Gingrich: CNN Misquote in Palin Interview Shows 'The Fix Is In'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," October 22, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, we have Governor Palin who's getting the hits. The hits on Governor Palin -- they just keep on coming. Thirteen days to the election, neck-and-neck horse race, and Senator McCain's running mate continues to be slammed, some of it grossly unfair.

Yesterday, CNN was either incompetent or really dirty. Check this out. CNN reporter Drew Griffin asked Governor Palin this question, supposedly -- yes, supposedly quoting a "National Review" column.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Governor, you've been mocked in the press. The press has been pretty hard on you. The Democrats have been pretty hard on you. But also, some conservatives have been pretty hard on you, as well. "The National Review" had a story saying that, you know, I can't tell if Sarah Palin is "incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, or all of the above."


GRIFFIN: That was in "The National Review."

PALIN: Who wrote it?

GRIFFIN: I don't have the author, but they were...

PALIN: I'd like to talk to that person.


VAN SUSTEREN: Here's the problem. The CNN reporter took the quote completely out of context. The column was actually an indictment of the media, not the governor, but of the media. Here's the quote in context. "Watching press coverage of the Republican candidate for vice president, sometimes hard to decide whether Sarah Palin's incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, backward or, well, all of the above."'

Now, as the attacks on Governor Palin continue, Senator McCain is fighting back, defending his running mate on Don Imus's radio show.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Which is better, serve 35 years in the United States Senate and say you got to divide Iraq into three different countries, or is it better to have been governor of a state and a reformer and give people their tax dollars back and bring about reform the way that your state does business? Which is better?

DON IMUS, HOST: Well, I have...

MCCAIN: I think it's pretty obvious. And so because he's not known in the -- she hasn't been in the Georgetown cocktail party, or maybe some in Manhattan, then -- I think she's -- I think she is most qualified of any that has run recently for vice president, to tell you the truth. And she's ignited our crowds. She has a wonderful family, a great husband, great values, great standards, and she shares my world view.


VAN SUSTEREN: Is Governor Palin the victim of blatant unfair treatment across the board? Joining us live is former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who has just released a new documentary about America's energy future called "We Have the Power."

Mr. Speaker, nice to see you. And what do you make of CNN's reporter getting it really wrong and so insultingly wrong? And we haven't seen an apology yet to Governor Palin. But what do you think about it?

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, I think the elite media's attack on Governor Palin again and again has been factually wrong, intellectually dishonest, totally biased, worthy of the Polish state news media attacking Lech Walesa back in the 1980s. I mean, this is a kind of deliberate, vicious, dishonest, total distortion of who Governor Palin is, including, by the way, the "Saturday Night Live" skits, some of which I think were slander and were worthy of a lawsuit.

And I think that the American people should realize that the elite media on the left is so desperate to elect Barack Obama that the view they're giving you of Governor Palin is fundamentally a falsehood. And the one you saw from CNN is so outrageous that they owe her an absolute apology. But frankly, Katie Couric misquoted Henry Kissinger. Earlier than that, ABC News misquoted the Bush doctrine. Again and again, you've seen elite reporters do things that were false in order to try to make Governor Palin look bad.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's sort of -- it's sort of interesting. I mean, it is our job in the media to challenge her aggressively on issues. That's our job -- Governor Palin or Senator Obama or anyone running for office. That's our job. But it is so profoundly personal. Is the media, when they get these quotes wrong and is so-called -- well, I don't know what the elite media is, but whatever it is, is that is it deliberate or is it incompetence?

GINGRICH: No, it's deliberate. Look, you and I have a fundamentally different view, Greta. When The New York Times goes out of its way for the second time in three weeks to run a page one attack peace on Cindy McCain, to have a totally biased coverage -- if you were to look at the coverage Michelle Obama has gotten and the coverage Cindy McCain has gotten, you have to believe that the fix is in. When you look at the magazine covers, you look at the pictures that are taken, again and again, over and over for the last year, we have been brainwashed, propagandized, insultingly lectured by the news media.

If you look at what happened to Joe the plumber -- you know, Joe Biden in the middle of that vice presidential debate was totally wrong about the restaurant he claims to go to to learn about the middle class because it went out of business in 1986. Now, I haven't seen anybody in the elite media doing a live broadcasts from the nonexistent Katie's Restaurant to point out that Joe Biden is just out of touch with reality. He's either dishonest or has a total memory lapse about his hometown. Yet nobody notices it.

And again and again -- I think there were 14 factual mistakes by Biden in the vice presidential debate. Nobody said that disqualified him. This has been a totally one-sided campaign in which the news media has been the best ally that Barack Obama has gotten. And we ought to be honest about it. There's no pretense, not a shred of neutrality on the part of the major networks or The New York Times.

VAN SUSTEREN: Today at -- on GretaWire, which is the blog, at 1:08, I put a blog entry in which says, "The arrogance," and then I put the question, "Who's the dummy?" And I guess for me, it's really hard to understand how arrogant the media can be. When you think about it, to be - - Governor Palin had to be elected by the city to become mayor, elected by the state to be governor. And to become a journalist, all you have to do is say, I'm a journalist. You don't even have to take a test. And if the journalists don't agree with her, they tag her stupid when she has done nothing but do her job very effectively.

GINGRICH: Well, I'd be curious -- I've not had a chance to do this. I've been thinking about having one of my researchers look at every single elite media interview with Governor Palin to see if any of them asked her how she gave $1,300 a person back to Alaskans as a tax break, how she negotiated and got so much money out of big oil, how she worked out the deal for the natural gas pipeline, or anything of substance about how she shaped an $11 billion budget involving 29,000 employees of the state government.

I don't believe, to the best of my knowledge, there has been a single question by an elite television journalist about her actual career in Alaska. And I think it is the most insulting -- I can't say this too strongly. This is like watching Pravda. This is a one-sided, vicious, unending and dishonest campaign. And then when you look at the poll numbers, all they tell you is that in the short run, being brutalized by the national media has an impact.

And by the way, I want to go back to Joe the plumber. Here's an innocent guy whose only mistake was he took on Barack Obama in a way that was very painful. And maybe the reason you have two polls this evening that show this race too close to call because Joe the plumber pointed out he didn't want some politician spreading his wealth to that politician's cronies and allies.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, one of -- one of the viewers wrote me because we reported last week that Senator Obama was quoted in a New York magazine, and I -- I'm sure I'm going to get this quote wrong, and I don't want to make the same mistake that CNN has, but something to the effect that he would be about 3 points higher in the polls if it were not for FOX News. A viewer e-mailed me, What would his numbers be if it weren't for MSNBC and CNN? Where would his poll numbers be? That question was not posed.

GINGRICH: Well, and where would he be without The New York Times, which has been the most unendingly dishonest newspaper in America this year and which is really a disgrace? This was once a great newspaper, and it is now a totally one-sided and totally distorted publication that does remarkably bad coverage of the race, that hasn't looked into even something as simple as what happened to Senator Obama when he was at Columbia University, which is in New York City, where The New York Times is published. So it just tells you how one-sided their coverage is.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, it's one thing good about law. And you and I have fought about lawyers. At least we have a statute of limitations that we all agree about, about how far you can go back. We have rules of evidence for searching facts. We have a code of professional responsibility. We know the difference between hearsay and real evidence, hearsay being almost anonymous sources or gossip. And we take a test of competency. So let me just put the plug for the legal profession, which you and I battle about, Mr. Speaker.


VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway. All right. What is it...

GINGRICH: I'm not going to go off on that. I'm happy to stay on the news media.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Good. All right. Tell me, is -- how -- what's the story? Give me the state of this race at this point.

GINGRICH: Well, you know, it's somewhere between dead even and Obama ahead by 9. And I would have thought 24 hours ago that Senator Obama had a commanding lead. But this evening, you've had two surveys come out. One shows it a 1-point race. The other shows it a 2-point race. They're both very reputable polls. This morning, you had several polls that showed it an 8 or 9-point race.

I wonder, and I don't have any evidence of which one's right and which one's wrong, but I'm beginning to wonder if the hammering away at the Joe the plumber, the notion of politicians raising your taxes to take your money, Barney Frank's statement yesterday that, of course, there'd be a massive tax increase next year, the promise by Speaker Pelosi that there were going to be harsh decisions that were made and her call for a $300 billion spending plan right after the election -- I'm beginning to wonder, as people look at what I called in my newspaper -- in my news column this week, which you can get at -- I described what I called the "repo (ph) ticket," Reid, Pelosi and Obama. And I think as people think about liberals in the Senate, liberals in the House and a liberal in the White House, maybe it's getting too expensive to automatically elect Senator Obama.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know what I would love to see, in light of the fact that the media has been so intrusive, you know, in terms of the whole process -- and when I mean -- look, the media has an important role to sort of to identify the differences and what the different candidates do for our country -- I'd love to see almost a Saddleback-type debate at this point with the vice presidents against each other, like with the presidents, where they don't listen to each other's answers, and so the American people can really see the differences and see -- you know, see these candidates. We're not going to see that, though.

GINGRICH: No, but you're right. And I think it would be particularly fun to have a Saddleback kind of experience with somebody like Rick Warren, who's not a reporter, not biased, asked, I thought, very thoughtful questions. It'd be fascinating to see that dialogue between Governor Palin and Senator Biden.

And my hunch is that when the American people saw her without all of the distortion and dishonesty of the elite media, her support would go up by 10 or 15 points that evening because she is a much more intelligent, much more competent person than the one-sided portrayal in the news media.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. And -- and you know, it's -- the point is to challenge but be fair, to inform the American people, let them make their own decisions and not be personally insulting because that gets us nowhere.

Mr. Speaker, if you'll just stand by? We're going to have much more right after the break.

But first, it's time for your live a vote. As you saw and heard earlier, a CNN reporter blatantly attacked Governor Palin, citing a quote completely out of context. So go to right now and answer this simple poll question. Was CNN being dirty or incompetent? Dirty or incompetent. We're going to read your results at the end of the hour.

And coming up: Our Bill O'Reilly on the couch with the ladies of "The View." Bill was there to talk about his new book, but in typical O'Reilly fashion, it did get rough. Fireworks flew. Wait until you see this.

And later: Up, down, up, down. Well, that's the polls, and it has been that way, and yes, it makes us all dizzy. And tonight, we have a new poll that might make you think twice.


Watch Greta's interview with Newt Gingrich: Pt. 1 | Pt. 2

VAN SUSTEREN: We continue now with Newt Gingrich. Mr. Speaker, former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsing Senator Obama -- helpful to Senator Obama, a big blow to Senator McCain? Yes or no?

GINGRICH: Well, I think it hurts Senator McCain, but I think, frankly, Joe the plumber may have done more good than Colin Powell did bad. I think the polls you're looking at tonight would indicate that Colin Powell, you know, part of the national establishment, a very impressive, very powerful guy, somebody I respect a great deal, but maybe for the average American who's worried about the economy, having somebody in Washington endorse Obama just is further proof that Obama is the Washington establishment candidate, just as he's the New York Times candidate, the NBC candidate, the CNN candidate.

And maybe Joe the Plumber and all the different people who are showing up around the country as working Americans who don't want their taxes raised and don't want politicians spreading their wealth to the politicians' cronies -- maybe that's turning out to be a lot more powerful than Secretary Powell.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right And you bring up the CNN thing again. You know, just to get back to that for a second -- if CNN simply said, Oops, I'm sorry, we made a mistake, we apologize, I'd be done with it because, you know, we all make mistakes. We misread our notes and everything. It's just that it's almost like their -- their heels are dug into the ground and they -- you know, they won't say that -- you know, that, What we did was so wrong, and we basically tried to make her look -- you know, look terrible.

GINGRICH: Well, look, should Charlie Gibson have apologized for misquoting the Bush doctrine?

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes! Anytime you...

GINGRICH: Should Katie Couric have apologized for misquoting Henry Kissinger? I mean, how often -- you know, should "Saturday Night Live" apologize for the viciously dishonest and mean-spirited skits they did, particularly about Todd Palin and his daughters, things that I think were slanderous and worthy of a lawsuit?

I mean, at what point do you just shrug your shoulders and say, Look, the fix is in. The liberal elites in Hollywood and New York are desperate for you to elect Obama. The labor union bosses are desperate for you to elect Obama. The New York Times editorial page can't wait for you to elect Obama.

Now The American people have to decide. If you want your taxes to go up and your money to go to ACORN and other kind of organizations -- and ACORN tonight -- you know, Congressman John Boehner called on the federal government to freeze any future funding for ACORN because they're under investigation in 15 different states for vote fraud. I mean, at what point do we say, Enough already?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I guess, then, I know -- I mean, in terms of the poll that we posted and the viewers are going to Gretawire and voting on, I would vote that CNN in doing that was not dirty but incompetent. But if they apologized...

GINGRICH: Greta...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... I'd be fine. I'd be fine on it. I'd be fine if they apologized to her.

GINGRICH: Greta -- Greta, you know how much I like you. But you are being so willfully naive on this one. I bet you your viewers are just laughing at you right this minute. We know why CNN did this. CNN did this for the same reason that MSNBC has been totally one-sided for the whole campaign...

VAN SUSTEREN: That's different. That's different.

GINGRICH: ... For the same reason that the NBC reporter...

VAN SUSTEREN: That's a campaign.


VAN SUSTEREN: MSNBC has been on a campaign. CNN -- I mean, this reporter -- I mean, it was so bad, but it will show whether or not if they have any dignity, they will apologize to her.

GINGRICH: Well, I think it would be terrific if they apologized to her. I think it would be terrific if they gave her 15 or 20 minutes without -- of unedited airtime to just talk. I mean, CNN could do many things to try to right the (INAUDIBLE) I think all these -- all these various shows could, but they're not going to because they want to -- they want to do everything they can to discredit Governor Palin and to help elect Senator Obama. I mean, let's just be honest about what's going on here. You know, the fix is in these newsrooms, and it's very one-sided.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Speaker, always nice to talk to you. Enjoy -- I think you're in New Orleans, so enjoy New Orleans.

GINGRICH: I'm in New Orleans tonight. Great city.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Thank you, sir.

GINGRICH: Thank you.

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