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At Sarah Palin Rally, Tea Partiers Reject "Extreme" Label

Sarah Palin, Tea Party Express
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin speaks to the crowd during the kickoff of the nationwide Tea Party Express bus tour in Reno, Nev., Monday, Oct. 18, 2010. AP

RENO, Nev. --  When Sarah Palin strode across the makeshift stage in a parking lot in Reno, the crowd got exactly what they came for.

Palin attached "Pelosi, Reid, Obama Politics" and used the words "freedom" and "liberty" more than a dozen times. In the Tea Party there is no one that excites a crowd more than Palin who in her folksy way still comes across as a "regular person" even though she is now clearly a multi-millionaire and plausible presidential candidate.

In talking to the people that came to the first stop on the Tea Party Express' cross-country tour, one thing stood out. They are tired of being labeled "extreme" and "radical" and take great offense to an insinuation that they are racist for opposing President Obama (Although it should be noted that one of the speakers referred to the president as "President Hussein.")

Tea Partiers view their calls for a drastically smaller federal government, including phasing out social security and Medicare, as simply "common sense."

While most of them are Republicans, many are just as suspect of that party as they are of the Democrats. They think both parties are big-spenders who don't take the growing national debt seriously.

As one man told me "they are all corrupt." The real test of the growing movement comes on November 2nd when Tea Party supporters hope enough of their candidates win so they can finally start making the changes they want to see in Washington.

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Ben Tracy
Ben Tracy
Ben Tracy is CBS News' correspondent based in Los Angeles. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here.
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