September 2nd, 2009
10:53 PM ET
5 years ago

Looking for a leader, Tea Partiers issue invite to Palin

’Draft Sarah Palin 2012’ T-shirts for sale.
’Draft Sarah Palin 2012’ T-shirts for sale.

EL PASO, Texas (CNN) - As the Tea Party Express makes its way across the country, Sarah Palin has emerged as a favorite daughter of the movement, and organizers have invited her to join the tour - or at least come to the final stop in the nation's capital.

The bus is scheduled to end its nationwide journey in Washington on Saturday, September 12.

"We've been in touch with her people, letting her know the response that we've gotten. She's very suportive of the movement," says Joe Wierzbicki, one of the organizers traveling on the Tea Party Express.

So far, no politician has emerged as a leader of the Tea Party movement – and the question of just who might eventually take up the mantle is a hot topic on the bus. Nobody may be better positioned than Palin - but organizers, some of the most motivated members of the conservative base, still say she'll need to earn that title.

"Right now there's a handful of people who strike a chord with the tea party base, and she is certainly one of those people," says Wierzbicki. "Whether or not she emerges as one of those leaders, that's between her and the American people."

Sal Russo, another organizer of the Tea Party Express, launched his career in conservative politics working for Ronald Reagan's California gubernatorial campaign in 1966.

Russo thinks Palin might emerge as a leader of the Tea Party movement – but she'll have to earn that title first.

"I think it's a possibility," he says. "When the election was over in November, I think her support was a lot stronger than it is today. She's got to kind of get her act together, and develop a presence with the public that inspires some confidence.

"She could be the kind of person that becomes the leader of the Tea Party movement, but she hasn't done anything yet to assume that role."

At tea party protests, Palin's is the name heard most often amongst participants. In El Paso, Texas Wednesday, the crowd chanted "Sar-rah, Sar-rah." One hot item: "Draft Sarah Palin 2012" t-shirts.

Tom and Susan Mendez came to the tea party in Albuquerque looking for a leader. They have two homes in foreclosure. Tom, a general contractor, is having trouble finding work.

"This movement needs direction," he told CNN. He said he fears the concerns of the tea partiers may not be heard in Washington.

"They're not getting the message from us, so they need to get the message from someone. Maybe Sarah Palin."

His wife Susan lit up at the mention of Palin's name. She voted for Ron Paul last year, and has a dream ticket in mind.

"Palin and Paul sound good to me," she said.

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Filed under: Extra • Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. ALEX

    Republican losers running after another loser. Too funny!

    September 3, 2009 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  2. Gail

    The wicked witch from wasilla, the bully and her posse. She is a spoiled brat who didn't get to play with the other kids in D.C. and is now in an everlasting temper tantrum.

    September 3, 2009 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  3. oxbobend

    We have to ask the media to stop reporting the fringes. It's time for you to start talking what "middle America" wants. Stop reciting the Kennedys on the one hand and the Palin's on the other. All of the rest of us are right here in the middle, of course, which stands for nothing,. The middle stands for rational and logical thinking, not fringe extremism. I want the greenies to stop putting nails in the trees, I want the rightous to stop killing abortion doctors. Isn't it time we all started pushing in the same direction?

    September 3, 2009 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  4. Nick

    Palin's way too expensive for the Tea Partiers, she takes nothing below $100,000 per appearance. If she ever shows up.

    September 3, 2009 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  5. Rick in Denton

    I'm sure she does strike a chord with those people. And that would be a diminished chord...........

    September 3, 2009 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  6. mike

    I am amazed at the stupidity of the left. You mock Sarah Palin, yet worship a complete idiot like uhbama. You libs are truly arrogant, idiotic, lower life forms. You disgust me.

    September 3, 2009 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  7. Rene

    I for one am amazed and at the same time concerned by these creatively disturbed individuals and the idiots that push for this type of crazy! The threats towards our president, the continued damage to healthcare reform that has once again been distorted and distracted by these retarded so called americans! I support healthcare reform WITH a public option..it's what we voted our president into office for and why we have a mass majority of dems in congress! they need to grow a pair and just go at it alone..republicans only care about themselves, winning elections and destroying this country..they show it time and time again! I just don't get how our president's approval ratings keep dropping...i know why, cuz people in this country (mostly independents and moderate republicans) are easily fooled which the reason we got bush for 8 years!!! it's happening AGAIN america! don't let these idiots fool you!

    September 3, 2009 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  8. Mike G

    Hahahaha! I see Obama has his minions spamming the message board. All those green jobs can't go to waste. Have to try to smear Palin at every turn.

    You don't think the public can see what you are doing? It's about the only transparent thing you guys are doing.

    Nearly EVERY Dem incumbent will be voted out in 2010. Watch.

    September 3, 2009 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
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