Exclusive - Gov. Palin on 2012: 'Don't Let Me Miss an Open Door'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," November 10, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, Governor Sarah Palin goes "On the Record," her first national television interview since the election. We are live in Anchorage, Alaska, and you're not going to see this anywhere else. For the past two days, we've spent hours with the governor of Alaska, and our cameras have been rolling all the time. And so tonight, you will see part one of our interview as we see her at work and at home. And here is the governor.


VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, it must be fun to be back in your office here in Anchorage.

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's great. It's great. A lot of work to do, so it's good to be back.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's on the agenda today?

PALIN: Cabinet meeting this morning, and then working with our gas line team, ramping up production of what we have to do to start supplying the U.S. with more domestic sources of energy. That's always the top of our agenda here in the state of Alaska. But working on that today.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Let me clarify some loose ends here. The clothes -- what is the story on the clothes?

PALIN: The clothes. When I arrived at the convention, there were clothes waiting for me and clothes being ordered for me and for the family, for eight of us. And ever since then, those clothes, knowing that they didn't belong to me, many of them had been returned, many of them were put in the belly of the airplane, and some of them were returned home with me. We boxed them all up, sent them back to the rightful owners, the Republican National Committee. And that's the story on the clothes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you order the clothes?

PALIN: Did not order the clothes. Did not ask for the clothes. I would have been happy to have worn my own clothes from day one. But you know, that turned into kind of an odd issue, an odd campaign issue as things were wrapping up there, as to who ordered what and who demanded what.

But you know, I was happy to get to come home to my own closet and put my own clothes on again, which we had done, of course, through most of the campaign also. But the convention clothes were belonging to the RNC.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know whose idea that was or how that even evolved?

PALIN: Haven't really heard how all that evolved and hadn't really pursued it until we started getting criticized for supposedly asking for all these clothes, my family and me. And still don't have all of the answers. But it just, at this point, especially seems so irrelevant, unless the criticism continues in regards to my family or me demanding anything.

But it just seems like such an irrelevant issue when you consider what's going on in the world today and how a new administration is being ushered in and people being concerned about the direction of the nation and policies that will be adopted, and also at the same time being excited about this historic moment in our nation's history. Clothes just seem irrelevant.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I agree with you they're irrelevant. It's just that the number was so horrific. I mean, $150,000 was a giant number. And it seemed, you know, that all of a sudden, you got hammered with it. And I was trying to figure out, you know, it is fair, is it unfair, or you know, why is it that this became an issue? And I don't mean to harp on it, but why did this become an issue?

PALIN: Well, that is a good question. Again, arriving at the convention, being told that along with staging and lighting and everything else was wardrobe for my family and me to wear during the convention, and you know, just kind of going with the flow. OK, sounds -- that sounds fine. If that's the way that they do this, that's good, wearing the clothes during that time.

There's no way it could have been $150,000 worth of clothes, though, not unless every jacket and pair of shoes were $10,000, $20,000. I don't see how it added up.

But it was for eight people, not just for myself. And my understanding is right off the bat, about a third of the clothes had been returned because they just weren't going to work. Another third of the clothes that we were wearing all got returned to the RNC. And another third of the clothes -- we never did see them. Evidently, they were in the belly of the plane, and those got sent back also.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you think you got hit unfairly with that issue, or it was a stupid issue or...

PALIN: I think that there was unfair criticism that maybe lingers today that my family and I asked for anybody to pay for any of our clothes that the RNC had offered up. And receipts show, too, the clothes and the stylists, they were all hired before we even were introduced in the convention.

So you know what? It had to have been part of an RNC plan. And I think, too, some of the puzzlement here is, I don't know if people are asking the Democrats how it worked for them, you know, who did hair and make-up for the Democrat nominees, and were their clothes provided, and you know, what happened there. But certainly, we've been asked a lot of questions about this.

VAN SUSTEREN: One quick final question. So you never said, Get me six Armani suits, or, Get me a certain stylist out of New York City, or anything like that. I mean, this is -- there was no demand from you or request from you.

PALIN: No. And in fact, the criticism that, you know, I took time out to run into Neiman Marcus or Saks -- I don't think I've ever set foot in either one of those stores, and of course, didn't know the New York stylists who they had hired or anything else.

They were really nice gals. They were wonderful people. And you know, it was, I guess, productive, in a sense, in that they picked out some really nice clothes to borrow for a while there. But that was not anything that the Palin family would have chosen for ourselves.

In fact, I'm much more comfortable in my own skin, in my own clothes. And you know, I guess it was just part of a strategy that, perhaps, you know, in hindsight, looking back, if people had to do something over again, I think they would have been more than happy, at this point, to reverse some of that and let me go back to Alaska, pack my own bags, wear my own clothes on the trail.

And that could have reflected, too, I think, more of who we are, our family as Alaskans, you know, unpretentious, not trying to change anything about appearance or what we represent. And maybe some of that is -- has to do with the clothes.

VAN SUSTEREN: One other criticism was this whole business about Africa. And I investigated it. I talked to someone who was in the room with you, whose name I can't reveal, who was there for all your preparation, talked to that person, grilled that person, cross-examined that person, said that Africa thing never happened. Never happened. And I grilled the person.


VAN SUSTEREN: Why did that get a life of its own?

PALIN: I don't know because I remember the discussion about Africa. My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur. And the relevance to me with that issue, as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were -- kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent -- the relevance was Alaska's investment in Darfur with some of our Permanent Fund dollars. I wanted to make sure that that didn't happen anymore.

So we discussed what was going on in Africa. And never, ever did I talk about, Well, gee, is it a country or is it a continent, I just don't know about this issue. So I don't know how they took our one discussion on Africa and turned that into what they turned it into. I don't even know who did, though, you know, so it's hard to...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I know...

PALIN: ... Address that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I know someone who was there. And like I said, it was, like, you know, I grilled the person and -- you know, and pretty heavily on two occasions as recently as last night. And that person said - - and that's not a Palin person, that's a McCain staff person -- and I will tell you that much -- and said it never happened.

But it certainly was a -- you know, it was sort of a string of gossip that has emerged in the last week. And I'm thinking, you know, why would someone want to whack you like that?

PALIN: I don't know because I don't know that inside baseball stuff at that top echelon of the way campaigns are run, why anybody would do that. It doesn't make any sense. It doesn't -- it harms everybody to have false allegations like that.

Along those same lines, of course, was the criticism that, supposedly, I didn't know who the participants in NAFTA were. I remember, again, having a discussion about NAFTA and how Alaska, again, being relevant to the discussion with the trade that we have with Canada being our next-door neighbors, how important it was that we continue NAFTA and having good relations with Mexico and with Canada, and wanting to know what Barack Obama meant by saying that he would want to perhaps unilaterally get in there and renegotiate NAFTA.

I remember that discussion, but there was never a question about, "Well, who are the participants in NAFTA?" So for my discussion there to be spun into something that it was not and then being broadcast on national television, again based on anonymous sources, that's been another puzzling thing to me.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there anything else that has been raised or said about you in the media, either during the convention -- I mean, during the campaign or since the campaign ended, that you think you need to address that has been, you know, an allegation about you?

PALIN: Well, unfortunately, early on, there are a tremendous number of examples that we can give regarding my record and things that could have, should have been so easily corrected if -- if the media would have taken one step further and -- and investigated a little bit, not just gone on some blogger probably sitting there in their parents' basement, wearing their pajamas, blogging some kind of gossip or -- or a lie regarding, for instance, the -- the discussion about who was Trig's real mom? You know, Was it one of her daughters or was she faking her pregnancy?

And that was in mainstream media, the question that was asked, instead of just coming to me and -- and -- and you know, setting the record straight. And then when we tried to correct that, that, yes, truly, I am Trig's mother, for it to take days for it ever to have been corrected, that -- that kind of right out of the chute was one of the oddities of this campaign and the messaging.

And then, too, things that, again, so easily could have been corrected about my supposed attempts to censor and ban books when I was the mayor of Wasilla. And one of the examples that they gave was that media was just sure that one of the books I tried to ban was Harry Potter. Of course, it hadn't even been written when I was the Mayor of Wasilla.

So just issues like that that just -- you know, it was -- it was mind- boggling to consider what it was that we were going to be up against, when you could see that something was written about, something was stated in the media. I knew the truth and I had the record to prove otherwise, and yet it would either take too long to unring that bell that had just been rung or there was no attempt at all to correct the record.

That was pretty frustrating.


VAN SUSTEREN: And up next, Governor Palin responds to some of the journalists who had some nasty things to say about her, specifically the women journalists. Does the governor take the attacks personally?

And then later, you go inside Governor Palin's house in Wasilla, Alaska, the governor and her family back at home. You will not see this anywhere else. It's all coming up next live from Anchorage, Alaska.


VAN SUSTEREN: We are live in Anchorage, Alaska, and for the past two days, Governor Sarah Palin has gone "On the Record" at home and at work. Go to GretaWire right now and you can watch the interview and you can have a mini-blog-athon going on right now, so you can catch, watch and blog with the entire Gretawire community as you watch. So GretaWire.com.

And we continue now with Governor Sarah Palin.


VAN SUSTEREN: People seemed to have such a strong reaction to you right from the get-go. They either loved you or they went at you. Why do you think that is? Or am I -- do you disagree that that was the appearance?

PALIN: I don't know. I can't answer that. I don't know what it would be. Perhaps the criticism would be, you know, what it is that I represent. Certainly, I think, I represent is out of the box when you consider most conventional candidates for higher office, national office, you know, certainly being a Washington outsider and not part of that elite group I think that some would want to chose from perhaps, just being an outsider and an unknown.

Certainly, there was a tremendous amount of curiosity there, and some chose to satisfy their curiosity based on facts and someone's record, and others chose to satisfy their curiosity based on those -- I'm going to characterize them as those bloggers in their parents' basement just talking garbage.

And you know, that's somebody's choice, I guess, in where they want to go to, to write about someone, talk about someone. But there were some oddities there.

VAN SUSTEREN: How about women journalists? What was your thought about them, the ones -- the ones -- not the ones who spoke favorably about you but the ones who spoke unfavorably?

PALIN: I just would have loved to have the opportunity to have sat down and spoken with them. And that's an odd thing, isn't it, about candidates, that you know, it's a free-for-all. Your life is an open book and you open yourself up to criticism, and you'd better be ready to take that criticism. And otherwise, don't run for office, you know, if you can't handle it. But when it's -- you've got the big target on your back, then it is a free-for-all. And the criticism that is coming your way is -- again, it had better be -- you'd better be ready for it. Otherwise, you have no right running for office. It's kind of unfortunate, but it's reality.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did it ever get under your skin?

PALIN: Not really. Again, what would be under my skin or frustrating was just when -- when I had facts to counter false allegations and nobody would listen to them. You know, you couldn't defend yourself if they weren't -- the media was not willing to correct the mistakes that had been written and printed. And that was kind of frustrating.

But again, at the same time, I knew that John McCain and I were on the right road in the message that we had to voters, saying, Here's where we believe the nation should go, and here are the policies that we believe need to be adopted in order to win the war, get the economy back on the right track, protect our constitutional rights, all those things that we were campaigning on. I knew we were on the right road, so I know that the shots, the darts and the arrows coming our way, we had to be able to put up with that and take that in order to progress the message, the plan that we had for Americans.

At the end of the day, American voters spoke. It's the will of the people that it was not our time and our message was not the message of change that the majority of voters wanted. So be it.

Now, OK, that chapter's closed now. And now let me, let John McCain do all that we can, along with our supporters, to help unite the nation and progress under a new administration.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's interesting. I've spoken to President Bush and President Bush 41, and they have always said that they could take the - - you know, the hits, the arrows, the barbs, but that it was harder for them, it was harder for President Clinton when Senator Clinton got insulted or attacked, and for President Bush 41 when his son did.

Was it harder on your family, do you think?

PALIN: My family's pretty tough, you know, and they -- because I've been in local office and state office since '92. You know, the kids have grown up with this. I think they're kind of used to that, which is sort of unfortunate, if you think about it, that they've -- you know, they've grown up seeing things said and written about their mom that, you know, even they know hasn't always been true. But I think that they know that that's sort of the nature of the beast of politics.

So I feel bad when they feel bad, and there were a couple of times where, yes, especially I felt bad. Willow, the 14-year-old, she had seen T-shirts in a rally. We drove by a group of protesters in Philadelphia and some pretty vulgar T-shirts. And Willow saw them, and she said, Mom, they don't even know you, how can they say something like that about you?

And it sure struck me at that time that, yes, it's unfortunate that she has to see this and that she would feel perhaps that she's in a position of not being able to defend the truth or defend her mom. That's a little bit unfortunate.

But again, the kids have grown up with politics, knowing that, you know, it's pretty brutal on a local level, too, sometimes and on a state level, so they're tough. They can handle it. They -- you know, they're good, strong, kind-hearted kids. My husband is also. And they know the truth. And that's the most important thing here is they don't have to doubt things that their mom stands for and I work towards. They know what the truth is.


VAN SUSTEREN: Coming up: Does Governor Palin consider herself a feminist? Now, her answer may really stun you. And is the governor of Alaska surprised she did not bring more women to the Republican ticket? And is the governor gearing up for a run in 2012? That's all next.


VAN SUSTEREN: We're live in Anchorage, Alaska, and earlier today, Governor Sarah Palin went "On the Record" from inside the governor's office. And moments ago, you heard Governor Palin respond to some of the attacks against her. But lots of people love the governor of Alaska.


VAN SUSTEREN: Well, on the flip side, I've also been to some of the rallies where people go absolutely nuts when they see you and your family - - I mean, the cheering. I mean, what went -- I mean, what's that like, when you come out and everyone's got these huge cards, they're yelling, "Sarah, Sarah"? I mean, what's that like?

PALIN: Well, the cool part was when somebody would hold up a placard saying, "We're here for Trig," or you know, "Piper in 2012." You know, that makes me feel good because I think that's a recognition that this is just a normal family, a family that we have a lot of love that binds us together and we have a lot of fun, in spite of some of the circumstances.

I am so proud of my family, so proud of my kids and Todd for us working as a team through all of this. That made me feel good.

Too, though, any of the chants of "Sarah" or anything that maybe would look like maybe anything was Sarah-centric is, on my part, I know that it is not me personally that the cheers were for. Again, it's for, Cool, we've got a woman on the ticket, we've got this manifestation of progress and change in America. And both tickets represented that, of course.

But not me personally were those cheers for, but it was just for the representation of a woman on the ticket, a mom, somebody who loves this country so much, somebody very, very committed to policies that I believe will progress this country in the right direction. I think that's what that was all about.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's interesting. You lured some feminists to the Republican ticket, which you might not expect. I mean, feminists have typically been Democrats. By feminists, I mean some of the farther left. But you lured some of them. But if you think about it, a woman on the ticket is very exciting for women. Why do you think that you didn't get more women? I mean, you're a working woman. You've been successful as a governor. Why do you think some women probably weren't lured to your ticket?

PALIN: I don't know, but I'm going to work harder on that, if anything ever happens in the future in terms of me running for office, to kind of put more women at ease, I guess, with the idea of me or any other woman serving in higher office. I think that it's really important because I truly believe that we have more in common than we have differences, when we want to make sure that our communities are healthy and safe and that we have health care for our children and that our daughters have equal opportunities in the workforce. All those things that we have in common, again, certainly outweigh the differences than perhaps we have.

So I would like to see, perhaps, some of these feminist women -- and sometimes, you know, I consider myself, too, as a feminist, whatever that means. In fact, I subscribe to Feminists for Life. I'm a pro-life woman who wants to make sure that, you know, we cherish the sanctity of life. And this group, Feminists for Life, sort of encapsulates all that I believe in with that -- with the pro-life movement.

But I would like to see more of these feminist women open their minds, too, and not be, perhaps, narrow-minded in consideration of a working mom who represents much of what they have fought for all these years, also, with equal opportunity and -- and I would like them to just be bold and brave and kind of at least explore someone like me. And I guess "like me" means I -- I am a conservative in terms of not believing that government is the answer to all of our problems and challenges. I believe that individuals and our families, and then on the local level, a local government, can make better decisions than -- for what we need and what our priorities are than what big government on a federal level can make for us.

So in that sense, you know, they're going to put me in the conservative box, then so be it. But I would sure like to be able to meet more of these women and find that common ground and similarities and have them not to be afraid of finding out what perhaps a conservative woman represents and believes in.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think it's the abortion issue?

PALIN: That's what I wondered, too. Is it -- is it that litmus test that is the be-all, end-all for -- for some women? I don't know. But my - - my position on abortion is -- here again, knowing that there is common ground here with those of us who are pro-life and want to see fewer and fewer abortions in this world, and those who support abortion rights.

They, too, the ones whom I have spoken with -- and there are those in my own family that don't agree with all my pro-life positions that I've taken. But the common ground that we have is they, too, would like to see fewer abortions and preventative measures be available and being -- you know, that we wouldn't shy away from those things. So again, the end result would be fewer abortions.

So I don't know if that's the be-all, end-all issue there. If it is, it's kind of unfortunate because I think we could and should all be working together to meet the challenges that our families, our communities, our nation face.


VAN SUSTEREN: And up next: Was Governor Palin overmanaged during the campaign. Was she held back from saying and doing what she wanted to? And finally, the governor addressed the big question: Is she running for president in 2012? What do you think her answer is? Governor Palin tells you next. We continue live from Anchorage, Alaska.


VAN SUSTEREN: Now for more of your interview with Governor Sarah Palin.


VAN SUSTEREN: There's something interesting. At the -- at your speech at the Republican National Convention, which I was lucky enough to be in the room for all these speeches, you talked about having, I think, diverse friends or -- and almost bring--how to bring people together?

Because, you know, the truth is, is that people have drawn the line in the sand. And it's -- I mean, people -- it's -- there isn't a lot. I mean, there may be a lot of common ground, but nobody's talking.

PALIN: Well, I think you've got to walk the walk and not just talk the talk along those lines.

When I talk about bringing people together, here in my administration, and in my cabinet, you know, I've appointed Democrats and independents along with Republicans, wanting to get the best of the best in every department, in order to best serve the people whom we're accountable to, people of Alaska.

So yes, I'm walking the walk there.

And then in my own family, also, with very diverse views that are represented in some of the individuals in our family. We're not hollering at each other.

We're not fighting and having ugly debates. We have healthy debates about issues, about policies. There, too, walking that walk and reaching out, talking, hearing, learning from others who have different positions and then finding that common ground.

I think those in my family know that I'm pretty doggone committed to the positions that I have taken and that I stand on today. But no need to be screaming at each other over -- over the beliefs that we have.

Here again, in family, in my administration, there's always a way to find some kind of common ground and learn from each other and then progress from there. There always is a way.

VAN SUSTEREN: Has anyone budged you from a position? I mean, convinced you that maybe you should rethink something, from the top of your head?

PALIN: Nothing so fundamental or monumental that I would have regretted a change of position. No. No.

VAN SUSTEREN: There -- during the course of the campaign, the campaigns prepare speeches and the candidates deliver them. And I know that oftentimes that people who say that you were, you know, going rogue, saying that you would do your own thing. To what extent were you managed?

PALIN: It -- the management of -- of my time, of the message, I have nothing to complain about. There were very good people involved in all of this, and very experienced and very sharp.

I would have preferred more opportunity to speak to the media more often, because there were a lot of things that I think it could have, should have said that could have, would have helped John McCain.

I have such great admiration for him. I honor him. I love him. I believe that he is the best leader that we have in the nation right now, still, is John McCain.

And I would have liked to have had more opportunity to be out there speaking on his behalf, of the attributes that -- that he has, because he's so humble he doesn't do that himself.

He did not, I believe, have -- take enough opportunity, and that's just the way that he is, though. He's too humble. Take the opportunity to let people know the challenges that he has overcome, his ability to face adversity and overcome challenges. I would have liked more opportunity to have done that for him.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it would have driven me crazy if someone on the campaign was telling me what to do. I mean, especially since -- you know, if I were the candidate, you know, I'm the one who got here. And then you have a staffer telling you how to do it.

Did -- were you able to be, you know, to make your own decisions and to, you know, tell the staff, "No, this is how I want to do it"?

PALIN: Well, remember when I got there, the staff, my staff, I had never met any of them. I didn't know one person. I had no names to faces matched up at all. So kind of thrown into the -- to that environment of "Here's your staff, and they're going to be with you for the next seven and eight, nine weeks."

And you have to pretty much put your career, your reputation, your record, your family put everything in their hands. That's kind of a scary thing for someone like you, someone like me, quite independent and quite self-determined and confident in our own abilities to do things ourselves and do them right.

Right off the bat, you know, that was a little shift of gears for me that I had to make in order to trust people who, understandably, kind of tough at the beginning, because I didn't know who they were. But as days went on, I could see, well, there's some very bright people here.

There were some good people who knew what they were doing and who were well-equipped. And certainly were doing all that they could to sincerely help John McCain towards victory.

So, as days went on, it was good, it was fine. But being quite independent, just like John McCain is also, yes, maybe there is some characterizing of me going rogue when once in a while I would say something that -- hey, I said it from the heart.

I believed in going off script once in a while in some of the rallies in order to really reiterate, perhaps, something that I believed about John McCain.

Maybe it wasn't written in the script, but so what. Geez, if this is all going to be so scripted and kind of like a movie screen and we have to follow verbatim everything that somebody writes for you, I don't want any part of that. That's not who I am and that's not who John McCain is either.

So, if I went off script once in a while, I can't for the life of me remember any one time where it would have harmed him, or the ticket. So I don't regret it.

VAN SUSTEREN: I would be remiss if I didn't ask this -- 2012, you know what's going to happen. We're going to have a 2012.

PALIN: We are going to have a 2012. I don't know who is going to be a part of it.

You know, I have -- faith is a very big part of my life. And putting my life in my creator's hands -- this is what I always do. I'm like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door.

Show me where the open door is. Even if it's cracked up a little bit, maybe I'll plow right on through that and maybe prematurely plow through it, but don't let me miss an open door.

And if there is an open door in '12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door.

But I can't predict what's going to happen. I can't predict what's going to happen a day from now, much less four years from now.

VAN SUSTEREN: Would it be exciting to you?

PALIN: It would be very exciting. It would be very exciting to have an opportunity to serve in a greater capacity. But in the meantime, the state of Alaska has so much to offer this nation in terms of national security and economic prosperity because we are the wealthiest state in the nation in terms of our natural resources.

We have, within this largest state in the union, we have every resource that our country needs in order to be more self determined and more self sufficient instead of relying on foreign sources of energy.

And Alaska has it, we just need to be able to prove that up here we can do things right, ethically, responsibly. We can develop more up here, we can contribute more to the U.S.

It's going to be win-win between our state and the lower 48 states. There is much that needs to be and can be contributed from the state of Alaska with me here at the desk in Anchorage and in Juneau as governor.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I know you've got a meeting so I'm going to let you go because you have to go meet with your cabinet.

PALIN: Our cabinet members, yes. Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Great. Thanks, Governor.

PALIN: Thanks so much.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you very much.

PALIN: Appreciate it.


VAN SUSTEREN: Coming up, you are going to go inside Governor Palin's house in Wasilla, Alaska. Governor Palin takes you minute by minute through the whirlwind hours when she was picked as Senator McCain's running mate. Yes, you are about to hear the inside story from the star of the story herself.



VAN SUSTEREN: Now, you go inside Governor Palin's house in Alaska. Yesterday we went to Wasilla and spent the afternoon inside the Governor and "First Dude's" home. We even had moose chili.

But that's not all. The "First Dude" did something-we caught it on camera. What did he do? To find you're going to need to tune in tomorrow night to go "On the Record."

But in the meantime, the Governor tells you how she first got the word she was going to be on the Republican ticket.


VAN SUSTEREN: So what's the story? You're in Alaska in August, and you get a phone call. Did Senator McCain call you? Were you in this house? Tell us the story.

PALIN: I was at the Alaska State Fair and there were--

VAN SUSTEREN: Where's that?

PALIN: It's over in Palmer. And a big agriculture venue where we show off Alaska's crops. You know, we have cabbages grown here that are the size of basketballs and bigger.

VAN SUSTEREN: Quit bragging, quit bragging!

PALIN: It's amazing the diversity here of our economy.

VAN SUSTEREN: We have those things, big pumpkins in Wisconsin.

PALIN: Everything's bigger in Alaska. So I'm there looking at the crops and talking to thousands of Alaskans who are there. It's a thing w e do in fall time, and August is our fall time. And I get a call on my cell phone, and Senator McCain--

VAN SUSTEREN: He's on the phone? Or are they saying "Hold for more Senator McCain?" How's it work?

PALIN: Somebody said, "Hold for Senator McCain." But by now there was a whole lot of speculation that week, because it was coming down to the wire and he had to announce somebody soon. And there was this speculation that it was a Governor whose last name started with a "P."


PALIN: Or Perry--anybody but Palin.

So he said, "Are you interested in talking to us?" I said absolutely. Just worked out the logistics on the phone about how we would meet, and--

VAN SUSTEREN: What time of day is this, about?

PALIN: Noonish.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you actually plan with them at that point what time you would meet?

PALIN: A little bit. He said I'd like to get you here to Arizona so we can have a face to face. And they had obviously done a whole lot of homework and vetting from within, because they knew anything and everything about me, and I was impressed with what they knew.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'd be mad if someone knew that much about me.

PALIN: No, I was impressed. It felt secure, felt like cool, you're not just picking someone out of the blue. You know my positions, you know my convictions, my values, and you know also a lot of the practical aspects that had to have been addressed.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you know--had you gotten wind that people were asking questions about you?

PALIN: No. Not really.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you didn't know they were sneaking around looking at your policies?

PALIN: Not really. No, I didn't. Not to the extent that they did.

And, again, I was impressed that they knew as much as they did. They knew back when I was a city council member back in '92 some of the votes I had taken and positions I had taken. And I was very impressed with that. It reassured me.

So, anyway--

VAN SUSTEREN: Wait. So where was Todd at this point? Was he with you or not?

PALIN: No. He wasn't with me. The kids were. I think he was either on the slope or somewhere. I called him like that night and I said hey, I heard from Senator McCain, and what do you think?

VAN SUSTEREN: You waited that long to tell Todd?

PALIN: Yes. He was busy.

VAN SUSTEREN: Busy? Wait a second. You get the call about noon. I take it it's only like a few minutes, right, at the state fair?

PALIN: Yes, it's kind of hard to hear. There were a lot of people around, and--

VAN SUSTEREN: Did they say keep it quiet?

PALIN: I kind of snuck around one of the booths so it was a little bit quieter, and spoke with him there. Anyway, told Todd, and the logistics worked out where I went to Arizona.

VAN SUSTEREN: How soon after?

PALIN: Like a couple days.

VAN SUSTEREN: Were you told to keep this secret?

PALIN: Sure. Yes. I was asked not to reveal anything. No problem. And they said just talk to your husband about it. And got to Arizona, had a great conversation with Senator McCain.

VAN SUSTEREN: Privately?

PALIN: Privately.

VAN SUSTEREN: So then you sort sneak out? I don't remember--we track trails, we track numbers on the planes and --

PALIN: We were good. We were good.

VAN SUSTEREN: You sneaked out of Alaska, essentially, to Arizona.

PALIN: Right. Right. Todd would warn us. He said, you know, the ramp hands at the airport, and Todd used to be one of the ramp hands, he said they're going to recognize you and you're going to get busted. But somehow, someway, it all worked, and nobody knew about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you disguise yourself at all? What did you tell the state you were going?

PALIN: I told the state I wasn't going to be in the office that day. That should have been a heads up right there, because we never don't work. We are accessible.

But, anyway, got to Arizona, had a great conversation with Senator McCain and then with Mrs. McCain also. He warned, it's brutal on the kids. And I so appreciated that that was -- he was so cognizant of that and he expressed that, that it could be brutal on the kids. I'm like ah, we can handle it, there's nothing that -- having no idea, of course, what some of the brutality regarding the kids was actually going to be like.

But, no, I knew it was meant to be. It was where we were supposed to be. And I told him I would be honored to get t o run with him.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did he ask you right on the spot? I take it you get off the plane, and did you go right to his home or apartment?

PALIN: No. Went to -- it was the next morning that we went to his rank and spoke with him there and spoke with Cindy there, and had just a great conversation about how much alike we were, I think, regarding, you know, having to take on our own party, having to make a lot of political -- take a lot of political risks.


VAN SUSTEREN: Up next, we bet you did not know this. Did you know that President-elect Obama called Governor Palin during the campaign? What did the two political rivals talk about? The governor tells you.


VAN SUSTEREN: We are live in Anchorage, Alaska, and yesterday we spent part of the day in Wasilla in the home of Governor Palin and her husband, Todd Palin.

One of the most important issues to the Governor of Alaska, the tremendous energy resources in the state.


PALIN: Up here in Alaska we have more coastline here than--it's about equivalent to the continental United States, the coastline. We have the hydro right here, we have the geothermal, right here, we have tidal power, all these renewable and alternative sources of energy that can be tapped into right here also.

That's an exciting thing for Alaska to consider, that because of the diversity and vastness of the land here, we could and should be researching more, figuring out what these new technologies need to be also to allow reliability and these sources of energy to be tapped into where they're not so subsidized that it economically doesn't make sense to tap into them.

And then be selling that technology and the energy sources to other countries and allowing a cleaner planet and a safer planet. And it's just win-win all over the place once Alaska, again, is allowed to develop more of our sources.

VAN SUSTEREN: It seems like we're so quick to fight over this stuff. There's an awful lot of finger pointing in energy, environment, the whole works that it doesn't seem like it's very easy to make any progress.

PALIN: We have opportunity now. And this is how I'm looking at it. Silver lining in Barack Obama's election--he's bringing with him more of that environmentalist movement, right?

There is going to, I think, be able to provide opportunity. There is no question we've got to develop and become energy independent. How are we going to do that? You got to get the pro-development crowd, pro-industry crowd going hand in hand with the environmentalists.

Perhaps that's what we're going to find with Obama's administration. I look forward to representing the pro-development crowd in some sense up here in Alaska working with him and some of his pro-environmental folks, and all of us working together to get there so we don't do the finger pointing and bickering and nothing gets done.

That's why we've had 30 years of failed policy with energy--nothing's gotten done. And now we have an opportunity to succeed there.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you ever talked to President-elect Obama?

PALIN: Not yet. I look forward to it. He called when we were on the trail, I talked to him there. He was just saying good luck. That was great. He's was cool too, saying, "Good luck, but not that much luck."

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that what he said?

PALIN: He did. He was fun. That was right after I was announced. But I look forward to speaking with him, and I think that we will find common ground on the developments that are needed to allow us to become more independent.


VAN SUSTEREN: In three minutes, a sneak peek at tomorrow night with Governor Sarah Palin. Let's put it this way -- moose chili is a big part of the story, and a high-speed snow machine ride. It is never dull.

We have much more live from Anchorage, Alaska.


VAN SUSTEREN: So now you saw part one of our interview with Governor Palin, but you have not seen anything yet. Tomorrow night you will see much more of our interview from inside Governor Palin's house in Wasilla.

Moose chili was on the menu. But there is so much more, including what we caught the first dude was doing on camera, moving pretty fast. And he was not alone. Check this out-a ride with the first dude, Todd Palin, on a snow machine. How fast to you think we go?


VAN SUSTEREN: Ready? Watch out.


VAN SUSTEREN: All of that and much more is coming tomorrow night. You won't see this anywhere else.

Thanks for being with us tonight. We will see you all again next time. Don't forget to go to the GretaWire.com right now to blog. We're open 24/7, 365 days a year.

Until then keep it right here on FOX News Channel, the most powerful name in news. "The O'Reilly Factor" is next. And goodnight from Anchorage, Alaska.

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