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. Republicans are the American Taliban

    She would be perfect!! She could bring her anti American husband and her kids and all of them wear teabags on their heads while sporting assault rifles.... she could give a speech and quit in the middle....

    September 3, 2009 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  2. Karen

    She is no leader but seems to inspire the crowds. If the lame brain teenage dropout that fathered her grandchild would just go away it would be so nice. Why in the world is the liberal media raving over his every babble. He is NOT a parent to his child, his mother evidently was not a good example for him. He is on such an ego trip – get a job!

    September 3, 2009 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  3. Tom

    Crazy is as crazy does...

    September 3, 2009 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  4. MOTO - Master of the Obvious

    Stupid people do stupid things.

    So this is good. Now we can stop pretending these people are "every day americans concerned about their health care". Palin is a failed political experiment (by John McCain) whose good looks keep the spotlight sufficiently bright. She is a symbol for right wing extremists, who identify with her uncompromising ideas.

    Her ideas are uncompromising because it appears she cannot comprehend any other ideas and in fact, she has no ideas, she's just borrowing rhetoric from the radio. Just like the "tea-baggers".

    So if they were looking for sympathy, which they needed for their cause, they just lost it by picking someone who has none and deserves none.

    That was pretty stupid.

    September 3, 2009 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  5. Republicans are the American Taliban

    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

    Literally....there about 12 of these nut jobs that CNN insists on giving air time to...sad for journalism...

    September 3, 2009 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  6. Robin in Tampa, FL

    The one thing that should clear about Palin by now, she only cares about money and fame ... she has no interest in actual public service unless it benefits her, this is why she ditched Alaska, and keeps bailing out on appearances at conservative meetings. If the Teaparty Express wants this slacker ... then I say let them have her.

    September 3, 2009 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  7. Jim

    I love it! A moron leading morons. Sarah Palin is a complete idiot, and the people that follow her are just as dumb.

    September 3, 2009 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  8. JE

    Lol! All I can say.

    September 3, 2009 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  9. Hank

    How about that? Leaches leaching onto a slug.
    I can hear it now, 'come on, let me adopt you'.

    Undoubtedly she be a no-show before she quits these clowns too.

    September 3, 2009 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  10. bondalo

    really CNN should hire Palin to run CNN.

    September 3, 2009 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  11. SpringIsBACK

    Say what you will about Texas, I am a long way north of Texas, and can only dream my state might be run half as well. Funny, how failed economic and political cesspools like Illinois, New York, and California look down at Texas...

    BTW – As a VERY average income American, I'd be THRILLED to not get SS and Medicare, just so long as the gov't did not rob me in these ponzi schemes to begin with.

    September 3, 2009 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  12. Debbie

    This is the perfect set-up for another SNL skit. I'm laughing already!

    September 3, 2009 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  13. Henepenny

    The more tea parties, the more I think we should stick it to them as much a possible. The lives that are saved by having insurance should not be tea partiers.

    September 3, 2009 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  14. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Palin and Octomom in 2012!!!

    September 3, 2009 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  15. Pamela J Reynolds

    Sarah Palin should make like a tumbleweed. She should just dry up and blow away.

    September 3, 2009 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  16. Don

    Cheney, Bush, et al., turned the world upside down for eight years.
    Many of these confused muddled individuals don't have much of a framework for comparison. And they don't seem to have the patience to wait and see that a better world is waiting! We will have health care overhauled with a public option!! We are now looking at a world that is tilting more to "right-side-up."

    September 3, 2009 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  17. Larry

    WHAT A JOKE...

    And they brag about inviting Palin

    Typical Republican party ...

    What a joke !!!

    September 3, 2009 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  18. patrickquinlan

    "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."

    And they say they're finding new people?!?!?

    September 3, 2009 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  19. Alan

    A perfect union. Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express. It's like a snippet from SNL.

    September 3, 2009 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  20. Francisco Cardenas

    She would be one more nut in a barrel of nuts!

    September 3, 2009 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  21. Xavier

    Mark my words, Palin isnt going to end well. She is a walking disaster waiting to happen. I only hope that when he finaly comes crashing down none of her followers get hurt.

    September 3, 2009 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  22. Republicans are the American Taliban

    WOW ...what a made up story CNN....

    September 3, 2009 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  23. Ted

    What happened to the Republican party? It seems that its domination by extreme elements was the eventual, inevitable outcome of trying to pander to evangelicals, whose votes they thought would empower them but who appropriated the party for themselves. Now they're looking to the likes of Palin for leadership? What on earth happened the party of Teddy Roosevelt, a party that was at least respectable?!

    September 3, 2009 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  24. nea

    I was watching cnn when they was reporting about a pastor that made a comment about The President that i was deeply offended by it was a down right hatred comment there is no other way to say it. What have President Obama did except become President that cause this much hatred and yes i was offended but i dont hate this pastor thats something he have to answer to GOD about. I know that some of you bloggers probably agree with this hatred toward the President but dont you know that the President Obama is a Christian too, so people have to be careful about what they say especially if they are Christians because you are held more accountable.

    September 3, 2009 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  25. john macain

    Let Sarah be the voice or reason for the Tea Baggers. She will quit before she reaches the capital.....jejejejejejejee!! She is so funny.. I laugh so hard at her speeches.... By the way Sarah, have you seen Putin in your back yard lately??

    September 3, 2009 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8