NBC's Curry Whines About Palin's 'Bad Relationship' With Media, 'Not Playing Well' With GOP

Updated with video

On Wednesday's NBC Today, fill-in co-host Ann Curry fretted over Sarah Palin not sucking up to the press, complaining "[she] seems to delight in having a bad relationship with what she calls the 'lamestream media.'" Curry added that Palin was "angering some Republicans as well, about this tour, by not notifying them ahead of time." [Audio available here]

Curry discussed Palin's bus tour with former Republican National Committee Chairman and newly named MSNBC political analyst Michael Steele. She further pushed the idea that Palin was alienating fellow Republicans: "The Republican chairman of Pennsylvania says the lack of information is irking many GOP leaders in the states Palin is expected to visit. Could not playing well with her team backfire for Sarah Palin?"

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Steele explained Palin's outreach strategy: "She has her Twitter network, she has her Facebook network, she has that social connection to the grassroots out there. They know when she's coming, she tells them directly, they show up and that's all that matters to her." A flabbergasted Curry exclaimed: "You're saying she doesn't need the Republican Party when she – if she actually is going to make this run as she moves ahead?...Doesn't she want to have – be on good relations with the Republican Party?"

Steele rejected Curry's melodramatic declaration: "No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying if you're going to run an unconventional campaign you're not going to go through the check box of, 'I've got to go notify so and so what my plans are going to be and get the – get the okay'....She's not an establishment creature, she's not conforming to the ways you traditionally do it. Her connection is directly to her base, to those activists out there who support her, not necessarily the leadership."


Here is a full transcript of Curry's June 1 discussion with Steele:

7:10AM ET

ANN CURRY: MSNBC political analyst Michael Steele is the former chairman of the Republican National Committee. Michael, good morning.

MICHAEL STEELE: Good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Palin's Pizza Party; Is a Presidential Run on the Menu?]

CURRY: She's calling this her 'One Nation Tour.' If Sarah Palin is not running, what is she doing, Michael?

STEELE: I think Mike had it about right. I think she's out there testing the water, I think she's experimenting with the limits to which she can take an unconventional presidential bid, should she decide to choose – to do that. You know, that's really kind of been her M.O. I mean she certainly has the ability still to draw the large crowds and to really, you know, put the press in a sort of a twitter, if you will. And I think that that is all part of the unfolding story, if you will, of Sarah Palin over the summer.

The one thing on her side right now is time. I think in a very unconventional way she can approach at least the early stages of a presidential bid in an unconventional manner because time is on her side. Because she knows she can still draw those crowds, she can get the press to write the story. Favorably or unfavorably. It doesn't really matter to her as long as the story is there and that is part of the narrative.

CURRY: Part of the narrative this morning is this pizza night with Donald Trump. I'm wondering, how much does a Trump endorsement mean to Republicans at this point?

STEELE: More broadly speaking, I mean I really don't think it has that kind of an impact, than let's say a President Bush endorsement would have, obviously. And I think that in terms of Donald Trump, a lot of the establishment here in Washington D.C. see that effort as sort of a sideshow. But out there, you know, among grassroots activists there was a very concerted effort to get behind him and his effort. And I think that there will be those who do pay some attention to who he supports or who he tips his hat to. And clearly the dinner with Sarah Palin caused a lot of excitement and a lot of interest and that possibility, with respect to her potential candidacy. But I think, more broadly speaking, it's not as strong as it would have been had he stayed a little bit more in the campaign and had issues that really drove the debate.

CURRY: At the same time, Palin seems to delight in having a bad relationship with what she calls the 'lamestream media.' And she's angering some Republicans as well, about this tour, by not notifying them ahead of time. The Republican chairman of Pennsylvania says the lack of information is irking many GOP leaders in the states Palin is expected to visit. Could not playing well with her team backfire for Sarah Palin?

STEELE: Not really, because Sarah Palin is not about notifying the head of the party or a political leader in a given state about her whereabouts. She has her Twitter network, she has her Facebook network, she has that social connection to the grassroots out there. They know when she's coming, she tells them directly, they show up and that's all that matters to her.

CURRY: You're saying she doesn't need the Republican Party when she – if she actually is going to make this run

STEELE: No, I'm not-

CURRY: -as she moves ahead?

STEELE: No, no, that's not – don't take – No, that's not what I'm-

CURRY: Doesn't she want to have – be on good relations with the Republican Party?

STEELE: No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying if you're going to run an unconventional campaign you're not going to go through the check box of, 'I've got to go notify so and so what my plans are going to be and get the – get the okay.' Those leaders will get that information when she wants them to know it. I understand, you know, a party chairman being a little offput by not getting the heads-up, but that's how Sarah Palin has operated from the very beginning. She's not an establishment creature, she's not conforming to the ways you traditionally do it. Her connection is directly to her base, to those activists out there who support her, not necessarily the leadership. And it doesn't mean that she doesn't need them or does need them. It just means that, for her, the most important part of it is the people, not the leadership.

CURRY: Alright, Michael Steele this morning. Michael, thank you so much for your good perspective on all this.

STEELE: You got it.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC