This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 7, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
UMA PEMMARAJU, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: Hi, everybody. This is Uma Pemmaraju in New York. Greta will be back in just a few moments. We're having a few technical issues to deal with. And on with the show.
Well, at least it wasn't a shoe. A man in Minnesota has been arrested for allegedly throwing two tomatoes at former governor Sarah Palin. The man threw those tomatoes during a "Going Rogue" book signing at the Mall of America. Apparently, the man has poor aim. He reportedly hit a police officer in the face. The 33-year-old man could face charges of assaulting a police officer.
And speaking of Governor Palin, if she were running for president, where do you think she would be spending her time right now? Well, it's Iowa. Well, guess where Governor Palin was yesterday? If you guessed Iowa, you're right. She was there for a book signing. So is this a sign about 2012?
Joining us live, O. Kay Henderson, news director for Radio Iowa. Hi, there. How are you doing?
O. KAY HENDERSON, RADIO IOWA: Good evening.
PEMMARAJU: Tell us about the visit yesterday. I understand she was treated like a rock star.
HENDERSON: She was. This was really more about personality than politics. A lot of people in the line weren't voters. They were there to see Sarah Palin, the personality. There were a lot of people in line that were from other states. There was even a gentleman who drove in 12 hours from the state of Ohio to get Palin's autograph. There were people there from neighboring Nebraska and South Dakota, even Missouri. These were folks who -- some of whom waited more than 24 hours in line to see her. Once they got into the book store, they were able to spend maybe 10 or even 5 seconds with her directly. So that is not the kind of contact that Iowa voters are used to engaging with their presidential candidates.
PEMMARAJU: Sure thing, but at the same time, I find it fascinating. This is something we're seeing in other states, as well, people waiting for hours, sometimes (INAUDIBLE) 24 hours, in some cases, people waiting to see this woman. What do you make of it?
HENDERSON: Obviously, she has a base of support within the Republican Party. A recent Des Moines Register Iowa poll found that she as a very favorable rating among 70 percent of people who identify themselves as Republicans. That same Iowa poll, however, showed people who used to identify themselves as Republicans but now consider themselves independents -- 60 percent of those folks had an unfavorable view of her. So if she were to mount a campaign, she would want to bring in those people who read the book, maybe bought it in Sioux City and got her to autograph it.
The problem is, there was no campaign apparatus on the ground to get the names and contact information of those people who are so devoted to the idea of a Sarah Palin presidency that they waited in line for hours to meet her briefly.
PEMMARAJU: Well, all along, she's been saying this is not an effort to try to launch a presidential bid. At the same time, Iowa is certainly key in people's minds for the next presidential race. And if the people there are keeping close watch on her, they're looking for signs, some kind of a cue from her that it's OK to move forward with this idea.
Do you see anything there that gives you any scope for her as far as mounting a presidential bid in the future?
HENDERSON: Well, one of the things that was interesting to me was that there were several women there who brought their young daughters to meet Sarah Palin. That was a phenomenon that we saw her in Iowa when Elizabeth Dole ran in 1999. However, Elizabeth Dole never gained enough momentum and actually dropped out of the race before the caucuses were even held in the year 2000. Hillary Clinton, on the Democratic side, attracted the same amount of interest from people who were interested in seeing a woman be president.
But I think that what the Palin campaign may turn out to be is something that no one knows at this point. And she did not answer questions from Iowans. I talked to a gentleman in the line who's active in the tea party movement, and he said she needs to come back and answer questions from Iowans.
PEMMARAJU: Was there any resentment about that? Was there any people who were actually upset about this?
HENDERSON: Actually, she was in Sioux City, Iowa, which is in a county that neighbors one of the most Republican areas of the state, and folks in that county were hoping that she might jog up there for a quick -- some sort of party rally or even meet with them privately to talk about a potential run. But she didn't make any of those sort of entrees that a person would make to signal that she is a serious candidate.
PEMMARAJU: So we've just got about 10 seconds left. What are you looking for in the months ahead? Are you betting that something's going to take place soon, where we're going to see some kind of groundswell there, where they're going to launch some type of organization down the road?
HENDERSON: I think it will be a curious decision for her to make because she may wish to stay on the road and make money for her family, be the sole supporter of her family, the same kind of decision that Mike Huckabee has said that he's making. He's not independently wealthy. He depends on his income from book sales and from appearing on the Fox network. And so that will be a tricky decision for her to make.
PEMMARAJU: We'll be keeping close watch on it. O. Kay Henderson, I know you will be, too. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.
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