Tales From the Trail: Trolling Ted Cruz in Nevada

Want to know what the NBC News Embeds saw? Follow their daily journey to the inside of the 2016 presidential campaign here:

PAHRUMP, Nev. -- The chair of the House Oversight Committee stood in a white dress shirt and slacks in the back of a Best Western parking lot here on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

“I just happened to be in the neighborhood,” said a smiling Jason Chaffetz, a Republican congressman from Utah who would likely have very little reason to be meandering through the western town surrounded by a vast desert.

But in actuality, Chaffetz is a backer and surrogate for Marco Rubio. And on this day, he drove to the city that sits an hour outside of Vegas to attend the Ted Cruz rally taking place in a parking lot.

“I’m offering a little oversight, a little perspective,” Chaffetz added as reporters began to huddle around him.

A woman walked by Chaffetz, recognized him and told him: “It’s always nice to hear you, though. But not about Rubio.”

“Fair enough,” Chaffetz said with an awkward chuckle.

A few moments later, Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for Cruz, walked across the parking lot to make a cordial, good-natured offer.

“Congressman, do you want to come see the senator?” Frazier asked – also smiling. “We’d like to make the case why you should come onto the Cruz campaign.”

Chaffetz – appearing to look at least a little out of place – responded in a seemingly good-natured way.

“Really? You want me to go up and talk to him and have that little debate with him right now?” Chaffetz asked back.

Frazier, embracing the moment, said, “Yeah, why not? It’d be great.”

Chaffetz politely declined the offer– though still smiling and holding two thumbs up: “No, I don’t want to interrupt his event, but I do want to offer some perspective.”

Chaffetz joins the likes of other Rubio congressional backers, including Reps. Darrell Issa and Mike Pompeo, to troll the outskirts of Cruz events in the last week.

-- Vaughn Hillyard covering the Cruz campaign