OTR Interviews

Palin fires back at Cheney: 'The mistake would have been not answering the call' to be VP

Former governor takes on Senate race pitting Tea Party against the GOP 'establishment,' Dick Cheney and Chick-fil-A


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 31, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: First, the sizzling political controversy over a fast food chain. Chick-Fil-A is at the center of a political storm. Why? Well, the company's president openly opposes gay marriage, Dan Cathy saying gay marriage invites God's judgment on our nation.

And then came the responses, mayors of several cities recently banning Chick-fil-A. There's also an on-line petition to boycott the chain. But now the counter-protest begins, some conservative political leaders urging people to support the restaurant chain, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin even tweeting photos of herself and her husband, Todd, at a Texas Chick-fil-A.

Governor Palin joins us. Good evening, Governor.


VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you. It's nice to be home. I'm a little sleep- deprived, but I'm always delighted to be home.

Let me start with this Chick-Fil-A and the picture of you and Todd. I'm curious, are you jumping into this because of the cause or because of the response by some, and most notably some mayors calling for a boycott?

PALIN: Well, that calling for the boycott is a real -- has a chilling effect on our 1st Amendment rights. And the owner of the Chick-fil-A business had merely voiced his personal opinion about supporting traditional definition of marriage, one boy, one girl, falling in love, getting married. And having voiced support for kind of that cornerstone of all civilization and all religions since the beginning of time, he then basically getting crucified.

I'm speaking up for him and his 1st Amendment rights and anybody else who would wish to express their not anti-gay people sentiment, but their support of traditional marriage, which President Obama and Joe Biden, they both supported the exact same thing until just a few months ago, when Obama had to flip-flop to shore up the homosexual voter base.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, there's nothing like a controversy to draw sort of unusual allegiances. Whoopi Goldberg, for instance, agrees with you on -- not on the gay marriage issue, but on the 1st Amendment issue, and she objects to calling for people to boycott it. So it's always interesting how controversy draws interesting people together.

PALIN: Well, anybody who is a protection -- somebody who wants to protect our Constitution, all of our constitutional rights, including that freedom of speech, should speak out on behalf of this individual, whose business is being harmed by those who are intolerant and are bigoted and are hypocritical because they don't agree with this man's personal opinion and the sentiment that he shared and they want to see him shut down and shut out of some communities.

That is the most narrow-minded and intolerant view that they can take, very hypocritical. So those who protect the Constitution, all of our rights, I would think, would stand up and be proud Americans and say, Thank God we have our 1st Amendment rights.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me turn to another issue, big victory for one of your candidates tonight in the state of Texas, Ted Cruz winning the nomination, I suppose that in some ways, a victory for the Tea Party tonight. Your thoughts about -- I know that you were out campaigning for him and you campaigned in Nebraska for another candidate. So you've had some -- some wins recently.

PALIN: Well, and always, it's a victory for Tea Party patriots who just want to get our country back on the right track and defend our republic, the Tea Party patriots who came from all over the country recognizing that Ted Cruz is the man to not just embrace status quo in Washington but will engage in the sudden and relentless reform of our big centralized federal government, trying to shrink that government and allow more states' rights and allow individual rights and opportunities.

They recognize Ted Cruz was the man. It's the Tea Party patriots who worked so hard for him. And he's going to do so well for all of Americans when he makes it to Washington, D.C. You know what, a shout-out, too, to Mark Levin, who has known this guy for 20 years. Mark Levin first started talking about him, kind of piqued my interest in who Ted Cruz was in mentioning that he had worked with him about 20 years ago and how Ted Cruz was -- he's a 9th and 10th Amendment scholar.

He understands and has written theses and really has been able to articulate well the beauty of our 9th and 10th Amendments of our Constitution. And he has applied that throughout his career. So he was the man versus Dewhurst, who's part of the machine, the establishment there in Texas and in Washington, D.C. He was the outsider to come in and promise that reform.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm curious about when you raise the 9th and 10th Amendments, and states' rights, of course, is what's embodied in the discussion -- what's your view on states making decisions on gay marriage?

PALIN: You know, I believe that states have that constitutional right to make decisions about a variety of issues. But when it comes to some very fundamental, very cornerstone aspects of our society, of our culture, I personally would love to see a national dialogue about what will America continue to define as marriage.

And I do -- you know, as former governor, I say let the states decide that, and that's where I would be if I were in national office. I'd be saying let the states decide.

And if you see, Greta, and pay attention to where the states have gone with this particular issue and the votes of the people, overwhelmingly, the people within the states have said they want to continue to define marriage as one man and one woman, as the Muslims do, orthodox Jews do, non- denominational Christians do, faith-practicing Catholics do. It truly is a cornerstone of religion and civilization.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask a question about the RNC, Republican national convention. Are you going or not?

PALIN: You know, I think that there's been a lot of back-and-forth with that inside baseball-type dialogue about who's invited, who's speaking. We've left it in their hands. About a week ago, we were approached, asking if we were interested, if I was interested in attending. Of course, there's some interest there, but you know, we just kind of want to know more details, what they have in mind, and we haven't heard back.

But like Newt Gingrich, like Dick Cheney, like George Bush, others who aren't going as participants, as speakers, I think we've all had kind of a common attitude about what the RNC, what that machine is trying to perpetuate this go-round of the convention, and that's perhaps new people being able to get up there and speak to participants and really rally support for the GOP nominee to get the country back on the right track via replacing President Obama and his failed policies come November.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, you raised the name Dick Cheney, so I have to ask you this. He and his daughter don't agree, Liz Cheney, but Dick Cheney had -- said some words that he didn't think that you were a particularly good choice in 2008. His daughter, I think probably for the first time that I've heard, tweeted something to the contrary. She thought that you were.

But your response to Dick Cheney?

PALIN: Well, seeing as how Dick -- excuse me, Vice President Cheney never misfires, then evidently, he's quite convinced that what he had evidently read about me by the lamestream media having been written what I believe is a false narrative over the last four years, evidently, Dick Cheney believed that stuff, and that's a shame. So he characterized me as being a mistake.

Here's where the mistake would have been, Greta, I believe. It's had I not answered the call -- I was honored to get to run for Vice President of the United States alongside Senator John McCain. I was honored to accept the nomination from the GOP.

And I think that the mistake would have been me just deciding that, Hey, I love my 86, 87 percent approval rating up there in Alaska as the governor, moving and shaking and watching corrupt politicians and businessmen go to prison for crony capitalism, working on 16 to 20 percent of domestic energy supplies being able to be increased via Alaska's resource development, ethics reform legislation that I was working on -- that led to that 86 percent approval rating.

I could have decided, you know, I don't want to be bloodied up. I don't want my family to go through what we will have to go through in order to put ourselves forward in the name of service to this country. But I did it. It would have been a mistake to have hunkered down, just lived that luxurious, if you will, comfortable lifestyle in Alaska.

Instead, we, like so many other people across this country, decided we will do all that we can in order to defend our republic, put America back on the right track. And I believe I did the right thing in accepting that call.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I have two reflections. One is I went back and looked at the poll numbers before you were selected as the vice president, afterwards, and then at the time when the financial crisis hit, and they can -- and people can look on GretaWire to see the impact -- I mean, how it changed when you were named.

But the second thing is I might note that Vice President Cheney took a little bit of a slap at Condoleezza Rice in his book, saying she got all teared up. He's got two daughters, and so -- and I believe that, you know, he's been a good father to them, but he -- he -- he's not afraid to say things about the women. But I don't know what that means. But anyway, your thoughts?

PALIN: Everybody misfires once in a while. And you know what? In the GOP establishment, what I have found, Greta, sometimes you're the Louisville slugger, baby. Sometimes, you're the ball. And evidently, in these last months, per many, many comments from those within the GOP establishment, I'm the ball.

That's OK. I'm out there working hard for Senate candidates, for House candidates, for those downstream positions that can help stop this failed policy that Obama has put in place. And it's going to take these people, whom I will, hopefully, be able to assist with in gaining some victory, along with other constitutional conservatives who are out there dedicating their lives to doing all that we can to transform in a very positive and restorative way -- transform our government into something that is back on the side of the people instead on our backs.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, thank you. Always nice to talk to you.

PALIN: Thank you so much, Greta.