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. Clint, Wa.

    One retard talking to a bunch of other retards.

    February 6, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  2. c spurgeon

    She is a total wacko only interested in filling her own pockets....

    February 6, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  3. SC-Pub "no" more

    "Palin has strong support at the Tea party"

    Boy, there is some surprising news.
    CNN will be stumbling over Fox to give old Sarah a big smoooooch!

    February 6, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    There were 600 people at this joke of a convention, why is this news? do you really have that little happening in the world that is important?

    February 6, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  5. Mark

    Palin has millions of supporters throughout this entire nation. She's the breath of fresh air that this nation neads. Obama is all talk!

    February 6, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  6. manuallabor

    Palin is NOT the right person, she is just another Ship jumping Republican whose party is 50% responsible for the Americans who do want a third party,,,Americans who are sick and tired of BOTH parties AND their corrupt relationship with the LOBBY DOLLAR. People are tired of BOTH parties taking turns RUINING our country,,and NEITHER one will take responsibility for their part in ANY of the mess. 95% of this countries economic problems are the fruit of the current AND last three administrations,,,TWO Democratic and TWO Republican,,,its very easy to see,,,the problem is BOTH parties, they CANNOT put the blame ANYWHERE else. BOTH parties are miserable failures, In my humble opinion they are NO BETTER than the class of people they BOTH put the Taliban,,,A THREAT TO AMERICA. Why can NEITHER party admit that MOST of our economic problems stem from the monies that BOTH lie wars are consuming? Have they forgotten what the same situation in the SAME place did to RUSSIA?

    February 6, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  7. Robert G Wing

    Re: Palen tonight at Tea Party

    Start of a movement,, a serious movement ,,RTLC
    Means , Remove Theives, Liars and Cheats

    February 6, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  8. lannymous

    The next President of the United States. Start slashing your wrists you pack of Progressive dogs.

    February 6, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  9. Minnesota gal

    Bunch of little flippy floppy chickees runing around talking to a bunch of other little chickees. Gee those 600 people. From what they have said, they are a bunch of racist you know what's. I would think even Palin would distant herself from them. If the MSM didn't give those used up, tea bags a lot of press people would forget about them and their KKK leanings.

    February 6, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  10. Josh Henderson

    How about all tea baggers go move to Canada....bunch of morans. Taxiaton with Representation is a bigger deal, then what you are fighting. It is a joke, what you are doing to this country. Dumb Hillbillys.

    February 6, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  11. Kathy a Nurse

    You know what I hate is when the so called christian right says things like. "We (meaning the american people) have figured this out or that out" and try to speak for others. It is downright irritating. All people have there own options and speak only for yourself please!!
    They call our leaders names and are rude and claim to be a patriotic christian.
    If they were christians they would do what Jesus would do and not speak ill of others and help everyone. Enough games please act like grown-ups.

    February 6, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  12. Tony in Maine

    Please, Please, Please

    Let her run. Let her choose Beck as her VP.

    Or maybe Joe the Plumber.


    February 6, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  13. Cheryl Pastika

    Come on folks the tea party is not just 600 people who like Sarah. We are a group of folks who are sick of our government telling us what they are doing and not listening to the people.
    Why are you making this racial? This is not a racist group. WE ARE AMERICANS WHO LOVE OUR COUNTRY.
    Conservative government, not representatives who when you write to them\ don't listen just send a letter saying they vote for the good of all people.
    Make your jokes, laugh, snicker but the tea party is real and it is moving forward. Maybe our votes will count. Not party affiliated, candidate affiliated and willing to work hard to accomplish them

    February 6, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  14. amt. CA

    Why does the media cover this grade school mentality?

    February 6, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  15. mario ca.

    cnn is he best friend of palin and her tea party racist wingnut.
    cc HP

    February 6, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  16. brainwashed tea party people not for US

    I have to question that person in this article Fremont Brown when they say that Sarah was more qualified than any of the other candidates at the 2008 campaign. When your saying Sarah is more qualified, what makes her more qualified when she can't even govern her own state has her husband take some responsibilities of her job, doesn't speak well, promotes racism, spreads lies on her facebook, keeps twisting facts, and capitalizes on selling a book that is 90% fiction???? Just as alot of Americans think. She has turned those brainwashed into bird brains. Her gimmick is up and she is about to get called out!

    February 6, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  17. mb-texas

    wow.the tea party ?first night speech and all the nasty signs and
    nasty behaviour show exactly what the tea party is all about.
    they have their rights to protest and say what they want,but in America
    we should respect the President and our fellow Americans.

    February 6, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  18. Mike, NC

    As Forrest Gump once stated: Stupid is as stupid does sir!

    February 6, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  19. D.D.

    They certainly knew how to pick them. They should have offered a speakng invitation to Todd Palin because he could have spoken about his experience in wanting out of the American citizenship. Maybe a few at the convention would want the information hopefully one being Tancredo. Can we make a motin of removal? He really told his thoughts from his apparent racist heart or was he speaking from his extreme jealosy of no one taking him serious enough that instead of residing in Washington he was speaking in a swank hotel about those who succeeded in the political arena so unlike him. Poor man- maybe he can run on the new ticket in Wassila.

    February 6, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  20. wow

    Palin 2012.......:)

    February 6, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  21. Alex

    These people are dangerous to our country. They have no concept of our Constitution, the role of democracy to run a government or the meaning of patriotism.

    What's ironic is half the people who are Teabaggers are old people who are too ignorant (or have somehow been convinced otherwise) of the fact that they already depend on socialized medicine.

    February 6, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  22. bibi from uk

    These tea baggers are the new terrorists movement that will harm the US. Call them the christian talibans who also happen to be the underbelly of US and racists kkk.
    That is where your problem is America. They are also the uneducated that can be brainwashed. America has too many uneducated people and that's why it can still produce presidents like George Bush. No one in europe would vote for such dumb heads. They would not put their country at risk. One day America will realise how lucky they were to have had Obama as president in these difficult times.
    The tea baggers are only there because they do not want a black president. The whole world thinks very highly of Obama and he is very popular. We do not want to see another Christian taliban as the leader of the world.

    February 6, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  23. gypsydaveywithablowtorch

    An intelligence test before you can vote, now that's a great idea!

    February 6, 2010 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  24. Msdp

    This grassroot group breeds division and confusion with only one purpose, to continue racism. Go to their website thememphisteaparty.com. Sad, Sad, & Sad!!!!

    February 6, 2010 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  25. Seth W

    I think this Tea-Party group is being over-estimated and over-blown by the Press looking for a narrative.
    They are a minority being pushed by the Press at the expense of the vast majority of Americans many of whom have no idea what a Tea Party is, they think it's some British tradition.

    The Press is doing the same mis-direction they have always given us, remember the Iraq war, the lack of vigilance on the Budget, on torture, etc.

    February 6, 2010 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
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