Former Alaska governor and Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin kicked off a Tea Party Express bus tour on Monday with a plea for Republicans to "man up" and support the movement.
"Hey, politicians who are in office today you, some of you, need to man up and spend some political capital to support the Tea Party candidates instead of doing this, waiting to see how everything is going to go," Palin said from Reno, Nevada. "You know that Tea Party candidates are constitutionalists that got the common sense. So, some of these politicians, the big-wigs within the machine, they're driving me crazy because they're too chicken to come and support the Tea Party candidates." (Watch a video of some of Palin's remarks here.)
It's no coincidence the nationwide bus tour, which hits 30 cities in the next 15 days before the midterm elections, started in Reno -- ground zero of this year's midterms. The Tea Party Express, a Sacramento-based group, has spent more than $1 million to defeat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada's Democratic senator, and elect Republican candidate Sharron Angle.
Angle could not appear at the bus tour kickoff since the Tea Party Express has made independent expenditures on her behalf, and political campaigns are by law prohibited from coordinating with independent groups.
Still, Palin's words echoed Angle's remarks in a debate last week, when she told Reid to "."
Palin went on to say on Monday that common sense is an "endangered species" in Washington, D.C. She also said that Tea Partiers are "turning this country's political landscape upside down," according to the Associated Press. "The left just doesn't know what to do with you," Palin added.
With unemployment over 14 percent in Nevada -- the highest in the nation -- Palin said of Reid, "Why in the world wouldn't you fire him?"
"What do we have to show for the liberal control they've had for the last 21 months?" Palin continued. "The ideas of the Tea Party movement are the American ideas that will put us back to work."
Angle and Reid have been locked in a dead heat for some time, though a couple recent polls show Angle narrowly ahead. The race has been marked by ferocious attacks from both sides, and while Angle last week told Reid to "man up," she earlier in the campaign season accused him of trying to "hit the girl," metaphorically speaking, by attacking her.
Angle made waves over the weekend when she told a group of Hispanic high school students they. Nevada Senate Election: Harry Reid (D) Vs. Sharron Angle (R)
CBSNews.com Special Report: Campaign 2010
Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.
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