As broadcast news programs over the weekend gave attention to Sarah Palin's bus tour which was viewed as a possible prelude to a presidential run, NBC correspondent John Harwood had one of the most negative views of the former Alaska governor's chances of being elected President as he appeared on Sunday's NBC Nightly News and predicted that she "has next to zero chance of being elected President."
He went on to declare that most Republicans want her out of the race: "I think what Republicans hope most is that Sarah Palin clarifies before too long that she's not going to get into this race."
Below is a transcript of the relevant exchange from the Sunday, May 29, NBC Nightly News:
LESTER HOLT: John, she's got us all talking which is probably certainly part of what Sarah Palin is looking for right now, but does this go beyond just PR for a TV personality? Or are we watching the beginnings of a campaign for President?
JOHN HARWOOD: I think there's a good chance that what she's simply doing is preserving her voice and her brand. The first thing to know about Sarah Palin is she has - given her negatives nationally in this country - she has next to zero chance of being elected President, probably can't even be elected to win the Republican nomination. But what she could do - as my friend (Republican strategist) Alex (Castellanos) suggested in Kristen's piece - is deny someone else like Tim Pawlenty the opportunity to consolidate support on the right as an alternative to the establishment front-runner, and that's Mitt Romney.
HOLT: Well, she's sucking up a lot of oxygen in the room right now, just after we finished watching the Donald Trump will he or won't he game. So what does that mean for the rest of the Republican pack, the folks who have declared they want to run?
HARWOOD: Donald Trump lent an air of chaos to the Republican race. They don't need any more of that. Republicans also don't need to absorb Sarah Palin's national negatives in this race. I think what Republicans hope most is that Sarah Palin clarifies before too long that she's not going to get into this race, but what we know is the same rules don't apply to her as apply to other people. She's so well-known, has so much influence and clout on the right, she could get in much later than a political candidate.
- Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center