Nov. 23, 2009— -- This story contains the transcript of two exclusive interviews with Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin conducted over two days by ABC News' Charlie Gibson on Thursday, September 11 and Friday, September 12. To view excerpts from the second interview also conducted in Fairbanks, Alaska, on September 11, 2008, click here and to view excerpts from the third interview conducted at the Palin home in Wasilla, Alaska, on September 12, click here. The following set of excerpts immediately below are from the first Gibson-Palin interview on September 11, 2008 in Fairbanks, Alaska. Excerpts from the second interview follows and are labeled as such.
To view excerpts from the second interview also conducted in Fairbanks, Alaska, on September 11, 2008, click here and to view excerpts from the third interview conducted at the Palin home in Wasilla, Alaska, on September 12, click here.
The following set of excerpts immediately below are from the first Gibson-Palin interview on September 11, 2008 in Fairbanks, Alaska. Excerpts from the second interview follows and are labeled as such.
GIBSON: Governor, let me start by asking you a question that I asked John McCain about you, and it is really the central question.
Can you look the country in the eye and say "I have the experience and I have the ability to be not just vice president, but perhaps president of the United States of America?"
PALIN: I do, Charlie, and on January 20, when John McCain and I are sworn in, if we are so privileged to be elected to serve this country, we'll be ready. I'm ready.
GIBSON: When McCain asked you to take the number two spot on the ticket, for a moment, did you think no?
PALIN: I did not. I thought yes right off the bat, knowing that John McCain was looking for a reformer, a partner in this mission of his to change Washington, D.C. and to usher in positive change across our country.
I knew that he was looking for someone who shared his world view even on the war and on how important it is to be victorious in this war. So knowing that, when he offered me the position as his running mate, the first thing I said to him was, "Do you really think that I could help the ticket? Do you really think that I could help this country? Absolutely, I want to do this with you."
GIBSON: And you didn't say to yourself, "Am I experienced enough? Am I ready? Do I know enough about international affairs? Do I -- will I feel comfortable enough on the national stage to do this?"
PALIN: I didn't hesitate, no.
GIBSON: Doesn't that take some hubris?
PALIN: I -- I answered him yes because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can't blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we're on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can't blink. So I didn't blink then even when asked to run as his running mate.
GIBSON: Governor, how does six years as the mayor of a small town and less than two years as governor of a sparsely populated state give you sufficient experience to perhaps be president?
PALIN: Remember, again, what John McCain was looking for in a running mate -- someone who has a track record of reform, someone who doesn't just talk the talk, but has proven that she can walk the walk with reform.
That's what I did in that small town as the mayor, as the manager of a community, and what I have done as the governor of the state of Alaska, just not accepting status quo and politics as usual when it wasn't in the best interest of our state. Remember that that is who he was looking for, a partner in reform, and knowing that that is the way I'm wired, that is my commitment, also, I think he made the right decision there in his partner.
GIBSON: But this is not just reforming a government. This is also running a government on the huge international stage in a very dangerous world. When I asked John McCain about your national security credentials, he cited the fact that you have commanded the Alaskan National Guard and that Alaska is close to Russia. Are those sufficient credentials?
PALIN: But it is about reform of government and it's about putting government back on the side of the people, and that has much to do with foreign policy and national security issues.
Let me speak specifically about a credential that I do bring to this table, Charlie, and that's with the energy independence that I've been working on for these years as the governor of this state that produces nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy, that I worked on as chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, overseeing the oil and gas development in our state to produce more for the United States.
What I bring in terms of that credential is the know-how, how we can get to energy independence and a greater security for our nation by producing more domestically, by becoming less and less reliant on foreign sources of energy, those being controlled by regimes that do not necessarily like America.
GIBSON: You don't think we're ever going to reach energy independence, do you?
PALIN: We absolutely can, Charlie. But it's not just...
GIBSON: We consume, Governor, 25 percent of the world's energy and we have three percent of the world's natural resources. Now, you can't get to energy independence...
PALIN: You're talking about...
GIBSON: Not even the oil companies believe that.
PALIN: You're talking about a small percentage of nonrenewable resources in petroleum and in hydrocarbon. What we need to start focusing on -- and that's what I've done as governor here, also, and it's via funding hundreds of millions of dollars towards alternative energy projects, conservation, weatherization, those things that Americans should be doing right now to wean ourselves off the conventional sources of energy.
It's going to take an all together approach to get us towards that energy independence. Now, if, in the near future, we still are not there -- and you're right, Charlie, it's going to take decades before America actually gets there where we are not looking at our allies to be working with us on energy production to help energize our economy and energize our globe. But we've got to take the steps today to get us on that right path, and that's what we've done here in the state of Alaska.
GIBSON: National security is a lot more than energy. Let me ask you, have you ever given any kind of a command decision to the Alaskan National Guard?
PALIN: We have called up National Guardsmen to help in other states who have gone in emergency status, we have assisted there. But, Charlie, there is an inherent link between energy and national security.
GIBSON: I know, I'm just saying that national security is a whole lot more than energy.
PALIN: It is, but I want you to not lose sight of the fact that energy is a foundation of national security. It's that important. It's that significant. And when we are a country at war today, some reason for war is because these regimes use energy sources as a weapon. It makes absolutely no sense to embrace the status quo and just stay on the path that we are on now and not lead us, our country, toward that energy independence that will secure our nation.
GIBSON: Did you ever travel outside the country prior to your trip to Kuwait and Germany last year?
PALIN: Canada, Mexico, and then, yes, that trip, that was the trip of a lifetime to visit our troops in Kuwait and stop and visit our injured soldiers in Germany. That was the trip of a lifetime and it changed my life.
GIBSON: Have you ever met a foreign head of state?
PALIN: There in the state of Alaska, our international trade activities bring in many leaders of other countries.
GIBSON: And all governors deal with trade delegations.
GIBSON: Who act at the behest of their governments.
PALIN: Right, right.
GIBSON: I'm talking about somebody who's a head of state, who can negotiate for that country. Ever met one?
PALIN: I have not and I think if you go back in history and if you ask that question of many vice presidents, they may have the same answer that I just gave you. But, Charlie, again, we've got to remember what the desire is in this nation at this time. It is for no more politics as usual and somebody's big, fat resume maybe that shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment, where, yes, they've had opportunities to meet heads of state.
What we need in this country is a change from politics as usual. We've traveled around this country together, John McCain and I, in this last -- these last couple of weeks and it has been overwhelming to me that confirmation of the message that I have been believing in for years as a local elected official, then a state official, and now running on a national ticket, that message of confirmation that Americans are getting sick and tired of that self-dealing and kind of that closed door, good old boy network that has been the Washington elite.
That is the change that people want and it was confirmed to me in these last couple of weeks of travel.