MUNCIE, Indiana (CNN) – On a brief flight from Ohio to Indiana on Friday, Sarah Palin spoke to reporters traveling with her campaign for just the second time this election cycle.
Watch: Palin chats with the press
During a seven-minute back and forth with the press, Palin was asked why her campaign was focusing on Barack Obama’s relationship with William Ayers, even though Obama has much closer ties to his controversial former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The Alaska governor lamented Obama’s relationship with Wright, but said the decision to make it a campaign issue is John McCain’s.
“He sat in the pews for 20 years and heard Rev. Wright say some things that most people would find a bit concerning,” she said. “But again that is John McCain's call.”
Though the McCain campaign is being forced to defend traditional GOP strongholds like North Carolina and Indiana this late in the election season, Palin said “my input has been, let us get out there to as many states as we have time for.”
“I think it's wise not to take anything for granted and assume that any state is a lock for either ticket,” she said.
She also talked about what she meant when she said she enjoyed visiting "pro-America" areas, whether or not she believes Barack Obama loves America, and her upcoming appearance on Saturday Night Live.
The transcript of Palin’s full remarks are after the jump.
SARAH PALIN AVAIL
October 17, 2008
Flight from Ohio to Indiana
QUESTION: So how come you've dropped the attacks on Obama and Ayers lately?
A: Well, I think that American voters are understanding that association - that it's OK to talk about fact. Of course, Barack Obama had been bringing it up, even in challenging John McCain on that, saying if you want to talk about it, talk about it, too, so McCain did that, and the association is out there. It's up now to the people of America to decide whether that association is important enough to them to research and find out more about a person's judgment and truthfulness.
QUESTION: Just to follow up on that, you said that, you know, 'Obama doesn't see America the way you and I see America.' Do you think Obama loves America as much as you do?
A: I know Obama loves America. I'm sure that is why he's running for president. It's because he wants to do what he believes is in the best interest of this great nation. I believe that our ticket can do a better job for America as we reduce taxes and reign in government and allow our private sector and our families to prosper, to grow, and to keep more of what they earn and produce so that they can reinvest according to our own priorities. I think that that is best to get the economy back on track. It's a better agenda for America. But I don't question at all Barack Obama's love for this great country
QUESTION: It's unusual for a Republican campaign to be campaigning in North Carolina and Indiana halfway through October in an election year, are you concerned you are spending resources in states and places you shouldn't be?
A: I think it's wise not to take anything for granted and assume that any state is a lock for either ticket, so if there were more hours in the day and more availabilities I would hope that we can be in even more states, even those that maybe we're down in, maybe those that we assume are a lock. I don't want to take anything for granted, and my input has been: let us get out there to as many states as we have time for.
QUESTION: Governor, the Washington Post and Peggy Noonan both said independently today that you are unqualified to be commander in chief. How do you respond to that?
A: Well, we talked a lot already about my executive experience that will be put to good use as vice president and if heaven forbid, anything happened to John McCain, if we're so blessed to be elected president and vice president, that executive experience will be put to good use, as coming from a mayor and a manager, small business owner and a governor and a regulator of oil and gas. That's important, but as important is the world view that I share with John McCain and the intentions that we have there to put in place policies that will put government back on the side of the American people and we'll win these wars and help secure our nation. Those things all put together will be put to good use and if I felt I was not ready I would never have said yes, I wanna take on this responsibility, this challenge, this opportunity to run for vice president as his partner.
QUESTION: You talk a lot about voter fraud. How concerned are you guys about that and what can you do at this point when we're just 18 days out to kind of put any safeguards in place?
A: I think voters are very concerned about voter fraud and as more and more revelation comes in these 13 states that are now under investigation for potential voter fraud, I think that more American voters are becoming very very concerned. There are safeguards already that are in place but evidently they're not being adhered to or implemented certainly in Ohio if the secretary there not seeming to desire to reassure voters that all securities are being taken care of to make sure that there is no, there's no fraudulent activity at all, that those who are registered to vote are eligible to vote. And obviously there's proof that that is not happening right now. So American voters are concerned about this, I'm concerned about it.
QUESTION: Did you ask John McCain to bring up Reverend Wright more, and if so what did he say?
A: No I have not asked him to bring it up.
FOLLOW-UP: Do you think he should?
A: It's up to him you know and what he chooses to discuss. I think that calling someone - an opponent on their record and even on their associations isn't - it's not mean spirited. It's not negative campaigning. It is fair to the electorate to have the discussion - the debate about someone's record and associations, but I haven't advised Senator McCain on who he should bring up and what his topics of discussion should be.
QUESTION: How often during the day do you talk to Sen. McCain?
A: A couple of times of day. And we really enjoy being able to campaign together, and I wish we could do more of that together, because we have I think some great synergy and really great chemistry and we get along so well, that not only is it very productive but it's also fun to be able to campaign with him. He's got so much energy and it's always a good time for all of our camps and our families to be together but we speak on the phone on the phone when we're not physically there together campaigning together on the trail.
FOLLOW-UP: What do you talk about?
A: We talk about the news of the day, about what the issues are that seem to be resonating that, certainly, that you all are reporting on. And just a lot of reinforcement and encouragement of each other that again we are on the right track and explaining to all Americans our plans to reduce taxes and to get our economy back on track. They're great conversations, and very productive, very helpful for both of us.
QUESTION: Are you excited for tomorrow night (SNL appearance)? Can you give us a preview?
A: Oh man. I'm excited for tomorrow night. I have no idea what to expect because I haven't seen any scripts or anything else yet, but it will be fun. The opportunity to show American television watchers anyway that you get to have a sense of humor through all of this or even just this really would be wearin', tearin' on you so an opportunity to show that sense of humor and that side of all of this I look forward to it.
QUESTION: Isn't Reverend Wright a lot more relevant than Bill Ayers? I mean, he sat in his pews for 20 years.
A: That's up to John McCain to decide. That's true. He sat in the pews for 20 years and heard Reverend Wright say some things that most people would find a bit concerning. But again that is John McCain's call.
QUESTION: Last night at the fundraiser you made a comment about the area being a pro-America area of the country. I was wondering if you could explain that a little bit more, what you meant by pro-America?
A: Every area, every area across this great country where we're stopping and where also the other ticket is stopping and getting to speak at these rallies and speak with the good Americans, it's all pro-America. I was just reinforcing the fact that there, where I was, there's good patriotic people there in these rallies, so excited about positive change and reform of government that's coming that they are so appreciative of hearing our message, hearing our plan. Not, not any one area of America is more pro-America patriotically than others.
QUESTION: Are you going back to Alaska to vote?
A: We don't know what the plan will be yet on there if - if I'm not there physically we will be applying for that absentee ballot and we'll do the early voting there. Yeah. And we'll do it fairly.