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

Palin finds strong supporters in Tea Party crowd

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/06/art.program.cnn.jpg caption="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. Robert

    "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."

    If she had the same lies told about her as she has told about Obama it likely would hurt her – she is not as strong as him and can't seem to let negative things slide off of her as easily as he can.

    Much of the negative political climate out there today is largely due to her. From Obama 'pallin around with terrorists to Obama wanting to kill seniors," this woman has been a major catastrophe to the American political landscape.

    If she does run, she will deserve whatever negativity comes her way. But we won't. It will still affect the nation as a whole.

    February 6, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  2. Squigman

    Not too long ago people like this were branded what they were, idiots, and the rest of the world went on while they languished in the past. I long for those days. But then again, I long for the days when the news media could be counted on to tell the truth, not embellish the news with the aforementioned idiots. Of course the idiots boost ratings with their comical presence.

    February 6, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  3. Jason

    To say that Palin is representative of the Tea Party movement is an understatement. Yes, she is the epitome of the anti-science, anti-intellect, anti-common sense, and anti-humanity crowd.

    February 6, 2010 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  4. HistoryRepeated

    As one who has studied history, especially the past century, I can not but draw similarities between the Tea Party movement with another movement of the past. Purity test for politicians, anti immigrant sentiment, racial ambiguity, economic discourse, and distrust of present government all align with what is histories most evil movement of all.

    It didn't happen all at once in Germany either, but in the end, the movement went from a protest of government policy to a violent take over of sanity. Who will join next? Skin heads? Neo Nazi's? The KKK?

    Know this Tea Party ... NEVER AGAIN!!

    February 6, 2010 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  5. Annie, Atlanta

    This certainly isn't new news. They, after all, are like minded (or a lack thereof, if you will.)

    February 6, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  6. John

    Nice of Palin to donate this $100,000 speaking fee. I wonder if the charity she is donating to is another one that uses the money to buy copies of her book. So far we only know of around 30,000 copies she has sold that way. I'm sure she can raise those numbers.

    Of course, I doubt she will continue to donate speaking fees since the other organizers are making a profit from the tea party attendees. One day, these folks will figure out that tea is a beverage and not a cause.

    February 6, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  7. chris24

    What is she qualified to do again?

    She barely got her degree, ran a little crap village
    and got elected to the Governorship of a back water
    state and then quit.

    She can't put a sentence together without running on and on
    (I assume to make sure she looks smart). and her qualifications
    are "that she is a conservative"????

    Please people. Read a book. Put two thoughts together.

    If this is the best we have to run our country. Please turn the
    lights off before you leave.

    February 6, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  8. Lilarose in Oregon

    Yep, Sarah McPalin has 1,100 friends in America.

    February 6, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  9. Lilarose in Oregon

    I wish there was some way to watch Sarah but not listen to her screechy voice.

    Lip reading! That's it!

    February 6, 2010 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  10. vwrtb

    I can't even imagine how worse off this country would be if these freaks were running the show...! God save us!

    February 6, 2010 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  11. vwrtb

    If I hear the phrase TOWN HALL one more time I'm going to palin all over myself!

    February 6, 2010 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  12. coreywalker

    how about staying home and try to take care of them kids and quit using trigg for attention.

    February 6, 2010 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  13. Gigi

    As a Canadian watching Sarah Palin address the "Tea Party"...it felt as though I had fallen down the rabbit hole. Ms. Palin's speech and Q+A was replete with platitudinous empty rhetoric and she painted a frightening picture for America, North America and indeed, the world. I was stunned that anyone would find what she had to say was newsworthy. It was simply, void of substantive content and a fruitful vision of advanced democratic citizenship that would meaningfully tackle the problems faced by the US and the world.

    February 6, 2010 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  14. chris l

    when u represent real american values its not hard to find support. when u hate the country your supposed to represent than its tough to find anything other than radicals to support u. HENCE: OBAMA and the anti American Radical Libtard Congress

    February 6, 2010 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  15. Nani

    CNN tries so hard to potray Palin that she has no substance. I understand her clearly and she inspire me. You finally lost a CNN viewer.

    February 7, 2010 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  16. chilly

    those people who payed to see that speech are missing brain matter

    February 7, 2010 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  17. jules sand-perkins

    Former Govenor Palin's word "revolution" is well chosen for what is about to happen in America.
    It reminds me of Ayn Rand's book-in-a-title, ATLAS SHRUGGED.

    February 7, 2010 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  18. jules sand-perkins

    I seldom see the taunt, "we won, get over it," among these comments these days.
    That's a good thing.

    D'ya think that means we're getting America back?

    February 7, 2010 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  19. coherent1

    No surprise, Satan has angel's too! LOL!

    February 7, 2010 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
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