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Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin speaks during a Tea Party Express rally on Sept. 5, in Manchester, New Hampshire.
By NBC's Alex Moe
MANCHESTER, NH –- In a small park in the first-in-the-nation primary state, Sarah Palin spent her Labor Day addressing a Tea Party Express rally. She was critical of President Obama and, at times, it seemed Palin was building for a presidential announcement of her own.
“We need people with a proven record of reform and who are willing to take on the tough challenges to run into danger, if you will, not away from it,” the former Alsaska governor said as the crowd broke out in chants of “you” and “run, Sarah, run.”
But she was quick to back away and focused her speech on the Tea Party movement.
“We need to grow this moment,” Palin told the crowd of more than 1,000 supporters in Veterans Memorial Park. “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.”
"Now we're seeing more and more folks realize the strength of this grassroots movement and they're wanting to be involved," Palin said without giving specific names. "I say, `Right on, better late than never,' for some of these campaigns, especially."
There were volunteers for Ron Paul and Hermain Cain working the crowd Monday and Mitt Romney headlined a Tea Party event Sunday night.
She also echoed themes from her speech in Iowa earlier this weekend, where she talked more broadly about the nation’s problems with "crony capitalism," debt, and the “incompetent leadership” of the current president.
“We are telling Washington that my kid is not your ATM,” Palin said. She had earlier told the crowd that it was because of them that the new governing class was sent to Washington, D.C., in 2010.
“I felt I could relate a little to her and I thought the speech was wonderful,” Donna Parenteau, of Goffstown, NH told NBC News following the speech. “And I hope she runs for president.”
But not everyone was convinced.
“I didn’t really hear anything new,” Andy Bridge of Amherst, NH said. “I don’t think Sarah’s positions on budget and deficit issues are much different from the other big candidates or even from democrats,” he told NBC News. Bridge said he likes Governor Palin but will be supporting Ron Paul in the New Hampshire primary.
Palin, NBC News was told, arrived in the Granite State Sunday after running a half-marathon in Iowa under her maiden name. She ate dinner at a local landmark in Manchester, The Puritan Backroom, where she and her husband, Todd, were greeted by a Marine and his bride who came out to take a picture during their wedding reception.
After making speeches in both Iowa and New Hampshire, two early voting states, the question remains as the holiday weekend draws to a close, will she or won’t she? Sarah Palin has indicated her “drop dead” date for a possible presidential announcement is the end of September.
After running a half-marathon in Iowa, Sarah Palin is in New Hampshire where she was met by an unexpected couple. NBC's Alex Moe also previews Palin's Tea Party speech in Manchester.