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Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks to supporters during the Tea Party of America's "Restoring America" event Saturday at the Indianola Balloon Festival Grounds in Indianola, Iowa.
By NBC's Alex Moe and Andrew Rafferty
INDIANOLA, Iowa - At a rain soaked field in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, Sarah Palin delivered a speech in front of a couple thousand supporters that railed not only against President Barack Obama but also criticized the Republican presidential field.
Palin told the crowd at the National Balloon Classic field that the permanent political class and "crony capitalism" of both parties is what has caused this nation's fiscal problems. But she specifically questioned the Republican field of candidates -- asking if their campaign contributions leave them beholden to special interests.
"To be fair some GOP candidates, they also raise mammoth amounts of cash and we need to ask them too, ‘What if anything do their donors expect in return for their investments?’" Palin said during the Tea Party of America's "Restoring America" event. "We need to know this because our country can’t afford more trillion-dollar thank-you notes to campaign backers."
Right before Sarah Palin's speech at a Tea Party rally in Iowa, her supporters are hoping she'll say she's running for president. NBC's Alex Moe looks at whether she might grant their wish.
After the speech, Palin told NBC News the goal of Saturday's speech was "to lay out a plan that can help restore what is good and right and free about America and to start tackling the crony capitalism that really is ... the foundation of our problems."
On this day three years ago, Palin spoke as the vice presidential nominee to a packed convention center in St. Paul, Minn., at the Republican Convention. Today, she spoke to an enthusiastic Tea Party crowd in a speech that was sporadically interrupted by chants of "Run, Sarah, run."
But unlike three years ago, she pushed back against the Republican establishment, promoting the ideals of the Tea Party movement.
At one point, the former Alaskan governor even made a joke about the emphasis put on national polls:
Sarah Palin takes to the stage before thousands of supporters in Indianola, Iowa, to address Tea Party of America rally.
"Polls," Palin said, "they're for strippers and cross-country skiers."
One big question remained on the minds of those who sat through periods of torrential downpours in the Hawkeye State following the almost 40-minute speech -- Will she herself be a contender in the 2012 race?
"I've admired her ever since she came on the scene," attendee Miki Booth of Wyandotte, Okla., said. "This country is in bad shape and I'd really like to see us go back to the principles of the founding fathers and I think Sarah Palin can lead us back to those ideals."
Palin now heads to New Hampshire for a Tea Party Express rally on Labor Day continuing to fuel speculation that she will soon become a presidential candidate.