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. Phoenix

    I'm starting to get worried. Too many of these gun carrying idiots walking around free.

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

    Not as many people jumping all over this one CNN. Your going to have to remember that you have to put Palin's picture up with the story if you want the get the angry libby bee's buzzing.

    September 2, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. John in WV

    Why don't they invite Dick Cheney? He seems as if he wants to be heard.

    September 2, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  4. T Mckinley

    I believe that David Duke would be a much more fitting and appropriate leader for these people than Sarah Palin.

    September 2, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  5. unshrub

    Talk about the blind leadng the blind. Although with the tea party people, Sarah Palin may be the smart one, and I never thought I would be saying that about her.

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

    Shes a looser looser looser looser!

    September 2, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  7. T Mckinley

    Perhaps these people should consider someone who TRULY represents their views, especially their opposition to Barack Obama being President.

    May I suggest David Duke?

    September 2, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  8. Peter

    They already have their masters , Rush, Becks, Hannity!! and other moron!. I`m moral conservatist but the stupidity of this group beats any logic! a bunch of angry southerners!

    September 2, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  9. independent

    I see the tea-partyers have changed their name from the tea-baggers. I little late, but better late than never.

    No taxes, no government; no government, anarchy. Why not just call themselves tea-anarchists?

    September 2, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    I bet these people don't even drink tea. Sarah Palin only drinks wolf and moose blood, so she clearly shouldn't have anything to do with these historically-challenged morons.

    Seriously, I question the judgment of the news editor who thinks this is worthy of a story. Why do you inflict stories about these idiots on us every single day? Where was the reporting of those who challenged our illegal war in Iraq during the eight interminable years we suffered through the misadministration of Herr Bush? Nowhere to be found on CNN. Reporting on these dunces every single day gives them legitimacy to those who lack critical thinking abilties (many of whom, unfortunately, vote), so stop it, CNN!

    September 2, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  11. greg

    I see the Palin Derangement Syndrome support group is in full swing. Talk about a bunch of losers, all they do all day is surf the net looking for stories about Palin so they can vent their hatred and hostility. Are they still getting paid minimum wage by the 0bama camp to do this, or are they doing it freelance, hoping to get rehired in 2011 or 2012?

    September 2, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  12. Mark

    Everybody wants Sarah Palin at their functions. She cannot be everywhere. When a person is as popular as she is, they must pick-n-choose where to go speak.

    September 2, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  13. Freeman

    Please! Not everyone in Texas is racist! McCain barely won Texas! There are millions that STILL support Obama. Go Mr. President!!!!!!

    September 2, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  14. victim of republican greed

    Sarah, pull the plug on these anti Americans.

    September 2, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  15. Santa Cruz

    I think the whole Palin family should move to Texas. Texas secedes from the US. Problem solved. Bye bye.

    September 2, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  16. colin

    Wow, I am so glad to see the diversity of thought on this board.

    Anyways, I like her and I hope she does run for President in 4 Years. And even though I think it's ridiculous to have to add this, I am not a racist, I just have an honest disagreement with many of Obama's policies.

    I do not think capitalism is necesarily inconsistent with the government providing some vital social services. But let's face it, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are in deep trouble. No one disputes that fact. One solution is to raise the retirement age on these programs and only then do they become solvent (for the time being).

    Just my 2 cents.

    September 2, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  17. vet in texas

    Any person who wants an individual who believes and stated "the war in Iraq was a mission from God" to lead them, is selfish, unintelligent and delusional!

    Come out of the racist closet!

    September 2, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  18. Santa Cruz

    Dear tea-baggers: please return your Social Security, SSI , welfare checks and whatever other government benefits you don't want.

    September 2, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  19. Paul H

    "So far, no politician has emerged as a leader of the Tea Party movement" That's because it really because it's people motivated, and suported by the people.
    The movement is really a shout out to politicians that we don't really like what's going on in Washington and really havent for a long time.
    It's not Obama adminastration in particular. It's big government, and it's about getting the power back to the people.

    September 2, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  20. Mike in MN

    No better individual could be found to lead a grass roots conservative revolution than Sarah Palin.
    Time to clean out Washington and return it to the people. And that includes Obama too, were are not Europe or Cuba or Veneszula. This is America.

    September 2, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  21. Jon in CA

    The person that should be speaking on 9/12 is GLEN BECK!!

    The more America learns of Obama and his marxist Czars – the further his approval ratings fall.

    You O'bots are being shown to be nothing but fools.

    September 2, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  22. Steve

    I don't understand these people. If they don't like it here, LEAVE!

    September 2, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  23. Mike in Texas

    All these claims made by conservatives the far right whatever you want to call them keep getting more far fetched and ridiculous every day. Sane rational people don't believe this. The ones that believe it are the ones that do not like our president for whatever reasons (most won't tell you their real reasons in public). They didn't vote for him, won't ever vote for him and have no interest in listening to him or accepting him. When they cry socialism they are like the boy crying wolf. Most Americans are now numb to the word, it has no sting. They seem to grow more resistant and agitated and frustrated every day. When we receive positive news about the economy they cringe; they want gloom. They say they are patriotic but they wish for bad things to happen such as terrorist attacks, rising deficits, high unemployment, etc. They would sell their soul to the devil it meant they could regain power in 2012. It is very sad and pathetic.

    September 2, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  24. D. A. Reuter, Bremerton, WA

    Alert The Media,

    The Tea Party Express is the most Constitutionally illiterate citizens in the United States of America. This is what you get when the neocons wanted to have our schools to stop teaching civics to our citizenry and children.

    September 2, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  25. Ken from missouri

    The Tea Party don't have enough money to have sara palin and besides listening to her speak would insult their intelligence.

    September 2, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
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