Published January 13, 2015
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," October 22, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Laura Ingraham is a hugely popular radio talk show host, television personality, and a best selling author. Her latest book "Power to the People" arrived in stores on September 11, and it quickly climbed to the top of Amazon.com's bestseller's list.
It is now also a New York Times and Barnes & Noble bestseller. Laura recently went On the Record.
VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you, Laura.
LAURA INGRAHAM, AUTHOR OF "POWER TO THE PEOPLE": Good to be here, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: "Power to the People," did you write the book first or come up with the title first?
INGRAHAM: I stole it from the old Marxists, the old very activist Marxists from the late 60s, early 70s. You know they scream power to the people" at a lot of anti-war rallies. And I don't think they really meant it. The people get in the way of the Marxist agenda.
I actually mean it when I say "power to the people," so I decided to steal it back and use it for the workaday people, the people that actually make this country work.
VAN SUSTEREN: "Power to the People," it is hard to think that you would think there is need for power to the people. You have a hit radio show, you have a bestseller book, it's not your first. What power don't you have?
INGRAHAM: I think I am trying to figure out a way to help people who really feel like they don't have influence. I mean, I have a radio show, so I can influence, I think, politics and the culture to some extent.
But there are a lot of people out there—I just came off of a 29 city book tour—
VAN SUSTEREN: Which is a little insane. How many days?
INGRAHAM: About 30 days.
We missed you on the bus, Greta. You were supposed to be on the "Power to the People" bus. I had a lot of promises, but I don't—
VAN SUSTEREN: Next bus.
So people feel like these politicians are not representing their viewpoints or their values very well. Look at the approval rating for President Bush—24 percent. Congress is at 11 percent.
And then when they look at the popular culture around them, whether it's the billboards or the commercials that come on during just family hour TV, or just watching a sports event, or the cover of magazines like Maxim or Cosmo Girl or what's inside these things, they think, wait a second, how did this happen? How did the "pornification" of the culture happen over the last 30 years?
That's what I call it. So what I do in this book is I actually give people not just the complaints—those are easy to make—but the way out of, which is engage this culture. Get involved.
If you don't like what's going on in your kids' school, actually go to the PTA meeting, find out who's on the school board. Get other parents involved as well.
Get on the internet. Go to your own chat rooms. Make your own chat rooms of other parents who are concerned.
We do have a lot of power, but I think we have given it away, and it can be quite demoralizing. So that's why I wrote the book.
VAN SUSTEREN: I want to talk you more about the book, but, first, this is what a lot of people don't know, and I don't know this. When your book is on the bestseller list, how do you learn about this? Do they call you up in advance? What's the story behind this?
INGRAHAM: Well, we were driving—we were in a car, I believe, in Omaha, Nebraska, and my publicist from Regnery Publishing Patricia called into this secret number at The New York Times. It's like a secret number.
VAN SUSTEREN: Really? There's a secret back room number?
INGRAHAM: There is a secret number. She has friends in high places.
She calls in and she goes, oh, um-huh, um-huh, um-huh, oh. I'm like, what, what? You are kidding, you are kidding.
I'm like, oh my good, it's a bomb, this book has bombed.
She hangs up—your book has hit number one. I'm like "yes." I did the Snoopy dance in the car—remember the Christmas dance with Snoopy? So that's how we learned.
VAN SUSTEREN: It's really hot. Admit it. You may not like The New York Times, but admit to being number one, I mean the debut.
INGRAHAM: The cherry on top of the ice cream Sunday, Greta, was that I knocked Bill Clinton off number one. If it had just been like number 1 and I was like I was knocking Dr. Phil off—but Bill Clinton? Come on, that was fun.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it is not the first time you are on the list. Does that make a difference second time around? This is really envy on my part, you see—vicarious pleasure.
INGRAHAM: The reason that I'm really actually really happy about this—it's fine to be on the bestseller list, but the way people are reacting to this book, left, right, and center, believe it or not, especially on the issue of the hypersexualization of our young people, the loss of innocence at such an early age. I know you interviewed Joe Francis, Mr. "Girls Gone Wild." I blast him in this book.
VAN SUSTEREN: I know you do, I saw that.
INGRAHAM: Greta, he represents exactly what I think is wrong with our culture. He is a young guy who obviously has creativity, he obviously has talent. And he puts his great talent to the task of getting drunk chicks in Daytona to pull up their shirts for the cameras.
And you get a special bonus, by the way, on their 18th birthday—if you can actually get them to flash on their 18th birthday, I think the camera guy gets an extra 500 bucks, or something like that.
And he is celebrated, Greta, on networks like FOX and CNN and MSNBC. He is celebrated as, "oh, isn't he an entrepreneur? Isn't this guy an amazing dynamo?" He's disgusting!
VAN SUSTEREN: Our heated debate continues ahead. But first, who's side are you on, Laura's or mine? If mine, log on to GretaWire.com right now and tell us. If you're on Laura's side don't log on right now. All right, I'm just kidding it's Friday. All right log on to GretaWire.com right now and post your comment.
VAN SUSTEREN: No more bets. Laura Ingraham went On the Record to talk about her book "Power to the People," but it did turn into a heated debate about Joe Francis and "Girls Gone Wild." And the debate is about to get hotter.
VAN SUSTEREN: When we are talking about the First Amendment, which you support, I take it, right?
INGRAHAM: I do, but do I think the framers thought the First Amendment applied to this? No.
VAN SUSTEREN: The first amendment was never there to protect popular speech.
INGRAHAM: Political speech. This isn't political speech.
VAN SUSTEREN: It is like the Fourth Amendment, unfortunately, is used to protect drug dealers.
INGRAHAM: I will cede you that. I will say let's say constitutionally the framers really thought this type of speech would be protected under the First Amendment.
VAN SUSTEREN: But that's where the power of the people comes in, because you have a first amendment right to do it. The people don't have to buy it. They don't have to buy the videos of Joe Francis. They don't have to do anything. That's the power of the people.
INGRAHAM: Here is the problem. I have this part in the pornification chapter, the "just turn it off" defense debunked, because, today, there is no turning it off, Greta.
You walk down the street, it's the Viagra billboard. You walk into the mall, and it's the Abercrombie & Fitch three with two black and white rolled down to the hipbone "come hither look" for the threesome look.
I'm telling you, there is no turning it off. It's disempowering for women, that's what it is.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don't disagree with you that it's disempowering for women. I don't disagree with you that it's trashy. The thing is that rather than going after the First Amendment, to go after the consumers and tell the consumers just stop looking at it, stop letting your kid do this.
INGRAHAM: This book is not about government solutions to any of this. The government is not going to solve our own cultural degradation.
VAN SUSTEREN: It's the power of the people. The people have to do it. Not Joe Francis, but the people.
INGRAHAM: It's about families as well, but—you are a good friend, but I wouldn't give him a minute on my show. I wouldn't give this guy five seconds for what he thinks is "good commerce" in the United States.
You can make a lot of money, Greta, by putting a public execution on the air. People would watch it. Would you do it? Is it right.
VAN SUSTEREN: I wouldn't buy his DVD. I would fight for his First Amendment right.
INGRAHAM: But why interview him? There are a lot of sleaze bags out there.
VAN SUSTEREN: Two reason—one is the first amendment aspect, but even more importantly, he is in jail without bond, and he has a right to bail under the Constitution. So, for those two constitutional issues—call me old fashioned, I believe in the Constitution.
INGRAHAM: Yes, but there are plenty of injustices out there. I mean this guy is a slime ball and sleaze ball. And if it was either of our kids who were drinking too much one night and he saw her at 1:00 in the morning on one of the cable networks flashing herself.
VAN SUSTEREN: It the fault of Joe Francis and not the parents?
INGRAHAM: I just think he obviously preys upon the vulnerability and the immaturity of a lot of these young girls. And it's whether it's Hugh Hefner or Larry Flynt or any of the adult filmmakers in Vegas or Los Angeles—is that really the best of America? I don't think it is.
VAN SUSTEREN: Just so you and I know—I agree on the taste issue. The problem where you and I differ is simply on the First Amendment issue.
INGRAHAM: I'm not even making the First Amendment point. My point is this—there is so many great stories to be told out there. There can be disturbing stories for sure, but, I think when we elevate this guy to this iconic status.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don't think is he an icon. I don't think he's an icon.
INGRAHAM: Come on, he is in the gossip pages. He is on television on Access Hollywood. He is on this network. Neil Cavuto has interviewed him. I mean, come on.
VAN SUSTEREN: And, regrettably, the First Aendment is there for the unpopular.
INGRAHAM: . . .regularly either, and they are protected by the first amendment. Where is the skin heads segment on On the Record? Come on.
VAN SUSTEREN: We don't have much time, and you and I will fight about this later in the makeup room. Don't think she is going to get away with this, we will talk about this in the makeup room.
INGRAHAM: Oh fantastic.
What view do you hold that you think would surprise your audience?
INGRAHAM: Well, I think that the things in this book that are probably most revealing are the personal stories. And you were such a good friend to me a couple years ago when I had that unfortunate health diagnosis. And in this book I talk about that period of my life. I talk about getting fired from MSNBC.
VAN SUSTEREN: Which, that was a good thing. That was a good thing.
INGRAHAM: I actually thanked the two executives who fired me because I wouldn't be doing now what I'm doing now, which is what I'm supposed to be doing. You always find your right niche if you get fired enough times, and I did. So I tell that story.
I talk about my own faith journey, which I have never really talked about publicly before.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you always had faith, or is that new?
INGRAHAM: No. I think it was really after my mom passed away about eight years ago of lung cancer that I hit rock bottom and realized that I had all this fame, but I did not a lot of joy in my life. So I started to ask myself some tough questions. And I think that started me down the path.
And so I reveal a lot about myself, especially in that chapter which is called "The Real Superpower." So, that's the final chapter.
The first chapter is about the family, where the power really is in the beginning, and in the end is, what if we lose all these battles? What do you have then? For me I have my faith.
VAN SUSTEREN: And to talk about the health crisis you had—First Lady Laura Bush is traveling in the Middle East for breast cancer.
VAN SUSTEREN: It really is. My hat always goes off to the first ladies out there. They have no job description. They are not getting paid. They could be sitting home. She could be in Crawford eating chocolates, watching TV, and she is out there hustling.
INGRAHAM: Absolutely. And all the people out in this country who do the breast cancer walks, the bike rides, raise money school-to-school. It's so appreciated, and we have made such progress in breast cancer research, and it will continue.
And all the other cancers need research dollars, too. So I'm always—
VAN SUSTEREN: Power to the people.
INGRAHAM: Power to the people.
VAN SUSTEREN: Pick up a copy of "Power to the People." We are going to go, but Laura and I will continue our fight in the makeup room.
INGRAHAM: Joe Francis is going to be filling in for Greta next week!
VAN SUSTEREN: I have to give Laura an education in the first amendment.
INGRAHAM: Joe Francis? What?
VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway, buy this book, "Power to the People," and you can make your choice and not buy those tasteless things.
Laura, always nice to see you. Keep her book on the bestseller list, "Power to the People."
INGRAHAM: I will. We have got to beat O.J., your other pal.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you. Thanks.
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