NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Sarah Palin, in a speech that was short on ideas but big on enthusiasm, took aim at President Barack Obama and the Democrats, telling a gathering of "tea party" activists that America is ripe for another revolution.
Noting his party's dismal showing in elections since Obama moved into the White House a year ago with talk of hope and promises of change, Palin asked the gathering: "How's that hope-y, change-y stuff workin' out for you?"
Her audience waved flags and erupted in cheers during multiple standing ovations as the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee gave the keynote address Saturday at the first national convention of the "tea party" coalition. It's an antiestablishment, grass-roots network motivated by anger over the growth of government, budget-busting spending and Obama's policies.
Palin's 45-minute talk was filled with her trademark folksy jokes and amounted to a pep talk for the coalition and promotion of its principles.
The speech also was rife with criticism for Obama and the Democrats who control Congress, but delivered with a light touch. Aside from broad conservative principles like lower taxes and a strong national defense, the speech was short on Palin's own policy ideas that typically indicate someone is seriously laying the groundwork to run for the White House.
Indeed, Republican observers say she's seemingly done more lately to establish herself as a political celebrity focused on publicity rather than a political candidate focused on policy.
Catering to her crowd, Palin talked of limited government, strict adherence to the Constitution, and the "God-given right" of freedom. She said the "fresh, young and fragile" movement is the future of American politics because it's "a ground-up call to action" to both major political parties to change how they do business.
"America is ready for another revolution!" she told the gathering.
Palin suggested the movement should remain leaderless and cautioned against allowing it to be defined by any one person.
"Let us not get bogged down in the small squabbles. Let us get caught up in the big ideas," she said, though she offered few of her own.
The former Alaska governor, who resigned from office last summer before completing her first term, didn't indicate whether her political future would extend beyond cable news punditry and paid speeches to an actual presidential candidacy.
All she offered was a smile when a moderator asking her questions used the phrase "President Palin." That prompted most in the audience to stand up and chant "Run, Sarah, Run!"
But, given the plethora of attacks that Palin leveled at Obama, she seemed like she was already running against him. And, perhaps, as an independent.
She talked little about the Republican Party and encouraged "tea party"-aligned candidates to compete in GOP primaries.
Palin ribbed Obama for Democratic losses in New Jersey and Virginia governor's races last fall and in a Massachusetts Senate race last month, saying: "When you're 0-3 you'd better stop lecturing and start listening."
On foreign policy and national security, Palin said he had "misguided thinking" and a pre-Sept. 11 mindset.
Her fee was $100,000 for the appearance at the for-profit event.