'This Week' Transcript: EXCLUSIVE: Vice President Joe Biden

STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, Sarah Palin.

BIDEN: Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You were the last person to run against her.

(LAUGHTER)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Were you surprised by her decision to step down?

BIDEN: Well, look, you and I know -- and I shouldn't say that because that implicates you in my answer, so. But those who have been deeply involved in politics know at the end of the day it is really and truly a personal deal.

And personal family decisions have real impact on people's decisions. I love reading these history books and biographies of people, the reason they made the choice to run or not run was because the state of the economy.

It maybe had a lot to do with what the state of their life was, and the state of their family, et cetera. So I'm not going to second guess her.

STEPHANOPOULOS: She cast herself as the victim of political blood sport in that press conference. Is that how you see it?

BIDEN: No. I respect her decision. I don't -- I don't know what prompted her decision to not only not run again and also to step down as a consequence of the decision not to run in 2010. And I take her at her word that had a personal ingredient in it. And you have to respect that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Vice President, thank you very much.

BIDEN: Thank you.

life was and the state of their family, et cetera. So I'm not going to second-guess her.

STEPHANOPOULOS: She cast herself as the victim of political blood sport in that press conference. Is that how you see it?

BIDEN: No. I respect her decision. I don't -- I don't know what prompted her decision to not only not run again and also to step down as a consequence of the decision not to run in 2010. And I take her at her word that it had a personal ingredient in it, and you have to respect that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Vice President, thank you very much.

BIDEN: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And when we come back, we'll get the roundtable's take on Palin's big news Friday. The big question, does she have a political future and does she even want one?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN: Life is too short to compromise time and resources and though it may be tempting and more comfortable to just kind of keep your head down and plod along and appease those who are demanding, hey, just sit down and shut up. But that's a worthless, easy pass out. That's a quitter's way out. And I think the problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just hunker down and go with the flow. We're fishermen. We know that only dead fish go with the flow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Only dead fish go with the flow, the latest entry in Safire's political dictionary from Sarah Palin on Friday. Let me bring in our "Roundtable" to talk about it. I'm joined by George Will, Matthew Dowd, political strategist for George Bush and a lot of Democratic candidates as well. Tony Blankley, columnist for "The Washington Times." Todd Purdum of "Vanity Fair," you have a big story in this month's issue, "Sarah Palin: The Lies, The Meltdowns and the Moose Sighs Ambition." And Cynthia Tucker of "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution." Welcome back.

And I do want to bring in everybody on Sarah Palin. But first, let's watch a little bit more of the press conference. A lot of people might have been driving on Friday. Here's a little bit more of Sarah Palin, harkening back to her days as Sarah barracuda on the basketball court.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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