The Inside Story: Author on Sarah Palin's Political Passage

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This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," September 8, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Ten short days ago Sarah Palin's name was unknown to many voters, but since being tapped as John McCain's running mate, she's become the most talked about woman in politics.

Our next guest wants everyone to know who she is, and is spreading the word in her new book, "Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska's Political Establishment Upside Down."

Joining us now, live from Alaska, is the author herself, Kaylene Johnson.

Kaylene, thank you for being with us.

Watch Sean and Alan's interview

KAYLENE JOHNSON, "SARAH" AUTHOR: Thanks for having me.

HANNITY: All right. First of all, I want to talk a little bit about all she's accomplished, and her biography is beyond impressive, but if I had one question --you know her, you spent time around her --tell us about the person you know.

JOHNSON: Well, the thing that I found really interesting and pretty amazing for someone of — that's in politics and that is in the public eye so much is that there — there's no difference between her public persona and who she is on a day-to-day basis, and when I had the opportunity to talk to her, I really felt like I was talking to someone like you would talk to someone across your kitchen table.

HANNITY: You described her once as a woman who's competitive, who's tough, with a strong inner compass.

JOHNSON: That's right. She knows what she wants, and she has a very strong sense of right and wrong, and she goes after that.

HANNITY: Let's talk a little bit about how she took on her own party. She started at the bottom, she was a city council member, she became a mayor, she took on her own party, she took on corruption, she took on Republican incumbents.

They passed major pieces legislation, an overhaul of the state ethics law, the infamous story now of her putting the private jet on eBay, and the process to construct a gas pipeline.


HANNITY: Tell us about, you know, how she accomplished that much and how she went about that and the battles that she took on.

JOHNSON: Right. One of the things I really wanted to capture in the book was what kind of person she is, as fearless as she is in standing up to the old guard and standing up to the establishment. So the book chronicles her from a young age on to her political career.

And one of the things that just struck me over and over was just her willingness to stand up to very powerful interests in Alaska.

HANNITY: Yes. By the way, I'm looking there, Kaylene, in the background, and I've been to 48 of the 50 states. And Alaska's — I'm coming. That's a beautiful scene behind you there. And I can understand why Alaskans like it so much.

But, more specifically, you know, how will the people of Alaska — I looked at her approval rating. And every — I was around a lot of people at the conventions. I've never saw conservatives so energized, so happy, really, they feel that the party has been reinvigorated on the one hand.

And then you have all these vicious horrible attacks. They've asked harder questions about her 17-year-old daughter than they have Barack Obama's friendship with an unrepentant terrorist.

How — with those 80 some odd percent approval rating in Alaska — how will the people of Alaska react to the way the nation and the press, in particular, has treated her?

JOHNSON: Well, Alaskans love her. She has an over 80 percent approval rating here in the state. And I think Alaskans are also, somewhat, protective of her and her family.

You know, we're a small state, we know each other and I think that there's a certain amount of outrage about the way the press has handled some of her family and how they've come under a microscope.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Hey, Kaylene, it's Alan Colmes. Thanks for being on our show.

You got pretty lucky with the timing of this book, huh?

JOHNSON: That's for sure. Thanks for having me.

COLMES: Thanks very much.

What do you know about the allegations that she — or her family or administration improperly pressured the public safety commissioner to fire her ex-brother-in-law, then they tried to delay the investigation until after the election?

HANNITY: The guy that tasered a 10-year-old...

COLMES: Excuse me, let's get an answer. Go ahead, Kaylene.


JOHNSON: I'm sorry, is that question for me?


JOHNSON: Hi. You know, I really can't comment on that. I — this was something that took place after the book was finished.

COLMES: Do you know anything about her pastor, Ed Kalins, who was reported by The Wall Street Journal preached that unless you supported George W. Bush you were going to hell?

JOHNSON: Oh, I'm sorry, I hadn't heard that either.

COLMES: You hadn't heard that at all. Is that.

JOHNSON: I hadn't, no.

COLMES: Are you aware of that, that she was a member of the Wasilla Assembly of God church for a number of years with its very controversial pastor?

JOHNSON: Oh, yes.

COLMES: But you haven't looked at any of this?

JOHNSON: Well, I know that she was — well, I talked to Pastor Paul O'Reilly who was the pastor at the Assembly of God in Wasilla, and he talked more about her family and how their faith was nurtured in the church over the years.

COLMES: Do you feel — do you all understand that if someone who is pretty — not very well known nationally, people don't know who she is, that the press is likely to start asking questions to try to get the American people some information about who a particular person is, not necessarily just in a mean-spirited way?

JOHNSON: Oh, sure, sure, and I think Americans need to know who their leaders are.

COLMES: And so do you think Alaskans will begrudge the fact that the press might be going around asking questions, wanting to find out who she is, who her friends are, what she thinks, what her positions are, who she knows?

JOHNSON: Sure, and I think that's natural. I think when it crosses the line is when it goes into personal family issues, and I think that the Americans want to know her positions on different — on different — her positions on...

COLMES: Right.

JOHNSON: ...different topics, and I think they deserve to know.

COLMES: All right, Kaylene, thank you very much for being with us. I appreciate it very much.

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