October 17th, 2008
05:29 PM ET
12 years ago

Palin speaks to reporters about Ayers, Wright, state of the race

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/17/art.palinplane1017.jpg caption="Gov. Palin spoke with reporters on her campaign plane Friday."]
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.

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.

Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. Lisa Ohio

    Mccain and Palin Know they have know way of winning this election without trying to put fear in the minds of the American people. You have to wonder why a person would continue to bash another? I'll answer that....they have no solutions that will help the American people with the struggles of everyday living. We need to be able to feed our families, provided health care, and keep a job, those are the only issues im concerned about right now, everything else will work it's self out.

    October 17, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. McFraud

    2 words, Witch Doctor...

    October 17, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. Dave

    Palin's not talking about Obama' s interaction with Wright because of her ties to a fundamentalist Christian church in Alaska.

    October 17, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. Molly Weasley

    I'll take Jeremiah Wright any day over her looney pastor who takes on "witches" and her church, which (while she sat in the pews and "didn't leave") hosted a speaker who claimed that "Christian businessmen" need to take over to get rid of the "Israelites."

    It's time you went back to Alaska, Gov. Palin - another investigation is waiting for you.

    October 17, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  5. D.Kimbro OHIO

    This lady is a victim of the republican hate machine. If McCain hadnt picked her we wouldnt think so poorly of her. He tapped someone who was unprepared for the examination required of a VP candidate. When this is over he should apologize that he used her.

    October 17, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  6. lo

    Palin is so so ignorant. Who taught her english and communication, or did she take english. I could hardly follow what she was saying, it like trying to read in moss code. She is a criminal and bigot. Please let us all pray that McCain loses, other countries consider him a Joke. The US is already not being viewed as the country it use to be, but if McCain wins the US would be considered by the rest of the world as a BIG JOKE.

    October 17, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. joan

    Pro-America areas? Are there anti-america areas? What is this woman? McCain trys to divide the country to win. This is sick.

    October 17, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. Darryl

    The Palin era is almost over. 🙂

    October 17, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  9. Angie, Phoenix Arizona

    What does she know about wise? Her hubby is Anti-American!

    October 17, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. Tiff of lithia springs


    October 17, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  11. Texas for Obama

    I think some of you just don't get it.

    Only Republicans love America...and Republicans who live in small towns love America more than the ones who don't.

    The statement Palin made is nothing new. The GOP has cornered the market on patriotism for years now.

    Tomorrow Palin will remind everyone that there is no such thing as a Christian Democrat.

    I don't know what bothers me more. The way Republicans put themselves on a pedestal, or the way they condemn everyone else.

    October 17, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  12. Lilarose in Bandon-by-the-Sea, Oregon

    Give it up, Sarah.

    It won't be long and you will be on a plane back to Alaska to finish your term as governor.

    Hopefully then you will take a hike into the Alaska wilderness and we won't ever have to see you again, Bubbie.

    October 17, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  13. Chad

    What about her preacher praying that she become wealthy and he was a witch-hunter literally in Africa. WOW she has some audacity!

    October 17, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  14. Kevin

    Imagine her talking to, say, Putin?

    October 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  15. Mike, Syracuse NY

    It's impossible that Obama sat in the pews for 20 years and never heard wright's anti-American rhetoric. Obama flat out lied....again.

    October 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  16. George

    What a COWARD, yea I said it.

    Im not going to call her an idiot or a facist, this is america, you are free to be an idiot and a facist or racist.

    But this VP candidate is simple a weak COWARD, endemic of the GOP at large.

    If she had any courage or conviction she would not back down or lie about her vitriol and her hate for 95% of America.

    Man what a coward, find me once where Obama or Biden have lied.

    I can't wait to see Palin lose

    October 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |

    hummmmmm.. I wonder which parts of this great nation is "PRO-AMERICAN". WOW.... Such an Asinine statment to make. Palin, you are trully an idoit. I still can't understand why they give you a mic. And to think, we have idoit racists and diehard repubs who are still backing Lyin Palin despite her lack of knowledge, intelligence and common sense. Man.. she is so dumb, even if I were racist I would vote for Obama. Her stupidity would awaken me from my stupidty.

    October 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  18. Stop already

    The secrect service could find zero evidence and zero witnesses who heard anyone yell "kill him"

    If you heard this then you are obviously full of hate and your brain heard that phrase. This says far more about the listener than anyone else.

    October 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  19. Tennisguypitt

    Pro America? You're joking, right?

    October 17, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  20. Kim in Pa

    Imagine if Obama or Biden would have said that only some parts of the country are pro-American. Faux News, Rush, Sean and Bill-O would pee themselves with delight.

    October 17, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  21. Juan Grain

    Keep up the negativity, it is doing wonders for your toss-up states! Tossing them over to Obama/Biden!!!

    October 17, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  22. Susan

    Palin is just following the lead of the Republican party that put her where she is now. McCain does not have any say over what she says, it's all those neo-conservative Republican's that put her on his short list for VP candidates. He was only so lucky as to be able to choose one of their choices.

    I will just be glad when it's all over so we can loose the country bumpkin' attitude that she has. If I were her, I'd be ashamed to admit I have a college degree the way she talks, because she certainly didn't learn a thing about the english language in school ~ and she's a Communications major!

    October 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  23. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Wow! 7 whole minutes of back and forth conversation! What a treat!

    October 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  24. elsie

    Anyone interested in finding out what Alaskans think of Ms Palin take a look at the website Mudflat.wordpress. It is very informative.

    October 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  25. SpookyX

    This whole thing about small towns being more American and more patriotic is just as bad or worse than Michelle's proud of the country comment. They skewered the Obamas on that for months. I hope Palin gets a lot of heat for it.

    October 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
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