This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," October 10, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BRIAN SULLIVAN, CO-HOST: Now to new developments in trooper-gate. At any moment, Alaska lawmakers will release the results of their investigation into whether or not Gov. Sarah Palin once abused the power of her office. The Republican vice presidential nominee has been accused of firing a state commissioner to settle a family dispute.
Some Republicans claim the report is being rushed to damage John's McCain's presidential campaign before Election Day.
Here now for more on this is former Republican House speaker, Newt Gingrich. He's a FOX NEWS contributor and the author of a book - well, many books, actually - this one "Days of Infamy." Mr. Gingrich, thanks very much for joining us. Is there any meat on these bones?
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER REPUBLICAN HOUSE SPEAKER: Good to be with you. Look, I think if they do conclude she was too moved by her sister's divorce, and that she put too much pressure on, it will probably be bruising but to seriously. I mean, most Americans understand that, you know, she's not corrupt. She's not taking money. She's not being bribed. She's not doing any of the things that you associate with corruption in government.
• Video: Watch the interview with Newt Gingrich
She's, in fact, deeply involved with her sister. And some of the things that her ex-brother-in-law did, to say the least, were fairly weird - you know, using a Taser on a 10-year-old, for example, driving while drunk as a state trooper. So, I think, on balance, it will turn out to be a family feud and the worst that will happen is people will say that she reacted more than she should have.
The case she makes and the case that was made for her by others is that in fact, Monahan (sic) left his job because they had a big fight over budgets and that was the precipitating cause and that she offered him a different job which he turned down.
SULLIVAN: Well, Gov. Palin has responded to this and here is what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have nothing to hide - absolutely nothing to hide. So it's a governor's right and responsibility to make sure they have the right people in the right place at the right time to best serve the people who has hired them, and for me, that was the people of Alaska.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SULLIVAN: Is there anything to hide? Do you believe that? And do you think that -
GINGRICH: Well, look -
SULLIVAN: Go ahead.
GINGRICH: Let me just make a simple point for all of our viewers. She is, as of the time she was picked by John McCain, the most popular governor in the country. Her approval rating in Alaska was above 80 percent. Alaska is a small state. Everybody in Alaska knew about this story.
And I think compared, for example, to Sen. Chris Dodd taking a below- market interest mortgage from Countrywide before it went broke, or compared to Chris Dodd and Barack Obama being the number one and two recipients of money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while they were going broke, I think it's pretty hard to argue that a family feud is a big scandal.
SULLIVAN: All right. Newt, I know you're going to hang around. Jamie?
GINGRICH: I'll be here.
COLBY: Well, we have to keep (UNINTELLIGIBLE) with the break. I want to thank you Mr. Speaker for making time for us today. I know you rearranged your schedule. When the Democrats took over, they had a lot of high hopes and promises for Congress. How do you think they're doing?
We have some new approval ratings and well, they're not very good. The former speaker, Newt Gingrich, stays with us to talk about - remember Nancy Pelosi said, "We're going to take care of everything"? How are they doing? That's next.
COLBY: What a rocky ride. Our country is facing a financial crisis like many of us have never seen. And despite the passage of a rescue package last week, the American people are not happy with the job that congress is doing.
Take a look at these brand-new, hot-off-the-press FOX NEWS polls that show approval ratings for Congress have hit an all-time low - just 13 percent. That's down from 17 percent last month. That's a huge drop.
It wasn't supposed to be like this, though. If you remember, back in January of 2007, Nancy Pelosi, being sworn in as speaker of the House, expressed such high hopes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The election of 2006 was a call to change, not merely to change the control of Congress, but for a new direction for our country. After years of historic deficits, this 110th Congress will commit itself to a higher standard, pay as you go, no new deficit spending.
Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLBY: So how did we find ourselves in this situation? What happened?
Still with us, Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House, author of "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less."
Mr. Speaker, thank you again for organizing your schedule because you are just the person who I wanted to ask this question. Because as we know, everybody went home from Washington. They're all campaigning for their jobs.
Yesterday, I recommended that everybody call the office their elected official and find out they're doing on the schedule today and what are they doing to help the voter. And if you don't like what you hear, change your vote. There were so many promises that were made. How many were kept? How many were broken? And could this all have been lessened or prevented?
GINGRICH: Wow. You put a lot in that question. Let me just say, first of all, that take the number one thing you have in that clip, where she promised no deficit spending. This Congress has added this year, $1.3 trillion in additional spending in one year. The most amazing increase, I think, since World War II, and this is without a war.
They have the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Sen. Dodd is a Democrat, who got special interest deals for mortgages from Countrywide before it went broke. He's the largest recipient of money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
People look at this kind of cronyism. They look at the mess we're in and I think there is a deep feeling that something is deeply wrong with the Congress, and frankly, with the whole government. People are almost as unhappy with the Bush administration as they are with the Congress. So I do think the average American -
COLBY: And that the approval rating suggests that. The very low approval ratings in these FOX opinion polls would suggest that. And that's why I say maybe we should take a look at what our representatives are doing, and what they have done and where we are.
And I also want to ask you, is it possible to analyze, if Sen. Barack Obama was in the Senate, and Sen. McCain was in the senate, if they weren't able to prevent or fix the financial crisis we're in now, can we judge whether or not they can do it in the White House?
GINGRICH: No. Look, I think it's very clear that Sen. Obama has never actually served in the Senate very long. He arrived and began running for president and spent almost all his time campaigning. Sen. McCain ended up doing the same thing for the last year and a half, although he has served for a long time.
What I had found disappointing in the two presidential debates was I didn't think either candidate offered a serious analysis of what is clearly a worldwide calamity. We are faced with a crisis of the first order. I gave a speech last Tuesday at the National Press Club where I outlined in detail why, for example, the Security and Exchange Commission should change its accounting procedure, which is destroying companies and driving people into bankruptcy.
And I think this is the kind of thing we ought to be hearing from our presidential candidates. We need an economic recovery package. Congress ought to come back into session immediately after the election. They should pass an economic growth package. They should pass an energy independence package.
You can't keep sending 500 to $700 billion a year overseas every single year for energy and not have a bad effect on your economy. And I have outlined the changes we need. I'm sorry that neither of them has.
COLBY: Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, maybe they're listening. It's so great to have you on. Thank you very much.
GINGRICH: Thank you.
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