Greta on Gov. Palin's Resignation: Hard to Tell Whether She's 'Gearing Up' or 'Giving Up'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 3, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: Stunning news today that Governor Sarah Palin is stepping down. She's not even going to finish out her term as Alaska's governor. Greta Van Susteren got to know the governor and her family very well over the past year, and she joins us now on the phone. Hi, Greta.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST (Via telephone): Hello, Shannon. I don't know if I know them very well. I've interviewed her on a number of occasions. And as you know from being in the business, every time you're in the room with the governor, the cameras are rolling because you want as much tape as possible. But I've certainly seen -- I've seen the governor in her home. I've seen her on the campaign trail. I've seen her in her office, and you know, gotten a lot of opportunity to watch her work.

BREAM: Greta, do you ever get the sense that maybe she was getting burned out from all the attacks and that maybe she would do something like this, or does it come as a total surprise to you?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I was stunned by today's news. I had no idea it was coming, like everybody else. About, you know, early morning, we started -- late morning, we started getting the e-mails from FOX saying Governor Palin is going to be giving a statement today, and we didn't even know what it was about. I didn't know if it was something about Alaska or her recent trip to see the troops. I had no idea -- whether or not she had a health problem. No idea. We all started scrambling, trying to find out exactly what was going on.

You know, it's hard to tell. If you go to the front page of the Alaska newspaper, Anchorage Daily News -- and I read it every day. I read all the major politicians -- I read their hometown papers. You'll see that she has -- there's one that says "ethics complaints," and in less than a year, she's had 18 ethics complaints filed against her or her friends -- or not her friends but the people she works with. She's won all of them, but you can't -- in less than a year, I mean, she's had to contend with that.

So you know, if I were in her shoes, you know, I can understand why she would sort of say, you know, I'm out of here. But it's hard to tell because she's tough. Politicians have thick skin, a lot thicker than the rest of us. Hard to tell whether she's giving up or gearing up. You know, that -- and that I don't know. But if you read the front page of the Anchorage paper, you can see that they -- you know, there's a lot of attention, not just nationally on this woman but locally. Just imagine coming in to work, 18 complaints in less than a year that you eventually won. They're -- you know, it's -- I imagine you could get -- you could get disheartened. But I don't know. That's -- gearing up or giving up, I can't tell you which.

BREAM: Well, and you mentioned all the ethics charges. She's been cleared of those. And you know, she talked about that today, but she also talked about how expensive it has been to fight those cases. So certainly, that's got to be somewhat of a consideration.

What about the attacks on her family? She mentioned that today, that she had concerns about her youngest son was treated, and obviously, the situation with her daughters and David Letterman. How much do you think that factored in? Because as strong as she is, she's is obviously very protective of them, as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, like I said, I know her professionally, Shannon, I don't know personally. We've never pulled aside, had a conversation. But I can tell you one thing, is that the attacks on her children -- you know, there were different rules for the Palins, apparently. I mean, no one -- you know, people didn't attack the Clintons' children. People leave the Obama children alone. People leave children alone. But in the case of the Palin children, apparently, there were different rules.

What David Letterman said about her daughter was -- you know, was terrible. In fact, Letterman didn't even realize it was terrible until everyone kept pounding him, and then finally he saw the light and he finally realized it. But no -- no -- you know, it's interesting that a lot of people in the media didn't realize, you know, that a lot of the attacks were -- not a lot, but there were -- you know, that there were some attacks on her family that were just out of line.

You know, a politician is fair game. She should be aggressively scrutinized and given the same treatment as any male politician. But you know, she shouldn't -- you know, it shouldn't be a gratuitous insult against her family. And I guess -- you know, I pinpoint the Letterman one because it was the one that's most recent, you know, and -- you know, of course, then she had the first -- the problem with her daughter, Bristol, her pregnancy of Bristol, and you know, and that was something that I -- I imagine -- I don't -- you know, like I say, I don't know her personally. I know her professionally. I imagine that was very difficult for the family.

And now (INAUDIBLE) personal problem for the family and a personal situation. But there were a lot of people who, frankly, were nasty about it. If you look at the bloggers, the bloggers thought it was open season on it. This was -- this was not an effort to sort of challenge her about her positions, about what she thought about things, because that's fair. You know, that's really fair to go after her policies and her positions. But it did -- the rules seem to be a little bit different for the Palin family, and people did make cracks about her children.

BREAM: And Greta, having covered so many public people, it seems, at least in my opinion, and I wonder what yours is, that they're almost a little bit obsessive about her. I mean, it's been months since the national presidential election was over, and yet she has not been out of the papers and off the various networks. Do you think this was something different for her?

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't know that, but we had a little bit of that with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. You know, we were quite obsessive about her, as well. And maybe it's because, you know, women are sort of the -- you know, coming out of them being in very prominent positions in politics still is a little bit new. I mean, we've had a lot of women, you know, hold prominent positions, like Madeleine Albright, secretary of state.

But you know, here you had a woman from almost a frontier, from Alaska, someone all of a sudden who descended upon us last August. None of us knew anything about her at all. And you know -- and she certainly -- you know, she certainly has kicked up a lot of dust, and people are, you know, very interested in her.

I mean, Shannon, I can tell you, is that every time anyone does a story about her, you know, is that people are glued to the television set. I can't explain why, but people have been fascinated with her, probably more fascinated with her than with her policies, which is sort of interesting. I bet more people know about her personal life than have bothered to read The Anchorage Daily News to find out what her positions are on different issues in Alaska, which is a little bit distressing since our job, you know, should be is to -- is to go -- is to expose policies, opinions and practices. And instead, we know more about her clothes.

BREAM: Very, very good point. Greta, thank you so much for sharing part of your holiday weekend with us.

VAN SUSTEREN: Happy to, Shannon.

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