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A partial transcript of Palin on 'Situation Room'

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  • 'This is an opportunity to all be working together,' Palin says of Obama administration
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(CNN) -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, this year's Republican vice presidential nominee, spoke with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" on Wednesday.

Gov. Sarah Palin says she will support President-elect Barack Obama and his new administration.

Gov. Sarah Palin says she will support President-elect Barack Obama and his new administration.

Among the topics discussed was the new president-elect, Barack Obama; affirmative action and boosting the troubled economy.

Here is a partial transcript of the interview, edited for length.

WOLF BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit about what's going on in our country right now. It's a pretty historic moment when you think about it. The first African-American president, President-elect Barack Obama. This is historic. What does it mean to you?

GOV. SARAH PALIN: It's historic, and I think this time is full of optimism. And it's an opportunity for everybody to get it together and start working together. For us as Republicans to reach out to Barack Obama and the new administration that will be ushered in and offer the solutions that we see for meeting some of America's great challenges right now.

This is an opportunity to all be working together. And of course, President-elect Obama had promised also bipartisan efforts to meet the challenges. So let's seize this opportunity; let's take him up on that offer. And let's start working together.

BLITZER: Are you ready to help him?

PALIN: Absolutely. Especially on energy independence, energy security that we need for this nation, being the governor of an energy-producing state, knowing that we have the domestic solutions there in our state and in other energy-producing states.

I'm more than willing and able to help President-elect Obama to start tapping into the domestic solutions that we have now so we can quit being so reliant on foreign sources of energy. Video Watch Palin say she's ready to help »

BLITZER: So if he reaches out to you and says, Gov. Palin, I need your help on energy or some other issues, kids with special needs, for example, and says, I want you to be part of a commission, you would be more than happy to say, yes, Mr. President.

PALIN: It would be my honor to assist and support our new president and the new administration, yes. And I speak for other Republicans, other Republican governors also, they being willing also to, again, seize this opportunity that we have to progress this nation together, a united front.

BLITZER: Because, you know, during a campaign, every presidential campaign, things are said, it's tough, as you well know; it gets sometimes pretty fierce out there. And during the campaign, you said this, you said: "This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America."

And then you went on to say: "Someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he is palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."

PALIN: Well, I still am concerned about that association with Bill Ayers. And if anybody still wants to talk about it, I will, because this is an unrepentant domestic terrorist who had campaigned to blow up, to destroy our Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol. That's an association that still bothers me.

And I think it's still fair to talk about it. However, the campaign is over. That chapter is closed. Now is the time to move on and to, again, make sure that all of us are doing all that we can to progress this nation. Video Watch Palin say she's still concerned about Ayers connection »

Keep us secure, get the economy back on the right track, and many of us do have some ideas on how to do that, and hopefully we'll be able to put all of that wisdom and experience to good use together.

BLITZER: So looking back, you don't regret that tough language during the campaign?

PALIN: No, and I do not think that it is off-base nor mean-spirited, nor negative campaigning to call someone out on their associations and on their record. And that's why I did it.

BLITZER: I just want to sort of footnote. Was that your idea, or did somebody write those lines for you?

PALIN: It was a collaborative effort there in deciding how do we start bringing up some of the associations that perhaps would be impacting on an administration, on the future of America. But again, though, Wolf, knowing that it really -- at this point, I don't want to point fingers backwards and play the blame game, certainly, on anything that took place in terms of strategy or messaging in the campaign.

Now is the time to move forward together, start progressing America.


BLITZER: Should Congress go forward right now with another economic stimulus package to help the struggling middle class?

PALIN: I do want to see the struggling middle class be the ones at the end of the day who are not stuck with the bills and stuck with the burdens. But I am not one, again, to believe that it should be just assumed that it's taxpayer bailout that will be the solution to all of the problems, all of the financial challenges that our nation is facing.

Supportive of the $700 billion initial, now hearing more rumor, more speculation of even greater amounts being poured into that. There again, need more information but not being so enthused about a second, a third, a fourth stimulus package.

BLITZER: President Bush only has, what, 2 months or so left. What would you like to see him do in these remaining days and weeks? What's the most important thing he should be doing right now?

PALIN: He is already doing that. And that is reaching out to Barack Obama and to both potential new Cabinet members also, and those who we know will be in the Cabinet, reaching out to them.

And not being one to stay away, to shy away from addressing the challenges that we have today, working with the new administration and start ushering in some solutions. So I appreciate that he has already done that.

And that bodes well for our president also. And other things also that bode well for President Bush and keeping our country safe for the last seven years with no new attack on the homeland, those things that I think we cannot lose sight of, that President Bush has allowed for progress in those areas in our nation. You know, I want to do a shoutout to our president and thank him for that.

BLITZER: Even though he may have hurt you and John McCain in terms of becoming president and vice president?

PALIN: You know, I think that there is so much blame to go around, if you will, in terms of why it was that the Republican ticket did not win. And, it -- that's being attributed to, we didn't get the Hispanic vote, that really hurt; we were outspent tremendously because of course Obama took the private financing; John McCain stuck to his promise of just keeping the public financing of the campaign, so greatly outspent; Barack Obama was a great campaigner, he had a very strong organization. So many reasons, I'm not going to look backwards there again and point to just President Bush and the administration as to why our ticket didn't prevail.


BLITZER: Let's talk about affirmative action right now. It's a sensitive subject. Now that there is a president-elect who is African-American, do you believe it is time to get rid of affirmative action in our country?

PALIN: I am one to believe in equal opportunity for everyone. And there probably are some specific policies that it is time that America can kind of turn that page, understanding that with the intent of treating everybody equally and providing equal opportunity in the work place and in education, there are some specific policies that I'm sure we can move beyond. And here again, as Barack Obama prepares to take this office of Washington and of Lincoln, what progress our nation has made in not allowing race to be prohibitive at all -- a prohibitive factor in an election.

I'm so proud of America and very happy to see what Barack Obama -- he has accomplished this for himself, but also for our nation, for our children to know that race is not a factor, cannot be a factor, cannot be a ceiling or a prohibition towards progress.

BLITZER: Let's talk about some of the other issues. And we have a question, one of our iReporters sent this in. Eric Olson of Savage, Minnesota. He said he's a Democrat, he voted for Barack Obama, but he had this question.


BLITZER: "Gov. Palin, before the election, you were speaking with James Dobson of Focus on the Family. and you said that you were confident that God would do the right thing for America on November 4th. Did God do the right thing for America?"

PALIN: I don't know if that was my specific quote. But I do believe that there is purpose in everything. And for me personally I put my life in God's hands and ask him to -- don't let me miss some open door that he has for me, and I'll travel through that. I think the same thing for our nation as we seek God's guidance, his wisdom, his favor and protection over our nation, that at the end of the day, that the right thing is done.

And I do believe that prayers were answered, others who prayed across this nation in the election that this nation would be protected, that we would be safe, that we would be prosperous and favored. I believe that prayer is answered.

BLITZER: All right. Fair enough. What does Barack Obama have to do right now in your opinion to show that he's going to reach out to Republicans and independents and work in a bipartisan way?

PALIN: He needs to do what I did when I was elected governor of Alaska and that is you don't use a fear (phonetic) litmus test of partisanship. You do not look to someone's party affiliation but you look to fill your Cabinet positions especially with the best of the best. That's what I did as the governor of Alaska, appointing Democrats, independents, Republicans, all to work in a team effort, really walking the walk, not just talking the talk, not just that rhetoric of you know, an ability that's preached to reach across the aisle but he's really going to have to walk that and he can do that by appointing others who are not just a member of his own "Democrat" Party and I think we're going to see that.

BLITZER: Here is another question from Dan Waun of Lansing, Michigan. He was undecided. He says he leaned McCain at one point; he was for Bush in '04. He ended up voting for Barack Obama. This is his question. "What would you propose the GOP do to reconcile this ideological shift in order to regain moderates and independents who so movingly voted for President-elect Obama?"

He is referring to the ideological shift. Conservatives, social religious based versus the more moderate, pragmatic independents in the middle.

PALIN: Well, if there is some kind of perception that conservatives and those who maybe represent the conservative base are not pragmatic and are not -- thinking along those lines that you put obsessive partisanship aside than you know I beg to differ with the whole premise of his question. Certainly this is an opportunity, though, too, bring people together, to unite and start finding the solutions to America's great challenges but as you're reading these viewers' questions, got any questions from anybody who voted for McCain?

BLITZER: I think we do but we're going to get to that.

PALIN: Oh, good! OK!


BLITZER: Here is another question from Chris Plumstead of Cumberland, Maine.

Let me read it to you.

"I was wondering how you plan on dealing with a convicted felon as senator of your state." Referring -- He is referring to Ted Stevens.

PALIN: Right!

BLITZER: He may or may not be re-elected. We don't know. But what are your thoughts?

PALIN: Well, and after the four counts, the felony counts, in the ...


PALIN: Seven. Yeah. After they came back. And I called for him to step down. He chose not to. Now it is in the hands of the U.S. Senate. It takes two thirds vote to expel. It's up to the U.S. Senate to decide what to do but the voters of Alaska, the will of the people, was that he would be representing Alaska and whether some of that vote's intent was that he would win the election and then we would have a special election and still have a chance to hold onto that seat, the Republican Party, maybe that was some intention there of some of the voters, but it's in the U.S. Senate's hands now, not in my hands.

BLITZER: So if he's re-elected -- they're still counting ballots, I take it, up there. And the Senate does -- kicks him out of the Senate, is that something you might be interested in? Could you name yourself, for example, to succeed Ted Stevens?

PALIN: I suppose if you were that egotistical and arrogant you'd name yourself, but I'm not one to name myself ...

BLITZER: Do you want to be in the United States Senate?

PALIN: I believe that I have -- I feel I have a contract with Alaskans to serve. I've got two more years in my term. I'm going to serve Alaskans to the best of my ability. At this point, it is as governor.

Now, if something shifted dramatically and if it were, if it were acknowledged up there that I could be put to better use for my state in the U.S. Senate, I would certainly consider that but that would take a special election and everything else. I am not one to appoint myself or a member of my family to take the place of any vacancy.


BLITZER: You're not ruling out a run in 2012 for president of the United States, are you?

PALIN: Not ruling that out, but there again, that is based on my philosophy that it's crazy to close a door before you know what's even open in front of you. You travel this road in life, and as you turn a corner and there may be something there that circumstances change, you've got to call an audible and you decide to shift gears, take another direction, I'm always open for that.

But you've just got to be prepared and when you see opportunity and preparation meet, that's how you know that a door is open, you really go through it.


BLITZER: How did this campaign affect your family? Because your kids, they obviously came into the spotlight as well.

PALIN: My kids are cool, too!

They are very adaptable. They have been used to all these years me having a very busy schedule as a oil and gas regulator and a city manager and mayor and then governor and then Todd being very busy with a commercial fishing schedule and North Slope oil production schedule that he has. The kids have already been very adaptable, kind of going with the flow but at the same time being quite independent themselves, and it's a great, fun family that we have. Also, very full life. And they, too, I believe have felt that this has been the privilege of a lifetime to be able to get to know John McCain, be able to run with him, with his family, with the team that we had together. They got to travel the country and see things that of course never would they have had an opportunity before, so it's been nothing but awesome.

BLITZER: Your son is serving in Iraq right now.

PALIN: Yeah.

BLITZER: Are you worried about the incoming commander in chief, who is going to be his commander, in effect?


PALIN: Well, you know, we've got make sure there too that Barack Obama surrounds himself with strong commanders who understand that our boys, our girls, with their boots on the ground -- their lives, my son's life, is in his hands. And I do have faith in this new administration that they are going to look out for America's finest, those in uniform, who are protecting us and our freedoms.

I have faith that all is going to be well. And my son, he's good. He is serving for the right reasons. He's a teenage kid who recognized that he had an opportunity to do all that he could, at his stage in life, to help protect America and to serve something greater than self. And I think about my son, I think about Track, in those terms, and I think, is every elected official who is serving in government doing the same thing to the best of their ability? Are they protecting this country? Are they doing all that they can to make sure that our troops, over there especially, are well-equipped, have the budget that they need, have all the tools that they need for them to do their jobs?

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