Impatient ABC, NBC Lecture 'Less Relevant' Palin: Stop 'Crying Wolf'

The NBC and ABC morning shows on Friday indicated a growing impatience with not knowing Sarah Palin's presidential plans. NBC's Chuck Todd declared of the Labor Day holiday, "I think one thing about Sarah Palin is that this is her last weekend to cry wolf, essentially."

Over on Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos talked to reporter John Berman and insisted, "But, as you point out, the longer she stays out [of the 2012 race], actually, the less relevant she becomes."

The ex-Alaska governor will be visiting New Hampshire and Iowa over the long weekend. Berman expressed bewilderment about Palin's intentions, endorsing a late night comedian's insults: "Maybe the comics have the best idea of what she's doing.

He then played a clip of host Jimmy Kimmel dismissing, "Sarah Palin says she's studying a possible presidential bid still. She says she's weighing all of her option, should be ready to make a decision by December of 2012."

Speaking of Palin, NBC's Todd lectured Palin to reveal her motives: "She needs to do something. She can't just simply say, "'Hey, I'm still thinking about it.' This race will pass her by if that's it."

CBS's Early Show had no coverage of Palin's political plans.

A transcript of the September 2 Today segment can be found below:

07:02am EDT

MATT LAUER: David Gregory is moderator of Meet the Press. Chuck Todd is NBC's political director and chief White House correspondent. Gentlemen, good morning to both of you.

DAVID GREGORY: Morning, Matt.

CHUCK TODD: Morning.

LAUER: David, let me start with you- and don't pretend you don't know- Is Sarah Palin running?

GREGORY: [laughs] I'm going to keep on pretending because the whole political world is not able to do anything but pretend whether or not we know. Look, she's keeping herself viable. But one thing that's true, Matt, is that the space she would occupy right now is where Rick Perry is and where Michele Bachmann is, the populist Tea Party candidates. One thing that may keep her wanting to get in is to see how fast Rick Perry got to the top of the polls.

LAUER: You can delay a decision but even if you're delaying your decision behind the scenes you need to be laying the groundwork for an effective campaign. Are there any signs that she's doing that?

GREGORY: No. Other than the fact that she has a lot of grass roots appeal. Not laying a foundation in terms of getting ready on the issues, overcoming her own negatives from 2008, raising money and putting the infrastructure in place to make a serious run.

LAUER: All right. Chuck, if she gets in, who is likely to get out first? David just mentioned a couple of names of people occupying the same space.

TODD: Well, I wouldn't say those two candidates would be getting out first. I think one thing about Sarah Palin is that this is her last weekend to cry wolf, essentially. She needs to do something. She can't just simply say, "Hey, I'm still thinking about it." This race will pass her by if that's it.

If she's really going to get in this race, she has to signal that in a much more stronger words than she has in the past. But the candidates that I think right now are flailing and are in desperation mode potentially and I think we'll see it at our debate next week, Rick Santorum, conservative former senator from Pennsylvania and Jon Huntsman who we saw with another campaign shake-up a bit in New Hampshire. He can't get off the ground. And he's going to be, I think, throwing a lot of punches on Wednesday to try to at least breakthrough a little bit.

LAUER: Yeah. Speaking of that debate on Wednesday, David, it's the first debate including Rick Perry. How does he change the dynamic?

GREGORY: Well, somebody's got to start to take some shots. As I said, he occupies this space of the Tea Party candidate, the more conservative candidate, the non-establishment candidate. We don't know what the Republican primary voters are going to do, whether they're going to go for somebody a lot more conservative or for the established candidate, which voters have gone for in the past. If you're Mitt Romney, if you're Michele Bachmann, you want to draw some blood here politically speaking in this debate and not keep a hands-off approach. Mitt Romney has done a lot to stay below the radar. I think it's time for that to end.

LAUER: All right. So, that happens next Wednesday. Then let's go forward a day, Chuck, to Thursday when the President will address the Congress on jobs creation. Do we know what kind of plans he's going to lay out? Will there be common ground with Republicans or are we in for debt ceiling debate two?

TODD: Well, it's not going to be debt ceiling debate two. It's going to be a combination of things, I'm told. One is they keep using this phrase "that traditionally has gotten bipartisan support" when they talk about the various ideas the President's going to support. What does that mean? It probably means a lot of front-loading some money for transportation products, things like that. But I suspect that the White House believes about a third of what they offer actually has a chance of passing, about two-thirds does not, and then that lays the groundwork for the fall campaign. I mean, in many ways, they fully expect that that's the reaction they get from House Republicans, Matt.

— Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.