[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/02/art.palinshirt.0902.gi.jpg caption="’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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