Sarah Palin Debuts as a Fox News Contributor

The former Alaska governor discussed Sen. Harry Reid, President Obama, and Iran.

January 12, 2010, 7:06 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2010— -- In her debut tonight as a FOX News channel analyst, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin didn't waste any time in attacking her detractors, and taking issue with what she said were "lies" about her.

She fired back at critics of her performance as John McCain's running mate in the 2008 presidential campaign, and kept up her ongoing attacks on the Obama administration.

Palin, 45, said she'd been warned not to watch a recent "60 Minutes" interview with McCain campaign strategist Steve Schmidt.

During the interview, Schmidt claimed Palin didn't know the difference between North and South Korea. Palin called that a lie.

"Yes, that surprised me," Palin told host Bill O'Reilly on FOX's "The O'Reilly Factor." "I hadn't seen the '60 Minutes' thing. I had been warned, you know, don't watch. It's a bunch of B.S. from [Steve] Schmidt and from some of those."

She denied Schmidt's claim that she was "in chaos preparing for the debate" with Sen. Joe Biden during the presidential campaign in 2008.

"That is not true. And Steve Schmidt told us how overjoyed he was after the debate, so pleased with the way everything turned out, as he was after the convention," Palin said.

Palin also spoke about the recent controversy surrounding Sen. Harry Reid's remarks that were published in a new book on the 2008 presidential campaign, "Game Change." According to the book, Reid called then-Sen. Barack Obama a "light-skinned" African-American who did not have a "negro dialect unless he wanted to have one."

Palin called Reid's comments "perplexing" and "unfortunate."

"You can't defend those comments. That way of thinking is quite foreign to I think most Americans today," Palin said, adding that she comes from a diverse state and that she is married to an Alaska native.

"I don't believe that he's a racist," Palin said of Reid. "But I don't believe that Trent Lott was a racist, either."

Republicans have called for Reid's resignation, citing the Democratic outcry in 2002 that led Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., to resign from his position as Senate majority leader, after he praised former senator and segregationist Strom Thurmond.

"That hypocrisy is another reason why so many Americans are quite disgusted with the political games that are played, really on both sides of the aisle, but in this case, on the left wing," Palin said.

"That they are playing with this game of racism and kind of letting Harry Reid's comments slide, but having crucified Trent Lott for having essentially, along the same lines, saying the same..."

On President Obama's poll numbers, she said, "Of course, they're sinking. It was just a matter of time before more of that reflection of the people's uncomfortableness that they feel towards this administration is manifesting in these poll numbers."

Palin criticized the Obama's administration's handling of the economy, health care and national security.

"There is an obvious disconnect between President Obama and the White House, what they are doing to our economy and what they are doing in terms of not allowing Americans to feel as safe as we had felt, and people finally saying 'You know, this is not the representative form of government that we thought we had voted in,'" she said.

O'Reilly asked her if she agreed with the administration's approach on Iran, and what she would do.

"The time for talking, that's enough," Palin said, adding that it was time for the United States and its allies to "follow through" on threats of sanctions.

Palin has signed a multiyear deal with Fox, where she will offer political commentary and analysis on its cable news and business channels, Web site and its radio network. She also will host occasional episodes of Fox News' "Real American Stories."

This is Palin's first job after stepping down as Alaska governor in July, and publishing her memoir, "Going Rogue."

O'Reilly welcomed Palin onboard and said she was welcome to "set the record straight" anytime she so wished.

"We'll be doing a lot of that," she replied.

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