February 6th, 2010
04:12 PM ET
12 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. j

    Of course she does, they're as nuts as she is. Peas in a pod, cut from the same cloth of idiocy. They're all members of the lunatic right.

    February 6, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. Hemlock For America

    If Governor Palin couldn't handle a little bit of turmoil as the Governor of a one of the least populated states like Alaska (less than 700,000 residents) .... remember, she QUIT .... I refuse to take a risk on her as President.

    In our nation of over 300 million people, we have many who are FAR MORE QUALIFIED and who we don't have to worry will walk off the job.

    Ms. Palin is only interested in keeping her name in front of the public to make money. She can NEVER, EVER be a serious candidate for office or a political power broker.

    February 6, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. Steve in Denver

    Is the cumulative IQ in a room of 500 tea baggers higher than the price of admission? In palin terms, ya gotta be pretty dumb to pay $349 to hear the wasilla hillbilly talk. You betcha!

    February 6, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Jackalope

    Palin is making a bid for the leadership of the Timothy McVeigh wing of the Republican party. Sad thing is, when conditions are favorable for it, people like the teabaggers can harness the anger of an otherwise civilized population and seize control. It happened in Germany in the 1930s.

    February 6, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. one voice

    The teabaggers are playing on the wrong side of the fence. If anything they should be protesting wallstreet and Corporate America. What in GODS name are they thinking?

    February 6, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Average American

    Duh, this is the same group of racist thugs she got all riled up during the election. The far right fringe is in love with her. But, how is that news? The large majority of the US population wouldn't go to hear her speak even if they were paid to do so.

    February 6, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. Linda from Minnesota

    Not sure who is crazier, her or her followers.

    February 6, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Fooled Again

    The original Tea Party members were really concerned about out of control government. The Ron Paul supporters started the Tea Parties with the intention of showing that war and welfare are destroying our country and turning into a tyranny.

    Now, the NEO CONS are infiltrating and promoting people like Palin and Beck, who believe in continuous wars and the Patriot Act. These people don't believe in freedom at all, they believe that the democrats are spending money on things they wouldn't, that's all. This new tea party crowd doesn't beleieve in freedom, they are just upset it's not them doing the spending.

    February 6, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. David

    Thankyou CNN for covering her speach tonight.I like Obama but also like Palin.I do not judge either on their political views as to weather I like or dislike them.They are both in their own special way heros in my eyes.Obama like her came from the middle class, he achieved alot because he worked hard at his goals.Palin I admire because she did it on her own.She worked her way through college,had to miss semesters to save up to pay for the next one.Inspiring both of these great people in my opinion.I will be watching her on your network tonight.

    February 6, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. Emma

    The Tea Party is not likely to significantly influence the next presidential election. Despite so many of us not being satisfied with our current government (or lack thereof, thanks to the party of "No") the tea party is also a "No" group and they are surely not seen as the Saviors of our government.

    February 6, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Charlie

    What the Republicans want in a leader is someone as dumb as they are.

    February 6, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. AmFem

    Get this woman out of the news and don't comment on this article!!!

    February 6, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. ICARE - countdown to 2011

    Sorrty Tea Partyer.... Nobel Prize Economists had named the Rebpulbican Party, 'dumb' for crashing the economy.

    So, Sarah Palin CANNOT save America. It will take a visionary leader with a Nobel Prize like Al Gore and a few elite Nobel Prize economists to SAVE America....

    Every time I turn around, it just gets dumber with this Party...

    February 6, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. largefoot

    palin is "the right person" for what? letting each and every one of us know who is "a real american" is and who isnt? NO thanks, please, i will pass on that nonsense.

    February 6, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. Indy

    Palin continues to amaze me. She was a mediocre Mayor, barely got her feet wet as a short term Governor, ditched her state for her love of money, was a ceremonial VP pick, and has never had one single soultion for the problems that people are facing everyday.Everything she talks about in speeches is written for her, yet the Tea Party Cult members will part with their hard earned money to hear a speech someone wrote for her.At least the people in this story are finally admitting she is in no way Presidential material.

    February 6, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. 8 Years with an inebriated driver behind the wheel and you want us to listen to the passengers that were drinking at the same bar???

    Saint Sarah, the High Priestess of racism will be the headline speaker tonight..

    She will appear with a roguish tilt to her "gimme" hat with McCain inked out, giving testimony to the fact she is still torqued that she did not remember to grab appropriate head gear when the Reds were paying the bills at Neiman's!

    Her cammo two piece swim suit, she must keep those favorable male polls up, will have a German Luger tucked discreetly into the waist band, next to her "Jesus Saves:" tat. She will wear the waist band high to conceal the list that she believes Jesus will save!

    She will have "peek-a-boo" newborn bunny fur ankle boots, which she herself designed after helicoptering in and shoving a double barrel shot gun into the warren. The boots will include 4 inch heels, again for the male poll numbers, but also so they can double as stakes should she encounter any witches when she is not traveling with her beloved "witch doctor".

    Her speech will consist of defining each of the 10 "purity" commandments of the Reds and the new tea bagging "first principles".

    The crowd will respond with full throated "Sieg Heil" although the flailing about of 1200 extra long arms may prove problematic, not to mention the deafening sound of the whistling coming from 600 sets of missing front teeth!

    The individual training courses given through Sunday are:

    1 How to build and burn a cross from a safe distance..

    2. How to sew, press and store the white sheets and hood.

    3. How to make a hangman’s noose.

    4. How to screen print Hitler’s picture onto t-shirts.

    The conference finale will consist of a day long KKK rally on Sunday so folks can showcase the skills learned.

    David Duke is rumored to be making an appearance to welcome all his willing new followers.

    February 6, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. RuthAnne

    If Palin were such a great politician, she would have given McCain an edge over Obama. She didn't. The voters rejected her. She isn't the majority's "cup of tea." Never was, never will be.

    February 6, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. Cystem Phailure

    Sarah has found her home. She and the tea bagger crackpots are tailor made for one another.

    February 6, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. Texas Jack

    Contrary to the Obama's moron supporters, Sarah, you also have many, many supporters out here in Christian America. We will take back America. That is our cry. It is time to vote incumbents especially Democrats out of Office. Run the ACLU and other organizations out of the country. Don't say it can not be done. Our forefathers founded this country and it was founded on freedom of religion and, "IN GOD WE TRUST". WE WILL NOT TAKE IT ANYMORE. THIS GIMME, GIMME, GIMME IS OVERWITH. GET OUT AND GET A JOB. ILLEGALS GO BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM TIME IS RUNNING OUT.

    February 6, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  20. Sara 2010!

    Ha Ha to all libs! Your dumb! When sara win in 2010 we get rid of libs and uniun workers and sceintist and teachers and poeple who cant spell vote in english!

    February 6, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  21. Voice of Reason

    This group of ignorant bigots deserve Palin. Dumb likes dumb. Sounds like a marriage made in heavan

    February 6, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  22. Monica, SA TX

    Sarah Palin is using the Repubs. and Tea Party to make $$$ and these guys are not smart enough to know when they are being played...She has no intention on running in 2012 especially with all the "dirt" that has exposed on her lately. But she is smart enough to "milk" every single dime out of the fools that believe in her. Obviously with some of the headliners that are giving speeches at this event she could careless about who she "pals" around with to be considering a future career as POTUS

    February 6, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  23. GI Joe

    My brother-in-law had some dealings with Mr. Brown down in Asheville. He'll never do business with him again. Seems Mr. Brown is "very unethical" to the point of being a "crook".

    So much for THAT group.

    February 6, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. tom

    Many of Palin's supportors struck me as angry people, perhaps rightfully so.

    I think these teabaggers are going to be disappointed and disiilusioned when they realize this is another fraudesque type of movement.

    February 6, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. Mountain Dude

    Crazy secessionists support crazy secessionists, GO FIG!?! The south has risen again, God help us all.

    February 6, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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