First, [O’Reilly] challenged Palin by saying, “49% of Americans still want BP to run the show and only 45% want the government to run the show.”
If you stop the video at about the 3:00 point, you can see the look of dismay on Palin’s face, followed by nervousness, moments after he said that, as she must have realized this was not going to be the kind of cakewalk she has probably come to expect on Fox News.
O’Reilly went on to ask, “What is your solution, here, Governor? What would you do tonight – tell the nation tonight, what you would have said, the main point in that speech. Go.”
Palin obviously had no idea. “Stopping the gusher,” she said. “That’s the number one priority of the nation.”
“But nobody knows how to do it,” O’Reilly countered.
“Well, we haven’t had the assurance by the president that that has been his top priority.” Her voice rose with more condescension, as she continued to evade the question and, instead, went on to accuse the president of making “cap and tax” his greater priority and “using this crisis… to increase the cost of energy.”
“Are you telling me that you don’t think the president’s top priority is stopping that leak? Is that what you’re telling me?” O’Reilly asked, not bothering to hide his incredulity.
BILL O’REILLY, HOST: Joining us from Wasilla, Alaska, former governor of that state, Sarah Palin. All right, did you have a big beef with the president tonight in any way, governor?
SARAH PALIN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I did. I kind of have a big beef with you too though, Bill, if you don’t acknowledge that President Obama is wrong on his call for a need for energy policy. Certainly we need that, but he is wrong not to acknowledge that we still need on a three-legged stool the conventional sources of energy to be drilled here. Otherwise, Bill, we are going to be dropped to our knees and bowing to the Saudis and Venezuela and places like Russia that will keep producing oil and petroleum products, and we will have to ask them to produce for us because we will still be dependent upon these sources of energy.
In addition though, too, shifting more towards the renewables which, of course, we need. And the other leg of that stool is conservation. President Obama, it scares me, it saddens me that the CEO of our nation does not understand that inherent link between the conventional sources of energy that we’re dependent upon and our security, our prosperity, our freedom.
O’REILLY: OK, what was the — when you were the governor of the state, you dealt with oil companies all the time. What was the most difficult thing that you had to deal with when you were having meetings with them face to face?
PALIN: Believing that their perception of what the circumstances were in any situation that we dealt with them, whether it be a spill or lax infrastructure maintenance or the value of the resource that was being sold. In any of those issues, it was believing what they were telling me and my administration in terms of their perspective on what the facts were.
Now, here’s where the problem lies with President Obama in waiting so long, you know, eight weeks before meeting with the CEO of BP and with the high-ranking officials that have been calling the shots. He has allowed this industry player to get to define the facts. So they are just in this position of having astronomical maximum liability exposure. He’s allowed them to define the facts of this spill. You can never be allowed to do that as a CEO and be on a level playing field, being equals there at the table when you allow one side of the table, in this case BP, in dealing with this spill to define the facts.
O’REILLY: All right. But 49 percent, according to a poll today, we’ll have later, 49 percent of Americans still want BP to run the show. And only 45 percent want the government to run the show. So most Americans aren’t down with the Obama administration calling the shots.
Now, President Obama basically is, as Charles Krauthammer pointed out, a dreamer. I mean, he wants, I think, good for the nation as far as energy is concerned. You made a very valid point. We can’t throw the oil people under the bus. If we do that, our economy is going to tank totally. And if we spend billions of dollars on pie in the sky stuff that doesn’t work, we’re going to go bankrupt. So what is your solution here, governor? What would you do tonight? Tell the nation tonight what you would have said your main point in that speech. Go.
PALIN: Stopping the gusher. That’s the No. 1 priority of the nation.
O’REILLY: But nobody knows how to do it.
PALIN: We need to make sure that all technology is being thrown at this problem.
O’REILLY: Nobody knows how to do it.
PALIN: Well, we haven’t had the assurance that president — we haven’t had the assurance by the president that that has been his top priority. Instead, what his top priority is, Bill, is cap and tax. It is using this crisis, not letting it go to waste, but to use this crisis to increase the cost of energy.
O’REILLY: All right, if that happens, there will be an outcry.
PALIN: And that is going to stall any kind of economic recovery that we have.
O’REILLY: Are you telling me that you don’t think the president’s top priority is stopping that leak? Is that what you are telling me?
PALIN: What I’m telling you is that is not what I am hearing and what the American public is hearing from the top official in our government. And that’s why those poll numbers show that, no, the public, we don’t know where to turn. If we can’t trust BP to be able to fix this leak, we know we can’t trust government because they’ve had eight weeks of overseeing, of regulating and kind of coaching this whole process, this whole issue of stopping the leak. And they haven’t succeeded in doing it.
PALIN: So the people are very, very frustrated.
O’REILLY: And that’s right.
PALIN: We have to know — we have to know that President Obama’s No. 1 priority is to stop the leak.
O’REILLY: But I’m assuming that it is. And I am assuming that it is. But, look, the reason I’m pleased to have you on the program tonight is that there is not a governor in the United States who has more experience than you do dealing with the oil companies. You’ve already said you can’t believe them, that their word doesn’t mean much when you are debating issues as far as the oil company’s interest and the interest of the people. You can’t believe them. OK. Now, the oil company BP says we don’t know how to stop the leak. We’re going to try X. We’re going to dig another well. We’re going to do this. We don’t know. We don’t know. Obama obviously doesn’t know how to stop the leak. Do you know how to stop it?
PALIN: Well, then what the federal government should have done was accept the assistance of foreign countries, of entrepreneurial Americans who have had solutions…
PALIN: …that they wanted presented.
PALIN: They can’t even get a phone call returned, Bill. The Dutch. They are known in the Norwegian. They are known for — for dikes and for cleaning up water and for dealing with spills. They offered to help and, yet, no, they too, with a proverbial can’t even get a phone call back. That is what the Norwegians are telling us, and the Dutch are telling us. And then the entrepreneurial Americans, the company in Maine that has the boom and the absorbents, those companies that are waiting for the Obama administration eight weeks later for the regulators to come in and say, OK, we’ll purchase from you now. We’ll do all that we can. That’s where some of the frustration is.
Now, we saw the same thing though with Katrina, didn’t we? So, I’m not going to point fingers and make this a partisan issue at all, point fingers at different administrations. But it is that inherent problem that we have with government, not necessarily being prepared, because our priorities in government are wrong. National security, safety of the people, needs to be the top priority. That’s where we need to be funding instead of funding these other things on the periphery that really just get in the way of the private sector’s progress, their ability to produce and to thrive and to prosper, Instead, our priorities in the national government have been screwed up.
Now, as governor of Alaska, what I did in dealing with the oil companies, and I’ll bet you, 75 percent of my time was being taken up by energy issues here in this state. I had to set up our Petroleum Systems Integrity Office so that we could be there on the front lines making sure what the oil companies were telling us was legit, when they were dealing with their corroded pipes that we found out and other lax maintenance issues.
O’REILLY: Good point.
PALIN: It took us putting that as the highest priority to protect our resources, to protect our environment, including not just the physical environment but the human environment here.
O’REILLY: All right. Well, that’s a good point. There wasn’t anybody from the management service or whatever — Mineral Management Service out on the pipeline checking it out. That’s for sure.
Hey, Governor, always a pleasure. Thanks for coming on.
PALIN: Now, but Bill…
O’REILLY: Go ahead, real quick.
PALIN: OK. We can’t — we can’t afford though to — we can’t afford to demonize these energy producers to such an extent though that they go under. We do need to work with them though, but we need to verify everything it is and hold them accountable for all that they have done in this situation.
O’REILLY: All right, governor. Thanks again.