Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska who ran alongside Senator John McCain as a vice presidential candidate in 2008, is back on the campaign trail. This time, though, she's traveling the country campaigning for and endorsing other candidates who are running for Congress in this year's midterm elections.
So far, it seems Palin's efforts have been successful. Out of 43 candidates she's endorsed in primary elections this year, 25 have won and 11 have lost. Palin supports candidates who hold conservative political views similar to her own: less government involvement in citizens' lives, lower taxes and social policies based around "family values." She produced an Internet video earlier this year called "Mama Grizzlies," which is her term for conservative woman candidates, and has also made extensive use of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter in gaining support for candidates.
All of Palin's efforts in this year's elections have fueled speculations that she might be gearing up for a presidential run in 2012. She hasn't confirmed or denied that theory, instead saying that for now, her focus is on electing strong conservative leaders in November.
The first 3 minutes of this video discusses Palin's role in the midterm election, and the rest is a conversation with political analysts about Palin's influence.
"Here in Alaska, I always think of the mama grizzly bears that rise up on their hind legs when somebody's coming to attack their cubs, to do something adverse toward their cubs. If you thought pit bulls were tough, well, you don't want to mess with the mama grizzlies." - Sarah Palin
"For the first time really in her political career, she is acting on her own. She is not John McCain's sidekick. She is like leading the charge in endorsing some of these candidates and really bringing them to the fore." - Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
"She's not following a script. And I think she likes the fact that she can mix things up and surprise us. When she makes a pick that is not a Tea Party, it surprises the media just as much, and we pay equal attention."- Libby Casey, Alaska Public Radio Network
1. Who is Sarah Palin?
2. What are the midterm elections?
3. What is Congress?
4. What is a political endorsement?
1. Why do you think Palin chose the concept of "mama grizzlies" to endorse her candidates? What do you associate with "mama grizzlies?"
2. Based on what you saw in the video, why do you think Palin's endorsements have been successful so far? What is she doing differently from mainstream candidates and endorsers?
3. Why do you think Palin is such an intriguing political figure for the media and for the public? How does she stand out from other politicians?
4. How might the use of social media change how a political campaign is organized and run?