Palin Friend: 'She's Not a Quitter, She's a Fighter'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 6, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Stepping down and now firing back, Governor Palin surprising everyone, announcing she's out.


GOV. SARAH PALIN, R-ALASKA, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll work had for and campaign for those who are proud to be American and who are inspired by our ideals and they won't deride them. I will support others who seek to serve, in or out of office, and I don't care what party they're in or no party at all, inside Alaska or outside of Alaska.

But I won't do it from the governor's desk. I've never believed that I, nor anyone else, needs a title to do this, to make a difference, to help people. So I choose for my state and for my family more freedom to progress all the way around so that Alaska may progress. I will not seek reelection as governor.

I thought about, well, how much fun some governors have as lame ducks. They maybe travel around their state, travel to the other states, maybe take their overseas international trade missions. So many politicians do that. And then I thought, That's what's wrong. Many just accept that lame duck status and they hit the road, they draw a paycheck, they kind of milk it. And I'm not going to put Alaskans through that.


VAN SUSTEREN: By (ph) or saving Alaska from spending hundreds -- hundreds of thousands of dollars. Is she setting herself up for a presidential run in 2012? Of thousands of dollars in frivolous legal bills -- is she trying to avoid that? Well, now the governor is striking back at her critics on line, using her Twitter and FaceBook pages to punch back, attacking mainstream media and Washington, posting an article saying the FBI is not investigating her and a statement explaining her decision and mentioning Senator John McCain.

So why is Governor Palin stepping down? Governor Palin's friend, Kristan Cole, joins us. Good evening, Kristan. And we heard what the governor had to say, but you've spent some time with her since that announcement. What's she saying to you?

KRISTAN COLE, FRIEND OF GOV. PALIN: Hi, Greta. Well, I think she thinks it was the right decision. I did communicate with her yesterday. She feels good about the decision because she does believe it's right for Alaska and for Alaskans. She's not the type to sit idly by and just continue to allow resources to be wasted, money to be spent and her to really be kept from doing what she does best, and that is being proactive and taking on the issues and things that are really important to Alaskans.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is she going to do? She said that she's going to do something, but she didn't -- she didn't tell the Alaskans or the nation. What are her plans?

COLE: Well, I don't think she's been specific yet, and I think for good reason. I think on Friday, her primary focus was really Alaska and Alaskans, and so I don't know that she has an ABC list of exactly what she's going to go do. But what I can tell you is she's not the type of sit still. She's a doer. She's a get it done type person. If you look at all the things that she's accomplished in the first two-and-a-half years of her administration, it's astounding. And it's really more than most people can accomplish in two terms.

So she will get out there, get on the road and help others, and really move the conservative agenda forward.

VAN SUSTEREN: Kristan, how does she combat the idea that she's a quitter? You know, here's a woman who's a high-profile woman who had a very important job, still does for a couple of weeks, and all of a sudden, on the eve of the 4th of July, she says, I'm out. I can't -- I can't take the bills. I can't take the attacks. I -- you know, is -- how do we not think of her as a quitter?

COLE: I think it's the exact opposite. She's not a quitter at all. She's a fighter. And what she's saying is, is that, I am going to fight for Alaskans. I'm going to fight for the values that are true and important to me. And right now, she's kept from it and she's really being kept from doing her job because of all these ethics complaints. Resources are being wasted, and she cannot tolerate it any longer. And she's not going to allow Alaskans to tolerate it, either.

VAN SUSTEREN: Were you surprised by the decision? It certainly caught everybody else by surprise.

COLE: I was surprised until I heard her reasons why, and then if you'd known the governor -- or you know her very well, it makes perfect sense. I mean, she's run on the platform of smaller government, more efficient government, less waste, spending our money wisely, and for her to see what's happening, you know, for her, that's just not acceptable. And she believes, and I believe she's right, that by allowing Sean Parnell to move forward, it will eliminate those expenses and those unnecessary resources being spent on things that are really frivolous and allow her also to move forward the conservative agenda, just on a different platform. So it's really a win-win for Alaskans and it's a win-win for, you know, any citizen in this country.

VAN SUSTEREN: How tough was it, the attacks on her children?

COLE: You know, I'm a mother, and there's a whole lot of mothers out there just like me. And I think any time your child is attacked, especially for no reason, I think it hits home. And it certainly hit home last week when Trig's face was disfigured. I mean, you know, you can attack her on her policies or on her politics, but to attack a small child and to disfigure his face -- it's not only -- it's not only -- it's dishonorable. It's just not acceptable. And I think that really smarted, and I think any mother can identify with that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Kristan, thank you, as always. Jay Newton-Small of Time magazine joins us in Anchorage, Alaska. Jay, you're up there. I imagine you're speaking to people, Alaskans. What are they saying about this decision?

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, TIME MAGAZINE: Hey, Greta. Well, first of all, I don't want you to worry. I'm not actually driving this car. I just pulled over. I'm on the route to Wasilla, actually.

And I've spoken to a lot of Alaskans, mostly the politicians here and some of the -- some of the sort of -- you know, people in Wasilla. And the reaction is generally of surprise. I mean, most people are very shocked that she's resigning. There are a lot of people who were worried that she -- you know, were disappointed that she's not going to finish out her term. There's some worried about some of her initiatives, like the pipeline that she championed.

But others -- others sort of weren't that surprised, which was surprising -- you know, which was surprising to me that they weren't shocked because it was an open secret how miserable she was here in Alaska in the last eight months. She was at war with the legislature that just really didn't let her get anything done. He was, you know, battling over appointments. She was battling over the stimulus funds, and so it was just -- coming back here was really tough for her, and I think that a lot of people realized that she really, you know, wasn't happy. And she was also paying, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend herself against these claims. And if you look at that money, you know, $600,000 paid in eight months, so if she stayed for the next 16 months, that's another million dollars, if it's at the same pace. That's $1.60 million for a family -- that's a lot of money.

VAN SUSTEREN: And last time I checked, her approval rates, in spite of all this, were quite high. Most governors would kill for her approval ratings. is she still in the last four weeks still popular with the constituents?

NEWTON-SMALL: Well, in May, a (INAUDIBLE) poll had her at about 54 percent approval rating, which was great, but I mean, it's down from the 86 percent that she had before John McCain tapped her to be his vice presidential running mate. So -- and the difference really is the loss of -- she's had huge bipartisan support in the state. A lot of Democrats really, really loved her. She worked well with Democrats in the legislature.

And without them, it's become a lot more difficult to get stuff done in the legislature and not -- the drop-off of 30 points really is a lot of the Democratic support in this state, who -- Democrats who got upset listening to her talk about Obama palling around with terrorists, talking and criticizing about him as a socialist. And so that's what's -- that's what's translated into such a tough time in the legislature here.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is the legislature, though, making its position based on politics because they don't like her because she's on the other side of the aisle, or because they fundamentally disagree with her on a political, ideology point of view?

NEWTON-SMALL: Well, I think when she was here for the first two years as governor, there really wasn't much talk of social issues. There was -- you know, they were united on a lot of energy issues, oil and gas issues. And now that she's (INAUDIBLE) having, you know, really brought the social issues to the forefront in her -- her, you know, vice presidential candidacy, a lot of the Democrats felt betrayed.

And there are some Republicans here who say that, Look, the word has come down on high from the Democratic Party in Washington that they -- that Democrats in Alaska should do everything they could to sort of block her and stymie her and bring her down. Democrats, of course, here say that's not true, that they just really felt betrayed by her and that they felt that they couldn't work with her anymore.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, enjoy Alaska. It's a beautiful state. Thank you.

NEWTON-SMALL: Thank you.

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