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MSNBC - Transcript


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MS. MITCHELL: With me now, Republican Governor of Utah Jon Huntsman, of course, a strong McCain supporter.

Governor Huntsman, what about Sarah Palin? You obviously talked to all of your delegates. The excitement factor on the floor has certainly been (so ?). What are people saying behind the scenes about Sarah Palin and what the stakes are for her tonight?

GOV. HUNTSMAN: Well, I think there's the sense -- and, first of all, I've worked with Sarah for the last two years, so I know her reasonably well.

MS. MITCHELL: Western Governors.

GOV. HUNTSMAN: Western Governors, and a lot of energy issues. And there is great anticipation tonight, Andrea. There's great excitement. And I think there is the sense that she's going to stand up on that stage and hit it out of the ballpark. And the pundits have all kind of underestimated her capabilities.

And she, you know, has a lot to learn and a long way to go. But I think tonight she's going to prove that she is a world-class performer and somebody who was absolutely appropriate for John McCain to be pointing to and choosing as the new face and the new generation of the Republican Party in America.

MS. MITCHELL: There were a lot of others -- Mitt Romney, whom you know well, and have supported in the past, and Tim Pawlenty -- a lot of other potential vice presidential choices with more experience on business issues and even on energy issues. What is it that Sarah Palin brings, besides excitement and being an unknown?

GOV. HUNTSMAN: I think this is a perfect extension of John McCain as a human being and as a leader. Sarah is a reformer. She's an out-of-the-box choice. She's a real human being. She's had real- life experiences. She's a manager. We forget sometimes, she manages a $10 billion budget. She manages 24,000 employees.

MS. MITCHELL: And right behind us, I should point out, they are rehearsing some of the proceedings, so a little sneak peak at tonight's proceedings as they --

GOV. HUNTSMAN: That's right.

MS. MITCHELL: -- test the microphones here. But does she have enough experience for what is about to happen to her? I mean, she is being thrust on a national stage with very little time. As we've learned, the final vetting wasn't done by A.B. Culvahouse until a week ago, a week ago today.

GOV. HUNTSMAN: I think people are coming to the conclusion, as they get to know her and her story and the impenetrable old-boy network that she was up against in Alaska -- blew a hole right threw them -- the kind of person that she is and the kind of real-world experience and humanity that she has shown.

You know, people have talked about her family issue the last couple of days. But, you know, there isn't a family in America that can't relate in some measure, some way, to what it is she has gone through. And when she says, "We're going to show love; we're going to embrace my daughter and, you know, make sure that we show her the proper direction," I think there are a lot of families that are nodding their approval and saying, "I can relate to that."

This is a real human experience they're watching play out. But the stakes are high. And Sarah will step out on the stage tonight and she will show the world what she has. And the campaign will play out in the weeks ahead, and people will see that she has an unbelievable grasp of what I think is the most important issue of our time, and that is energy policy.

We forget that energy is all about the economy today. It's about national security today. And it's about sustainability and climate change. You've got the most energy-relevant state in America. That is Alaska. And Sarah, as governor of Alaska, has gone a long way in distinguishing herself as an expert on energy policy. And we're about to learn a whole lot more about that. And I think the American people are going to learn a lot by what she has to say about her vision there.

MS. MITCHELL: And we'll all be watching. Jon Huntsman, governor of Utah, thank you very much for joining us.

GOV. HUNTSMAN: Thanks, Andrea.

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