Monday's NBC Today was quick to seize on Sarah Palin ending her tenure as a contributor for Fox News, with correspondent Kelly O'Donnell announcing: "Sarah Palin has people guessing again this morning...After a breakup that seemed unlikely between the former governor and her conservative home at Fox News."
O'Donnell remarked that Palin had "carved out an unusual space, at the intersection of politics, celebrity, and pop culture," followed by a clip of comedian Tina Fey mocking the former Republican vice presidential candidate. O'Donnell then observed that "Palin's main gig is over."
Using Palin's move to portray waning significance, O'Donnell declared: "While some Tea Party candidates Palin championed won in 2012, like Senators Ted Cruz and Deb Fisher, many observers say both Palin and the Tea Party movement have lost influence....The Republican Party has its own job, trying to retool its brand and broaden its appeal, with a place for Palin unclear."
Here is a full transcript of O'Donnell's January 28 report:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Sarah Palin says the door is wide open when it comes to her long-term plans after parting ways with Fox News. But does the former Republican vice presidential candidate already have her next move mapped out? NBC's Kelly O'Donnell takes a look at that for us. And Kelly, good morning to you.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Palin, Out; What's Next After Her Departure From Fox News?]
KELLY O'DONNELL: Good morning, Savannah. Well, Sarah Palin has people guessing again this morning. No, it's not about will she or won't she run for office, but simply what will she do next? After a breakup that seemed unlikely between the former governor and her conservative home at Fox News.
SARAH PALIN: Here's a little news flash for those reporters and commentators.
O'DONNELL: In the four years and five months since Sarah Palin jolted the political world, she carved out an unusual space, at the intersection of politics...
SARAH PALIN: Only dead fish go with the flow.
O'DONNELL: ...celebrity and pop culture.
TINA FEY [AS PALIN]: The only poll I care about is the North Pole, and that is melting.
MATT LAUER [PALIN'S TODAY APPEARANCE]: See, she's doing her homework.
O'DONNELL: Even husband Todd is on the current cover of Alaska magazine. But Palin's main gig is over.
MARK HALPERIN [TIME SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST]: She now wants to be more of an outsider. She wants to pose as someone who's different than Fox.
O'DONNELL: Fox News said, "We have thoroughly enjoyed our association with Governor Palin and wish her the best." Palin turned to the conservative website Breitbart to hint at her future, saying, "I know the country needs more truth telling in the media and I'm willing to do that. So, we shall see."
While some Tea Party candidates Palin championed won in 2012, like Senators Ted Cruz and Deb Fisher, many observers say both Palin and the Tea Party movement have lost influence. New GOP stars are on the rise and more visible. On Meet the Press, Palin's successor as VP candidate, Paul Ryan, on his 2016 prospects:
PAUL RYAN: I think it's just premature.
O'DONNELL: The Republican Party has its own job, trying to retool its brand and broaden its appeal, with a place for Palin unclear.
HALPERIN: And Sarah Palin has so much star power, that it's possible that she can be at least part of the conversation, if not a dominant figure in the Republican Party.
O'DONNELL: So we know Sarah Palin has both loyal supporters and very vocal critics. Sources close to her say that Fox News did offer a contract, obviously they didn't come to terms, and that she does plan to stay a part of the national conversation. And with this move, she's saying she's taking her own advice by, quote, "Jumping out of the comfort zone." Savannah.
GUTHRIE: Alright, Kelly O'Donnell in Washington, thank you.