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. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    A perfect job for Boob Palin: queen of the MORONS

    September 2, 2009 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  2. Idiot_Pelosi

    Yeah, the tea party people are losers.

    These are the people paying too much in taxes for loser liberals who want more welfare.

    September 2, 2009 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  3. Liz

    Joe the "not-certified" Plumber and Sarah the "quitter" Palin-It's like the land of misfit toys!

    Honestly I still do not know what the purpose of the tea parties are? What does "take back America" mean? Take back what? From whom? Are they throwing tea in rivers? Do they know that the purpose of the original Boston Tea Party was to actually protest a tax on tea? How does "tea" fit in to their movement?

    September 2, 2009 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  4. Avram

    Let's be clear. It's not between Sarah Palin and the American people. The so called "Tea Party movement" doesn't represent the American people. The "Tea Party movement" represents a few nut jobs on the far right fringe of the Republican party.

    September 2, 2009 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  5. joey

    well, maybe they will pick Obama's new zar, Van Jones to come out and speak on how white people are the "poison" to Black America. Or maybe he could just speak on all the things that qualify him to be a "green job advisor." You guys need to stop watch so much CNN, and maybe you will realize that your getting the wool pulled over your eyes on just about everything.

    September 2, 2009 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  6. A concern citizen

    Does Joe the plumber will join the party too?????? Pathetic!!

    September 2, 2009 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  7. if these tea drinkers are seriously looking for a leader

    than look to Ron Paul, I think that is his name, the third party conservative canidate for pres is a good fit

    September 2, 2009 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  8. Leah Texas

    Some free advice to the Palin fans and Republicans: if you want your comments to be taken seriously then learn the difference between these words and use them correctly:

    your – you're
    our – are
    to – too
    here – hear
    there – their

    September 2, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  9. Jerry in NC

    I am trying to understand why CNN is constantly pandering to the religious, right-wing, conservative base, by running so-called stories about this woman everyday. CNN claims to be an objective news reporting agency, yet nearly every single day, they run a story about this very unimportant person. There are so many other more important issues and people that are actually news-worthy. In case you haven't heard, CNN, MOST of the people in this country DID NOT VOTE FOR HER!

    September 2, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  10. Rich

    A brilliant ploy by Palin - exchanging a real job (sort of) for a non-job ...er, con-job, an all-expenses-paid, big-money traveling side show around the U.S., courtesy of "the world-is-flat" rightsiders with dollars to burn and no sense at all. It's a gig that makes me gag.

    September 2, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  11. Post always rejected by CNN

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA BIG OLD BELLY LAUGH ROLLING ON THE FLOOR.....Which republican finished the fifth grade?

    September 2, 2009 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  12. greg

    Perfect! LOL!

    September 2, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  13. Scaramouche

    The more you people rile against Sarah Palin, the more I know she's on target. You dweebs are worried about her...you recognize her as dangerous to your agendas. Otherwise, why do you spend so much time and poison on her :-)

    September 2, 2009 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  14. a

    And this tea party is lart of GOP???? yes it is part od REthugs party

    September 2, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  15. vick

    and this tea party is orgenized by GOP??? hahaha GOP is smart stupid...

    September 2, 2009 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  16. wm samuels

    A third rate organization with third rate minds inviting a fourth rate
    mind

    September 2, 2009 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  17. kumazazu

    As usual progressives are trying to discuss a topic they know nothing about. There are always two sides. I know its easier to live in Obama worship land. But he does not have all the answers. Maybe it feels better thinking that someone will just magically take care of all our worries. Come on! WAKE UP PEOPLE! Think about becoming and independent thinker!

    September 2, 2009 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  18. johanna

    First Palin will give her "expert opinion" on how to give a Tea Party, right?...and then head to China to give her "expert opinion" on what? Has anyone warned the Chinese she's coming to spread her wealth of knowledge? Isn't there a border nearby she can trip over?

    September 2, 2009 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  19. cjl

    I love how people call this movement 'anti-american', without realizing everything that comes out of their their beloved administration's think tank is truly anti-american. Get a grip.

    September 2, 2009 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  20. Kathy

    WHERE was The tea Party Express during the last eight years when Bush and Cheney were creating the financial Armageddon that we are experiencing now?

    September 2, 2009 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  21. Dan

    i need a good laugh. I can't wait to hear what she says

    September 2, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  22. Dixon

    Sara is off making her fortune in China. It is unfortunate since she would be an excellent voice for the cutsie little Tea Parties the far right are having. The tea parties of the past were a great time for those with pleanty of time and no job to get together. A time to tell tall tales and gossip. Perfect for a republican get together.

    September 3, 2009 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  23. Rafael VA

    Palin will be president of USA in 2012 just watch...

    September 3, 2009 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  24. JasonK

    oh lord......

    September 3, 2009 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  25. H in California

    Go Sarah, go. Those Tea Party morons are just your cup of tea. You betcha.

    September 3, 2009 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
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