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. Stu-Florida

    Geee, imagine that. Dumb and dumberer.
    Who better to invite on their anti-American plight.
    I'm astounded more every day. This kind of "news" is better than coffee as it really gets my blood boiling.
    Wake up America, for the sake of the real citizens.

    September 2, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  2. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Isn't there a law of physics or something that says unstable masses should never come together? If this keeps going the GOP will never have a place in politics in this country.

    September 2, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  3. Willy Brown

    Liberal’s still running scared of Sarah Palin. The one person who has twice the executive experience of both Obummer and Bidumb combined.

    September 2, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  4. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    How UNEXPECTED:
    The angry tin foil hat crowd inviting the new Queen Of (stupid) Mean to be their leader...
    Go Figure.

    September 2, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  5. Denna

    I wouldn't be so upset with these Tea Party nuts if they had started their protests when this mess began under Bush. It's only since President Obama took office that they "care". I guess it's okay if the Republicans run this country off a cliff, but a Democratic president isn't allowed to try to repair the damage.

    September 2, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  6. Stu-Florida

    Now we all know it's just another show... no substance with the likes of Palin as the "leader"

    September 2, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  7. Sam's Nemesis

    Once again, the party of the donkey has shown their vitriol and hate towards ANYONE who disagrees with them by chiding, not only a taxpayer revolt but also Sarah Palin, a true AMERICAN. Their fangs shimmer with hate as they spew their lies and wag their tongues about how grateful they are that we, the party of the people a.k.a The Republican Party, have Sarah Palin. Well, they are right. We are lucky to have her on our side because she scares the party of the donkey to their core....they know she is right and have no other proper retorts except to name call and whine.............heres to Sarah. Long Live Sarah Palin. Long live the Teaparty ............God Bless America

    September 2, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  8. Joel Miller

    Palin is no news.

    September 2, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  9. Radolf Nitler

    These people are what is wrong with the country! We should make everyone who has participated in a tea party event wear a tea bag. Don't serve them at your store, encourage your children to belittle them. If Obama would get on the ball, perhaps we could be putting these people into work camps, helping the country instead of spreading their lies!

    September 2, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  10. Jayden,FL

    I'm sick of these stupid tea party teabaggers.... and they want Sarah Palin to join them hahahaha

    September 2, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  11. Hannity Jugen

    Jim Greer / Sarah Palin 2012.
    Rex Rammell / Michelle Bachmann 2016

    September 2, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  12. Will She Show

    Please people.. Do you really think she is gonna show up? You better get a back up. She has not regard for people. She is all about herself.

    September 2, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  13. Marie Laveaux

    Oh pleease, pleease let me ride on the same bus as Sarah! i'd love to listen to her soothing voice and brilliant insights as we traveled throughout real America and picked up more real Americans and hopefully "accidentally" run over a few "unreal" pinko, commie, granola- eating liberal elitist who work for Acorn Americans. Oh, the moose chilli and polar bear burgers, and all that yummy tea. Let me get my favorite Bible to thump and I'll hop right on.

    September 2, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  14. Michael

    From a protest sign at one of the Town Halls:

    "Keep your government hands off my Medicare."

    Yup, Palin should fit in perfectly with the Teabaggers.

    September 2, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  15. txloser

    All of you lost souls will be in my prayers tonight....But you don't need prayers since you can talk your way into Heaven with your superior intellect.

    September 2, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  16. Watching from NC

    Looks like Crazy Town has found its new mayor. :-)

    September 2, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  17. Joshua College Station Texas

    Idiots for idiots.

    September 2, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  18. John M, NoHo

    The Tea Bag Movement's motto on their home page says "Declaring Independence from Tax and Spend Politicians"... who in this group stands a chance of being in the top 5% that Obama wants to tax the way Reagan did? Tea Raggers: do your homework. You voted against your own interests in 2004. Darwin, evidently, is still right. See ya!

    September 2, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  19. Kate in SW Fla

    Ah yes, Sarah Palin and the Tea Partiers. A bunch of redneck, neo-con hatemongers who are so uneducated as to not even know what "Socialism" is.

    September 2, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  20. Horrified

    "Whether or not she emerges as one of those leaders, that's between her and the American people." says Wierzbicki.
    Which American people? The lunatic fringe who is the most selfish uninformed group of folks we've seen in this country for a long time.

    September 2, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  21. MBSeattle

    Will these folks be wearing their hoods and carrying their crosses to these events? How well armed would you expect this group to be? This is a mob by a nicer name. God help this country and save us from the fringe lunatics.

    September 2, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  22. Hannity Jugen

    "His wife Susan lit up at the mention of Palin's name".
    I'm blinded by the 15 Watt bulb.

    September 2, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  23. Loretta

    I hope the TEA PARTY EXPRESS is a success. They want to be heard and don't want the democrates to run everything. So all you
    idiots out there LEAVE THEM ALONE...............:)

    September 2, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  24. u2canfail

    GOP Sarah = the perfect match. Made for each other. Let us pray for 2012!

    UBETJA

    September 2, 2009 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  25. Deborah Wms.

    I feel one important issue being overlook with the proposed health care reform is the "gap" period that medicare recipients endure each year. A very close relative of mine is experiencing it now. He takes zyprexea for a bipolar disorder. Normally, his co-pay for the drug is $38 for refills, however, during the gap period, he has to pay $238 for a 30 day supply. This goes on for months at a time until the TROOP is met. Even though his income is moderate, having other bills,student loans, etc., this places a financial hardship on him. I feel that the "gap" period should be eliminated all together. An alternative to that could be to charge a little more for the prescription co-pay , for example instead of paying $38 monthy, have them pay $45 and eliminate the gap period altogether. Consequently, because of the gap period, many patients skip days from taking their medicine so they don't run out so quickly and this can be dangerous.

    Its really strange, that when people are elderly or disabled, to have a gap in their coverage is like a nightmare especially when their incomes are so miniminal.

    September 2, 2009 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
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