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Palin Says Republican Party Should Absorb the Tea Party

(AP Photo/Ed Reinke)
During a Q&A after her speech, Palin was asked about the future of the Tea Party movement. "The Republican party would be smart to absorb as much of the Tea Party as possible. The Tea Party is the future of politics. It is shaping the way of politics in the future."

At the same time she said the current form of the Tea Party is "fresh, young and fragile."

"It is a sacred trust to carry these ideas forward," she added.

The Tea Party is not just a "bunch of hard-core registered Republicans," she explained, citing her husband, Todd Palin, as example of someone who doesn't want to be part of a registered party, and independents who believe in the Tea Party movement. She added that the Tea Party could even "empower and embolden" more conservative Democrats to "come out of the closet."

"I will live or die for the American people, whatever I can do to help," she concluded the Q&A, and reiterated that the Tea Party is the future of politics.

Whether the Tea Party can grow from being a fringe group to a force competing against what she called "a charismatic guy with a telepromter," in referring to President Obama, remains to be seen.

Palin defined the Tea Party as a "grass root" movement from the "ground up," not dominated by outsized leaders and personalities, kings or queens.

However, she brought up President Ronald Reagan several times in her speech, associating herself with the style and conservative policies of the former president and indicating that a leader is needed to galvanize the new party.

For many, Sarah Palin is in line to become that leader, and she seemed to annoint herself to that role in her Nashville speech.

A recent CBS News poll found that Palin is popular among those who have a positive opinion of the Tea Party movement. Of those surveyed, 73 percent had a favorable view of the former Alaska governor, and just 10 percent are unfavorable. Fifteen percent are undecided or haven't heard.

But those sympathetic to the Tea Party movement, beyond the Nashville Tea Party convention, expressed doubts about her future in presidential politics. Forty-three percent say they would like to see Palin run for president in 2012, but even more, 46 percent, would not.

Palin's Nashville speech appeared to give notice that she is on a campaign trail but intends to allow the grass roots to grow around her before making any aspirations for political office known.

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