Transcript: Palin And McCain Interview


Couric: Over the weekend, Gov. Palin, you said the U.S. should absolutely launch cross-border attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan to, quote, "stop the terrorists from coming any further in." Now, that's almost the exact position that Barack Obama has taken and that you, Sen. McCain, have criticized as something you do not say out loud. So, Gov. Palin, are you two on the same page on this?

Palin: We had a great discussion with President Zardari as we talked about what it is that America can and should be doing together to make sure that the terrorists do not cross borders and do not ultimately put themselves in a position of attacking America again or her allies. And we will do what we have to do to secure the United States of America and her allies.

Couric: Is that something you shouldn't say out loud, Sen. McCain?

John McCain: Of course not. But, look, I understand this day and age of "gotcha" journalism. Is that a pizza place? In a conversation with someone who you didn't hear … the question very well, you don't know the context of the conversation, grab a phrase. Gov. Palin and I agree that you don't announce that you're going to attack another country …

Couric: Are you sorry you said it?

McCain: … and the fact …

Couric: Governor?

McCain: Wait a minute. Before you say, "Is she sorry she said it," this was a "gotcha" sound bite that, look …

Couric: It wasn't a "gotcha." She was talking to a voter.

McCain: No, she was in a conversation with a group of people and talking back and forth. And I can tell you that I would say, if I was asked, of course we have to do what's necessary to protect America. The question is, is whether you make an outright public announcement the way that Sen. Obama did. And I don't think you do that. And … I'll let Gov. Palin speak for herself.

Palin: In fact, you're absolutely right on. In the context, this was … a voter, a constituent, hollering out a question from across an area asking, "What are you gonna do about Pakistan? You better have an answer to Pakistan." I said we're gonna do what we have to do to protect the United States of America.

Couric: But you were pretty specific about what you wanted to do, cross-border …

Palin: Well, as Sen. McCain is suggesting here, also, never would our administration get out there and show our cards to terrorists, in this case, to enemies and let them know what the game plan was, not when that could ultimately adversely affect a plan to keep America secure.

Couric: What did you learn from that experience?

Palin: That this is all about "gotcha" journalism. A lot of it is. (laughter) But that's okay, too.

McCain: We don't mind. We just …

Palin: That's okay.

McCain: That's life.

Couric: Gov. Palin, since our last interview, you've gotten a lot of flak. Some Republicans have said you're not prepared; you're not ready for primetime. A conservative columnist, Kathleen Parker, went so far to say that you should step down from the ticket.

Palin: Well, I don't know who she is, and I apologize for that. So, and I don't wanna offend her, but I don't know who she is. So I won't take …

Couric: But there has …

Palin: … her words necessarily to heart.

Couric: … people have questioned your readiness since that interview. And I'm curious to hear your reaction.

Palin: Well, not only am I ready but willing and able to serve as vice president with Sen. McCain if Americans so bless us and privilege us with the opportunity of serving them, ready with my executive experience as a city mayor and manager, as a governor, as a commissioner, a regulator of oil and gas, not only with my résumé proving that readiness, but I think the important thing here is that John McCain and I, we share a vision for America that includes energy independence.

It includes securing our nation, first and foremost. It includes an environment where we are cherishing every child in this country and we are providing them good education opportunities. And top of our agenda, too, in getting our economy back on track, we share a vision of job creation in America so the hard-working American families can start paying their bills, not worrying so much about their future, their retirements. I look forward to working with him on those items on our agenda.

McCain: Let me just … the end of that. This is not the first time that I've seen a governor being questioned by some, quote, "expert." I remember that Ronald Reagan was a cowboy. I remember that Bill Clinton was, ah President Clinton was a governor of a very small state that had no experience either.

I remember how easy it was gonna be for Bush I to defeat him. I still recall, (laughter) whoops, that one. But the point is, I've seen underestimation before. And that's fine. We understand that. We understand what this is all about. So, I'm very proud of the excitement that Gov. Palin has ignited with our party and around this country. It is a … level of excitement and enthusiasm, frankly, that I haven't seen before. And I'd like to attribute it to me (laughter.) But the fact is that she has done incredible job. And I'm so proud of the work that she's doing.

Palin: Thank you.

Couric: A former Bush speechwriter, David Frum, questioned your judgment of putting, quote, "such a neophyte second in line to the presidency."

McCain: Well, David, God bless you and good luck in your speech-writing ambitions (laughter.) And I will ask after … for our inauguration, we'll ask you to write the speech for us.

Couric: I want to start with climate change, if I could. What's your position on global warming? Do you believe it's man-made or not?

Palin: Well, we're the only arctic state, of course, Alaska. So we feel the impacts more than any other state up there, with the changes in the climates. And certainly it is apparent. We have erosion issues and we have melting sea ice, of course. So what I've done up there is form a sub-cabinet to focus solely on climate change. Understanding that it is real.

Couric: Is it manmade in your opinion?

Palin: You know … there are man's activities that can be contributed to … the issues that we're dealing with now with these impacts. 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 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. And like … Tony Blair had said … when he was in leadership position, he said, "Let's all consider the fact that it is real." So instead of pointing fingers … at different sides of the argument as to who is to blame, and if nature just to blame, let's do something about it. Let's clean up our world. Let's reduce emissions. And let's go with reality.

Couric: Because, 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: So you do believe … that man is contributing to global warming, because you just said they're causing pollution. Of course, pollution causes global warming.

Palin: I believe that there are a lot of causes. And there is one effect. And one is changes in the climate. And there are things that we can do to make sure we're cleaning up the environment. I also formed an integrity office that solely is focused on petroleum, on pipelines, on those things that we do up there in Alaska to contribute to the U.S. domestic supply of energy.

Where we can focus solely on environmental protections. There are a lot of things that I've done there in that arena of environmental protection that have kind of ticked off some in my own party thinking that I went too far. But I've always been of the mind that, you know, we gotta prove that we can do this right. Safely, ethically, environmentally friendly developments, or we're not gonna be allowed to unlock our lands and tap these supplies.

Couric: John McCain proposed legislation calling for mandatory caps on global warming gases or CO2 emissions. Do you agree with that?

Palin: I support his position on that. Absolutely.

Couric: But he somewhat backtracked on the campaign trail saying it wouldn't, they wouldn't, the caps wouldn't be mandatory, they'd be voluntary. 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 on board with that.

Couric: Voluntary or mandatory in your view?

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