Ronan Farrow Daily   |  April 28, 2014

'Mama grizzlies' unite in Iowa

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was in Iowa Sunday stumping for Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst. NBC's Kasie Hunt and The Washington Post's Robert Costa discuss.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back, it's time for spring and state fairs and on the campaign trail, that must mean it is time for sarah. sarah palin was in iowa stumping for joni earnst.

>> watch out washington, she's a momma grizzly ready to take a stand against the russian bear . that's what the mama grizzlies are doing, protecting next generation of americans knowing what it takes to slap back the threats, the let's to the next generation.

>> the woman who gave us this memorable campaign ad .

>> i grew up castrating hogs on an iowa farm. when i get to washington, i'll know how to cut pork. cut wasteful spending and balance the budget. i'm joni ernst and i approve this message. let's make them squeal.

>> palin naturally had some pig puns of her own at the ready.

>> she, won who grew up castrating hogs, she will know just how to make the big spending piggies there squeal. d.c. knows pork products but never seen anything like joni ernst.

>> oh, boy, joining me now are two reporters who covered this event, casey hunt and robert costa . you have interesting reporting about how exactly how palin came to endorse her if the first pla place.

>> there's a lot of mystery to decide who she's going to endorse. they met some years ago and joni said she had been impressed by sarah palin and they reached out to palin 's team and asked for the endorsement. palin has made a significant difference in republican primaries and has a fairly good track record of picking especially women candidates, backed up fisher in nebraska and nikki haley in south carolina . didn't hear much of anything until they released the ard you just showed. very quickly after that sarah palin 's team loved the ad and were excited about it and wanted to endorse her.

>> evidence that candidate are still reaching for her support. robert , you had a fascinating piece in the "post" where you reported how thin the crowd was that came up for palin . you said, quote, palin is a diminished figure in the republican party , even as she travels to iowa and elsewhere to bolster hand picked candidates, he cli eclipsed by a new cast of stars. is she fading from the radar do you think?

>> i think she is. it was evident in iowa yesterday, though she has a lot of fans and does have some support, you're seeing a lot of conservative base in the republican party looking to new stars, ted cruz , mike lee , rand paul, mike huk abee and these are the people who are really in that space winning a lot of favor.

>> and what does she have to do at this point to make a comeback?

>> well, it doesn't seem like she's going to run for president in 2016 . she's busy with her own tv show on the sportsman's channel and does these kind of sporadic political travels. to come back, she's going to have to show some kind of serious message on policy to try to wade into the debate more on capitol hill . as we saw in recent comments at the nra convention, we're not -- i'm not so sure about where palin wants to go and not so sure she knows exactly where she fits right now within the republican party .

>> there's a sense --

>> in the meantime she's making a lot of endorsements.

>> with all of her projects, almost the political stumping is reinforcing political endeavors. casey , let's go into actual politics, how she's strained from the mainstream, some comments about jeb bush actually to you. you asked her about those immigration comments that he had made. let's take a listen.

>> do you think governor jeb bush , what do you think of his act of love comment?

>> i think that anybody who breaks a law in america as their first action putting their first foot on our homeland illegally, it may be an act of love from their heart but it's illegal and they are called illegal immigrants for a reason.

>> what do you make of that answer, casey ?

>> there's -- this issue has been a difficult one with the republican base in particular as the national party tries to wrestle with broadening appeal to hispanics. in this case there are a lot of talk radio listeners and others who led backlash against marco rubio when he backed the comprehensive immigration bill . you're seeing that in the sent. to the reaction to bush's comments. if you talk to the lawmakers who have been at the forefront over the tousle what to do over immigration reform , i was down in south carolina with lindsay graham , been a participant in the endeavors and worried for a long time about drawing a primary challenge in part because of his efforts on the immigration bill . if you talk to him and talk to voters down in south carolina , the issue is actually sounds like it's more neutralized than it was this time two or four years ago. i think it's going to be an interesting next election cycle to see how aggressive the split on immigration continues to be or if there's calming down about it.

>> it seems like regardless, sarah palin will not be the king maker in that debate. what did todd palin have to say about this? you spoke to him recently?

>> i spoke to him briefly. it was an interesting moment. standing at the back of the room and casey said hello at well. he's alone watching the whole scene unfold, half full ball room in west des moines .

>> he's with her at these spots, integral to her team?

>> yeah.

>> gate keeper .

>> that's right, i think been a gate keeper . he's a friendly guy but it's interesting to think, ronan, six years ago, in the summer of '08, heights of national politics and now she's in iowa , still in the mix but it's certainly a different type of political stat tour for the former alaska governor .

>> on that point --

>> casey ?

>> i'm sorry, ronan. robert is absolutely right. i was with sarah palin at the iowa state fair back in 2011 and she was absolutely mobbed. it was impossible to get close to her. it was reporters, 25 deep. the contrast between that and what we saw, what robert and i saw in iowa was quite frankly stunning.

>> she has mega watt star power and at the primary phase a lot of utility to when she throws her hat into a race. well, up next, stick around, both of you, we're going to weigh in on heroes and zeros today, one involving whether one of us can get any lower? i'm looking at you donald sterling . and the other involving whether some of us can get any higher. i promise it will make