February 27th, 2010
11:50 AM ET
8 years ago

Tea Party activists to mark one year anniversary


Thousands marched on Washington during a large Tea Party movement rally last September. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

Washington (CNN) - Tea Party activists across the country are expected Saturday to mark the one year anniversary of their movement.

Tea Party organizers say hundreds of events, ranging from protests, rallies, candidate forums, grassroots training seminars, and even movie screenings of a Tea Party documentary, are expected to be held nationwide.

Tea Party activists trace the birth of their movement to a couple of anti-stimulus protests across the country in mid-February of last year. Those small demonstrations were followed days later by business news correspondent Rick Santelli’s televised rant on February 19, 2009 about the federal government’s Wall Street bailout. Santelli's outburst inspired anti-big government activists to hold Tea Party protests across the country 8 days later.

"On February 27, 2009 a national movement for limited government was born. What started as a few thousand people taking to the streets to protest bailouts and wasteful spending grew to become a massive social movement," says Brendan Steinhauser, director of federal and state campaigns for FreedomWorks, a non-profit conservative organization that helps train volunteer activists and has provided much of the organizational heft behind the Tea Party movement.

"This weekend we want to reinvigorate the movement with hundreds of events around the country, many of them hosted by brand new community organizations. We expect all of this energy to form a tidal wave of electoral power in the November 2010 elections," adds Steinhauser (no relation to this reporter).

Most activists in the grassroots movement call for less federal taxes and spending; a curtailment of some federal powers in the areas they believe are the sovereign domain of state and local governments; opposition to large federal programs such as the $862 billion economic stimulus bill and the $700 billion Wall Street bailout (also known as “TARP”); and opposition to comprehensive heath care reform legislation and cap-and-trade energy legislation supported by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats.

As the movement has grown, tensions have been rising among various Tea Party groups. Rival factions are battling over who will carry the movement’s banner, and others worry that powerful groups are "astroturfing" what they think should remain a grassroots group. There was some pushback against Tea Party Nation when it held what was billed as the first national Tea Party convention, earlier this month in Nashville, Tennessee.

Activists in the Tea Party movement tend to be male, rural, upscale, and overwhelmingly conservative, according to a recent national poll. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey conducted two weeks ago also indicates that the movement’s activists would vote overwhelmingly Republican in a two-party race for Congress. Tea Partiers GOP leanings, the poll suggests, may pose a problem for the Tea Party movement if it tries to turn itself into a third party to compete with the two major parties in this year's general election.

"If the Tea Party runs its own candidates for U.S. House, virtually every vote the Tea Party candidate gets would be siphoned from the GOP candidate, potentially allowing the Democrats to win in districts that they might have otherwise lost," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "While the concept of an independent third party is extremely popular, most Americans, including most Tea Party supporters, don't favor a third party that would result in a winner who disagrees with them on most major issues."
According to the survey, roughly 11 percent of all Americans say they have actively supported the Tea Party movement, either by donating money, attending a rally, or taking some other active step to support the movement.

House Minority Leader John Boehner Saturday praised the movement. In a statement the Republican from Ohio said "The Tea Party movement has reminded us who's really in charge of this country, and that's the American people."

Filed under: Popular Posts • Tea Party movement
soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. AndyBlue

    Imagine. February 27th 2009

    Barack Obama was in office barely over a month when the sour grapes bunch of Fox news, Rush Limbaugh extremists started having their temper tantrum.

    And thats some group huh? Where else could you have the white racists, the abortion doctor murderers, the Torture loving christians, the emasculated gun owners (penis extensions), the lipstick dipstick from Alaska supporters, and the people whos marriages and manhood are threatened by the homosexuals and all the misspelled sign makers...all gathered in the same place.

    Thanks Fox news. You know how to out the freaks of our society.

    Happy February 29th....... National Hate Day.

    February 27, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. Tom B

    Let's be honest. This so-called grass roots movement, aka astro-turf, is led by Dick Armey and corporate lobbyists and it started even before the 2008 election. While I am willing to discuss the merits of their arguments, let's get rid of the fake premise and the revisionist history that CNN is writing about the Tea Party's origins.

    February 27, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. medicsog

    Tea Party ( aka ) Tea Klux klan Anniversary!

    February 27, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  4. Lou

    Nice try, but the Ron Paul grassroots supporters started the first Tea Party in 2007. It was a principled movement...now it's just been hijacked by the GOP.

    February 27, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. IKHAN

    congrats. KKK reborn, no need even of the hoods.
    Hope these morons remain a fringe group for the sake of America.

    February 27, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. Dave

    Wow if the real grassroots progressive movements got as much coverage as this Fox sponsored "grassroots" movement gets I suspect the world would be a very different (better) place.
    Why do people give this joke of an idiot convention any attention at all, aside from the entertainment value anyway...

    February 27, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  7. Jesus Francisco

    This is one event where the KKK can take their sheets off.

    February 27, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. michael

    The Tea Party Movement has been around since 2007 and grew exponentially due the the Ron Paul for President US 2008 campaign. To say it started a year ago is absurd!

    February 27, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. Regis from Florida

    Why all the tea baggers, give us all a big favor an follow the steps of Jim Jones in Guyana, or may be they can all rally in the Grand Canyon I heard Sarah. Palin is giving a big speech….just a bunch of hypocrites and racist parasites.

    February 27, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    For a tea bagger, the Christian thing to do would be to let all people who have lost their health care die. They know that the the crazy fringe of the GOP (the right wingnuts) really want to see Americans suffer.

    February 27, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. Matt - Independent

    Tea "KKK" Party.

    February 27, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. Chuck

    One year anniversary and re-indoctrination by the Republican's into denying the grassroots organizations original foundation of pure conservatism and making them accepting of the big tent...

    They were born and died on the same day...

    February 27, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. Crazy Blue

    Republicans often have a hard time finding candidates to run...if the Tea Party can find candidates, its more likely Republicans will fold into those and give them the 2/3rd support (independents + conservatives) to overwhelm the DemoDinos.

    February 27, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. Rob

    If these people understood that there would be no need for big government if people took care of their own communities, they wouldn't be at a protest, they'd be volunteering in a soup kitchen or something. Morons.

    February 27, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. Chuck in CSG

    I can't wait to see what the looney left says on this one. In an earlier report today, a Tea Party Movement has arisen in Great Britain as well. So lefties, what say you?

    February 27, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. FactCheck

    I propose that we cut government spending by getting rid of Social Security and Medicare. I am tired of my hard earned dollars going to support these old, white racists who have never done a darn thing for this country.

    February 27, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. memory

    I love their signs to demand lower taxes.. Ummm I would bet the farm most of these protesters were eligible for lower taxes under the stimulus. Their National movement was born to spread fear mongering and lies. Congrats Tea Party you should be so proud of your nonsensical temper tantrums.

    February 27, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. FactCheck

    "What started as a few thousand people taking to the streets to protest bailouts and wasteful spending grew to become a massive social movement"

    of course none of you cared a darn when the last guy ran up a trillion dollar debt over wars and tax cuts for the rich. Must be because he was the same color as you.

    February 27, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. big papa

    These Tea baggers might be believable if:

    They held their protests in Dallas in front of Bush's home...

    They held their protests in front of Cheney's home in Wyoming...

    They held their protests in Manhattan in front of Wall Street...

    They were calling for Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Karl Rove, Tom Delay, and ALL of the Republican scalawags who bankrupted our country to be prosecuted...

    They were calling for heads to roll on Wall Street, and the confiscation of the wealth stolen by the Wall Street Mafia...

    ...Until the Tea Baggers direct their anger in the direction it needs to go (towards themselves for voting Bush and Cheney into office TWICE!), and the Repulsive Republicans and corporatist thugs who are betraying our country...

    ...and call for accountability from those in the previous administration...

    ...They're (Tea Baggers are) just a bunch of John Birch society racists who hate that a Black man is bringing the country back from the brink...

    February 27, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    I hope none of these teabaggers drove on public roads, interstates or bridges to get to their protests. Or stopped at a rest stop to use the facilities.

    That they have all reimbursed the government for their public education, any fires put out by the fire department, and any police help they received if they've been robbed or assaulted.

    That they've all dropped their Medicare coverage and have reimbursed the government for any Social Security payments they've received.

    That they've reimbursed the government for any time they’ve visited a national or state park.

    That they've reimbursed the government for all the clean water they've drunk and clean air they've breathed.

    That they've made a point of their opposition to any care given to returning war veterans and their families.

    I'm sure all the teabaggers have made it right with the government they so love to hate.

    February 27, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. Donnatella

    This people are the dumbest group ever, I guess their leader that idiot Glenn Beck will never tell them they are being used as prawns by the republican party, one they are back in power they will have no use for them, they get what they deserve, most of them are nothing but racist haters anyway.

    February 27, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. jules sand-perkins

    I doubt that Speaker Pelosi will be able to "sell" her health-care bill to this group of thinking Americans–when she has it.

    February 27, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. Mesa Mick

    Great! A Party! Hope it's not before I get my Social Security check – I can't afford the bus ticket to the party until then...

    Can I bring my hood, bible and AR-15 like the organizers are gonna do? And I've got some great Obama-with-little-mustache signs I can bring too...

    February 27, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. twistin

    WHY doesn't somebody say it in simple terms so everybody can understand?

    Obama BORROWED $one TRILLION, gave it to his friends, (redistributed) and everybody else in the USA, PLUS their kids and grandkids gets to pay it back for the next 50 years!

    It was no inVESTMENT. It created no jobs. He just passed it out.

    NOW...."Healthcare" means, tax the crap out of all the Republicans, to pay for medical insurance for all those "Inner Cities", that have been abandoned by taxpayers, that is, people who actually PAY taxes.

    Obama....well, he is just INTO redistributing our WEALTH.

    We gotta get these clowns out of there, and I mean, OUT OF THERE!

    February 27, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. jay in denver

    What started as a few thousand old white people who cannot spell taking to the streets in their RVs has pretty much stayed a few thousand angry old white people who cannot spell taking to the streets in their RVs.

    And they're going to take back America to keep those pesky dark people out of our nice clean KOA Kampgrounds.


    February 27, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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