February 6th, 2010
04:12 PM ET
5 years ago

Palin finds strong supporters in Tea Party crowd

Tea Party Convention goers are eagerly awaiting Sarah Palin's keynote address.
Tea Party Convention goers are eagerly awaiting Sarah Palin's keynote address.

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (CNN) – When Sarah Palin gives the keynote speech Saturday night at what's being billed as the first national Tea Party convention, it's safe to say that she'll be among friends.

The former Alaska governor was the darling of many conservatives when she served as the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, and many of those attending the convention at Nashville's Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center say they are big Palin supporters.

Pam Silleman, a 52-year-old small business owner and Tea Party activist who traveled to the convention from California's Napa Valley, called Palin "the Tea Party's inspiration."

Asked if Palin, who is considered a possible contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, should make a bid for the White House, Silleman said, "I would like to see her in a higher office but I don't know that she'll do it. I wouldn't want her to be hurt that bad."

Fremont Brown, a supporter who had "Palin 2012" bumper stickers with him, said Palin is "the right person."

"She has fervent heart and she's conservative," added the 59-year-old Brown, who owns a small business in North Carolina. "She was the only one truly qualified with executive experience of the four who ran in 2008. The others were glorified lobbyists."

If Palin does make a stab at presidential politics, she'll have a natural following among Tea Party activists, whose grassroots network is fueled by anger over the growth of the federal government and President Barack Obama's policies.

In a column earlier this week in USA Today, Palin said "the soul of the Tea Party is the people who belong to it, every day Americans who grow our food, run our small businesses, teach our children how to read, serve the less fortunate, and fight our wars."

Palin added that "they have the courage to stand up and speak out. Their vision is what drew me to the Tea Party movement. They believe in the same principles that guided my work in public service."

Neither the Tea Party Nation, the group that organized the convention, nor a Palin spokeswoman would confirm reports that the former governor is getting paid about $100,000 for her keynote appearance.

"I will not benefit financially from speaking at this event," Palin said in a statement this week. "Any compensation for my appearance will go right back to the cause."

In a blog post on the conservative Web site Townhall.com this past week, Palin said she looks forward to greater participation with the Tea Party movement in the coming weeks. She said she will be on hand next month for a kickoff rally for the third Tea Party Express cross country bus caravan. The event will take place March 27 in Searchlight, Nevada - the hometown of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who finds himself in a tough re-election battle this year.

Palin also said she will attend an April 14 Tea Party rally in Boston.

"The process may not always be pretty or perfect, but the message is loud and clear: We want a government worthy of the fine Americans that it serves," said Palin. "And we're going to keep spreading that message one convention, one town hall, one speech and one election at a time."

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll released Friday indicates that Americans are split Palin, with 43 percent seeing her in a positive light and 46 percent holding an unfavorable view.

"Opinion on Sarah Palin breaks down along party lines, with seven in ten Democrats disliking her and seven in ten Republicans with a positive view of Palin. She has a net-negative rating among Independents: 42 percent favorable and 47 percent unfavorable," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "She also continues to rate better among men than women."

Caitlyn Eubanks, 21, a Texas college student attending the Tea Party convention, said Palin is "a strong woman and she can take care of herself."

Asked if Palin should run for public office again, Eubanks' fiance, Brad Cornwell, a chemist who lives in Nashville, said, "I think it would certainly help her out if she would run for something and get more experience. It would get her more credence and a stronger track record."

–CNN's Alex Mooney contributed to this report


Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. kmp

    Well of course she found supporters there they all have the same pea size brains.

    February 6, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. Aspen Professor

    "Fremont Brown, a supporter who had "Palin 2012" bumper stickers with him, said Palin is "the right person."

    "She has fervent heart and she's conservative," added the 59-year-old Brown, who owns a small business in North Carolina. "She was the only one truly qualified with executive experience of the four who ran in 2008. The others were glorified lobbyists."

    My goodness! Herr Brown is a died in the wool right-wing extremist. I suppose that means he is a FOX Channel enthusiast, a liar, arrogant, in favor of off-shore nation building, and dumb as a doorknob?

    February 6, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. Robert J Miller

    Please stop talking about issues that have no relavance at all, no one really cares about Sarah Palin and the Tea Party, what nonsense!

    February 6, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  4. Jim

    I don't see how 600 people showing up for an angry at the government event merits headline news coverage. I was at some pro-heatlh care reform rallies that drew thousands and there was no mention of them on CNN.

    February 6, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. colowest

    This is laughable beyond words. Doesn't Palin and her lemmings understand that if the true teabaggers actually had their ultimate dream come true - of returning to the vision of the Founding Fathers without all those troublesome amendments - she wouldn't even be allowed to vote, let alone hold office?

    What a joke.....

    February 6, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  6. Enough

    Quit trying to put down the Tea party movement and the people who support it. You act as if we're some evil aliens from space out to destroy everyone's free ride. The fact of the matter is, we are ordinary people who have paid way more than our fair share of taxes and we are sick and tired of Government wasting it and raise our taxes...........no big mystery folks. The people who are so against the Tea party movement pay very little or NO taxes. Don't criticize something you can't possibly relate to. It's about taxes, no hidden agenda.

    February 6, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  7. Patricia

    It continues to amaze me just how many people are rallying around this "civil war" like mentality. The Boston Tea party was a revolt against the British government; fast forward to today you have Palin attempting to lead a revolt against the U.S. government, forget about the fact that she a U.S. citizen. As far as I'm concerned, this is treason and she IS a terrorist.

    Instead of trying to help rectify the mess that our government is in, she is feeding upon the hate and fears of the ignorant and attempting to rip the U.S. government apart at its core. And it just so happens that it comes about at a time where the president is part African American. Where was she and all of these other radicals during the Bush administration? Why weren't they trying to combat the BS during those years? Because they WERE the BS.

    The networks continue to fuel her ignorance because it spells ratings for them. You cannot tell me for a second that they don't believe that this woman is incapable, misguided and mislead. Will somebody please put the brakes on and decide that enough is enough? Our country doesn't need this. We need to rebuild, not tear down.

    February 6, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  8. kd

    makes sense. She's an idiot and they're paranoid conspiracy theorists. A perfect match.

    February 6, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  9. mario

    Sure she got cnn since a long time

    February 6, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. jules sand-perkins

    Sarah Palin truly believes in her cause, and she will always be an inspiration to conservatives.
    Her ability to overcome the damage to her image at the beginning of her vice-presidential campaign is something she still has to prove.
    Don't say, "no she can't" just yet: Sarah Palin is a very strong woman.

    February 6, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  11. kr

    CNN I know you will erase this but I do not care; why do you not report the latest news on Sara Palin; I think you believe that the MAJORITY of people are for Ms untruthful Palin; she has a base and she had better learn how to extend beyond that base.

    February 6, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  12. Terry from West Texas

    Attention Teabaggers: The Corporate Conservative crowd is not going to go along with your small government, low tax, decentralized nation. You are going to have to (1) take over the GOP or (2) start your own party. According to you, most Americans agree with you but they have been voting for Republican Corporate Types who believe in higher profits for global corporations and more wealth to the wealthy. They do not care about you. We should all have realized that by now.

    If you're wrong, then the country will be led by a more Liberal government. At least Liberals are smart and honest. They really want a better nation. Corporate Conservatives think that America is a nation of a few winners and a lot of losers. You and I are losers.

    February 6, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  13. lmc

    How could anyone trust her to finish a job after leaving her gubernatorial office part way through? I think she is only in to making money now. There is nothing against that, but you should be able to be trusted to finish a job.

    February 6, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  14. Tristan

    Is this crazy empowerment or moron empowerment? Maybe both?

    February 6, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  15. Indy

    Socialism : When you charge $100,000 for a speech and give it back to the cause.I hope no one going to this event uses those pesky socialistic roadways to get there.

    February 6, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  16. Michael from Ventura

    I hope she does run in 2012! It will be a true gift to the Democratic Party!

    February 6, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  17. SNAPPA

    This is the woman who actually believed that Africa was a country, I think the Tea Baggers should get along nicely with her. This is the woman who was incapable of naming a national publication that she reads to keep informed. The Tea Baggers and her should get along fine, ignorance is bliss.

    February 6, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  18. ForThePeople

    She actually has more supporters throughout the nation than many want to admit. All you have to do is watch MSNBC and many liberal Democrats take shots at her: that wouldn't happen if they didn't feel threatened by her. The fact that many Americans trust her more than the politicians inside the beltway is just an indicator of what the majority of middle Americans feel: that very few in power are listening to us middle-class Americans.
    And yes, there are radical elements of that movement; but that radical fringe exists in every legitimate movement or party. While I don't see her as a candidate for President, I do see her as many Americans do: someone they can trust. Can't say that about many in politics.

    February 6, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  19. teflon warrior

    Sarah has the accumen, the vision and the passion. By 2012 it'll be a landslide, after what BO still has planned. Go Palin!!

    February 6, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  20. Palin Power

    Sarah Palin will become America's next and greatest President of all times! The Tea Party will grow in exponential numbers and they will take over this country as the new majority of this country. They will retake this country and restore it to greatness and glory never before seen. Palin's 8 years in the white house will be the greatest in history.

    February 6, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  21. Ken in Gainesville

    Isn't it amazing how much press coverage 600 half-wits meeting in Tennessee can drumb up! I mean, throw these malcontents together with their half-baked conspiracy looniness, and their over-awing sense of entitlement and selfishness, and watch the press run. More "monley-motion" to scare normal people, and more reason to drum up listeners. Leave these poor 15th century holdovers to crawl back under their rocks. And don't get me started about the intellectual abilities of Ms. Palin. To her, this is nothing more than a beauty contest, and she is just as "deep" as the mascara she wears. Time to get a life, people.

    February 6, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  22. Lee, Ann Arbor Michigan

    Thankfully there are getting to be more American's that are catching on to the fact that Obama wants to take this Country to socialism type government where you'll be a slave to big government.

    No matter how you liberals bash Palin and the tea party people, the elections in NJ, Virginia and Mass have shown that people are not satisfied with what is going on in America and will be voicing their opposition this November by electing conservative House and Senate members.

    February 6, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  23. Linda

    I thought to respond to this, but then I decided it really wasn't worth it.

    February 6, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  24. B-Koi

    Why is CNN giving so much coverage to 600 people ?? A little strange isn,t it? What's the deal with televising Palin's whole speech?? Why her? You don't even televise the Presidents WHOLE speeches sometimes. Get real...

    February 6, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  25. dale

    I can just see the headline "It's God's will". Yea right..

    February 6, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
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