Huckabee: Palin's Liberating Herself

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 14, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Governor Sarah Palin isn't just making headlines, today she's also writing them. The soon to be ex-Alaska governor writing an op-ed piece in today's Washington Post, slamming President Obama's cap-and-trade energy plan, calling it an enormous threat to our economy. So why is Governor Palin writing this op-ed now? And is this just the beginning of her striking out on her own?

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee joins us live. Good evening, Governor.

MIKE HUCKABEE, HOST, "HUCKABEE": Good evening, Greta. How are you tonight?

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm very well, Governor. So Governor, tell me, when you're governor, do you feel somewhat shackled in terms of what you can say and do? Is this sort of -- is this sort of an act of liberation by Governor Palin, striking out and writing this op-ed, do you think?

HUCKABEE: Well, I think it's an act of liberation, but I'll be honest with you, I probably would have been better off if I'd have been shackled a little more when I was governor because I never felt compelled to necessarily hold things to myself.

But clearly, the op-ed that she did for The Washington Post I think outlines a very important piece of policy that America ought to be talking about. Cap-and-trade is really "cap and tax," and President Obama has virtually declared war on America's own energy resources, most particularly coal. That doesn't make sense. We've got about 267 billions tons of recoverable coal, enough that would cover this country for 2400 years, and why we don't want to use our own energy and want to continue to be dependent upon the Saudis is something that is completely beyond me.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's interesting, though, the timing. You know, could she have done this when she was governor, or is this -- you know, why -- why now is soon to be ex -- I guess she still is governor, technically, but she's given notice.

HUCKABEE: I don't know. I mean, she certainly could have spoken out on this issue any time. She did speak out on energy issues frequently, particularly about ANWR. ANWR is another great example of where we have tons -- you know, barrels and barrels and barrels, hundreds of thousands and millions of barrels of oil that we could recover that would be a much better source for energy in America than it would to continue to depend upon the Middle East, and not just the Saudis, but a lot of our oil is coming from countries that don't even like us.

Why would we ever hold ourselves hostage to people like Venezuela and Iran and the Soviet -- or to Russia? It doesn't make any sense whatsoever when we have enough energy, if we would go after it, offshore, our own recoverable sources of energy, and building nuclear plants that we're 30 years behind in building, while the French get about 85 percent to 90 percent of their electricity from nuclear even now.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's the impact of her writing an op-ed? I mean, who -- who's her audience? Who's listening? And is it going to make any appreciable difference?

HUCKABEE: Well, for The Washington Post, I'm not too sure. That's probably not Sarah Palin's typical crowd. So maybe she's showing her maybe serious side (INAUDIBLE) read The Washington Post. But again, I don't know. That's something that is a little beyond me to even know.

VAN SUSTEREN: What -- what do you think it's like for her, I mean -- I mean, in terms of -- you know, you're an ex-governor. I mean, she's soon to be an ex-governor. But it's so peculiar how the spotlight has been on this woman.

HUCKABEE: Well, it has been. And one of the questions I think that she will have to answer, and maybe she's answering it with The Washington Post op-ed piece -- is she trying to get away from the spotlight or simply get into the -- or stay in the spotlight but in a different capacity? And it would appear from the fact that she's doing things like the op-ed that she's not interested in exiting the stage and leaving the spotlight. She just wants to do it as a private citizen, perhaps as a candidate, but not as a sitting governor of Alaska.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, there's a big difference, though, between, you know, liking the spotlight and using the spotlight. My mother used to say, you know, you -- you play the hand that's dealt you. And if you have, for whatever reason, you know -- because a lot of people don't like to be in the spotlight, but if you are, they use it. Is she using it, or do you think she likes it?

HUCKABEE: Well, there are certain aspects of it that nobody can like, and especially as an elected official, she's subject to every kind of disclosure laws. A lot of people don't fully appreciate how much an elected official has to disclose -- every bit of income, tax returns, all associations, affiliations, anything you're a member of. It gets pretty intense.

And I think that one of the things Sarah Palin will enjoy, as a person not in office, is she's going to enjoy the fact that she'll be able to go make an extraordinary amount of money, and she won't have to tell anybody how much she made. I know she's going to enjoy that part of it, probably both the making of it and not having to tell how much it was.

VAN SUSTEREN: How about you? What do you like better, being governor or being ex-governor?

HUCKABEE: I loved being governor. I was a governor for 10-and-a-half years, and I'll tell you, Greta, it was the best job I ever had because just today, our front page of the newspaper printed test results showing that education is significantly up in the state, and I know that a lot of what we did to reform education is the result of our -- that what we did helped result in those scores. You know, it makes you feel good.

And there's so many things you can do, from road building and job development. It's a job that you can actually get things done and not just spin your wheels like they do in Washington. So I'll always consider it one of the greatest privileges I ever had in my life, and I enjoyed every last minute of it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Tell me if I'm wrong, but I would imagine, if I were you, I'd have sort of mixed feelings. On the one hand, I'd like to see a fellow governor of my party, at least ex one, out there swinging and succeeding and pushing issues. On the other hand, you know, I might have political aspirations myself and I don't want anybody in my way. Do you feel that way, sort of, like, you know, in some ways, you know, you may be -- she may be your challenger in a couple of years.

HUCKABEE: Well, she may be the person I get behind. You know, it may be a lot more fun to support somebody than it is to go out and be that person. It is a grueling, incredibly demanding schedule to run for president, and the risks are high. I love what I'm doing. I have no idea, my future, and you know, I'm not about to do anything other than right now, I hope Sarah Palin does extremely well because I think she's an important voice for our party.

I want her to succeed, and I'm delighted to see her continuing to use her voice because I do think that she rallies people. She brought electricity to the Republican ticket last year, when, frankly, there was about as much excitement as you would see, you know, at a -- at a Baptist dance, which means there wasn't any, until she showed up for the ticket. And then there was fire going forth.

So she has a role to play. Whether she runs or not, she has an important voice, and I hope she remains -- let me be real clear -- a part of the Republican Party. I'm a little concerned when I hear her say that she may sort of branch out and go third party or go independent. That would be a big mistake because we need to rebuild the Republican Party, not abandon it.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you said that you'd be happy to stand behind her or support her. I'm sure she would say the same thing about you, Governor. Governor, thank you very much, sir.

HUCKABEE: Good to talk to you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: And of course...

HUCKABEE: Always a pleasure.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir. Don't forget to watch "Huckabee" every Saturday and Sunday night at 8:00 PM Eastern right here on FNC.

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