On a big day in presidential politics, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Monday gave another of her presidential-stump-like speeches to a presidential-rally-style crowd in an important presidential primary state. She did not say she's running for president. Again.
"It's great to spend Labor Day with you," Palin told a large crowd of tea party supporters in Manchester, N.H., on the traditional kick off day of the presidential primary season. "You could be grilling up some steaks with your neighbors and instead, youíre concerned about your country and taking a stand."
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." She smiled. "I appreciate your encouragement. I do," Palin told them, with well-practiced coyness.
She delivered her usual non-campaign remarks for roughly 25 minutes, taking tough shots at President Obama, big government, "Beltway types," and generally all things status quo.
"Solutions come from you," she told the crowd, "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.
"It was three years ago I spoke in Iowa, and I asked America, 'When the cloud of rhetoric is passed and the roar of the crowd fades away, what exactly is Barack Obama's plan?"
Palin had nothing but warm sentiments for the tea party and for independent voters who hold the key to next year's election. "The tea party movement is bigger than any one candidate," she said. "It's about bringing together discussion from we the people. Not the politicos, not those inside-the-Beltway types that have fought the tea party movement."