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. FAYE, NV

    People and some groups will settle for anything. Sara about the dumbest VP pick since when. These groups and some thinks she the smartest person they have ever met. I guess smarts does not play a part in picking the right person for a job.

    September 2, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. jj123

    It amazes me how the conservative right-wingers see Palin as one of them. Palin governed a state that has no state income tax, no state sales tax, no gasoline tax yet funds state government, education, police, etc. and gives a check of $1000 to each citizen every year (sometimes even more). This is all done by taxing the wealthy extremely hard. The energy companies are picking up the tab. This is kind of wealth distribution is socialism better than Karl Marx ever imagined. But I'd be a fool to not want her to implement these policies as president of the US. I'm not rich and I can certainly use the handout.

    September 2, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. Josh in TN

    They just lost. She is the leader of loosers.

    September 2, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. ROTFL

    That is hilarious and perfect for the tea-bagged hypocrisy, considering they started their nonsense at Palin rallies. You betcha ;)

    September 2, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  5. Insurance company employees on the march

    She wants to be the next Robert E.Lee and leader of the New Confederacy.

    September 2, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. Beth

    They are all loosers like she is, what else?

    September 2, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. truthsayer

    Wackos belong with Wackos. How low will she go?

    September 2, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. C.K.

    Gosh, I can't believe how stupid people are. Then again, Texas doesn't exactly have geniuses pouring out of that state, seriously, Bush lives there. I wonder if those Texans can see Alaska from their state; how about Russia? That's about how smart this tea party is, no wonder they want Palin as their leader!

    September 2, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  9. Zak

    definitely a way to get people to take your cause seriously...

    seriously stupid.

    September 2, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  10. CJG

    These people get creepier and creepier , along with radical pastors praying for Obama to get brain cancer , the tea baggers , birthers are attracting more wackos by the day, the ones that can't accept the election results and want to get their way like spoiled brats . I am not surprised they would want Palin to join , igorance breeds ignorance.

    September 2, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  11. Georgia

    Sarah Palin would be the PERFECT LEADER for this bunch of Anti-American MORON'S!!!!!

    September 2, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  12. Doraine Gordon

    I doubt the Tea Party Express can pay Palin enough to get on the bus. She only works for big bucks nowadays. She left public service along with the title of Governor in Alaska. Once she saw how much money could be made in big boy politics she jumped on it. How can anyone in their right mind even consider her for anything? The woman read a speech written for her by a former Bush speechwriter. She didn't go to the moon. All of a sudden she has all the right wingers at her feet singing her praises. These folks are just as nutty as she is!!

    September 2, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  13. Gene

    If they're looking for Palin to be their leader.. then they have conceded already that they are no threat to anyone.

    September 2, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  14. JHG

    How lost are these people to think Sarah Palin can provide leadership to their cause. But they deserve her and she deserves them.

    She spews the type of raw hatred they are looking for. Sarah “Tea Bag” Palin … I like it!

    September 2, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  15. J.P.

    That's what you hippies don't understand... you've done a good job mischaracterizing this for nearly six months now.

    Tea parties don't NEED a leader. This is not about leaders. It's not about politicians. It's about the taxpaying citizens.

    If you'd stop making snarky and lame adolescent jokes about "tea bagging" (huh huh huh, he said 'tea bagging..." huh huh), you'd understand this.

    September 2, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  16. Joe Terrogano

    Alice in the Wonderland? The Mad Hatter? "Happy unbithday to you" How appropriate. Becoming a fringe candidate already. Chant "Sarah" all you want tea-baggers. It is a fitting fantasy that Palin would be President. Take your medication will ya!!!

    September 2, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  17. A Free Thinking American

    The vile comments and illiteracy of those that comment against those that have an opposing viewpoint is disgusting. I am ashamed to call these people fellow Americans, although I proudly serve this great nation so that they may spew such filth. I guess we should get rid of anyone who opposes the democratic point of view and shift into high gear on the Communist Express.

    September 2, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  18. Gene

    I love the Palin in 2012 t-shirts with the moose :) is this a new party forming?

    September 2, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  19. The Lady

    They have nothing better to do like helping the homeless?

    September 2, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  20. Gene

    I like the lady in the article.. Susan.. who thinks Ron Paul and Sarah Palin would be a dream ticket.

    Paul is a constitutionalist who believes in adhering strictly to the constitution.. IE freedom of religion.

    Palin is a religious nutjob that thinks that the bible and christian beliefs should be the basis of our government.

    That would make a GREAT dream team.. 2 people that will never agree on anything.

    Some people are just retarded.

    September 2, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  21. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    Compared to the actors of the Boston Tea Party of 1773, these Tea Baggers look like a bunch of moronic whiners.

    At best, they have more in common with the Taliban than they do with American revolutionaries. What are they opposing? Taxation WITH representation? I didn't vote for Bush, for either of my Senators, or for my Representative, and I certainly didn't like they way they spent my tax dollars, but I accepted the results of democratic elections in a civil society.

    I'd ask what point they think they're making, but it's just too stupid to matter.

    Anyone who would fan the flames of this lunacy doesn't deserve to be called a leader in our country.

    September 2, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  22. ReaganTMan

    From the looks of the comments on here, it's quite obvious that the mental patients have been released from the hospital.

    It's obvious that you're all the reason for the mess this country is in, given the fact that you all sound like socialist Obama kool aid drinkers to me.

    If you haven't figured it out by now, Leno Jay Walk flunkies, our country is being run into the ground by your malcontent messiah. If Sarah Palin can save us from the mess he's making, then so be it.

    She obviously continues to evoke fear and trembling in all of you. This is either an astroturfed comment board or, like I said earlier, you're just a bunch of mental patients.

    September 2, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  23. bill

    dump Obama and bring in Palin, then we can get this country on the right track...leave this left wing crazy agenda where it belongs.. the toilet!!!

    September 2, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  24. mother and sister of soldiers

    I truly find the non independent thinkers, uneducated bloggers here an insult to this country. You all need to start reading rather than drinking the koolaid. It is easy to understand how Obama got elected cause he promised you everything so that you would not have to take responsibility for yourselves. I am glad there are people out there showing Washington that we can no longer stand by and watch liberals destroy this country. If you agree with socialism, then move to Europe and see how prosperous you will be....NOT! Guess you are not watching the demonstration on France and Germany. The lack of backbone and perseverence that our forefathers had no longer exists in the lazy population of this country. Get educated!

    September 2, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  25. T Mckinley

    If the teabaggers are looking for a leader who will TRULY represent what they stand for, may I suggest David Duke.

    September 2, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
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