CBS’s Smith: ‘Republicans and Conservatives Question’ Palin on Ticket

Harry Smith and Katie Couric, CBS While talking to CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric about her interview with Sarah Palin, on Wednesday’s Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked: "...there is a -- I won't say growing -- but there are a number of Republicans and conservatives have started to question whether or not she's good for this ticket. What -- what is the feeling in the McCain camp about that?" Couric actually defended Palin: "Well, you know, she has helped the McCain campaign raise $30 million. Helped them double their get-out-the-vote effort. And as you can see, she's energized the crowds." On Monday, co-host Julie Chen described how "Some conservatives want Sarah Palin off the Republican ticket."

Prior to that question, Smith asked Couric: "What did she have to say about troopergate?" To that, Couric explained: "Well, you know, there is a preliminary report coming out October 10. She didn't tell me that, but she basically said that whole investigation into whether she fired the public safety commissioner because he wouldn't get rid of the trooper who had been married to her sister...had been highly politicized, that it belonged in the hands of the personnel board, rather than the state legislature, despite the fact that 8 out of the 12 who initiated the investigation are Republicans."

Several parts of Couric’s interview was aired, including one question and answer that was not aired on Tuesday night:

COURIC: They were heading to a key swing state. We were invited up to chat with the candidate, who's press availability has been tightly controlled. Do you think the coverage of you has been sexist?

SARAH PALIN: No, I don't. I mean, I know that there's -- it's obvious there's a double standard here in terms of what -- what the media has been doing. But I think that's more -- I think more attributable to just the media elite, the Washington elite, not knowing who I am and just asking a whole lot of questions and not so much based on gender, though, but based on just the fact that I'm not part of the Washington herd.

COURIC: Having said that, do you think it would be sexist, Governor, not to question your credentials and your policy positions?

PALIN: It would be sexist if the media were to hold back and not ask me about my experience, my vision, my principles, my values. You're right.

Here is the full transcript of the Early Show segment:

7:00AM TEASER:

HARRY SMITH: Sarah Palin exclusive -- on the eve of the vice presidential debate, Sarah Palin, one-on-one with Katie Couric on everything from sexism-

KATIE COURIC: Do you think the coverage of you has been sexist?

SMITH: To the issue of abortion.

SARAH PALIN: If you're asking, though, kind of foundationally here, should anybody end up in jail for having had an abortion -- absolutely not.

SMITH: Katie Couric joins us live.

7:01AM TEASER:

SMITH: Katie, some of the most riveting and revealing television of the last week has been provided with Katie's exclusive interviews with Sarah Palin. We have brand new information and some new stuff that has not yet been seen on the 'Evening News.' Katie is here with that this morning. And we have some important questions for her as well.

7:06AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: Over the past week, CBS 'Evening News' anchor Katie Couric has been interviewing Sarah Palin, an opportunity to get an inside look at the governor of Alaska as she gets ready for tomorrow's big debate against Joe Biden in St. Louis. And Katie Couric is with us in the studio this morning. Good morning.

KATIE COURIC: Hi Harry, Good morning. Well, as you know, last week when she was here in New York City meeting with world leaders, I spoke with Governor Palin primarily about foreign policy and the economy. But then, Harry, I spent much of the day with her on Monday, focusing on domestic issues, an area she feels more comfortable discussing. Life for Sarah Palin is a whirlwind. In Philadelphia, her 14-year-old daughter, Willow, was along for the ride. So nice to meet you, too. I didn't realize you were going to be coming along. That's exciting, are you having a good time with all of this?

PALIN: It's so fun.

COURIC: They were heading to a key swing state. We were invited up to chat with the candidate, who's press availability has been tightly controlled. Do you think the coverage of you has been sexist?

SARAH PALIN: No, I don't. I mean, I know that there's -- it's obvious there's a double standard here in terms of what -- what the media has been doing. But I think that's more -- I think more attributable to just the media elite, the Washington elite, not knowing who I am and just asking a whole lot of questions and not so much based on gender, though, but based on just the fact that I'm not part of the Washington herd.

COURIC: Having said that, do you think it would be sexist, Governor, not to question your credentials and your policy positions?

PALIN: It would be sexist if the media were to hold back and not ask me about my experience, my vision, my principles, my values. You're right.

COURIC: Later, in their first joint interview, Palin focused on energy policy and the importance of developing alternative sources.

PALIN: John McCain has some great plans there also, tapping in to the nuclear, the clean coal, to biomass, geothermal, tides, waves, all those things that we have as alternative energy sources. It's got to be an all-of-the-above approach to energy independence.

COURIC: Speaking of energy, she's producing plenty of it out on the campaign trail. And she doesn't hold back.

PALIN: Our opponent likes to point the finger of blame. But when it comes to major reform, has he ever lifted a finger to help?

COURIC: While she shakes hands on the rope line, her running mate and his wife Cindy, engage in a bipartisan post hand shake ritual. Are you germophobes or just sensible?

CINDY MCCAIN: Sensible.

COURIC: You're heading to Sedona to work on your debate, what is your coach advising you?

PALIN: I don't have a debate coach.

COURIC: Well what are your coaches-?

PALIN: I don't -- I have quite a few people who are giving us information about the record of Obama and Biden. And at the end of the day, though, it is, it's so clear, again, what those choices are. Either new ideas, new energy, and reform of Washington D.C., or more of the same.

COURIC: Later on the campaign bus, our conversation continued. First topic, global warming. Last spring, the Governor was quoted as saying: 'I'm not one who would attribute it to being man-made.' She's now more open to the possibility.

PALIN: I'm not going to solely blame all of man's activities on changes in climate because the world's weather patterns are cyclical and over history, we have seen changes there. But it kind of doesn't matter at this point, as we debate what caused it. The point is, it's real. We need to do something about it.

COURIC: Because it if it's not man-made, then one might wonder well how can human beings contribute to a solution?

PALIN: Well, human beings certainly are contributing to pollution today. And to some adverse effects on the environment. And it's all of our jobs to do to clean things up and that's what we're committed to doing.

COURIC: John McCain proposed legislation calling for mandatory caps on global warming gases or CO-2 emissions. Do you agree with that?

PALIN: I support his position on that, absolutely.

COURIC: But he has somewhat backtracked on the campaign trail, saying it wouldn't -- they wouldn't -- the caps wouldn't be mandatory. So what do you think? Do you think voluntary caps go far enough or they should be mandatory?

PALIN: He's got a good cap and trade policy that he supports and details are being hashed out, even right now. But in principle, absolutely I support all that we can do to reduce emissions and to clean up this planet. And John McCain is right onboard with that.

COURIC: Voluntary or mandatory in your view?

PALIN: We're going to keep working on how it can be implemented to actually make sense and make a difference.

COURIC: Palin says she makes no apologies for her pro-life views and opposes abortion, even in the case of rape or incest.

PALIN: Personally, I would counsel that person to choose life despite horrific, horrific circumstances that this person would find themselves in. And if you're asking, though, kind of foundationally here, should anybody end up in jail for having had an abortion, absolutely not. That's -- that's nothing that I would ever support.

COURIC: Do you believe evolution should be taught as an accepted scientific principle or one of several theories?

PALIN: Oh, I think it should be taught as an accepted principle. And, you know, I say that also as the daughter of a school teacher, a science teacher, who has really instilled in me a respect for science. It should be taught in our schools and I won't ever deny that I see the hand of God in this beautiful creation that is Earth. But, that is not part of a policy or a local curriculum in a school district. Science should be taught in science class.

COURIC: Should creationism be allowed to be taught anywhere in public schools?

PALIN: Don't have a problem at all with kids debating all sides of theories, all sides of ideas that they have. Kids do it today whether it's on paper, in a curriculum, or not. Curriculums also, are best left to the local school districts instead of big brother federal government telling a district what they can and can't teach.

COURIC: And she took issue with news reports that claimed the Wasilla Bible Church sponsored a conference that could convert gays. She says the church, of which she is not a member, only promoted it.

PALIN: When the media gets it wrong, it frustrates Americans who are just trying to get the facts and be able to make up their mind on -- about a person's values. So, it does matter.

COURIC: Palin said she doesn't know, quote, 'what prayers are going to be answered or not answered,' end quote. And she told me one of her best friends is gay, but quote, 'she is not my gay friend, she is one of my best friends who happens to have made a choice that isn't a choice that I have made.'

SMITH: What did she have to say about troopergate?

COURIC: Well, you know, there is a preliminary report coming out October 10. She didn't tell me that, but she basically said that whole investigation into whether she fired the public safety commissioner because he wouldn't get rid of the trooper who had been married to her sister-

SMITH: Her sister, right.

COURIC: -had been highly politicized, that it belonged in the hands of the personnel board, rather than the state legislature, despite the fact that 8 out of the 12 who initiated the investigation are Republicans.

SMITH: Right, there is a -- I won't say growing -- but there are a number of Republicans and conservatives have started to question whether or not she's good for this ticket. What -- what is the feeling in the McCain camp about that?

COURIC: Well, you know, she has helped the McCain campaign raise $30 million. Helped them double their get-out-the-vote effort. And as you can see, she's energized the crowds. What some people wonder is it just the base -- people would have voted Republican anyway. Or will the impact affect independents and uncommitted voters? So, you know, clearly she has a lot of pluses as well in terms of how the McCain campaign views her.

SMITH: Yeah, and how is she getting ready for the debates now?

COURIC: I think she's being -- she's talking to all the different policy advisors. You know, Harry, every campaign has an economics -- a number of economics advisors-

SMITH: Foreign policy.

COURIC: Foreign policy. So I think she's in Sedona really talking with them and she's told me she was really looking into Joe Biden's record. So, I think she'll be armed with that as well.

SMITH: Yeah. Extraordinary, extraordinary stuff. And tonight on the 'Evening News,' five questions?

COURIC: No, two questions, actually.

SMITH: Two questions, vice presidential questions, we'll call them, right?

COURIC: That's right. You know, we posed the same questions to Joe Biden as well did to Sarah Palin. And you'll see their answers side-by-side tonight.

SMITH: Alright, and that will be on the CBS 'Evening News' this evening.

COURIC: Correct.

SMITH: Thank you very, very much.

COURIC: Thanks, Harry.

SMITH: That's it. See we have five questions later on this morning that you didn't know about Joe Biden and his wife.

COURIC: Way to do your homework, Harry.

SMITH: Not to be -- oh, that's cold. That's cold. Thanks, Katie. Always good to have you here.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC