back on our side and get government off our back.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I suppose if I were going to give him political advice -- he's asked me for none -- he's called them honorable. That's a good thing. But to call them obstructionists, essentially -- it'd be better to say that they have very different reasons (INAUDIBLE) very different policies and very different interests. But you know, it is, frankly -- you know, it's -- you know, you can't have it both ways, say someone's honorable and at the same time, say that someone's trying to obstruct any sort of progress.

But anyway, let me ask you, talking about the Tea Party -- down in Texas, there's an interesting sort of faceoff between Governor Sarah Palin and Governor Rick Perry. You have both endorsed two different candidates in the primary for the U.S. Senate, Republican primary. Governor Perry has endorsed David Dewhurst, and you've endorsed Ted Cruz. And sort of interesting, you're coming off a big win in Nebraska with endorsing a Tea Party candidate, Ms. Fischer.

I'm curious, what's going on down in Texas? Who's going to win, you or Governor Perry on this endorsement?

PALIN: Texas will win, which means America will win when Ted Cruz is elected. I think people have understood there in Texas that for all the good work that the team of the governor and the lieutenant governor have done for the state of Texas, you know, it's time in that state for some new blood to represent Texas in Washington, D.C.

You know, friends and colleagues, we're going to differ personally on different endorsements. Take, for instance, my endorsement, that I'll announce firsthand here to you, Greta, of Senator Orrin Hatch in Utah. I want him to win. I join Sean Hannity and Mark Levin and other conservatives who would like to see Mr. Balanced Budget return to Washington.

He's part of that 1 percent you hear about -- not the 1 percent that's mocked and criticized in the press lately, but the 1 percent of national politicians whom I believe should be reelected, sent to Congress because of his commitment to see a balanced budget in the United States of America.

He wants to apply that common-sense economic principle of balanced budget, fiscal responsibility, and I want to see him reelected. So my endorsement of him will differ from others', of course, in that race in Utah, no different, I think in many sense, when we talk about endorsements in Texas.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think Senator Hatch will be very happy to learn that. That's a surprise. I didn't know that was coming, so it's interesting endorsement tonight.

Let me turn to one last issue, and that's the great state of Wisconsin, not to be confused with the great state of Alaska, but the great state of Wisconsin, the recall election. Your thoughts about that?

PALIN: Walker's going to be just fine. Fiscal conservatives who understand that austerity means living within your means, the little austerity steps that Governor Walker is applying in order to rein in the growth of government and balanced budgets there and turn a deficit into a surplus and allow the private sector to create jobs. He's fulfilling promises that he made as a candidate.

Walker will win. He will get through just fine this June 5th recall effort, he and his lieutenant government, and Wisconsin's going to be just fine, which means another part of America will be just fine by allowing the public servant to stay in office who's fulfilling promises, who understands that it's the private sector, it's not government, that will solve the problems that we're facing in our economy.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm about go back in time in 2008 -- and you probably remember this better than I do -- President Obama won that state of Wisconsin by 12 or 14 points. Do you see this June 5th recall in Wisconsin, with the governor, as a hint as to what's going to come in November? Because that's one of the those swing states and everyone's sort of curious which way Wisconsin's going to go.

PALIN: You know, that's a great question because what's going on in Wisconsin has been kind of ground zero, hasn't it, in the last year, watching this recall effort, watching the union thugs, the head of the unions just go ballistic over the promises kept by a duly elected governor, and yet the good union brothers and sisters, many, many of them, understand that in order to allow their state to be solvent, in order for them to save their jobs, they have to contribute a little bit more than a previous governor had asked of them.

So following what's going on in Wisconsin -- and I tell you, the rest of America is watching what's going on in Wisconsin. That June 5th outcome will be quite indicative, I think, of who will carry that state in the presidential race.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, thank you. Hope to see you soon.

PALIN: Thank you. Thanks so much, Greta.