Sarah Palin Rallies Tea Partiers

She is popping up everywhere... just look at the last 48 hours.

This morning in Houston, fans paid $50 a head to "get motivated" with Sarah Palin and learn how to balance priorities, maintain grace under fire and become a person of influence.

Say what you will, but she is certainly that. And she is making good money at it. Reportedly $100,000 a pop for paid speeches.

By Monday afternoon, Palin was at a construction and equipment expo for loggers in Redding, Calif.

The Palin Effect
null

Rallying the Tea Party

But it's Saturday night's sharp critique of Barack Obama at the first National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tenn., that's drawn the most attention.

"Now, a year later, I've got to ask supporters of all that," she told tea partiers. "How's that hopey, changey stuff working out for you?"

Palin says the Tea Party movement is "merging" with the Republican party.

VIDEO:Is Sarah Palin Serious?
null

"This is about the people and it's bigger than any king or queen of a tea party and it's a lot bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter," she said.

Palin didn't use a prompter but had notes right on her hand including "Energy," "Tax (not budget) Cuts," and "Lift American Spirits."

A New Position

In this crowd, it doesn't matter that she once supported the Wall Street bailout. That's ancient history now. On Fox News this past Sunday, she said, "The bailout, the takeovers of the private sector -- that's not the answer."

It doesn't matter that she protested when the White House chief of staff used the word "retarded" to refer to Democrats but seemed OK with Rush Limbaugh using the phrase. (Palin's response to Limbaugh, "He was satirical in that.")

VIDEO: Palin Tells Tea Party: Its Revolution Time
null

And it doesn't matter that she ran with and is still raising money for John McCain, even though many tea partiers find him too moderate.

"It does make you think back to those historical days where candidates were pamphleteers and sort of their own message machine; she has that now in spades," says ABC News' Political Director David Chalian.

'Run, Sarah, Run!'

Just how popular was she with this crowd? Well, the reigning chant by the end of the speech: "RUN, SARAH, RUN!!"

VIDEO: Tea Partiers Meet to Rally for the Future
null

Because tea party supporters want her to run for president in 2012.

Fox News' Chris Wallace asked Palin if she would actually do it. "I would," she said, "I would if I believed that that is the right thing to do for our country and for the Palin family. Certainly, I would do so."

With every stop, the buzz grows, from Oprah's couch last month to the Daytona 500 next Sunday to the dizzying schedule Palin has over the next few months.

null
null

Frankly, she doesn't even have to leave home. Fox News is putting a satellite uplink in her home office in Wasilla, Alaska, so she can easily appear on live TV. Her posts on Facebook are read by more than 1 million fans.

Every morning, Palin receives e-mail briefings from policy advisors. When asked by Wallace if she was more knowledgeable now about domestic and foreign affairs than she was two years ago, Palin was conclusive. "Well, I would hope so," she responded. "Yes I am."

That does not mean she's universally loved by Republicans. But some political pundits can't seem to believe her success.

"Behind the scenes they're talking about how embarrassing her performance was," says pundit Joe Scarborough, "but she still doesn't seem to have a great deal of substance."

Our latest ABC News poll finds Palin leading the pack of potential GOP candidates but with only 17 percent.

Palin may dominate but she'll be sharing the spotlight with the likes of Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who's giving a speech later this week, and former candidate Mitt Romney, who has a new book coming out.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 9780963.
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston stopped a would be smuggler from bringing nearly 7 ounces of cocaine into the country in tamales, Aug. 22, 2014.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Real Housewife Phaedra Parks Lists Home in Suburban Atlanta
Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Phaedra Parks, has listed her 4,000-square-foot home with 5 bedrooms and 6 baths for $340,900.
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine.
(Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Center/AP)