As we noted last week, seemingly every journalist in America knows exactly what needs to be asked of Sarah Palin. Yesterday, Fox News’ Sean Hannity became the second journalist, post-convention, to sit down with the governor of Alaska for an extended on-air interview.
Would Mr. Hannity, given his conservative beliefs, ask Ms. Palin tough questions?
Herein the abridged transcript (from Lexis Nexis) of the first part of the interview, which aired last night on Hannity & Colmes, edited down to just Mr. Hannity’s questions:
Governor, thank you for being with us. All right. You said when you were asked to be Senator McCain’s running mate that you didn’t hesitate, you didn’t blink. Tell us about the call when that came.
What was your family’s reaction? Was that time to huddle and have a hockey team meeting?
Let’s talk about, Governor, obviously, the economy is on the mind of many Americans. We got Lehman, we got Merrill, we’ve got AIG. Senator Obama yesterday was attacking Senator McCain for saying that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Do you believe that the fundamentals of our economy are strong?
Is Senator Obama then using what happened on Wall Street this week — is he using it for political gain? Is there a danger of a presidential candidate is saying to the world that America’s situation, economic crisis, is the worst that we have seen in decades, which was words that he was using yesterday?
Is there a danger in terms of the world hearing that?
Who’s responsible for these failing institutions in your view?
You know, both you and Senator McCain supported the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. You both opposed the bailout or government intervention as it relates to Lehman or Merrill but now we read this morning that AIG is going to get some type of government bailout. Was that the right call?
How connected is it, though, to Washington? You have 354 lawmakers got money from Fannie and Freddie. 354. If you look at the years from 1989 to 2008, second top recipient was Senator Barack Obama. Should there be an investigation in terms of the relationship between the political donations and then, of course, the bankruptcy that ensued and the impact on the economy?
You’ve talked about, Senator McCain has talked about you want to eliminate earmarks, that you want to reduce government spending, that you want to keep taxes low. You want to reform government. You’ve used the term reform a lot. Senator McCain has used the term reform a lot.
Many people have gone to Washington and they’ve made these promises, especially when it comes to cutting spending, and it doesn’t happen. How do you make this happen? Look how partisan it is in Washington right now. How do you get that accomplished?
Let me come with you on that. The people of Alaska get, for example, there is no income tax, there is no sales tax in Alaska. … But no state sales tax … The average citizen, if I was a resident of Alaska, you would write me a check every year for $2,069? … And then you — you also gave recently a check — an extra check for $1,200? … I have to move to Alaska. New York taxes are killing me.
Senator Obama on the campaign trail, and Senator Biden as well, they often criticize John McCain that his plan is he is going to continue the policies of tax cuts for the wealthy. For those that maybe buy into that class warfare agreement or think why shouldn’t the rich pay more, my question to you is the converse. Why does everyone benefit if the rich pays less or if everybody pays less in taxes? Why is that good for the economy?
And that’s going to be a key issue in this campaign. Things have gotten pretty heated in the campaign trail, especially in the last two days. There were two weeks where, I think, you were the focus of the attack. Now it seems that the focus of the attack is Senator McCain. Do you think these attacks and ratcheting up these attacks by Barack Obama — I don’t know if you had a chance to see his speech yesterday — and by Senator Biden, do you think these attacks will be effective?
Explain when you were governor and as governor of Alaska how you took on your own party. … Was it — you know, you still have a very high approval rating but there are people that still weren’t happy about it. How did you take on your own party, specifically, and do you think you would be able to do that as well in Washington?
Had Republicans in Washington lost their way in recent years?
Governor, have you spoken with Senator about your specific role in the McCain administration? … These are specific roles that you have already talked about that you will … that you would take on as vice president.
Let me ask you, Americans have heard, for example, a lot of information, false information, misinformation, or incorrect information on ANWR.
Some have said the drilling there is going to hurt the animals? It’s going to ruin the environment. Hurt the landscape, you know, it’s clear, I’ve heard you talk passionately about your love for your state of Alaska. You know, why then would you support drilling in Alaska? Why would that be a good thing? Why would you want to do that? … Have you had discussions about any of that? … Is he softening?
T. Boone Pickens said that we have a $700 billion annual transfer of wealth. … We’re importing, what, 70 percent of our oil. Do you view this as a national security issue, economic security issue? … And what is the impact for Americans down the road if we don’t do something to solve our energy independence?
Governor, there’s one last question I want to ask you. Did you watch Tina Fey on Saturday night? … Do you think you could play her one day? … Did anyone ever say that before that there was a similarity in terms of looks?