Rove on the VP Debate: Biden Did 'Well', But Palin Was 'Great'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," October 2, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: All right, let's go to Karl Rove in Washington.

All right, Karl, now -- now we do a post-mortem. Go ahead, get started. What do you think? How did she do?

KARL ROVE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT BUSH: I think she did great. She was -- she started off a little tentative but she quickly got into the swing of things by the first or second question.

She was into it. She smiled. She had fun with it. She got off some good lines. She defended her candidate, Senator McCain. She was pointed in her responses to Senator -- to Senator Biden.

And, you know, I think she got under his skin. She kept smiling, she kept laughing, she kept looking straight at him, and he seemed to get angrier as it went on and a little condescending.

There was one point at which he said that wasn't -- that was the commanding general, let me repeat it again, that was not Joe Biden, that was the commanding general. And -- but she seemed a loose and I thought it was a great performance.

And he did pretty well, but she did great.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you know -- you know what, I actually -- I thought she did -- I thought she did really well -- I use that term great. And I also think that Senator Biden did great because he had the hardest challenge.

Because he was so over shadowed by us wondering whether or not she would hit the jackpot or fall on her face and he didn't want to appear condescending, and he didn't want to appear patronizing.

I think he had a tough job tonight.

ROVE: Yes. I do think this so. I think Senator Biden made a critical set of mistakes tonight. He fell -- he fell back into his gaffe mode. And his gaffes were a series of misstatements that are factually inaccurate.

He said Senator McCain voted the same way as Senator Obama did on the Democratic budget resolution. Not true. Senator McCain voted against the troops just -- the funding of the troops, just like Senator Obama did. Not true.

He -- you know, he -- even, at one point, this is the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and he started lecturing about the vice president of the United States and how dare he -- how dare he think that he had a role in the legislative branch, and after all, you know, you know, Article 1 of the Constitution describes the executive branch.

And no, Article 1 of the Constitution describes a legislative branch. And there were series of this throughout the evening, and some of them just misstatements like that, but others factually inaccurate.

I mean we will -- if we will get no production, no oil from -- offshore production or new production for 10 years. That's simply not true. These areas that we opened up a couple of years ago in the Gulf of Mexico, some of them are very close to coming online. It's not going to take 10 years to drill a well and begin to produce on the outer continental shelf, or even in places like ANWR.

VAN SUSTEREN: Karl, typically, do vice- presidential debates make any difference? And then, atypically, this one -- is this one going to make any difference, do you think?

ROVE: Well, typically, they make -- they have an impact on the nature of the campaign for a couple of days, the ordinary thing. Like, for example, when Dan Quayle got massacred by Lloyd Benson in -- 1988, it -- took up some time over the next several days before the Bush 41 campaign sort of got its sea legs back.

But look, this is not the normal election-year. We've seen that time and time again. And every single day matters in this contest. I think that Governor Palin did the McCain- Palin ticket a lot of good tonight by sort of reenergizing folks and by - immediately tomorrow morning we're going to be picking up, reading the newspapers about her good performance rather than reading about the bad performance being yet another bit of bad news on the shoulders of the McCain campaign.

So, you know, this is not the normal presidential election. And so, yes, this could be a debate, as it could be a debate -- as it could be a vice- presidential pick that has a real impact on the outcome.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I am curious and will find out tomorrow how many viewers or viewers/voters were watching. So that will be also an interesting number to look at.

Karl, as always, thank you.

ROVE: You bet, thank you, Greta.

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