An expectant crowd showed up to hear former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speak at an event for tea party supporters in Manchester, N.H., on Labor Day, the traditional first day of campaigning for presidential primary candidates.
According to CBS News:
Palin drew about 600 people, more than double the number that turned out for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at a tea party event in Concord, N.H., on Sunday. Many had hoped to hear the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee announce her candidacy, some of them chanting “Run, Sarah, run.”
However, Palin made no such announcement, merely thanking her vocal fans for their support. “I appreciate your encouragement. I do,” she told them.
Instead, she used her speech to hit on her favorite themes, like individualism.
“Solutions come from you,” Palin told voters, according to CBS News. “It is you who run our factories and own our small businesses, who fight our wars, who build our communities with a service heart, that is our country. … Hope is in you. It’s not that nebulous hopey-changey stuff we heard in 2008.”
Palin also urged tea partiers to eschew infighting for unity. On Sunday, a tea party group called FreedomWorks had held a protest against including Mitt Romney on the roster of speakers at a tea party rally in Concord, N.H., Reuters reports. FreedomWorks opposes the Massachusetts healthcare plan Romney introduced.
“We don’t have time to be bogged down in internal conflicts,” Palin said, adding that all candidates should be heard, including “those who are humble enough to admit they need you and have seen the light.”
The will she-won’t she question was a popular discussion topic among the audience.
Rod Silverwood, a Palin activist collecting signatures at a booth at the event on Monday, told Reuters he thought she would run. “We believe she’ll pick a day to announce that has some meaning to the nation,” he said. “We think September 17, Constitution Day, would be logical because her message has been about restoring America to the basic concept of what the constitution is about.”
“I don’t think she’s going to run; I think it’s too late,” Di Lothrop, a member of the Nashua County Republican group, told the Washington Post. “She’s bringing her presence here just to support the tea party. But my husband thinks she will run.”
Some voters may be tiring of the tease.
On Sunday, Fox News released a poll showing that 71 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of self-identified tea partiers do not want Palin to run in 2012, the New York Daily News reports.