One day after Mitt Romney delivered a speech to skeptical Tea Party members in New Hampshire, Sarah Palin whipped up the crowd into a frenzy at a Labor Day rally in Manchester.
However, as a ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ banner flew behind her, Palin did not declare her candidacy for president, nor did she endorse any of the existing field of GOP candidates.
Rather, Palin warned the partisan crowd that with their message of lower spending and limited government gaining traction, now is the not time to relax and sit on laurels.
She also took a veiled pot-shot at Romney for trying to curry favor with Tea Partiers.
We're seeing more and more folks realize the strength of this grassroots movement, and they're wanting to be involved, she said.
I say right on! Better late than never, for some of these candidates especially. You're converting them over.
She also cautioned that infighting among Republicans threatened to destroy party unity ahead of next year’s elections.
We patriots should not focus on petty political squabbles and media-game sound bites, she said.
“The tea party has got to be focused on the broader, much more important goals of this movement: replace [President Barack] Obama and return power back to 'we the people' and grow this movement without compromising principles.
Palin further added: Let's talk straight about some of the problems in trying to grow this movement, that's so needed. It's media-incited internal squabbles unfortunately. And we can nip some of that right here in the bud, right here right now. Because we've got a lot to do, constitutionalists. Our challengers are too great, we simply don't have time to be bogged down in friendly fire conflicts.
The former Alaska governor spelled out the need for the Tea Party to resist being co-opted and compromised by the mainstream Republican Party.
“The tea party movement is bigger than any one person and it’s not about any one candidate, and thank goodness we don’t have any one single leader,” she said.
“[The tea party’s goal is to] “reform our government and restore our country. You are taking a stand for what is right, you are taking a stand for needed reform in this country.”
The schism among the Republican Party between mainstream fiscal conservatives and the more right-wing social conservatives of the Tea Party set had attracted much attention and debate. But Romney himself has downplayed this apparent gulf in ideology and asserted his philosophies align perfect with the Tea Party.
He told a crowd in New Hampshire: “There’s great interest to say, ‘Oh! The tea party!’ and ‘Oh! The mainstream Republicans! Oh! They’re fighting and they’re different.’ The tea party has at its central core the believe that government is too big. Sound familiar?… The tea party is a popular movement saying government is too big and I couldn’t agree more.”
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