Fox News Channel "Hannity" - Transcript
Fox News Channel "Hannity" Interview With Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R)
Interviewer: Sean Hannity
Subjects: Growth of Government And Deficit Spending; Refusal to Accept Stimulus Funds; Support for Autism Research
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MR. HANNITY: It has been almost four months since the stimulus was signed into law. Unemployment is up and the amount spent on bailouts rivals the GDP of most countries. Now, even though the president's economic team is reportedly fighting with each other, the president still promised today to save or create 600,000 jobs by the end of the summer, whatever that means.
All of this is adding up to one thing, and that is our headline tonight -- I told you so. But those aren't the words of little old Sean Hannity. That is the opinion of former vice presidential nominee Governor Sarah Palin. And with every day that goes by, it looks more and more like Senator McCain and Governor Palin were right about where President Obama is taking this country. And that was just one of the topics that we covered when I spoke exclusively to the governor this past weekend.
(Begin videotaped interview.)
MR. HANNITY: Governor, welcome to New York.
GOV. PALIN: Thank you so much. It's so good to be here on your stomping grounds.
MR. HANNITY: Yeah, literally very close to my home. So I know you came here just to tell me, oh, let's see, I'm running for governor, I'm running for president.
GOV. PALIN: (Laughs.) Yeah, right, right, right. No. No.
MR. HANNITY: For all of us in New York, where we are now, where we pay 10 percent income tax, you actually give every citizen in Alaska a check.
GOV. PALIN: We are the only state with a negative tax rate, where we don't have an income, sales or property tax statewide. And yes, we have a share of oil resource revenue goes back to the people who own the resources. Imagine that.
MR. HANNITY: You're in the middle of a big debate now in Alaska over the stimulus. And there's you and a couple of other governors, but you in particular have pointed out that this stimulus money from Washington comes with a lot of strings attached.
GOV. PALIN: It sure does. The whole stimulus package, you know, I'm looking at it now, thinking, what the heck happened with that thing? Now, when it was first crafted, Congress was asked to vote on it without even knowing what was in it. Many of the Republicans voted against it and encouraged states to really have a heads up regarding what was in it and the strings attached to it. So those governors, like me, we paid attention to that. We said, you know, we'll dig into there, and we will make sure that we know what those strings are.
We saw the fat strings attached to these dollars, the least of which is the contribution to the federal government's dizzying debt that we're handing to our kids, but many other specific strings tied to buckets of money. So a lot of us governors said we didn't want all of the dollars. Infrastructure dollars, good, let's go build roads and water systems and sewer systems, appropriate tools that government should provide for the private sector. But just growing government? We didn't want to accept all those funds.
So lawmakers, though, around the nation, many bodies, legislatures, decided to resolve to take the money anyways, going around the governor, so we saw a lot of that.
MR. HANNITY: But now you're in a little bit of a battle, too, even within the state over the acceptance of the stimulus dollars. And you actually made a point last week of saying, those strings that I told you about are real.
GOV. PALIN: They're real, they're real, yeah.
MR. HANNITY: What's the status of that?
GOV. PALIN: Right. Well, I vetoed a bucket of the money. Not a whole lot, we did accept education dollars and infrastructure dollars. But dollars that were tied to universal energy building codes for Alaska, kind of a one-size-fits-all building code that isn't going to work up there in Alaska and really it prohibits opportunity to build and to develop and just wasn't going to work up there in Alaska, so I vetoed a bucket of that money. Our lawmakers now are considering the override of the veto, which is cool, that's checks and balances. You know, they can explore that.
MR. HANNITY: You don't want them to, though.
GOV. PALIN: I don't think that it would be a healthy thing for our state to adopt because it would be a federal mandate, big centralized government telling Alaskan communities that have opted out of building codes for the most part, them telling us what's best for our businesses and our residences, how to build them. And we're all for energy conservation. We have hundreds of millions of dollars in fact budgeted for programs there, but we don't want those fat strings attached where centralized big government is going to tell us what is best.
MR. HANNITY: You look at the state of the economy now. I mean, just last week, unemployment went from 8.9 percent to 9.4. We quadrupled the deficit in a year. CBO says we're going to have literally $10 trillion in debt at the end of 10 years. We're repaying almost 1 trillion (dollars) on interest on the debt. You're a governor, you have to balance budgets. What does that mean in terms of the overall economy? What are your thoughts on it?
GOV. PALIN: Well, when you consider that the federal government is about $11 trillion in debt and we're borrowing more to spend more, it defies any sensible economic policy that any of us ever learned going through college, defies economy practices and principles that tell you you've got to quite digging that hole when you are in that financial hole. America is digging a deeper hole. And how are we paying for this government largess? We're borrowing! We're borrowing from China.
And when you consider that now we own 60 percent of General Motors or the U.S. government does, consider, but who is the U.S. government becoming more and more indebted to? It's China. So that leads you to have to ask, who really is going to own our car industry then in America?
MR. HANNITY: It does hearken back a little to the campaign.
I mean, spread the wealth, patriotic duty.
GOV. PALIN: Kind of a "we told you so."
MR. HANNITY: Well, is that how you feel?
GOV. PALIN: That's how I feel. I feel like -- and I think that more and more constituents are going to kind of open their eyes now and open their ears to hear what's really going on and realize, okay, maybe we didn't have a good way of expressing it, articulating that message of here is what America could potentially become if we grow government to such a degree that we cannot pay for it and we have to borrow money from other countries, some countries that don't necessarily like America.
MR. HANNITY: Tim Geithner got laughed at in China last week. Is this even more than you thought it was going to be in terms of where the president would take the economy?
GOV. PALIN: What's more than I thought would be is we're hearing a lot of good rhetoric. A lot of this is wrapped in good rhetoric, but we're not seeing those actions. And this many months into the new administration, quite disappointed, quite frustrated with not seeing those actions to rein in spending, slow down the growth of government.
Instead, Sean, it's the complete opposite. It's expanding at such a large degree that if Americans aren't paying attention, unfortunately our country could evolve into something that we do not even recognize, certainly that is so far from what the Founders of our country had in mind for us.
MR. HANNITY: Socialism?
GOV. PALIN: Well, that is where we are headed. And we have to be blunt enough and candid and honest enough with Americans to let them know that if we keep going down these roads, nationalizing many of our services, our projects, our businesses, yes, that is where we would head. And that is why Americans have to be paying attention. And we have to have our voices heard. And ultimately, it needs to be our will, the American people's will imposed on Washington instead of the other way around.
MR. HANNITY: Do you think that maybe people are changing their minds, maybe waking up a little bit to the fact? And you've spent some time with President Obama. What did you think of him?
GOV. PALIN: Very nice man. Very nice man. I do think, though, that as more and more Americans are tuning in to the discussion on the value-added tax, for instance, they're going to start saying, gosh, yeah, you know, you're right, the only way that we're going to pay for this --
MR. HANNITY: Which is a national sales tax.
GOV. PALIN: National sales tax that's going to affect every single one of us and take away more opportunities and freedoms to grow, to progress, especially with our small businesses. As more people pay attention to that discussion on the only way to pay for this government largess is a value-added tax, borrowing more money, not drilling for our own domestic supplies of resources but being even more reliant on sources, as we're headed if we say no to offshore drilling, if we keep ANWR locked up, if we're not aggressive about getting Alaska's natural gas pipeline.
MR. HANNITY: Well, let me talk about the pipeline. The natural gas pipeline in Alaska right now is a little bit of a controversy. What's the status on that? And the price of oil is going up again.
GOV. PALIN: The price of a barrel of oil is going up. There is greater demand for natural gas. It is increasing. We have to tap those North Slope reserves. And we're on target to do that. And in about a week, we have some really good, exciting news that we get to give the rest of America on how it is that we're going to build that infrastructure. The private sector will build the infrastructure, will flow very rich resources of natural gas into the lower 48 states.
MR. HANNITY: Do you miss the spotlight, as hot as it got during the campaign? And I had an opportunity to be out there with you on some of the busier days in your life, some of the probably more stressful days of your life. And now obviously things have quieted down. Do you prefer your time now in Alaska?
GOV. PALIN: I love my time in Alaska. At the same time, though, I crave, if not my voice, other voices out there being bold, being strong, letting Americans know that those who are concerned about the growth of government and about national security issues, they're not alone. There are others who are empathizing and, more than empathizing, we're wanting to take action to make sure that economically and physically that our homeland is safe and secure.
MR. HANNITY: Well, listen, I know we're going to be, at some point, hearing from you in the future about your political future. You're not ready to announce anything today.
GOV. PALIN: Heck, no.
MR. HANNITY: But you're here really to help a really good cause.
GOV. PALIN: A really good cause. We got to participate in Autism Speaks walk, and that was a pleasure to be able to have our voices known in terms of recognizing the research needs with autism. Of course, near and dear to our heart is the issue. And anything we can do there to help, Todd and I are going to do it.
MR. HANNITY: Did you like the Yankee game with Rudy?
GOV. PALIN: (Laughs.) That was a blast!
MR. HANNITY: I've been to a game with Rudy. It is fun to go to a game with Rudy.
GOV. PALIN: It was fun. Everybody loved Rudy.
MR. HANNITY: I heard you were pretty popular in New York.
GOV. PALIN: It was really cool. It was like this once-in-a- lifetime thing for us. Spectacular facility and all those happy faces in New York. We couldn't have asked for a better experience.
MR. HANNITY: They were all drinking beer.
GOV. PALIN: (Laughs.) It was awesome, it was good.
MR. HANNITY: Governor, thank you so much for taking a few minutes.
GOV. PALIN: Thank you so much, Sean.
(End videotaped interview.)