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.

Follow Jim Spellman on Twitter


Filed under: Extra • Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. ~~ July ~~ ( Working HARD to make TX Blue )

    Palin and Paul sound good to me too .. but then again Rick Perry wants his own country ................. go figure ... Wacks belong together jajaaaa.

    September 2, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  2. Lila

    Would she be quitting the Tea Party Express early as well?

    September 2, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  3. stormerF

    All you liberals had better watch out if The Tea-Party group gets Sarah Palin to speak with them your Toast.

    September 2, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. Lila

    We should ask every single one of these Tea Partiers to give up Social Security and Medicare.

    Afterall, they are evil socialist programs.

    September 2, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. Brian0901

    It would take a moron to lead morons.

    September 2, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  6. Russ in limbo

    Palin is just what this bunch of fools need YOU BETCHA wink wink

    September 2, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. Farrell in Houston

    Ask Governor of Texas Rick Perry, he along with Palin will fit in just fine. They both believe in succession while our men and women from Texas and Alaska serve in the military. Won't that be a great homecoming for them to find they are no longer a part of the United States they serve and protect.

    September 2, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. Lila

    If these people were truly worried about Socialist takeover, the battle cry might look something more like this:

    "No more Postal Service. No more Public Services. No more Public School. No more Libraries. No more Government Employees outside of Government. No more grants to college kids. No more Social Security. No more Medicare. Etc. Etc. Etc."

    The fact they are so concerned about government takeover yet fail to mention all these wonderful benefits they enjoy...it makes no sense to me! Is Logic really that overrated?

    September 2, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. Ken in Gainesville

    Oh boy! The biggest whiners and malcontents meeting to date. More time to trash the United States in their fantasy of "limited" government. Right! With the US population at 300 million (and growing) and all our international and domestic trade, not to mention the global economic and environmental problems (and oh those pesky terriorists), these "patriots" think they are going back to the 18th Century with no government. In your dreams, guys and girls, in your dreams! Better hoard your gold under the bed and keep the old blunderbuss handy.

    September 2, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  10. Get Real

    Wow those Tea Party crazies must like nuts with their Tea!

    September 2, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  11. Sandy Carey

    PERFECT! Keep all the wacko net jobs in one nice little place! God, what were you thinking when you created this strain of genetically deficient beings called right wing extremists?

    September 2, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  12. Palin has emerged as a favorite daughter

    ho ho ho, har har har

    do it, tea partiers, do it

    this made me fall out of my chair laughing

    that would really make you effective, Palin did so well in the last election, she is sure to help your cause

    ha ha ha, very good, I hope this comes to pass

    September 2, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  13. dan the sensible man

    you guys need to do a story on foxs blogs it seems like half of the responses are about lynching obama

    September 2, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  14. infidel

    Sarah Palin in 2012 for what President of the United States? The last I heard that was a four year term.

    September 2, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  15. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Its a shame,these people never got beyond the fifth grade.

    September 2, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  16. victim of republican greed

    The health care industry probably does not have enough money to buy Palin's support. Either Sanford or DeMint of S. C. would probably be willing to provide direction, they get no respect and no one listens to them now.

    September 2, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  17. kevin

    Thank God! For a moment I thought people would take these nutty rednecks seriously. Now that they have her aboard this whole issue will swirl back down the tubes and onto shortwave radio yelling matches where it came from.

    September 2, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  18. J

    Be afraid! Be very afraid! Palin might quit if she doesn't see being a Tea bagging party leader is her cup of tea

    September 2, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  19. Jay T.

    I hope she gets many teabags.

    September 2, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  20. Ben

    I think Palin would be the perfect politician to represent these buffoons.

    September 2, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  21. Allen from Texas

    She has to earn the title... what would one possibly have to do to earn the title of "Leader of the Tea Party Express". ineffective political advocates looking for an ineffective leader... makes sense to me too!

    September 2, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  22. Just the facts please

    Pssst,Jesus was a Liberal, not a Corporate Fascist with a mindless,heartless following.

    September 2, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  23. AmFem

    Teabaggers already have no credibility... so it sounds to me like she's the perfect leader! Have at it, Sarah! This movement, along with the "birthers" is downright laughable.

    September 2, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  24. Florida Joe

    SURE add one more MORON to the trip...............Maybe she can join up after Todd gets Alaska to leave the Union....what a bunch of looney tunes..............

    September 2, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    First, if Palin makes any kind of commitment, there's no guarantee she'll show (she can't manage her own schedule), or if she does come, she'll probably leave early (she's been known to quit).

    Second, she knows how to wink and smile, but she's not much of a thinker, so you'll probably have to explain to her what the original "tea party" was all about (that is, if you guys can figure it out; you do remember the protest was about taxation without representation ... yes, we pay taxes, but we have a representative government .... voting, and all that).

    Third, just be warned: If a better gig comes along, she'll drop you like a hot potato.

    September 2, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8