Palin: Cruz mailer 'shamed' voters

Story highlights

  • "They were shamed. They and their neighbors being sent report cards saying, you know, 'You got an F because you didn't vote. You didn't do what we think you should have done,'" Palin said
  • "We need that fresh, energetic, can-do spirit that Trump has brought with him from the private sector, which I love," Palin said in explaining her backing of Trump over Cruz

Washington (CNN)Sarah Palin told CNN's Jake Tapper on Monday that she took issue with recent mailers distributed by Ted Cruz's campaign to "shame" Iowa voters into caucusing, adding that it "wasn't a tough decision" to back Donald Trump over the Texas senator.

The letters, which came to light over the weekend, gave the recipients, along with their neighbors, poor grades based on their individual voting history. On one side, the mailer reads: "ELECTION ALERT: VOTER VIOLATION," "PUBLIC RECORD" and "FURTHER ACTION NEEDED." To boost voters' scores, the mailer says, they need to get out and vote.
"What I've been concerned about is what the Cruz campaign has done to previous voters, potential voters, who weren't able to make it to a caucus, maybe because it's a difficult process," Palin told Tapper on "The Lead."
    "They were shamed. They and their neighbors being sent report cards saying, you know, 'You got an F because you didn't vote. You didn't do what we think you should have done,'" Palin added. "That, to me, is very reflective of politicians thinking that they know best or that they know the intricacies of your life so they can make decisions for you. So that's what I've been concerned about with this whole caucus process."
    Palin added that the mailers were "very offensive" and said they were part of an effort to "intimidate" voters.
    "I think that's very shameful," Palin said.
    Asked about the mailers on Saturday, Cruz was defiant.
    "I will apologize to no one for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote," he told reporters in Sioux City, Iowa.
    Last month, Palin endorsed Trump, a boost for the billionaire in his tight race with Cruz in Iowa, where she remains a popular figure with conservatives. Tapper asked Palin on Monday what made her change her mind from December, when she told the CNN anchor she was torn between the two leading Republicans.
    "(The choice) became much less difficult once some inconsistencies started coming out about Cruz's position on amnesty, on building that wall (along the Mexican border), and securing our jobs and our homes via tighter borders," Palin said.
    "You know, I just started looking a little bit closer and realizing we just don't need more of the same. We need that fresh, energetic, can-do spirit that Trump has brought with him from the private sector, which I love. So yeah, end of the day, it wasn't a tough decision."

    'Glad that he's seen the light'

    Throughout the race, Trump's opponents have questioned his conservative credentials, but Palin said she was confident in his anti-abortion rights stances.
    "I am so glad that Mr. Trump has seen the light and understands the sanctity of innocent life," Palin said. "I'm glad that he's seen the light. And others, too -- conservatives today who have perhaps gone through their own personal issues or situations that have allowed them to understand what the pro-life movement and our beliefs really are."
    Palin also opened up about her son Track's experiences with post-traumatic stress disorder, saying Monday she wants the next president to understand what military families like hers go through.
    "Our soldiers, a lot of our troops, they do go through so much," she said. "And I haven't been shy about telling people that, 'Yeah, our family goes through that, too.' We're like so many other families in America. And it really, to me, sheds light on the need for the American public to understand how important it is that the leaders of this country respect our troops and what they go through and what they bring home from the battlefield."
    Last year, Palin told Tapper she would be interested leading the Department of Energy in a potential Trump administration so she could eliminate the agency. But Palin on Monday made it clear she wasn't asking Trump for any favors.
    "I've been very, very clear with him that I'm not asking for anything," she said. "He's in a position in life, I'm sure, where he is asked every day ... from everybody for something. And I'm not going to be one of those asking for anything."