This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," February 13, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JON SCOTT, HOST: On "Fox News Watch," she's here.




SCOTT: She's there.


PALIN: The Tea Party movement is the future of politics.


SCOTT: She's everywhere, drawing crowds and the attention of the mainstream media. But is the coverage and the teasing out of sync with what Americans think?


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hello, hello, hello.


SCOTT: The president conducts a hit-and-run briefing at the White House, spending only a few minutes with the press. Is this the White House plan to avoid tough questions?


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When do we see you again?


SCOTT: The wife of a cheating governor writes a tell-all, then takes her tale to tell it all to the media.


JENNY SANFORD, WIFE OF GOVERNOR MARK SANFORD: Clearly, he feels something for this woman.


SCOTT: The 2010 Olympics get started in Vancouver, but should the media be locked out?

New images of the 9/11 terror attacks released. Why were these detailed photos locked up so long?

And as the east gets walloped by a blizzard, those questioning Al Gore and global warming get walloped in the liberal press.

On the panel this week, New York Post columnist and Fox News analyst, Kirsten Powers; former White House press secretary, Dana Perino; Jim Pinkerton, fellow, New America Foundation; and Newsday columnist, Ellis Henican.

I'm Jon Scott. "Fox News Watch" is on right now:


CHRIS WALLACE, 'FOX NEWS SUNDAY': Why wouldn't you run for president?

PALIN: I would. I would if I believe that's the right thing to do for our country and the Palin family, certainly I would do so.

WALLACE: You're basically saying you will consider it.

PALIN: I think that it would be absurd to not consider what it is that I can potentially do to help our country. I don't know if it's going to be ever seeking a title though. It may be just doing a darn good job as a reporter or covering some of the current events.

WALLACE: But — but you're going to consider. You're going to go through the process.

PALIN: I won't close the door that perhaps could be open for me in the future.


SCOTT: That's former Republican vice-presidential candidate and Fox News contributor Sarah Palin talking to our Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday." That interview made headlines of its own because, as you heard, she had not rule out — did not rule out, if I didn't speak that clearly enough, a possible run for the White House in 2012. The interview airing the morning after Alaska's former governor was the keynote speaker at national tea party convention in Nashville. Both events attracting all kind of media attention.

Got all kinds of reaction in the press, Jim. Everybody from Clarence Page at The Chicago Tribune to Slate magazine, basically ridiculing this woman for expressing the notion that she wouldn't close the door on a presidential run. Why does she press the buttons for so many people?

JIM PINKERTON, FELLOW, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: I'm not exactly sure why she presses the button. I've said in the past on this show that she reminded me of Mayor Bell Morgan, an author from the '70s who wrote the book the The Total Woman. And I think there's something about her ordinary American-ness that drives the elite crazy. The way she speaks for the middle class and the working class, she takes away the left's ability to speak for the working and middle class. She kind of calls their bluff as it were.

SCOTT: Let's take a look, Dana, at the thing with the hand, when she had some crib notes on her palm and the cameras caught it the night she made that speech — there it is — at the Tea Party convention. Take a look also at how the man who holds the job you used to hold, Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, how he reacted. Take a listen.


ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I wrote eggs, milk and bread.


But I crossed out bread, just so I can make pancakes for Ethan if case it snows. And then I wrote down hope and change just in case I forgot that.


SCOTT: All right, Dana, what do you think? Was he being clever or just...

DANA PERINO, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No, he got a laugh. and I think that was the intent. I think that self-deprecating humor works a little bit better in the briefing room. I also think that it's interesting that you are the press secretary — and the president of the entire United States — and I don't know why they continue to poke at this bear. She was certainly getting a lot of criticism. And people were making fun of her for her writing on her hand. And then he decided to take the turn — turn the attention on him. And he's like, why is everybody criticizing me. I think the American people have a lot more important things to talk about than this.

SCOTT: Why are the people in the press always criticizing her, Ellis?

ELLIS HENICAN, COLUMNIST, NEWSDAY: Because she's a major political official. I don't buy the idea, Jon, that she deserves immunity, that somehow she is off limits to criticize. And I'll tell you, she does not help herself when she does all this, why is everybody picking on me. All politicians feel like that. The smarts ones keep it to themselves.

SCOTT: You're from Alaska. You know a lot of the folks who elected Sarah Palin as governor.



Certainly, no one in my family. Yes, look, when she was governor, it was a completely different ball game. When you get on to the national level, where you're actually talking about maybe running for president, you should expect the light to be in your eyes all the time. You should be getting interrogated and questioned all the time. Is there a certain level of snarkiness that comes out with regards to her? Absolutely. and I think it's inappropriate. I think that what Robert Gibbs did was inappropriate. And I think what some other reporters have done also was inappropriate. At the end of the day, she's really going to have to really be willing to be criticized all the time.

PERINO: But she also — she brings a lot of it on herself. She's not a shrinking violet. She criticizes the administration quite strongly and calls people out. She's out there making endorsements of candidates, like Paul, down in Texas, so she invites criticism.

So I agree with you, Ellis. I don't think that we can — she can't have it both ways, both a critic and also not be criticized.

PINKERTON: That was Paul in Kentucky, or Rand Paul.

PERINO: Thank you. Sorry.

SCOTT: Ron Paul, the father, is in Texas. It's his son who is running in Kentucky.

PERINO: Thanks for the correction.

PINKERTON: You're welcome.

Bill Salmon, of this network, caused a little bit of a firestorm when he said that the mainstream media hates Sarah Palin. That was his word. And everyone hated Bill Salmon for saying that. And the most interesting response came from Politico, which — were Jonathan Martin has been on the show. And Jim Vandehei said we love Palin, we can't get enough about her, the more stories we write about her, the more eyeballs we get.


SCOTT: It does seem that she is catnip for the press.

HENICAN: Sure. She's a great character. Jim is right about that part of it. You tell me, who in national politics, at that level, has been immune from criticism? The Clintons? You don't think they get a little snark?

POWERS: Biden.

PINKERTON: How about Obama in 2008?

HENICAN: Well, you know what? It's caught up with him, hasn't it?

POWERS: No, Joe Biden never got the type of scrutiny that he should have gotten that Sarah Palin got, I think.

HENICAN: He's also really boring. I mean, let's be honest.

POWERS: No, he's actually not boring.

HENICAN: Not nearly as interesting as Sarah.

POWERS: He actually says a lot of — he says a lot of things that are very strange sometimes, incorrect.


You know, I'm not saying that makes him not competent. I think if he was a Republican, he would have gotten more scrutiny. I really do.

SCOTT: Or maybe if he had longer hair.

POWERS: Yes, or if he was a woman.


SCOTT: Time for a break.

But first, it's like being a fly on the wall. After the program, log on to Foxnews.com/newswatch. You can hear what our panelists are saying to each other during our breaks. And you never know what you might hear.

Up next, does the White House have a strategy in place to help the president avoid the White House Press Corps?

ANNOUNCER: After complaints about side-stepping the press, the president pays them a visit.


OBAMA: Hello.


OBAMA: Bingo.


ANNOUNCER: Are these hit-and-run visits the wave of the future, and the way the White House can avoid a disillusioned press?

Plus, when it comes to the Olympics, the athletes and the media, is it a bad mix? Answers next, on "News Watch."


SCOTT: President Obama Tuesday surprised reporters at the daily White House briefing. He showed up there answering just a few questions in what could be best described as a hit-and-run appearance. The president has not had a full-scale White House news conference in seven months, the longest stretch by any president in a decade.

Interestingly, on this program just last week, we were talking about the fact that the president hadn't had a news conference in such a long time.

You were a presidential press secretary, Dana. What do you suppose the thinking was that lead the president, the leader of the free world, to suddenly pop up?

PERINO: Well, there was the criticism that was building because the Press Corps is always — it's never going to be enough. They're always going to want more access to the president. What's interesting was I saw that press secretary Robert Gibbs said, look, guys, this was on a schedule for a long time. We always plan to have him come in the briefing room. And I think a lot of people might have said, yeah right, because of criticism. But I remember there were times when we would say we knew something was happening on a Thursday, say, and we were telling the press, hey, there's going to be a statement in the Rose Garden today. And I remember the Associated Press always writing, "In a hastily called statement today in the Rose Garden." And I thought, it wasn't hasty. We actually planned this.

So I don't know whether they planned it or not, but they certainly, they want some more — and seven months is a long time to go. But their last two press conferences, primetime press conferences did not go well.

SCOTT: Yes, the last one ended with that statement about Henry Lewis Gates and how the police at Harvard were stupid, acting stupidly, in arresting him. That dominated the news for weeks.

Did the president get burned there?

HENICAN: I don't think they're looking for a replay on that one. I'm not someone who thinks that the formal press conference is such a wonderful thing. You learn a lot more in a probing sit-down interview than when you just...

SCOTT: You think so?

PERINO: If there were probing sit-down interviews. But there are not.

HENICAN: He had something like 150 of them.

PERINO: They're not probing.

HENICAN: Well, you know, let's blame the reporters, who weren't asking probing questions.


HENICAN: I wish he gave us time to probe.



SCOTT: 150 sit-down interviews. Your former boss, President Bush, gave about 50, I think, his last year in office.

PERINO: I don't know, yes.

SCOTT: Does that equal a White House press conference?

POWERS: No, it doesn't equal a White House press conference. And I don't think it really matters whether or not — it's not a one or the other thing. It's like you do White House press conferences and you do interviews. And it seems like they're touting, oh, we've done all of these interviews, so we don't have to do this. It almost seems like a strategy. They have to do both. And I think the Press Corps also needs to step up a little bit. I don't think they've been probing in the press conferences either.

PERINO: Right.

POWERS: So it's kind of both sides have to do their jobs.

PINKERTON: I think it's a very sad thing, the MSM loved Obama and he doesn't love them back.



PINKERTON: And love is great. And instead, Obama does YouTube interviews. He did a full-blown YouTube interview with real people. And the press has been in a snit ever since.


HENICAN: And let's don't — let's don't fetishize the press conference. It's not that great of an event, really. You can't poke. You can't follow up. And it's kind of a tough place to get much.


PERINO: I disagree. You can actually play out — you can actually have press conferences where they drive a lot of content, where you might have one subject and they'll nail you for 12 minutes on the same thing.

HENICAN: Those are the good ones.

PERINO: Or you'll cover a lot of ground and those will be useful as well.

SCOTT: Fetishize — you've been waiting for that one.


Dana, I want to ask you about this. The president has acceded to Republican demands for transparency. He says, OK, let's talk health care and do it in front of the television cameras. Some pundits like Rush Limbaugh say, oh, it's a trap. Is it? Is that a made for TV ambush.

PERINO: I wrote this week that I think that the president would be better served to have — to not have it on television, because we all know what's going to happen. Anyone, Republican or Democrat, that has a moment where they roll their eyes or yawn or scribble something on their paper or snigger to their neighborhood, that's going to be the news, like there's not enough substance. And I think if they wanted to get something done, they could have called the members down in private, had a conversation and then gone out afterwards.

PINKERTON: Dana is absolutely right, if they wanted to get something done. What Obama is looking to do now is blame the Republicans for killing the health care bill.

SCOTT: So should it be? I mean, is it going to be a worthy exercise to put it out there? I can't imagine, after a year of arguing, that in one afternoon or one evening, they can get it resolved on camera.

POWERS: I don't think it can hurt. And I think something should have been done a long time ago. But if we really want to talk about how you pass legislation, no. Does this pass legislation? Absolutely, not. He needs to be knocking heads together and getting things done behind closed doors. You know, it's not — this — I don't think it's going to harm anything and I think it is an opportunity for Republicans, who have been saying that they have these plans, to come out and present them to the American public.

HENICAN: And, Jon, real negotiating never goes on in front of television cameras. But Republicans — I may be with Rush on this one. Those words seldom pass my lips.

But they ought to be careful what they are wishing for, because he tends to come out pretty well in those things.

PERINO: In addition to that, you're at the White House. This is their forum. Of course the president is going to look great and the camera shots are going to look great. And they're going to set up the way it is. But remember, the American people weren't frustrated about transparency between Republicans and Democrats having meeting, because there weren't any. The Democrats didn't invite them. They were frustrated about the back-room deals for the Louisiana Purchase and deals for Nebraska. And you're never going to get cameras in those meetings either. So I don't think this is worthwhile.

SCOTT: Or reporters either.

It's time for another break.

First, if you find evidence of what you think shows media bias, e-mail us at newswatch@foxnews.com.

We'll be back with a look at some newly released photos of the 9/11 terror attack aftermath. And Governor Sanford's wife takes her tale on the road.

ANNOUNCER: A cheating governor's scorned wife writes about the ordeal and takes her story to the press. How did they react?

And when it comes to the Olympics and superstar athletes, does the media do more harm than good? Details next, on "News Watch."



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's gone, the whole tower!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy crap! They knocked the whole frickin’ thing down.


SCOTT: Oh, that was an awful day. The view above the World Trade Center towers, watching the horror below unfold after the terror attacks of 9/11/2001. Now, almost eight and a half years later, these pictures, many of them taken by a detective in a New York City police chopper circling Ground Zero, showing the devastation and vivid detail from angles we have never seen before. The stills, just released to the media through a Freedom of Information Act request.

I guess the question that a lot of people have, Ellis, in looking at these pictures, is, why does it take an FOIA, a Freedom of Information Request, to get this information?

HENICAN: After 20 years of covering New York cops, I can answer that one for you, Jon.


HENICAN: They're New York cops and they don't like to tell you stuff unless you really make them. And that's...

SCOTT: And that really – this...

HENICAN: SOP, standard operating procedure, of the New York Police Department.

SCOTT: Nothing more than that? They just had something that they didn't feel like releasing?

HENICAN: Maybe you could find some rococo political analysis. But I think they just don't like telling you stuff.

SCOTT: All right.

Let's go to another story. He publicly humiliated his wife. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford admitted to the affair.


MARK SANFORD, GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA: And so the bottom line is this. I have been unfaithful to my wife. I've developed a relationship with a — it started out as a dear, dear friend from Argentina.


SCOTT: In a follow-up interview with the AP, Sanford went a little further, describing the affair as a whole lot more than a simple affair. This was a love story, a forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day. And he said — we heard that.


He said, "I will be able to die knowing that I had met my soul mate."

Now, his wife, Jenny, described how that soul mate comment hit her.


JENNY SANFORD: Clearly he feels something for this woman.

INTERVIEWER: Are they still in a relationship now?

SANFORD: You know, I don't — I don't even ask.

INTERVIEWER: You don't want to know?

SANFORD: I, frankly, don't want to know. No, really, I'm at peace where I am. I'm moving on. I'm happily looking forward to the future, you know, the future.


SCOTT: All right, Kirsten, we’ll give you first shot at it. Jenny Sanford taking her thoughts to the media there. How is that working out for her?

POWERS: I don't think it's working that well for her actually. I think that a lot of people are asking why she's doing it. It's not clear. She says — you know, I give her the benefit of the doubt that she's doing it because she feels it's important to tell her story. But, you know, she doesn't seem happy to me. She seems like a shattered woman, which she should be, because her husband has destroyed their family. And I just — I have to wonder how good this is for her and for her family, you know, to be able to move on without having to rehash it over and over again.

SCOTT: Yes, one reviewer — I haven't read the book personally — but one reviewer says it smacks of revenge, even though she writes about forgiveness. Is it a vengeful tone?

PERINO: I haven't read it either, but from reading the coverage, I would say there's probably a little bit of both. And she's very human. And I think there's a lot of women that can identify with her. Probably, a lot of men can identify with her as well.

SCOTT: If you were advising her in the P.R. arena, would you have told her to write a book.

PERINO: It's up to her. I think if she wanted to get her story out, that was the thing. But at this point, I think you do the book tour, you get done, take a vacation and come back with a clean slate.

PINKERTON: I don't think that revenge is a bad motive, given everything.


PERINO: Yes, true.

SCOTT: All right.

Let's move on. Team USA member, Lindsey Vonn, one of the favorites to win Olympic gold in Vancouver. She's 25 years old, also gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated's Olympics preview issue. And she has a few pages in the annual swimsuit edition as well.

We found out, Ellis, that — there she is in the swimsuit issue. We found out she's already injured herself, potentially putting in danger her Olympic run. Is this another example — I have it here somewhere. There it is. Is this another example of the Sports Illustrated curse? A lot of athletes who make the cover have all kind of problems afterwards.


HENICAN: And they all still like being there, don't they? As a Louisiana guy, I'm going to suggest that they all go and have some hot chocolate. It seems awfully cold even in Vancouver.


PINKERTON: I was going to say, Felix Gillette, of the New York Observer, wrote a brilliant piece about the Olympics, in which he said, this is the one place where the news still kind of drives the story. They — it's not Twitter and YouTube. It's the narrative set down by the network. Dick Ebersol is a genius at this. And yet, it still managed to lose $200 million.

SCOTT: Do you feel a little bit sorry for these athletes who get — they get...





SCOTT: Well, they train — they train for all this kind, like luge, and then they're thrust in the public spotlight.



PERINO: That's like saying you feel bad for a candidate who runs a race and then loses. I mean, that's the way it is.


That's what they've chosen to do.

SCOTT: So no crocodile tears for Lindsey Vonn?

PERINO: I'm not — no. No. I wish her well, but no, I don't feel bad for her.

HENICAN: And if she doesn't want to be on Sports Illustrated, by the way, a lot of other people will.

SCOTT: Do you think she could have said no to that cover, if she wanted to?



HENICAN: You know what? Anyone at this table would be willing to do it, you know?


HENICAN: I go to the gym. I'm available.


SCOTT: I don't want to be seen in that skin-tight ski suit.


Hey, we have to take one more break.

When we come back, the blizzard of 2010 revives the global warming debate.

ANNOUNCER: The blizzard of 2010 gets big coverage and raises questions again about the claims of global warming. But why did the questioners get dumped on by the liberal media? That's next, on "News Watch."


SCOTT: The news media had a busy week covering everything from former President Clinton's sudden heart procedure, the numerous Toyota recalls, President Obama's decisions regarding the terror trials and the blizzard of 2010. Reporters all over the east coast spent hours this week out in the cold covering the monster snowstorm, the record-setting snowfall shutting down businesses and government offices, sparking a new debate about global warming. Of course, some the liberal media are not open to opposing views.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST, "HARDBALL": His show called "Hannity," on Fox, Monday, here is Sean talking, "It's the most severe weather and winter storm in years, which would seem to contradict Al Gore's hysterical global warming theories."

Here is Senator Jim DeMint twittering yesterday, quote, "It's going to keep snowing in D.C. until Al Gore cries uncle." And here's Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, when asked about passing climate legislation, just yesterday, quote, "Where is Al Gore now"?


SCOTT: Why is it — why is it, Kirsten, that you can be a skeptic about global warming and do it publicly?

POWERS: I guess because most people in the media at least think it's a subtle decision and nothing to discuss. While I believe that global warming is man made and that it is a real problem that we need to deal with, I do have an issue with reporters — and I think this applies to a lot of different issues — not being skeptical enough and not asking enough questions and not allowing for debate on issues where they think something is settled. And I do think you have to allow for that and to look at these other more critical items.


PINKERTON: I would say global warming is a religion to them. If you don't share their faith, you are a heretic.

HENICAN: Oh, come on.

SCOTT: Not enough skepticism?

HENICAN: Look, I'm all for skepticism, but do I have to give that lecture again about the difference between the weather and the climate. One snowy day, my friends, does not change historical climate issues.


PERINO: But that's what they say — but the climate — people who are like in the Al Gore camp, they will say any hurricane or any snowstorm storm also is the reason for global warming. So you have it both ways. People try to claim both things. I think that it's not helping. I also think that there was only slight coverage this week of President Obama making an announcement to separate out the climate change office at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association, which I don't think is a good idea because they should — it separates it out and it makes it more of a target for elimination.

SCOTT: And now I'm taking the panelists out for a snowball fight.


That's a wrap on "News Watch." Thanks to Kirsten, Jim, Dana and Ellis.

See you next week.

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