Who Really Won the VP Debate?

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: We're live in St. Louis at the site of tonight's vice presidential debate showdown. We are right here in the spin room and, make no mistake, surrogates from both sides are spinning like mad for their candidates.

We're going to hear from both sides in moments, but first, more of the debate that just ended moments ago.

And I guess we don't have more of it. So we're going to go right to Jill Hazelbaker who is a communications director for the McCain campaign.

Jill, I know where your vice presidential candidate was tonight. Where is your presidential candidate? Where is he watching?

JILL HAZELBAKER, MCCAIN CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: He's in Colorado, the battleground state of Colorado. He watched the debate tonight and I'm sure he was very pleased with the performance of Governor Palin.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, give me some ideas. I mean it's -- both candidates were very smooth and their delivery, especially their closing statements. Was that on teleprompter, the closing statement?

HAZELBAKER: No, they were -- they were all off the teleprompter tonight. Straight from the heart. You saw Sarah Palin take advantage of the fact that she had an opportunity to speak directly to the American people.

Tonight was very sweet because there were many people trying to sow seeds of doubt about her performance. She hit it out of the park tonight. She was spectacular.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, in terms of -- you know, one of the things that we get during the debate and we're going to get some more of is that we get an enormous amount of fact checking, and we're going to probably deal with that tomorrow.

HAZELBAKER: I know you have some fact checker.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, no, no. No, no.

HAZELBAKER: We've talked about it last week.

VAN SUSTEREN: We talked about last week. I always want to fact check the fact checks and so that I understand more fully, but does it -- but how many people do have here doing that?

HAZELBAKER: In our war room we had about 40 tonight. We have a team in Washington. We have a team here in St. Louis that travels for all the debate, and then we coordinate with our headquarters back in Washington.

VAN SUSTEREN: And so you have 40 people here.

HAZELBAKER: Right. Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: Listening to every single word that Senator Biden is saying, in a minute .


VAN SUSTEREN: Going to have to shoot it out to everybody.

HAZELBAKER: Absolutely.

VAN SUSTEREN: And the 40 are in here. Are they going to move on to the next debate or.


VAN SUSTEREN: Is this the site? This is the 40 for this event.

HAZELBAKER: Yes. There's a team that actually dispatched ahead that's going on to Nashville tonight and then there was another team that will head out on Monday afternoon.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any sort of grip on how much preparation went into this for Governor Palin? How many days did she -- the mock exercise? How did that happen?

HAZELBAKER: You know, I think she like -- like Senator Biden, she spent the better part of the wee k preparing for this debate. There are huge endeavors...

VAN SUSTEREN: Just a week?

HAZELBAKER: Yes. About a week, you know, she's been preparing steadily. Since she was nominated you know that you have this debate coming up. You know you have to be ready. You know that it's a big opportunity to talk to the American people.

But mostly the prep was focused Monday through tonight.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I take it she's -- I mean no one seems to last -- see, I am usually the one who shuts off the light here in all of the debates. I mean, like, closing up and folding up the chairs.

Is she still around?

HAZELBAKER: No. She headed back to her hotel for the evening.

VAN SUSTEREN: So at least she's staying in town.

HAZELBAKER: She is. She's in Missouri tonight.

VAN SUSTEREN: And the next -- next step is where?

HAZELBAKER: And she's heading down to Florida. She'll be in Florida on Monday and Tuesday and Senator McCain and Governor Palin will campaign together the following week.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I don't think people realize that none of the candidates.

HAZELBAKER: Never stops.

VAN SUSTEREN: The four of them. This is just insane. It's just absolutely grueling, because we chased them (INAUDIBLE).

HAZELBAKER: It never stops.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Jill. I know you're.

HAZELBAKER: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: You're going back to Washington.

HAZELBAKER: I'm going back to Washington.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Jill, thank you.

HAZELBAKER: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you just heard one side's argument. Now let's get the other side. Joining us live is Linda Douglass, senior adviser to the Obama campaign.

Linda, nice to see you. All right, Linda, where did -- I know, as I told you, I know where her vice presidential candidate was. I know where yours was, as well, tonight. Where's your presidential candidate?

LINDA DOUGLASS, OBAMA CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: He was in East Lansing, Michigan. He gave a very strong speech in Michigan today where he was talking to voters about the fact that they are losing so many jobs in Michigan.

30,000 jobs since the beginning of the year. 600,000 jobs lost in United States since the beginning of the year. Jobs that are lost.

VAN SUSTEREN: So he's in Michigan.

DOUGLASS: And the jobs are -- the job report is coming out tomorrow and it's supposed to be more bad news. A good time to be talking to the people of Michigan.

VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed. Everyone's jobs is very important.

All right, now, was there any teleprompter for your candidate?

DOUGLASS: There were -- you know these guys were all talking from the heart. They all - you know, obviously, wanted to say something in the closing statement. But there were no teleprompters there.

VAN SUSTEREN: It was sort of interesting because I watched them and both of them were actually flawless in their delivery. It was sort of extraordinary. I was -- so I was suspicious that they -- I mean I knew in the question and answer they weren't, but I thought there must be, at the end -- because the delivery was very smooth for both of them.

DOUGLASS: Well, you know, Senator Biden is a very accomplished speaker, as is Governor Palin.

VAN SUSTEREN: I know but they're human. You've been in the business. You know how (INAUDIBLE) mess up.

DOUGLASS: Well, we think he did a really spectacular job of communicating with the American people, explaining to them what's at stake here in this election, explaining to them the kind of change that they need that's going to be brought to them by the Obama-Biden ticket.


DOUGLASS: I think he did a very strong job.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think both of these candidates came in with such hurdles to overcome. I mean, one is we had to get to know Governor Palin and she had to convey her experience.

With Senator Biden, he had to make sure that he didn't -- you know, didn't act condescending, and he didn't act patronizing. I mean he had a challenge. I mean they both -- I mean, you know, it's a really -- it's a good time for American voters to take a look at two teams.

DOUGLASS: Well, absolutely. You know -- but Senator Biden was never worried about looking condescending. I'm not quite sure where that came from.

VAN SUSTEREN: Come on, he had to be.

DOUGLASS: He faces women in the Senate all the time.

VAN SUSTEREN: I understand that.

DOUGLASS: Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Mikulski, Hillary Clinton.

VAN SUSTEREN: But this is an important debate. One -- look, you know how the media is. The media sees -- I don't mind a gaffe, by the way, because I make so many I don't care. But you know how the media will take one gaffe.

DOUGLASS: Oh absolutely.

VAN SUSTEREN: And they -- and so, and grossly unfair, exaggerates, and one thing it is always that way. So, I mean, it is a risk.

DOUGLASS: Well, it is a risk, but he clearly focused on what he wanted to say to the American people. He was engaged with her. She was a spirited debate, as we expected to be. She is a very polished communicator. She used to be a broadcast journalist kind of like you, Greta, you know?

VAN SUSTEREN: That may be a drawback. Actually that may be a drawback.

DOUGLASS: So she knew to look into the camera.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, one quick question. Is your candidate still in town?

DOUGLASS: Am -- my candidate is still.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is Senator Biden still on town or he's taken off?

DOUGLASS: No, he's taken off. He had his family with him tonight and he's taken off. He is going to get a little bit of rest and then he'll be out on the campaign trail again.

VAN SUSTEREN: They never get a little bit of rest. They don't get any rest. Don't tell me that. There is no rest. Don't believe that. That is a lie. That -- Linda has lied about that. Neither candidate gets any rest.

All right, Linda, thank you.

DOUGLASS: Thanks, Greta.

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