McCain and Palin: Reunited and Feeling Good

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This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 26, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight: Did you ever think you would see this again? Ever? Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin campaigning together, a few hours ago, Palin flying into Arizona to tell Arizona vote McCain. And topic number one, of course, health care.



PALIN: When it came to "Obamacare" -- hey, by the way, I see today that Fidel Castro likes "Obamacare." But we don't like "Obamacare." Doesn't that kind of tell you something?


PALIN: When it came to this, John fought against the government takeover of one sixth of our economy. And he told the president that transparency in the legislative process should be more than just another campaign promise -- and in this case with Obama, another campaign promise that has been so broken!

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R - ARIZ.: It wasn't only the product it wasn't only the product. It wasn't only 2,733 pages of government takeover of your health care. It was the sleaze! It was the Chicago-style sleazy deal making, sausage making that went on behind closed doors in the Speaker's office and Harry Reid's office and in the White House!


VAN SUSTEREN: The former running mates went "On the Record" together in Tucson, Arizona.


VAN SUSTEREN: Senator McCain, Governor Palin, nice to see both of you, and together again!

PALIN: Thank you.

MCCAIN: Thanks...

PALIN: So glad to get to do this!

MCCAIN: Thanks, Greta. And I'm sorry you're not here. The temperature is 73 degrees here in Tucson. That's a commercial from the Chamber.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you got there fast, Senator, because I just spotted you in the United States Senate not about 12 hours ago, so you move fast. So let's -- let me make the interview go fast, as well. Let me ask you the first question, Senator. If we -- we're 14 months into this new presidency. How would a Senator McCain/President McCain presidency with a Vice President Palin look different from what we're experiencing right now?

MCCAIN: Well, I think dramatically. And this president is governing from the left. It's a -enter right country. We would never own Chrysler, General Motors. We'd have never passed a $787 billion stimulus package. We certainly wouldn't have done this massive 2,730-page health care reform. It'd be just contrasting philosophies. And I'm sorry I was not able to do a better job, perhaps, in drawing that contrast because he was the most liberal senator in the United States Senate.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, how do you think that the presidency would look if the two of you had won and not the current administration? What would we be experiencing now?

PALIN: Senator McCain is a man of his word. And I think what we could have counted on and looked forward to was the transparency that John also talked about in the campaign that's so necessary in order to build more faith into our government. Constituents right now are feeling so disenfranchised and disenchanted because of the lack of transparency that the Obama administration has ushered in. John wouldn't have done that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, one of the criticisms you've gotten over the years, and Governor Palin, as well, is from within your own party for reaching across the aisle. We got an enormous issue here in this country with the Democrats versus the Republicans here on Capitol Hill. What is the secret for bipartisanship? Had you -- had you won, would it be a different situation? And how do you know that?

MCCAIN: Well, I know that because I've worked with these people for years. And the fact is that you can have bipartisanship, as long as you don't betray principle. What the Obama administration is seeking is for Republicans to go along with his agenda. And obviously, they decided they didn't need bipartisanship. They just decided to ram things through, like the stimulus package and the omnibus bill and health care on a pure party- line basis.

I would have worked in a bipartisan fashion. You can as long as you preserve principle. Ronald Reagan was able to work with Tip O'Neill, a liberal Democrat from Massachusetts, but he always adhered to his principles. And you can compromise on details, but you adhere to your principles.

PALIN: And Greta, this is another case to candidate Obama -- candidate Obama not having a track record at all of bipartisanship, whereas John McCain has that record. I have that record as governor of Alaska being able to reach across party lines and the aisle in order to do what was right for constituents. Candidate Obama didn't have the record. That's coming home to roost today with his lack of bipartisanship that's hurting our country.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, it's sort of interesting -- and Senator, I'll throw this to you because you're the one who's up for reelection -- is that you get so much criticism within your party, or even someone within the Democratic Party when you do reach across the aisle. And yet now you're in sort of the awkward position of trying to -- you know, to get all those votes back for the very -- you know, for doing something that we ultimately want our leaders to do.

MCCAIN: The issue here in Arizona, Greta, is who's going to be most effective for Arizona? We have 40 percent of the homes underwater. We have probably one of the worst economies in the country. We have 17 percent real unemployment. What's on the minds of the voters in Arizona is jobs and jobs and jobs and the economy. That's what they want. That's what I'm working every day for. Of course, they're worried about national security and the men and women who are serving, and they're proud of having so many from Arizona and the military representation we have here. But it's jobs, jobs, jobs and the economy. That's what the people of Arizona want.

PALIN: And Greta, can I chime in on that, too? Just coming from a voter, the position that I'm in today, not holding any kind of elected office but as a voter -- you know what we say about bipartisanship in this atmosphere that we see right now in Washington, D.C.? We don't want our Republican -- our senators and our representatives to hold hands with the Democrats if the Democrats are going to keep growing government. And why - - why engage in bipartisanship there if the Democrats are doing the wrong thing? We want our Republicans to stand tall, stand strong for smaller, smarter government, for those principles that so many independents and those in the Republican Party have believed in all these years. We want them to stick with those principles.

MCCAIN: Could I just also...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, Governor Palin...

MCCAIN: ... answer...


MCCAIN: ... Greta, very quickly? The allegation is that I have, quote, "changed." I haven't changed. The governing president has changed. That's what's changed. My position is the same. But I can't get -- -- sit down with somebody who's governing from the far left.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor Palin, you're thought of as sort of very representative of the Tea Party movement. And I don't think of Senator McCain as a tea party guy. Correct me if I'm wrong. But how do you get your tea party faithful in Arizona to go out and vote for Senator McCain?

PALIN: Well, I will correct you, then, Greta, because...


PALIN: ... John McCain and I and everybody I think who was here today rooting for John McCain, we're all part of that tea party movement that is part of that groundswell of Americans rising up and saying, No, big intrusive government growing every day under Obama? We don't like it. We want to take our country back. That's what the tea party movement is all about and that's what John McCain is all about.

MCCAIN: And could I just mention also, the tea party leaders in Arizona have said that they're staying out. Last Saturday, I did a town hall meeting with tea partiers up in Prescott, so -- look, people are frustrated and they're angry. And a lot of that anger has to do with any incumbent. I understand that. I have to earn every vote.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, Senator McCain, I know you're surrounded by strong women. I've interviewed your wife a number of times, and who doesn't know your mother, who is exceedingly strong and someone we all, I must -- I must say, admire. But have you noticed what some of the women from your campaign have done? You've got -- in fact, one -- you've been called today as -- that you're a feminist hero because you had Governor Palin and certainly her -- she put -- you put her on the Republican ticket. Carly Fiorina is now running for the United States Senate in California, Meg Whitman running for governor. What do you say about all these women around you?

MCCAIN: Well, I'm honored to know all of them. Kelly Ayotte up in New Hampshire also, and we have other strong women candidates. Look, I'm so proud to have known Sarah and Todd, to have the opportunity to run with a person who is so dedicated and so hard-working and so principled. And I'll consider it one of the really, really bright points in my life to have had the opportunity of serving with Sarah.

PALIN: Hey, Greta, he's very humble about this. Bottom line is John McCain believes in equality. He believes in the power of women, too, and I'm thankful for that. And Cindy McCain, as you say, a strong, independent woman -- she'll speak her mind. She'll call it like she sees it. And I appreciate the relationship that they have and the friendship and respect that comes from this couple. And Cindy McCain -- she's a great -- she's a great American. Tell you what Cindy McCain, too -- she's a perfect example of behind every good, successful, strong man stands a very surprised woman.



VAN SUSTEREN: Next, more with Senator McCain and Governor Palin. Do the former running mates disagree about immigration? Find out minutes from now.


VAN SUSTEREN: Continuing with Senator John McCain and former Governor Sarah Palin. The former running mates are on the campaign trail again. Governor Palin even dropped a few jokes.


PALIN: I couldn't wait to get some of the McCain-Palin team back together again! I knew this would be fun. A lot of things have changed, though. A lot of things have changed since the last time we were together. One of those things is that, John, nobody gave us a teleprompter this go- round!


PALIN: So it's time to kick it old school again, resort to the old poor man's version of the teleprompter, write my notes on my hand again.


PALIN: Hey, for another thing -- another thing that has changed, I think this go-round, when all the votes are tallied, I think he's going to win this one!



VAN SUSTEREN: We asked Senator McCain about immigration.


VAN SUSTEREN: One of the big issues in the campaign was immigration in 2008, and you supported a path to citizenship as part of the immigration. Hispanics were very happy with what you were proposing, but then they went with President Obama. Now the Hispanics are unhappy with President Obama because so far, no immigration reform. What happened to immigration? What are we going to do about it? What do you want to do about it?

MCCAIN: Well, two things I think are important. One is the fact that the environment is so difficult on the border. We just had three American citizens murdered in Juarez. The violence and the struggle against the drug cartels is huge. We need to secure the border. We have to get the border secured.

Second of all, the agreement that we made had a temporary guest worker program, a legal temporary guest worker program. This is not in any proposal that the Democrats want because the unions, obviously, control their agenda. So we got to get the border secured. This is an existential threat to the government of Mexico.

VAN SUSTEREN: So how do you secure the border, Senator, because everyone keeps saying we need to secure the border? Do we build a big wall like they did -- like the -- you know, they did in East Europe? What do we do?

MCCAIN: Well, we need to have surveillance capabilities. An attempt that they were making just collapsed. The contractor failed miserably. But we need to do a lot more surveillance. And we could use a lot more high-tech. But to have the drug cartels' violence spill over into the United States of America is a real possibility.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor Palin, if you were vice president today, what would you be telling a President McCain about what to do about immigration, if anything?

PALIN: I support his position on immigration. It all comes down to securing the border. And he who has actually proposed some solutions, the Obama administration does not want to listen to Senator McCain or any other Republican, and that, of course, leads to a greater problem that we have in Washington, D.C. And it's that lack of the new administration's ability and enthusiasm for listening to those on the other side of the aisle who have some good solutions that they want considered.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, how much help is she to you on this campaign?

MCCAIN: Say that again?

VAN SUSTEREN: How much help is she to you on this campaign down there?

MCCAIN: Oh, she's -- as all over the country, Sarah is an Energizer bunny. She -- and I mean it in the way of the strongest sense. She is an energizing factor with Americans and with the people, the 4,000 people who were here today, she energized them. I was -- I mean, the feeling that people have towards her is still one of the most remarkable things that I have ever seen. And she never stops. She never stops, and she's working hard for America.

And could I say again, it's very kind of nostalgic for me and Cindy to be together again for the first time since election night with Sarah and Todd. And we share some wonderful memories. And yes, I lost, but I will always treasure the fact that we were able to work together for what we thought would have been a better America.


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