This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," September 18, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Senator McCain's son has served in Iraq, as we move to national security. You just said good-bye to your son, who is off. He's going to serve in Iraq.
First off, on the personal side, what did you say to him as he was leaving for Iraq? And what did he say to you?
GOV. SARAH PALIN, VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, as a mom, you know, he's heading to Iraq, taking a fifth of my heart with him, you know. And I'm just so extremely proud of him. He's independent and he's strong and he's serving for the right reasons. I'm just as proud of every man and woman in uniform serving our country and trying to usher in democratic values to the rest of the world, protecting our freedoms.
Very, very proud of these guys and these gals. They are America's finest and I think that, you know, the Army is lucky to have my son.
What my son said to me, though, was — it was an awakening for me to realize that he knows what he is doing in this and he knows that he has chosen the right reason to serve. I was just being mom to him just a few weeks ago — no V.P. talk even then — but just as mom I was probably getting on his nerves, asking him a whole lot of question about the deployment and about he and his Stryker brigade, what his job will be and he's like, Mom, I belong to the Army now. I belong to America.
In other words...
• Video: Gov. Sarah Palin discusses War on Terror, America's role in the world and proving her capabilities
• Video: Palin on being attacked by women's groups, taking on the Obama-Biden ticket and Hillary Clinton
• Video: Palin weighs in on media bias, the Bridge to Nowhere and the trooper controversy
• Video: Palin on the challenges and joys of having a special needs child
HANNITY: He said that to you?
PALIN: He did. And he was telling me, Mom, it's going to be OK and I've chosen to do this. And you know, I'm like, man, thank God for this voluntary military that we have with America's finest. These young men and women, they just — they just make me so proud.
HANNITY: Why do we need to win in Iraq? Just get right to the bottom line. Why is losing not an option?
PALIN: Losing is not — retreat is not an option. Retreat is defeat in Iraq. Al Qaeda, they're acknowledging even, along with General Petraeus, that Iraq is the central front on the War on Terror and the violent Islamic extremists who hate America would love that stronghold to be built in Iraq.
If we were to lose there, we're not going to be any better off when we fight in Afghanistan either, nor the other areas where terrorist cells are growing across our world.
HANNITY: What countries today pose the most danger, in your view, to America?
PALIN: Any country that is going to house violent Islamic terrorists. We have to keep our eye, of course, on Iran. We've got to keep our eye on some of the ongoing activities in Russia, also. North Korea under the leadership of Kim Jong Il — certainly there is a lot of concern there.
What we have got to commit to, also, especially when we talk about Russia, no Cold War. We have got to know that our mindset needs to be opportunity for pressure and diplomacy and sanctions if need be, as we keep our eye on a country like Russia.
HANNITY: You don't want to start a war with Russia —
PALIN: We do not want to start a war with Russia. No Cold War. That's got to be off the table. And — opportunity comes with new leadership being ushered in, being elected in into our democracy where we can start forging even better relationships and strengthening the allies that we have. That's the opportunity that John McCain is going to make sure happens.
HANNITY: What do you view — and I know this came up in your interview with Charlie Gibson, as it relates to the Bush Doctrine — what do you view as the Bush Doctrine and what do you view as America's role in the world? What is our role as a country, as it relates to national security?
PALIN: That's a great question and being an optimist I see our role in the world as one of — being a force for good and one of being the leader of the world when it comes to the values that — it seems that just humankind embraces the values that encompass life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And that's not just in America, that is in our world.
And America is in a position, because we care for so many people, to be able to lead and to be able to have a strong diplomacy and a strong military. Also at the same time to defend not only our freedoms but, to help these rising, smaller democratic countries that are just — you know, they're putting themselves on the map right now, and they're going to be looking to America as that leader. We being used as a force for good is how I see our country.
HANNITY: When you were first announced as Senator McCain's running mate, the Obama campaign put out a statement and here's what it was. It said, "Today, Senator McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000, with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat from the presidency." Perhaps they forgot you got promoted.
But how did that make you feel?
PALIN: Oh, you know, it's motivating to me, Sean. Because it's, OK, not only personally, well, I have opportunity to prove what the capabilities are here. But I so respected John McCain, his maverick streak in him there really being made manifest in choosing someone who has a track record of that commitment to reform, of being able to share the examples of the reform, the practices that have been implemented and have been good for the people whom I have been serving. I've been working for the people of Wasilla and Alaska. And in my job also in overseeing such a healthy portion of the U.S. domestic production of oil.
Those things that I add to the ticket, certainly our opponents are going to ignore all that and they're going to send their opposition researchers up to Alaska. They've got dozens of them up there now.
HANNITY: They called it a mini-army in "The Wall Street Journal."
PALIN: Yes, oh, I —
HANNITY: Did you meet any of them? You were just up there? Did you see any of them?
PALIN: Didn't see them but I hear that they're all over the place and I'm just hoping that they're going spend a lot of money in our local communities and bolster the economy up there.
HANNITY: So you're hoping that the economy will...
HANNITY: Benefit from all the media and the op research team of Barack Obama.
PALIN: Yes, the opposition research, too. You know, we know how this works. And certainly they're going to find a few of those who have those ruffled feathers up there and so be it.
We're moving on and we are focusing on the issues that are important to Americans in this election. It's the economy. It's winning the war. It's a strong education system for our students today and a very healthy workforce that needs to have opportunity for jobs for hard working families in America.
That's what the people of America are talking about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Coming up, more with Sarah Palin. She's going to tell us what she really thinks about community organizers and what she thinks would be her biggest challenge in her upcoming debate with Senator Joe Biden.
COLMES: We now continue with Sean's exclusive interview with Governor Sarah Palin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Let's talk about Senator Obama. He's clearly upset at your speech at the Republican National Convention when you took on, quote, "community organizer — organizers." Do you think that maybe being a little too rough on Senator Obama? Some of his critics think that was over the line and too tough.
PALIN: Oh, I certainly didn't mean to hurt his feelings. Didn't mean to offend any community organizers, either.
I do have respect for those who have chosen public service. And what I was doing though, certainly, should be obvious, was directing a comment to him as he had taken a shot at small mayors across the nation.
HANNITY: So it's payback!
PALIN: And you know, small mayors, mayors of small towns, quote unquote. They're on the front lines. They're held accountable every single day that they are in office with real responsibilities that do demand that accountability and invite accountability.
HANNITY: Why do you think that some women's group, prominent women's groups in America, have not supported you? You've even been attacked by some of them.
PALIN: I don't know, that's their prerogative though. Again, this campaign is about important, very important issues that are not necessarily gender specific. And I believe that the ticket is the right ticket for America, as we progress our agenda that's going to lift up all Americans.
And certainly I would love to have their support, but I'm not going to change my positions in order to get some of these groups and some in the media to try to — try to woo them over. Don't have time to do that. We're moving forward on a ticket of reform.
HANNITY: Let's talk about Senator Biden, your counterpart. He's spent over 30 years in the Senate. He's been on the Foreign Relations Committee. One might even wonder if Barack Obama would want to debate him. That is going to be your task.
How big of a challenge do you view the upcoming debate with Senator Biden?
PALIN: Senator Biden has tremendous amounts of experience. I think he was first elected when I was like in second grade. He's been in there a long, long, long time. So he's got the experience. He probably has the sound bites. He has the rhetoric. He knows what's expected of him. He is a great debater, also. So yes, it's going to be quite a task in front of me.
But again, the American people are concerned about the issues aforementioned already here. And the American people, they are wise and reading through a lot of the rhetoric and they want to know what a person's worldview is. They want to know what a person's agenda is. They also want to know what the examples are that they can judge where that person will be able to lead them.
HANNITY: You said that — in the last part of your interview with Charles Gibson — you said that you thought that Senator Obama, he probably regrets it now, in terms of not picking Senator Clinton.
Why do you feel that way?
PALIN: I think Senator Clinton had shown a lot of determination and stick-to-itiveness in her campaigns and I have to respect that. I don't have to agree with all that she tried to push through and parts of her agenda. In fact, I don't agree with all of it.
But there are some things that Hillary Clinton did that nobody can take away from her. And that is the 18 million cracks that she put there in that highest and hardest glass ceiling in America's political scene. She was able to affect that and I respect that.
HANNITY: Let me ask you this. Senator Obama had talked about people in Pennsylvania, while he was in San Francisco, as being bitter Americans, clinging to guns and clinging to religion.
Do you think that was a putdown of middle class people in the country?
PALIN: Well, you know, I'm one of those people. So I think that we just have great respect for a candidate who would not speak about us, middle class Americans, in one part of the country and then turn around and say something different about middle class America in another part of the country.
And let me go back to John McCain and that assurance that I can give Americans that the candidate whom I am running with, he is the same man — no matter where he is, no matter who is listening. He is a man who is so proud of America and is very much in touch with middle class Americans and wants to be hired by Americans so that he can work for them and put government on their side.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: And coming up more with Governor Sarah Palin. She'll respond to the negative attacks and the rumors that she has endured since the announcement as John McCain's VP pick.
And then later the governor will tell us how she plans to handle the challenges of balancing a career and a family.
HANNITY: And we continue now with my exclusive interview with Republican vice president nominee, Governor Sarah Palin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLMES: Coming up Governor Sarah Palin talks about the role faith plays in her life and why Ronald Reagan continues to be her inspiration.
HANNITY: How you dealing with some of the harsh attacks against you? Let me give you a couple of examples.
PALIN: Oh, thanks. Good.
HANNITY: Well, I'm glad to do it.
South Carolina Democratic chairman said your primary qualification seems to be, you didn't have an abortion. Politico reported, the National Organization for Women's spokesman: she's more a conservative man than she is a woman on women's issues. Gloria Steinem: Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton.
PALIN: You got me on that first one, that abortion — that's an appalling comment. You know, though, the shots that I'm taking, I know what the truth is and I know what my convictions are and my foundation is. So I'm fine there. I'm fine there.
The shots that perhaps our campaign has taken, it's nothing compared to the shots that some people across America are taking today. The things that really matter: Somebody worried about losing their house because of Wall Street collapses. Somebody worried about losing their job or being able to pay for their child's health care coverage or a parent perhaps having lost a son or daughter in battle, those are the shots that matter.
I'm going to keep it all in perspective.
HANNITY: There is — Ed Rendell said the coverage of Barack Obama in this campaign was embarrassing, Democrat. Mark Penn — Clinton pollster — He said that the media's on dangerous ground, so far they're the biggest losers in this race. Scott Rasmussen had a poll, 69 percent of people are convinced reporters are trying to help the candidate they want win, and five to one that's Senator Obama.
Do you see media bias in this campaign?
PALIN: I don't know. But a conservative candidate has got to know what they're getting themselves into in the world that we are in today. And, you know, I knew putting my name on the dotted line there saying, yes, I'm willing to serve. I knew what I was getting into. You can't whine about it. That doesn't do any good. And you've got to grow thick skin.
I was telling a couple of our campaign people the other day. I said, you see this? You think this is just baby fat, right, from having Trig four months ago. No, it's some thick skin in there also.
HANNITY: Let me ask you this, because there have been a number of controversies. I'll let you give a quick reaction to them. That have as the 30 mini army of reporters and op research people in the Obama campaign. Did you ban books in the Alaska library? Did you try to ban books in the Alaska library? In the Wasilla Library?
PALIN: No. But I got a kick out of that one also. Yes, no. No banned books. No desire to ban a book. That list of banned books, though, that we saw there that included "Harry Potter," which, of course, had not even been written or published before I was in there. To be accused of banning books, no.
HANNITY: It's false.
HANNITY: Never part of an effort to secede — have Alaska secede from the Union?
PALIN: No. False. Always been a Republican, not been a part of a party that has wanted to secede.
HANNITY: Did you only want to teach creationism in school and not evolution?
PALIN: No. In fact, growing up in a school teacher's house with a science teacher as a dad, you know, I have great respect for science being taught in our science classes and evolution to be taught in our science classes.
HANNITY: You weren't supporting Pat Buchanan for president? You did have a button on.
PALIN: I did wear a button at his book signing, or one of the events. Because see here, a presidential candidate coming to little ole' Wasilla, one year. And we all showed up. It was an honor to see anyone of that stature come to our city.
HANNITY: All right. "The Bridge to Nowhere."
HANNITY: Did you rigidly support it and did you change your view on it? Because the Democrats are saying, no, no, no, she originally supported it and she said she said she opposed it.
PALIN: Well, I killed the Bridge to Nowhere. And you know, I think I ruffled some feathers there, also, with our congressman who had been requesting that bridge for so many years.
What we needed to do up there in Alaska, was find some good transportation between the two land bodies there. And we did. We found that with an improved ferry system between Ketchikan and its airport. But, the Bridge to Nowhere is, as I've been saying in my speeches, if it's something that Alaskans really want and support, which at this time, they're not willing to support to such an extent that we'll pay for it ourselves, we better kill the bridge because we know the rest of the nation's not going to pay for it.
HANNITY: The biggest story, the biggest controversy now that has emerged with the 30 investigators in Wasilla and the rest of Alaska, seems to deal with the firing of your ex-brother-in-law. Big issue in Alaska, even news this morning that the attorney general said, no, these subpoenas are not going to happen, et cetera, et cetera.
What happened? What is your version of the story?
PALIN: Well, my ex-brother-in-law is an Alaskan state trooper and he's never been fired. He's still an Alaska state trooper.
We have two different issues going on here. Two different issues. One is, a cabinet member, my commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, who had some strengths in some areas, insubordinate in some other areas, as we tried to reign in budgets and tried to find efficiencies in departments and he wasn't willing to go there with his department.
But, his strength in another area of public safety, I recognized that it was my responsibility, my obligation to make sure we had the right people in the right places at the right time in the cabinet to best serve Alaskans. So, I asked him to transfer into another position. And he chose not to be transferred. So, he left the service. That's one issue. It had nothing to do with a former brother-in-law, a state trooper who happened to have been married to one of my sisters until about three years ago.
I asked the personnel board even in the state of Alaska, if they had questions about why it was that I exercised my responsibility in replacing our commissioner. I asked the personnel board, that appropriate board, to oversee such actions, to come investigate. And that's where it is now. Hopefully, it's the personnel board looking into this and it's not this obsessive partisanship that seems to have kind of captured the issue.
HANNITY: One of the local officials up there, state officials, was talking about this being a big October surprise. There was also talk about, he admitted to Tasering a 10 year old, or an 11-year-old child.
PALIN: He did. This trooper Tasered my nephew. And he Tasered — well, that was — it's all on the record. It's all there. His threats against the first family, the threat against my dad. All that is in the record. And if the opposition researchers are choosing to forget that side of the story, they're not doing their job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLMES: Coming up Governor Sarah Palin talks about the role faith plays in her life and why Ronald Reagan continues to be her inspiration.
COLMES: Governor Palin has revealed her take on Iraq and what much role as John McCain's VP would be. But how much of a factor is faith in her life? She answers that and much more in the conclusion to our exclusive interview. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Governor, I guess one of the biggest challenges for families is balancing career and their family life. Have you thought about how that would impact your family now, considering this is the job — one of the biggest jobs in the country?
PALIN: Oh yeah. Yeah. Thought a lot about that. Wouldn't have said yes had I had a hesitation there at all thinking that my kids would be adversely affected. You know, my kids they're used to having a very full life, pretty busy schedules and we make it work. I'm lucky I have a network full of aunties and uncles and grandparents — a lot of help there.
Also, there are sacrifices that have to be made. In my own life, you have to be pragmatic and logical about this. I don’t waste a lot of time watching TV and doing some things that maybe that some other people would do.
HANNITY: Just "Hannity & Colmes."
PALIN: That’s the only thing that I would spend my time doing, yes. But, you have to have that balance and you find that balance.
HANNITY: Have you discussed it with your husband? If this — if you win in 48 days, what that life would be like?
HANNITY: Moving to D.C.
PALIN: Moving to D.C.
HANNITY: All right, now one of the big benefits of the job is that you get a really big plane. Are you going to promise the American people that's not going to be sold on eBay?
PALIN: No. I would think that we would actually need that. My husband he's a pilot, but I would have to convince him also that we can't be getting around in our little Piper Super Cub. We'd be using that Air Force Two.
HANNITY: Is that the one that's parked outside your house there?
PALIN: Yes. Yes.
HANNITY: You spoke passionately while we were talking earlier about your role in a McCain administration. One of the things you said was that you're going to work for families with special needs. And you've experienced this recently yourself, when you found out that you were going to have a child with special needs. Was that tough? Was that hard? Did it take a while to absorb that?
PALIN: Yeah, to be perfectly honest with you, absolutely, it took me many months to get my arms and my heart wrapped around the idea. Obviously knowing that this would be a new joy in our life, but challenges with that new joy.
So, it took a while and I was very thankful to have that time to be prepared. And then, you know, my prayers were that God would prepare my heart and give me the ability to handle it.
And then, of course, the minute that Trig was born I knew that there was confirmation that those prayers were answered. Everybody falling so in love with him. It was all good and it’s been all good.
HANNITY: You've talked a lot about religion — and I know you've discussed this — how important is religion and your faith? Because I read a lot about you and obviously religion and faith is an important part of your life. How important is it in your life?
PALIN: Faith is very, very important in my life. I don't believe I wear it on my sleeve and I would never try to shove it down anybody else's throat and try to convert anybody. But just a very simple faith that is important to me — it really is my foundation.
HANNITY: Historically — modern times — who inspires you politically? Who are people that you look to as maybe people that you can gain inspiration from in tough times?
PALIN: I'm thankful that I came of age politically in the era of Ronald Reagan, in high school and in college. You know, he — he is my inspiration. His vision of America and of the exceptional-ism of our country. I think about him every day. I think about what that Great Communicator has left our country and the rest of the world.
So he and then his partner on a lot of the good things that went on in the world at that time, Margaret Thatcher — just over the water. She too — she was underestimated as she came into office and proved herself with her abilities, her determination. She is another one.
Further back in history, Abraham Lincoln. Coming into office in a time of such turmoil. He was able to do some unconventional things, in assembling a very unusual Cabinet as was written about in "Team of Rivals." What Lincoln was able to do was marshal talents from disgruntled opponents even and adversaries and have everybody work together in order to fulfill the mission of unifying the nation and winning the war.
HANNITY: You obviously have a lot of passion. What motivates you? For example, what made you want to get into the political world? What made you so willing to accept this job and not blink? Where does your motivation come from?
PALIN: My love of this country. I'm one of those people, you know, I see a soldier walk through the airport and, you know, my heart does a little double-take. And I hear the Pledge of Allegiance or our National Anthem and I get a lump in my throat. And know that that's the majority of Americans. Also, I am so proud, have been so proud of our country, every step of the way. We've made mistakes. We learn from our mistakes. But just the passion that I have for Americans.
And, again, feeling compelled to respond when I see leadership, government straying from the spirit of our Constitution and straying from the spirit of what it is that Americans expect and deserve in their government.
I have an opportunity to respond and to join a teammate here — John McCain — in reform, putting government back on the side of the people. It's an opportunity that's very humbling and I take it very, very seriously.
HANNITY: Last question: Life in Wasilla. Growing up — it is a small town — and moose hunting.
HANNITY: And I read a quote that your dad had given to somebody, that he felt that he's prepared you for anything that's going to come your way as a result of that.
What was life growing up like there?
PALIN: It's small-town America. It's just good, unpretentious, hard-working people who love their state, they love their country, also proud to be American — the best upbringing that I could have ever hoped for. My parents instilling in me not just a love of family and community, but a love of freedom and independence. That's what growing up in Alaska has been about.
And certainly, I would like to take what it is that was instilled in me there and that I have learned and built as a foundation and implement some good things for the betterment of our nation.
HANNITY: Governor, as a kid from Long Island, I played ice hockey, but I never went moose hunting.
Thank you, Governor. We appreciate all your time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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