Transcript Breakdown: Palin Parries Hardball Questions

In Palin's debut as a Fox contributer, Bill O'Reilly challenges her grasp of 9/11 and presidential readiness

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To much fanfare, Sarah Palin made her debut as a Fox News contributor on The O'Reilly Factor last night. When Palin first visited the Factor, host Bill O'Reilly asked her about her family and populist appeal. This time around, he threw a mix of softballs (Do you think Nancy Pelosi is "actually crazy?") and hardballs following up on Steve Schmidt's interview on 60 Minutes. While Palin mostly glosses over his questions, O'Reilly does draw a concession about Palin's understanding of 9/11.

Could McCain-Palin Have Lowered the Unemployment Rate?

O'REILLY: Isn't it true that no human being could lower the unemployment rate at this point? I mean, I don't like the massive
spending. I think it's going to bankrupt the nation. But I -- you know, I'm saying to myself, "If Sarah Palin and John McCain were in, could they bring unemployment down under 10 percent?" And I'm not sure you could.

PALIN: If the question is can any individual politician change the job forecast outlook, no. But what government can do is get out of the way of the private sector being able to seize opportunities to grow and to thrive and prosper and hire more people. You do that -- a politician, a policy does that by reducing taxes on the job creators, by getting government out of the way of the private sector.

Did You Really Think Saddam Hussein Planned 9/11?

O'REILLY: Was it a lie that you thought Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11?

PALIN: You know what, on that, I did talk a lot to Steve Schmidt about the history of the war and about where, perhaps, the 9/11 terrorists came from and could there have been any connection to Saddam.

Is It True You Weren't Focused While Preparing to Debate Biden?

O'REILLY: [McCain Campaign Strategist Steve Schmidt ] is obviously saying that you were in chaos preparing for this debate. Is that true?

PALIN: That -- that is not true. And Steve Schmidt told us how overjoyed he was after the debate, so pleased with the way everything turned out, as he was after the convention...

O'REILLY: Was there a time...

PALIN: he was for (INAUDIBLE).

O'REILLY: ...when you almost felt overwhelmed, though?

PALIN: No, I always felt pretty calm through the whole

O'REILLY: So is Schmidt lying or is somebody lying to him?

PALIN: I think he's basing this on an anonymous source. So all that kind of gossipy anonymous accusations, I really don't pay it any mind, because, again, Bill, I know what's important. I know what the priorities are.

Are You Dumb?

O'REILLY: Governor, the perception of you is that you're not that smart. That's what "Saturday Night Live" trafficked in, that's what the liberal media traffics in. You heard Chris Matthews go, "She doesn't know anything."... So I have to ask questions is, is that a lie? And, now, I think the proof is in the proverbial pudding, to use a cliche. You did very well against Biden in that debate, although you did call him O'Biden at one point.

PALIN: I did. But I think the analysis after the debate was a surprise that Biden had more gaffes -- had -- had more mistakes made.
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