While some of the nation's most conservative lawmakers have made last-minute decisions to back out of next week's National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, the headliner is still planning to pick up her check.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin told Fox News on Thursday evening that, unlike Reps. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), she still intends to speak at the convention, despite the growing controversy over the obscure for-profit entity running the event.
"Oh, you betcha I'm going to be there," Palin told Greta Van Susteren. "I'm going to speak there because there are people traveling from many miles away to hear what that tea party movement is all about and what that message is that should be received by our politicians in Washington. I'm honored to get to be there."
Palin is getting $100,000 to deliver the keynote address at the conference. The 2008 vice presidential candidate insisted that her fee will "go right back into the cause" in the form of donations "to people and to events, those things that I believe in that will help perpetuate the message, the message being, Government, you have constitutional limits. You better start abiding by them."
Asked by Van Susteren whether she thinks the Republican Party would be best served by merging with the tea party movement, Palin replied with an enthusiastic endorsement of the idea.
"They need to merge," she said. "Definitely, they need to merge. I think those who are wanting the divisions and the divisiveness and the controversy -- those are the ones who don't believe in the message. And they're the ones, I think, stirring it up. We need to ignore that and we need to forge ahead with a cohesive message. It's a common sense message. It, again, is, Government, limit yourself so that the private sector, our families, free individuals can grow and thrive and prosper and enjoy America's freedom!"