Former Governor Palin on Supreme Court Nominee Kagan, Gulf Coast Oil Spill, Greece and More

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 14, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Right now, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin goes "On the Record" right here in Washington. She is fired up about the Chicago girls' basketball team made into political pawns, kept from a tournament in Arizona. First, the governor tells you why she came to Washington.


VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, nice to see you.


VAN SUSTEREN: And welcome to our city of Washington.

PALIN: It's gorgeous today. It's warm. Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's -- you have a beautiful state, but we have a beautiful city, as well.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, why are you here?

PALIN: Here to speak to the Susan B. Anthony List about women candidates who are really rising up and kind of being united in an effort to help take back the country. Susan B. Anthony List is quite credible, and it's a hard-working group of women who are saying, you know, there are some very, very important issues to a lot of women. The pro-life issue is very important to the Susan B. Anthony List. And getting to speak with these folks who've been so supportive of me and a lot of other candidates who are putting it all on the line, running in these mid-term elections. So it was great to get to speak with these folks.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you've endorsed a number of candidates, including women. The woman candidate in South Carolina for governor, you, and as a coincidence, Governor Sanford's wife is also endorsing.

PALIN: Yes. Yes. It'll be fun, too. Hopefully, I'll get to meet with Jenny Sanford this afternoon as we go endorse Nikki Haley officially, formally, because I'm a great admirer of Jenny.

VAN SUSTEREN: She had a tough -- a tough road.

PALIN: Tough road, but strong, independent, you know, making the right decisions for herself and for her children. I'm an admirer. So she being there with Nikki Haley I think is going to be a great event. And I'm honored to get to endorse Nikki.

VAN SUSTEREN: Carly Fiorina in California -- you've taken some heat for that one.

PALIN: Yes, that was -- that was a bit of a surprise. Here -- Carly, pro-life, pro-NRA, pro-development, anti-cap-and-tax, anti-big government. She's the real deal there in California, and yet she had been accused of being a rino because she doesn't have a voting record to prove that these positions are near and dear to her heart and she's going to do the right thing.

So I was kind of taken aback a little bit by all the flak. I mean, here in the deep blue state of California and she is bold enough, unabashedly proclaiming her common sense conservative values and principles and intentions. And yes, getting a little bit beat up over that, but I'm going to take a stand and I'm going to call it like I see it.

VAN SUSTEREN: So it doesn't bother you.


VAN SUSTEREN: Not a bit.

PALIN: Not at the end of the day, no.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. We have a woman candidate or nominee for Supreme Court, Elena Kagan. Any thoughts on Elena Kagan?

PALIN: Well, first I want to preface everything by saying, you know, gender isn't an issue to me. You know, I would never -- I would never only and solely endorse somebody because of their gender or -- with Elena, as we're finding out, with Ms. Kagan, nobody knows a whole lot about her, not having a track record and the track record that she does have, the mainstream media hasn't really delved in and found out what it is. So you know, tough to know if it's good or bad because there's not a lot of information out about her. And that right there is kind of a dangerous thing, when we don't know.

VAN SUSTEREN: But that could be said of Carly Fiorina, then, perhaps. Her -- I mean, some people might say the same thing of her.

PALIN: No, she's out there campaigning. She's out there putting it all on the line. Her life is an open book now, of course. Any candidate's is, versus Ms. Kagan, where, really, the only in-depth interview that's been able to find out anything about her is that propaganda coming out of the White House, where Obama and his people have interviewed her and tried to tell the American public who she is.

VAN SUSTEREN: But she's got a long -- she -- I think she has a long paper trail that people are going to discover when she was in the White House, in the Clinton administration, where she wrote memos that are -- that's just coming out now. So I think we'll learn a lot more about her.

PALIN: Well, yes, but my point is, maybe you'll be able to help shed light on who she is and what her record is. But it's amazing to me that in the mainstream media, the claim is that, Well, she doesn't have a record because she's never been a judge before. So there's nothing really to pursue. There's no there there. There's nothing to say about her, really.

That's been the message, really, sent from the mainstream media. So it'll -- it'll take others to dig in there, help educate the public on who she is, what her positions are, and what intentions are in terms of interpreting the Constitution. And then that would help all of us make our minds whether we want her as a Justice or not.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you're holding your fire either way? You've not made up your mind on Elena Kagan?

PALIN: Don't know anything about her. Don't know anything about her except what? They show a picture of her playing softball and a couple of other things that the press has thrown out there about her. But I think it's a journalist's job to dig in there and capitalize on this opportunity in the freedom of the press by getting in there, portraying her as she really is and telling the American public what her record is and what her issues have been.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any problem with that picture? The softball picture has taken a lot of heat, a lot of controversy. You were on the cover of Newsweek when Newsweek thought that it was OK to put you in hot pants, something that, frankly, they wouldn't do to a guy, or shorts or gym shorts or whatever...

PALIN: Yes, that was sick.

VAN SUSTEREN: It was sick. Yes, of course, it was. And there's been criticism now that putting a picture of Elena Kagan in the media and trying to make suggestions about her -- fair?

PALIN: No, not fair for the suggestions to be made just because there's a picture of her from 30 years ago playing softball. Thirty years ago, I was playing softball, too, and a proud softball player. So no, that insinuation there, based on a photo of her from all those years ago playing softball, I think, is off-base. It kind of diminishes what the argument really should be about, and that's, Is she going to interpret the Constitution the way that our Founding Fathers have intended it to be interpreted or not? Has nothing to do with her playing softball 30 years ago.

VAN SUSTEREN: So women get a little different treatment, you think, overall in the media or not?

PALIN: Oh, man! Yes, they do! Not going to whine about it or complain about it. It just makes women, I think, work harder, produce better, be more efficient, be -- forcing us to articulate, I think, our positions even clearer than perhaps some of the other candidates or -- but I don't know. It's just the way that it is, and it just makes women work harder.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, speaking of women's sports, speaking of women, the girls' basketball team -- and I use the term "girls." They're under the age of 18, high school in Chicago, had their hearts set on going to Arizona to play in this tournament. At least, I assume they had their hearts set.

PALIN: Sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: Canceled. Thoughts?

PALIN: Oh, man, these lady hoopsters, who are being used as political pawns -- that's what's sick about this is they are being used as political pawns. A bureaucrat in a school district saying, No, sorry, you've worked hard, you've had your bake sales, you finally won a conference championship, first time in 26 years, but you can't go to the tournament because it happens to be held in Arizona and it doesn't align with our beliefs and values.

But we'd let you go to China -- which tells me that whoever is calling those shots, this assistant superintendent making that decision, has no idea what's going on in China, the anti-girl policies in China, with population control and the human rights violations there. China is in line with Illinois values and beliefs, but our sister state of Arizona isn't? That's ridiculous.

No, the girls just want to play ball. They should be allowed to play ball. I hope that the girls and their parents, well, kind of rise up, band together and not just sit down and shut up and take this decision. It's a horrible decision.

And how in the world would banning a girl's basketball team from playing on the court help the situation? The situation is, we have unsecure borders. Does this boycott of Arizona, an economic and political boycott of the people of Arizona, which will help no one -- and in fact, it will hurt the Hispanic community within Arizona and everybody else. Does it help secure the borders? No. Does it lead towards the immigration reform that needs to take place? Absolutely not. This just divides people. And I think that that is what some people are intending to do with this issue, just divide, make it kind of a partisan issue. And it's not partisan. Secure the borders!

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, I know that your past as governor of Alaska didn't -- was not the same time that Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona has gotten into office, but I assume that sort of governor to governor...


VAN SUSTEREN: What's your thought on the heat that she's taking over this statute?

PALIN: I'm proud of Jan Brewer for standing up for the constituents in her state, sending a message to Washington, sending a message to President Obama saying, Hey, you need to do your job, sir. And if you're not going to do it, OK, then we are compelled to do the job for you until you get it right.

President Obama has been suspiciously silent on this issue, hasn't he? We don't even know where he stands on immigration reform or securing our borders. He doesn't talk about it. He gets to punt on that one. And that's unfortunate because this is a big issue. It's all about national security. It's about our sister border states that are inundated with violence and with crime because people illegally crossing the border, engaging in illegal activities for too long now. And some of these border states are saying, Now we've had enough. I admire Jan Brewer for taking a stand.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think -- I mean, for 20-some years, maybe even longer, even going back to President Reagan -- everyone has always said, We're going to secure the borders.


VAN SUSTEREN: Nobody has done anything. I mean, or almost nothing.

PALIN: Because they've made it political and they haven't understood that unsecure borders isn't fair to anybody. It's not fair to American citizens who ware here legally, paying taxes, following the rules, doing all the things that an American citizen is expected to do. It's not fair to them. But it's not fair to the illegal aliens, either, here. They want to come pursue an American dream. Some of them do want to be here to work. But they're forever going to have to hide because, you know, government's going to crack down on them when (INAUDIBLE)

So they need to follow that path of legal citizenship, obviously. But these politicians, presidents in the past who have not secured the border, they've made it a political issue. They haven't wanted to tick off a potential base of Hispanic voters, so they haven't made the tough decisions. And that's no way to solve the problem. That's no way to solve any challenge in America, by ducking and hiding and creating division and making these partisan issues out of it.


VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we have still more with Governor Sarah Palin. Governor Palin is blunt about what she would do about illegal immigration. She's going to tell you.


VAN SUSTEREN: Continuing with former governor Sarah Palin on illegal immigration.


VAN SUSTEREN: Both parties have made promises. I mean, we pull up sound bites where, you know, both sides, you know, Democrat, Republicans, say, you know, Secure the border, secure the border. And then once in office, we certainly don't see a whole lot of action. Had the election gone another way, or even if you were president, what would you do about immigration?

PALIN: The very first thing is literally secure the border!


PALIN: People mock the idea of a fence. What's wrong with building a fence? Yes, let's physically secure the border. Let's ramp up border control. Let's provide the tools for those who are putting their lives on the line in order to stop illegal immigration of these aliens. Those are a couple of things.

And then you don't start talking about amnesty, either, kind of as this last-minute, Oh, anybody who's here in the country right now, we're going to provide you amnesty, and even though you've broken the law and we are a nation of laws, you've broken that, we'll still give you -- because then there's going to be a huge influx of those wanting kind of at the last minute to come over the border because they know that they will forever then receive that amnesty.

So you don't start talking about that, but the very first thing you do is physically, literally secure those borders. It baffles me and most Americans why for all these years presidents, administrations have spoken about it but never done it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you softened your opinion on offshore drilling in light of what's happened, the catastrophe down in the gulf with BP?

PALIN: No. My position has always been we need oil, and if we don't drill for it here where we have the strictest standards and environmental concerns than anywhere else in the world, we're going to have to drill for oil elsewhere, where they don't have those standards and we're going to have to be more reliant on foreign regimes who don't like America.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about this problem, though? I mean, we got -- I mean, as you and are talking...

PALIN: It's a huge problem.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... it's, you know, blowing into the gulf?

PALIN: It's a huge problem, and I'm very frustrated with British Petroleum and any of their subcontractors who are kind of playing the blame game and not fixing the problem! They're pointing fingers at one another. And I'm watching, watching on TV some of the BP officials, thinking, Those guys have been in my office when I was governor, sitting at the table with me...

VAN SUSTEREN: These very people?

PALIN: ... these very people -- so I know who they are -- telling me one thing in the office, and then my administration and me personally having to verify everything that it was that they were saying.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why, are they liars?

PALIN: I'm not calling them liars...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... saying different things.

PALIN: They're looking out for their bottom line. Their interpretation of situations is so often a lot different than the public, the innocent public members who are adversely affected by a spill like what we're seeing going on in the gulf. Sometimes their interpretation of the situation is a little bit different than what the average American is observing.

What we're observing now is that blame game, and that's not solving the problem. We've got to stop that leak and we've got to keep from it coming ashore. And I say this as a pro-development, pro-drilling advocate, as somebody who lived and worked through the Exxon oil spill in Valdez, Alaska, 20-some years ago, Todd and I making our living on the water, commercial fishermen, we being forever adversely affected by that spill, knowing that Exxon at the time was going to claim that 150-year-old maritime law as protection against providing remedy to those who were adversely affected...

VAN SUSTEREN: But even before -- but even before we get to the remedy, I mean, like, you know, there were problems here. When you look at -- and I actually look at MMS within the Department of Interior, whose job it is to make sure BP is telling it straight.

PALIN: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: And that they are pursuing the safety.

PALIN: Yes. Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, where -- where's MMS? And what's your thought on...

PALIN: There's got to be stricter federal oversight on this. What I did in Alaska...

VAN SUSTEREN: Or how about just some? Apparently, there -- I mean, I'm not so sure if there has to, quote, be stricter. I think if we simply use what we have.

PALIN: Well, we have to ramp it up, though. What I did in Alaska was create a Petroleum Integrity Systems office to make sure that the public could trust what it was that the oil companies were telling us in terms of maintenance and preventive measures, and always being on guard against what it was that they were telling me. I wanted to verify. So we did have to ramp up the regulatory...

VAN SUSTEREN: We have that, in essence, in Washington, in the MMS. I mean, that is essentially their job. They have failed. So can we take the risk now and continue in light of the fact -- can we continue with offshore drilling when we've seen that, apparently, we don't -- we don't follow our own safety regulations?

PALIN: Well, we have to do what we did in Alaska, make the oil companies follow. Take them to court. Do litigation, whatever it takes. And through the court of public opinion, put pressure on the oil companies and hold them accountable for any lax in terms of preventive measures or any lax in maintenance that would allow such a tragedy to happen. We have to hold the oil companies accountable.

We did that in Alaska. Just about got run out of town by some people saying, you know, I'm anti-development. It's funny. Now, of course, I'm being accused of being too pro-development. But no, we hold them accountable. And then, yes, the federal government in charge of the regulation and the oversight of resource development -- yes, they have to do their job. They should have with this spill been on site, on the scene immediately. I can't believe that some didn't anticipate that there was no way to stop a burst at that sea level, that there was no way to stop that, and they waited a couple days and a couple days later to actually jump in there and start demanding...

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so now we know. So now we don't that they don't do that. So shouldn't we at least put a halt on all offshore drilling because if they did it here on this particular rig, what would in any way give us confidence on any other rig?

PALIN: No, we're too reliant on oil...

VAN SUSTEREN: So you just keep drilling?

PALIN: (INAUDIBLE) we have to keep drilling. We have to learn from the mistakes that have been made with this gulf spill. We have to get to the bottom of what caused it. And we still don't know that.

VAN SUSTEREN: In the meantime, though, I mean, until we get to the bottom of it, you -- you think we should continue just to go full speed ahead with the offshore drilling?

PALIN: Absolutely.

VAN SUSTEREN: Even until we get to the bottom of this.

PALIN: Absolutely. There is that inherent link between our own domestic energy supplies, production of, and our own security and prosperity and our own freedom (INAUDIBLE)

VAN SUSTEREN: So it's -- you think it's a risk?

PALIN: Any action of man is a risk. It's a risk going to the moon. It's a risk this morning, the space shuttle launch. Anything that man innovates or decides to do that is out of anybody's comfort zone, there is a risk there. So yes, there is an inherent risk in drilling for oil, whether on shore off. But if we don't do it here, we're going to be doing it elsewhere and we're going to be reliant on foreign countries that use energy as a weapon and can cut off supplies.


VAN SUSTEREN: Coming up: Governor Palin uses the "S" word. So what is the "S" word? You're going to find out.


VAN SUSTEREN: More with former governor Sarah Palin on the BP oil spill. Does she think we should continue offshore drilling with no delay?


VAN SUSTEREN: Just so I'm clear because I'm -- you know, I don't know if I am clear, is that -- so you would not wait until we find out whether these other rigs are safe and whether BP and other companies are being candid and whether MMS is really doing its job in terms of safety and regulations and Congress is doing its job to make sure MMS is doing its job -- you would not pull the plug in the short run?

PALIN: No, and everybody better be doing their jobs and they better be out there now on the rigs making sure that things are done safely, that things are done ethically, that things are being done according to the contract that these oil companies have, using these public resources in our public waters. They have to be doing their job, and the public needs to hold them and Congress and the overseers, everybody together -- holding them accountable.

Again, Alaska's gone through this. I've been there personally and politically and professionally. I've been there, dealing with these oil companies, having to file a friend of the court brief against the largest corporation in the world -- Exxon at the time was the largest corporation - - saying, No, you're not going to claim this 150-year-old irrelevant maritime law, trying to eliminate any remedy that you must provide innocent victims in your spill.

We've gone through all of that. I've been a participant in all that. So I'm watching what's going on here. And that's why, too, I've been so adamant about Congress and the public. You have to make sure the oil companies are straight up with you. Go ahead and grill them. And the CEOs -- yes, they can be sitting there in front of Congress. They're not the ones out there with the dirty under their fingernails, the ones actually doing all the work. You know, they're management. They're not actually doing the work.

So yes, they can sit and answer the questions, but they better have their people out there doing all that they can, all within their power at whatever cost it is to these oil companies, to stop that leak.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Greece. You nod your head yes. Greece.

PALIN: Well, yes, because it's a ridiculous situation that we're finding ourselves in now with IMF and our huge contributions from the U.S. when we're facing our own states that are financially upside down because of some of the mandates coming from the federal government, increasing costs on our states and on our small businesses, that so much of our U.S. dollar would go to bail out a socialized country that made poor decisions, didn't live within its means, allowed the population there in Greece to have this entitlement mentality, where they thought government was going to take care of everything and pay all their bills. And here -- it's our money going to bail them out?

VAN SUSTEREN: So I take it you're not for it!

PALIN: Not at all! Not at all. And it's frustrating for a whole lot of us to see what's going on there because as these socialized countries start collapsing because socialism doesn't work -- Reagan used to say socialism is only necessary in two places, one in heaven, where it's not needed, and two in hell, where it already takes place. So there are a lot of people who agree that, nope, socialism -- socialism isn't the answer.

It scares us, then, when we see this road that America is on towards some socialist policies that we should be looking at Greece and these other countries and watching this collapse and saying, Heaven forbid that ever happen to our country. We need to stop the road that we are on right now, stop this and turn it back around to the free enterprise, free market principles that built this country. Watching Greece is a very valuable, educating experience, I hope, for people in the administration.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, we don't have a budget.

PALIN: Isn't that ridiculous!

VAN SUSTEREN: You were -- you were a governor and had to -- I mean, I assume, deal with budgets in the state of Alaska.


VAN SUSTEREN: Congress doesn't have a budget yet. Any thought about that?

PALIN: You know, even as a city manager and mayor in the city of Wasilla, you have a budget. You work on the budget all year long. You propose it to your lawmakers and the council members who hold the purse strings and you work together on adopting that. I can't believe that a lot of Americans aren't even aware that we don't have a budget! And it amazes me that here again, some in the White House and the administration and Congress, think that that's OK, that that's acceptable, since it's not.


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