Letterman Out of Line With Bristol Palin Jokes?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," March 17, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Last night we told you that Governor Sarah Palin is coming to the lower 48 to be the keynote speaker at a dinner sponsored by the House and Senate Republican Campaign Committees.

Not so fast. Apparently, there has been some miscommunication. Organizers of the dinner excitedly announced Governor Palin as their star guest for the event. As it turns out, the event is two months from now, and no decisions have been made. We will let you know what governor Palin decides.

And speaking of Governor Palin, apparently David Letterman still has a thing for the Alaska governor. Letterman went after her frequently during the campaign. Well, now Letterman appears to be stepped up the attack by including the governor's daughter Bristol.


LETTERMAN: You remember that Sarah, one of the deals was one of her children, daughters, a very young girl, was pregnant and was going to get married to the young man that knocked her up.


And her name was Bristol, the young girl's name was Bristol, and the kid's name was Levi Johnston. You remember these kids?

Well, they have broken up. Yes. So if you were going to send them a gift -


And the kid, Levi Johnston, is saying that "We are just not ready for marriage." And I thought that makes sense because their mother really wasn't really ready to be vice president, either.


VAN SUSTEREN: Joining us live is the former governor of Massachusetts, Jane Swift. She is the only woman to hold that office.

Nice to see you, Governor.


VAN SUSTEREN: Very well. So, Governor, do you have any theory why David Letterman still wants to criticize Governor Palin, why he still feels the need? And now he has even like extended it a bit to the governor's daughter?

SWIFT: Well, certainly, anyone who is still expecting there humanity in politics has been disabused of that notion long ago, although we can still hope.

And I think the thing that we all worry about, folks like me who are out of the business, is how are we going to attract good people who care about their families to get into politics if their children become the butt of late-night jokes.

VAN SUSTEREN: I sort of thought he ran out of material on the governor, and so we get all the "uh uh uh uh." He had a lot of "uh, uh." And I do some "uh, uh," so I can't totally criticize him for that.

He took it 15 steps further and picks on the kid. We left the Bush children alone. We left Chelsea Clinton alone. That was always something that people were respectful towards the children, recognizing it was different.

Watch Greta's interview with former Gov. Swift

SWIFT: Well, I think, clearly, minor children, young children should be off limits, although they are not always. And I think that the one thing that we all need to be cognizant of if we commit ourselves to politics is that in a 24/7 news cycle, that we are all a part of and contribute to that that if you choose to expose yourself to politics and your children choose to participate, it is going to be difficult to protect them from this sort of thing.

Certainly any mother out there -- and I have three daughters, young daughters, who were going through the time like Bristol Palin is going through. You heart aches for her and her family. You hope she is doing well, and it does seem a little gratuitous to be taking shots at her at this point.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you think David Letterman, who is also a father and has spoken very proudly of his child, that he would have some empathy for the children.

I realize she is 18, but 18 is still young. She is just not that much older than 17. She hasn't been 18 a long time.

Bu you would think there would be some level of empathy. Do you need to make a buck? Is it that bad? It wasn't even in a particularly good joke at that. He is usually particularly funny. Do you really have to go that far to make a buck, to make a laugh?

SWIFT: You know, I think this is the depths to which some folks within the business will go to get a laugh. And, you know, the hard thing is who would subject their children to that willingly when your motivation, hopefully, is that you want to do good things for other people's children and other people's families. And that's why I still hold out hope that people get into politics.

And so it's a hard price to pay for folks who participate in politics, and if anybody said anything like that about my daughter, well, I would probably be beaten by my husband who would be going after them well before I would.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't doubt that. It's probably very true.

Anyway, Governor, thank you.

SWIFT: Thank you.

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