MANCHESTER, N.H. — Sarah Palin left open the possibility of a presidential bid Monday, while encouraging tea party activists to unite against President Obama.

And the former Alaska governor praised Republican presidential candidates for working harder to appeal to the tea party movement.

“Now we’re seeing more and more folks realize the strength of this grassroots movement and they’re wanting to be involved,” she said at a Tea Party Express rally in the Granite State’s largest city. “I say, ‘Right on, better late than never,’ for some of these campaigns, especially.”

She didn’t name names, but former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is among those courting tea party groups this weekend.

But Palin’s New Hampshire appearance comes amid rising frustration among N.H. Republicans and tea party activists over her hazy intentions.

She has drawn headlines, dominated cable news coverage and raised supporters’ hopes through several recent visits to early voting states. As she did Monday, she has consistently left open the possibility that she would seek the presidency.

A New Hampshire tea party leader couldn’t hold back his frustration Sunday night at another rally hosted by the Tea Party Express.

“Once again it is time to determine – are you here to sell books or are you here to run for president of the United States?” asked Corey Lewandowski, state director for Americans for Prosperity. “The people of New Hampshire deserve to know, are you serious? And if you are serious, then welcome to the race. And if you’re not serious, get out of the way because we’re going to elect a new president.”

The head of a prominent Granite State conservative think tank, also a tea party ally, says there is a growing sense of indifference among local conservatives.

“If she had done it right she could be popular here,” said Kevin Smith, executive director of Cornerstone. “But I don’t feel a lot of energy or enthusiasm here about a Palin run. Voters here in this state, who frankly have been taking this primary seriously since the beginning of the year, are indifferent.”