Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - Sarah Palin spoke to a wildly supportive tea party audience in Manchester Monday, but although she seemed to present herself as the best candidate to win back the White House, she didn't give the voters what they wanted.
"Run, Sarah, run," the large crowd chanted as the former Alaska governor smiled. Some people screamed her name with an ardor usually reserved for pop stars.
But Palin did not announce her candidacy, and instead focused on a critique of President Barack Obama in a speech reverential in its treatment of the tea party and dismissive of several of her opponents, of Washington and of politics as usual.
The tea party icon took a swipe at Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who rearranged his campaign schedule to speak at two tea party events this week, and implied he is a reluctant convert to the activists' power and scope.
"Now, we're seeing more and more folks realize the strength of this grass-roots movement," she said. "And they're wanting to be involved. I say right on. Better late than never – for some of these candidates especially. Okay?"
The audience at Palin's speech was several times larger than the group at Romney's speech the evening before. The majority of activists dispersed after Palin spoke, though the rally continued.
Palin encouraged the activists to flex their political muscle and support candidates who espouse the tea party message.
"I say let's invite those candidates in who are bold enough to take on the tough challenges caused by an out of touch, out-of-control centralized government, and those who are humble enough to admit they need you, and they've seen the light, they who are willing to confront the challenges that are resulting from Washington's failed policies, and incompetent leadership," she said.
Her speech did not contain many specifics in terms of policy proposals. She said America needed a "pro-growth" agenda that would cut taxes, promote personal liberties, reign in the power of the federal government, and loosen regulations on oil production.
The crowd did not seem deterred, but cheered when Palin urged them to ignore the "mockery" of the political class and continue carrying their message of speaking truth to power.
"You've already withstood the wrath and the disdain and the lies from the media and the permanent political class looking down on us. Mocking us. Making things up about us. telling us to 'go to hell,' you've already withstood that," she said. "We're still standing, right?"