Palin Closer to Presidential Run After Bus Tour?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 3, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Onboard the most talked about bus in the country this week, Fox News contributor, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin took the U.S. by storm, visiting historic landmarks up and down the East Coast. Wherever she went, the cameras followed. And at the conclusion of her tour, she sat down with me to talk about her trip and her plans for 2012 and much more.

Let's take a look.


HANNITY: And Governor Palin joins us now. Governor, great to see you again. Thanks for being here.

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    HANNITY: All right. I don't know if you have heard this. Because you have been very busy and we're going to ask you about your tour, but did you know that your bus tour may have been illegal? And let me play the comments of Martin Bashir.


    MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC ANCHOR: It sounds like a wonderful commitment to American values and American history. But it is nothing of the kind. In fact, the whole thing could be in breach of the federal law. Because the United States flag code establishes important rules for the use and display of the stars and stripes, the flag of the United States. Understanding of respect and etiquette, it is made clear that the flag of the United States should never be used for any advertising purpose, whatsoever. Yet, that's precisely what Sarah Palin is doing.


    HANNITY: I might be in jail. My first book had the American flag behind it. I had a bus, my Conservative Victory Tour, had the American flag. We may be going to jail, Governor. I have to get your reaction to it.

    PALIN: What a goof, who does he work for? No, I know who he works for. As a matter of fact, whom he works for, they have a flag advertising for their cable news network. What a joke, he has no clue I guess what the laws are and what my freedom as an American is. And that's to get to showcase and the symbol of our freedom, our American flag, which I love.

    HANNITY: All right. Let's talk a little bit about the tour, Governor. It has gotten a lot of media, a lot of press. Press is actually angry at you. And they've even made remarks and comments that, well, we feel like the paparazzi, we are not being treated well. Nobody forced them to go. Certainly, you told people you were going. But what was the original purpose of the bus tour?

    PALIN: Well, first, maybe this is the first time I've ever disappointed or angered the press? It is not of course. But you know, the whole purpose of this tour is to showcase America's foundation, to talk about our Constitution. To hand-out Constitutions, copy of our Constitution as we go along looking at the historical sites on this East Coast that is so beautiful, so rich in history.

    Sean, it is so important that we be in touch with our nation's history, with our past, so that we can learn from it. And so that we can move forward in he's very heady (ph) days in front of us, successfully. We can only do that by learning more about our past. So, we are highlighting what it is that built America, our strong foundation, in order to move forward.

    HANNITY: One of the things that got a lot of play. And I missed you when you were in New York. But you did have an opportunity to meet with Donald Trump. And you went to Trump Tower, and then you went out for pizza with Donald Trump. What did you think of meeting Donald Trump for the first time?

    PALIN: I met him before. And I've spoken with him a few times. And we have a nice relationship because I have respect for him being a nonpolitician. I'm not really enamored by politicians, I like people who are candid and I like folks who in Donald's case, and with that business acumen that others should be learning from. I respect some of the things that Donald Trump represents. So, you know, we have a good relationship. And it was fun to spend some time with him.

    HANNITY: All right. He said on "Fox & Friends," that you would like to see him, would love to get me back in the race. Did you talk about him getting back in the race?

    PALIN: I said, I would love for him to stay in there, shaking it up and being candid, as I say and holding this president accountable. And Donald Trump has proven that he could do that. You know, obviously, with the birth certificate. Obama felt pressure and finally, the media wasn't going to do it, Donald Trump pushed it, and the issue and Obama finally had to show his birth certificate. So, that, you know, that is just one example of what Donald Trump can accomplish.

    HANNITY: I spent a lot of time, I spent about half hour with him on the radio the other day, it was right after your meeting. He had incredibly complementary things to say about you, you are incredibly bright, and smart, intelligent, iconoclastic. He really came out in a very strong forceful way defending you. And then we got into this whole issue that he would consider, if he doesn't like the Republican field, maybe consider running as an independent.

    And I kind of walked him through this a little bit. I don't know if you remember the Reagan CPAC Speech when he said, you know, is it a third party we need or a revitalized second party? And Reagan said, it was one, a new revitalized second party with no pale pastels, but bold colors.

    If he were to seek your council, your advice, over maybe, a piece of pizza and a Coke, what would you say to him if he said, he wanted to run, third-party?

    PALIN: You know, what? A year ago, I would have said, please don't even consider third-party. We've got to shore up what is good, and strong and principled within the Republican Party. And we've got to run on a Republican ticket, stand strong on the planks and the strong platform that is the GOP.

    Well, I think conditions have changed in this last year, where after the November midterm elections, we swept in a new crop of hard-core fiscal conservatives with a lot of common sense who have solutions that they want to see applied in order to get the economy back on the right track.

    Well, too many in the GOP are still resistant and resisting that movement of this new crop of common sense conservatives. And if they are not careful in the GOP, there will be a third-party rise up, just like back in the day when the wigs finally went away and Republicans rose up. That is what the GOP should be fearing today, is the electorate will get fed up with business as usual in the GOP and a third-party will rise up.

    Not that I want to see that. Because I still have belief, strongly, that the GOP planks are best for our country. But, they have just the machine that runs the GOP has got to be careful.

    HANNITY: Wouldn't a third party -- if Donald Trump ran, wouldn't he split the anti-Obama vote? Those people that see that he's failed as president, his economic policies are a disaster, wouldn't he split that vote?

    PALIN: That would be the fear of having that third party being engaged in this next go-round of election cycles, and that is the fear. But Sean, where the GOP though is still missing the boat is, look where we are today. We're on day 760 something of no budget in the federal government and that is the Democrats' fault.

    And yet the public, for the most part is unaware of that, because the GOP doesn't have a concerted aggressive message against the Democrats being derelict in their duty to pass a budget.

    Another point that the Republicans are missing right now that could be an opportunity to invite the third party in, and if they don't want to see a third party run, they'd better get their stuff together, is with Obamacare, they had promised, so many of them had promised, running on a platform of repealing Obamacare, and now some of them are kind of vacillating saying, well, maybe we can tweak it and not just repeal it and replace it. So, that's another point that they're missing there.

    They're quite a few issues that the GOP had better get their stuff together on in order to make sure that Obama does not have another four years. Because, Sean, can you imagine where our country is going to be --

    HANNITY: No. No.

    PALIN: -- four years later with Obama? We will be bankrupt. We will have poked our allies when it comes to foreign policy, in the eyes so aggressively, that we're going to be left without any friends across the globe. We're going to be in a world of hurt, if things don't change quickly. So, we have got to be in a concerted effort making sure that Americans know, they have a choice. We don't have to just settle for big government, over reaching socialize programs and policies that Obama wants. We have a choice here.


    HANNITY: And coming up, we'll have much more of my interview with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. And next, the governor sounds off on the current GOP field. Then, reveals whether she may make a run for 2012.


    HANNITY: And welcome back to this Friday edition of "Hannity." And we are back now with more of my interview with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Now, I asked for her thoughts on the House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's plan to save Medicare and much more. Take a look.


    HANNITY: I want to get your thoughts on Ryan's plan?

    PALIN: I have great respect for Representative Ryan producing what it is that he produced to save Medicare. It is the Republicans who want to save that safety net for our esteemed elders. And we cannot let the mainstream media manipulate this issue and dictate really what they want people to believe this Medicare reform program in order to save it, of Representative Ryan's is.

    Now, I heard Pelosi saying, she outright lied saying, well, the Republicans, you know, they want to do away with Medicare as we know it. No, it is the Democrats who are going to do away with Medicare as we know it. They are going to dissolve Medicare because we are going to be bankrupt. There will be nothing for recipients to receive. We will have no money.

    So, what Paul Ryan wants to do is reform it. Change some of the rules. And allow that safety net to continue.

    It is an outright lie of Nancy Pelosi's for her to be telling the American public that it is the Republicans who want to leave seniors out on their own trying to figure out health care themselves. And it is the media too. Complicit in what it is that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are trying to convince people is behind this Medicare reform that we need.

    HANNITY: It seems, that's the democratic talking point. They're back to medi-scare. Scaring old people. That's why they are so upset with the whole Anthony Weiner issue this week. Because it took away precious days for them to go out and scare seniors on an issue.

    The president, look, the president himself did this, governor. The president said that children with autism, Down syndrome and old people, quote, "will have to fend for themselves." That's not true. Because, the person that cut Medicare by $500 billion was President Obama, to institute, you know, Obamacare.

    PALIN: That's right.

    HANNITY: And how do Republicans -- back to this third party issue in a second. But how do Republicans fight back against the lies, distortions, demagoguery, misinformation? What advice do you give them? How do they counter this, which effectively has worked in the past?

    PALIN: We tell the truth. And the truth is that President Obama is lying. He's not just misstating. He's not just misconstruing some facts or some data and information. No, he is lying when he says that those with Down syndrome, those with autism, those who need that safety net will be left on their own if the Republicans have their way, that is not true.

    We really need -- time is so short, Sean. We have got to turn things around very, very quickly. So, when we face an issue that we're facing today, where lies are coming out of Democrat Party and coming from the media, trying to make it sound like the GOP wants to dismantle Medicare, when it is President Obama who has cut the 500 from the Medicare program.

    We have got to call him on this. We've got to hold him accountable. Time is short. We don't have the time, we don't have the resources to waste and fool around being anything but candid with the American people.

    HANNITY: Yes. Let me go back to the issue of this third party for just a second here. You said a year ago, you would have said no way, don't do it to Donald Trump.

    PALIN: Yes.

    HANNITY: But, you seem to be saying that you wouldn't say that today. And that the Republicans, by not being more proactive, standing a little stronger on their principles, may be creating the environment for this to happen. If Donald Trump was running third party, would you consider supporting him?

    PALIN: You know, again, I still want to have that hope in the GOP that they are going to stand strong. And that there will be that very aggressive attempt and success in letting Americans know that we can do better. And we don't have to settle for the Obama, Reid and still Pelosi agenda that is part of Washington. I still have faith in the Republican Party that we can get this together.

    What I mean Sean, by conditions changing, over the year, has been a result of that midterm election and seen that Tea Party Movement, independent Americans bringing in new people there to represent us in Congress.

    And yet, still not seeing the transitional change that needs to take place in Washington, as a result of new people coming in. That has been a disappointment. I still have hope though that we can turn things around and we can get it together, so a third party wouldn't be necessary.

    HANNITY: Governor, when I last spoke to you about whether or not you are considering a run for the presidency. Your answer to me was, you want to see how this field unfolds. If at a late date, the person, the people maybe at the top of the list, they don't really have the values that you have. If you don't think they are capable, would you ever consider running third-party in this election cycle?

    PALIN: I don't foresee that right now. And I do see people in the field today and those who are potential candidates, still contemplating whether to run or not. I see that shared value that we all have, when it comes to doing the right things to get the economy back on the right track, Sean.

    But, what I would fear is that some of these candidates, especially in a good position to progress to a primary and meet Obama in the general, I fear that they are not going to be aggressive enough. That they are not going to lay it all on the line and be perfectly honest with the public. And let the public know, our country is going broke. We can't keep going down the road that we're going on. I fear a little bit, there's going to be some political correctness and some hesitancy. And some attempt to not offend anybody. So, less of the candidness that we are going to need.

    I see shared values in the candidates running for the Republican nomination. But, I do fear that some of these folks are going to think they need to kind of play it a little bit safe, and that's not what this country needs today. We need a fundamental restoration of what is good about America. And that is going to take an aggressive fight. A fight against the Democrat Party that wants to take over the private sector. So, we need to make sure that it is not just values shared. But it's going to be some pragmatic things that have to take place. Some practical aspects of a campaign that have to be considered. We are going to need a fighter in there.



    HANNITY: And coming up, we'll have much more with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Now, the mainstream media says that she is going after Mitt Romney. But is it true? The governor explains that, and much more.


    HANNITY: Sarah Palin, she dominated the headlines this week with her East Coast bus tour. And here's my final installment of my interview with her on that, her potential presidential aspirations and much more.


    HANNITY: You know, the recent public policy polling shows you and Herman Cain tied for second in Iowa with 15 percent of the vote, and Mitt Romney with 21 percent. So, you are right up there. You haven't announced. You haven't given any indication you will announce. But you did talk about this fire in the belly issue. I know, you spoke about that with Greta. Maybe after this tour, do you have a different perspective? Are you more inclined maybe now that you want to get in?

    PALIN: I'll tell you, this week of touring has been one of the best weeks of my life. It has been an honor to get to meet so many amazing, wonderful Americans who are deeply concerned about the country and do want to restore what is right about America. It has been great being with my family on the trail.

    So, yes, the fire in the belly, I mean, it rages on even after this week and then continuing through the summer at different points in the summer, continuing different parts of the country to tour. I look forward to that.

    But Sean, I also know, not only do I love my freedom, my independence, just, you know, not having a title and not being a declared candidate, and that is liberating. But I know that you can make a difference as an individual. I think I've proven that and hopefully, I can inspire others to know you don't need a title. You don't need to be in office in order to effect positive change.

    So, whether I'm a candidate at some point or just a supporter of the right candidate, I look forward to what these coming days, weeks, months, bring.

    HANNITY: You know, are there candidates that you look to that, inspire you? That give you confidence, let me give you an example, and we interviewed Mitt Romney, he was on the program last night. And I interviewed him just before he was to make his announcement. Had some pretty hard words for President Obama. And the way you had some comments. I'll give you a couple of headlines, it was Palin fires shot at Romney at Bunker Hill. Palin steps on Romney announcement with health care job. Palin attacks Romney's record on his announcement day.

    Does that mean that maybe -- and we asked him about the health care mandate issue which was this about. But, was that taken in the right context?

    PALIN: You know, isn't that funny, what reporters try to do? You know, it is not a slow news day when Mitt Romney declares his candidacy. So, I'm surprised that they would take one comment that I made and act like it was a slow news day. And try to make it into something bigger than it was.

    Yes, I happened to be standing on Bunker Hill when asked. But a reporter merely asked me, "How do you think Mitt Romney will do with the Tea Party Movement?" And I said, "Well, his one challenge will be his support of a mandate at the time for health care coverage." Because like, I don't like government mandating anything on a local, state or national level.

    From that it turned into, Palin takes a shot on Bunker Hill at Romney. You know, that's ridiculous, that's sensationalizing a simple answer that I gave out of respect for a reporter who's shouting a question at me. So, that is kind of ridiculous.

    Mitt Romney will add good things, good discussion, healthy debate in this primary process. I'm thankful he's running. Each one of these candidates will offer great strengths. And I look forward to the vigorous debate that will no doubt ensue.

    HANNITY: Is there anybody that inspires you of the people that either are in now or appear to be getting in? I think Rick Santorum said, next week, it seems that Michele Bachmann, Congresswoman Bachmann is getting in. And that pretty much leaves the field, maybe Huntsman, maybe, I've read Jim DeMint. And the only other maybe is you.

    PALIN: I can find inspiration, we all should find inspiration in each one of these individuals, Sean. For one, they are willing to sacrifice a lot to be a candidate. And their families are willing to sacrifice. That's inspiring right there. They love their country that much. And they are smart enough to be part of a GOP, part of common sense conservative movement that should be sweeping our land here shortly. And I have confidence that it is.

    So, that right there is inspirational. They all have their strengths. And I look forward to really seeing those strengths being made manifest in the way that they debate and campaign.

    HANNITY: All right, Governor, one more last question and back to you for one more second if I may. With this fire in the belly comment, with this being, as you said one of the most inspirational weeks of your life, being on tour, meeting people. Obviously, you are very engaged in the issues, concerned about things. And you've left open the possibility, one day you may run.

    When do you think you need to decide by to have a viable campaign where you can compete in Iowa, compete in New Hampshire, South Carolina, those are early primary states that matter so much?

    PALIN: Well, I've never run any kind of traditional, I guess or a conventional campaign. Not in the two decades that I've been involved in public service from the city council and mayor and governor and then vice presidential campaign. Never have I done anything I think that could be considered real conventional. So, I'm not too worried about a conventional timeline to have to follow.

    I would say that is still weeks away, Sean. But in the meantime, you know, as I'm here in New Hampshire tonight, just been very, very inspired by people who truly know that America is the exceptional nation.

    And really, there is no alternative for mankind when it comes to governance, than what is that we have here in America and our freedoms. And if we don't restore what it is that we have in America and hearing from these people, encourages me to fight so hard for that.

    Again, whether as a candidate or a supporter of candidates. If we don't restore what is good about America, then our country is going to be really no longer the America that we can recognize. And our world will be less safe.

    So, got to fight hard, we got to fight together and I look forward to these coming weeks and seeing how the field is going to shake itself out.


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