(Corrected at 4:45 p.m. on Oct. 18, 2010 to reflect the actual statement by Sarah Palin about Russia in 2008)
(Updated at 4:02 p.m. on Oct. 18, 2010 to reflect crowd estimate.)
RENO – An enthusiastic crowd of Tea Party supporters showed up to cheer on former GOP Alaska Gov. and U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin today at one of what will be many stops across the county in advance of the Nov. 2 general election.
The Tea Party Express bus tour was scheduled to continue on to Elko today, then Ely and Las Vegas before heading east and ending in Connecticut on Nov. 1.
Palin spoke for about 25 minutes in a parking lot on South Virginia Street, urging those attending the rally to continue working through Election Day. Several people who attended the rally estimated the crowd at 1,000 to 1,500.
Palin made more than a few humorous comments in her address, saying “I can see November from my house,” a reference to her statement during the 2008 presidential election that Russia can be seen from land in Alaska. The comment was later spoofed on a “Saturday Night Live” episode.
She followed up with another statement: “Now we can see 2012 from our house,” a reference to the upcoming 2012 presidential election. Palin is considered to be a leading GOP candidate for president two years from now.
Palin said it is time for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to retire, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Sharron Angle, the Republican challenger to Reid, did not attend the rally, but got an endorsement from Palin and the Tea Party, as did other Nevada conservative candidates. Angle will help repeal, “the mother of all unfunded mandates called Obamacare,” Palin said.
“I thank you for being so bold in your support of Sharron too,” she said. “Bless her heart the stuff they have thrown at her. Yet she’s still standing.”
Reid spokesman Jon Summers, in an email sent out today, noted that Angle failed to win the endorsement from her hometown newspaper, the Reno Gazette-Journal, which on Sunday endorsed Reid.
“The good news for Sharron is that she will have some supporters in Reno today,” Summers said. “The bad news? That support will consist of a Tea Party group from California run by Republican consultants, and Sarah Palin.”
Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., attended the rally but did not speak. Heller said federal election law prohibits candidates from coordinating with the Tea Party Express.
Palin told the crowd to keep working, walking precincts, stuffing envelopes and all the other tasks that need to be done for conservative candidates across the country to ensure victory on Nov. 2.
Borrowing from Sharron Angle’s “man up” comment made to Reid at last week’s debate, Palin said current political leaders should “man up” and support Tea Party candidates.
The “bigwigs” in the political machine are “too chicken to come out and support the Tea Party candidates,” she said.
Palin warned the crowd not to take it easy yet. Democratic candidates and their supporters are taking cheap shots at conservative candidates, attacks that are not being challenged or repudiated by what she called the left wing media.
“Don’t be thinking that we have victory for America in the bag yet,” she said. “We can’t let up. We can’t get cocky about this.”
Sarah Palin speaks at Tea Party rally in Reno on Monday with hot air balloon in background