By Mark Memmott

Sarah Palin "electrified conservative Tea Party activists" in Nashville last night, NPR's Don Gonyea tells us. And as you'll see in this video clip, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee took on the Obama administration for what she believes is a pre-9/11 "mindset" on how to handle would-be terrorists -- one that relies too much on the criminal justice system, not waging war.

According to Palin, "we need a commander in chief, not a professor of law standing at the lectern":

At one point, the Associated Press writes, Palin said to the 1,000 or so Tea Party activists gathered in Nashville that after recent election defeats the Democrats might want to rethink their campaign themes. "How's that hope-y, change-y stuff workin' out for you?" she inquired of the other side.

The local Tennessean adds that Palin told the crowd that that Tea Party movement should remain leaderless and decentralized, saying it is "bigger than any king or queen of the tea party."

Erick Erickson of the widely read conservative blog Red State says Palin is the "best thing to happen to the Tea Party movement." And, he writes:

Sarah Palin's governance shows she not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. As her voice grows, many of the voices of the alleged tea party leaders will diminish. Palin's history is one of a woman who gets involved and leaves places better than she found them. The tea party movement will be left better off by Sarah Palin. And I hope that some of those who brought her in to the tea party movement will exit through the door she entered.

Sam Stein at the liberal Huffington Post says it was a "speech that was often pointed but rarely substantive."

Palin, a former governor of Alaska, is due on Fox News Sunday this morning. She recently signed on as a contributor to the cable news network.

Update at 8:25 a.m. ET. Don Gonyea adds that:

Palin said time and again the Tea Party movement doesn't need a leader -- even as she looked just like the very leader the people here would like to have.
Then came the final question.
"I can think of two words right now that scare liberals," Phillips said. "President Palin."
The cheers then became a chant of "Run, Sarah run."
Palin smiled, but didn't address the implied question. Instead she said, "I will live, I will die for the people of America. Whatever I can do tonight, this party, this Tea Party, is the future of America and I'm proud to get to be here today."

Update at 8:20 a.m. ET: And, if you have time, CBS News has made the full 40 minutes or so of Palin's speech available:

categories: Politics, Terrorism

7:23 - February 7, 2010