Tea Party Express kicks off nationwide tour in Napa
August 27th, 2011
04:48 PM ET
7 years ago

Tea Party Express kicks off nationwide tour in Napa

NAPA, California (CNN) - Just beyond the cabernet and merlot halls at the Napa Expo, wine country chatter such as "I want something smooth and fruity" gave way to political debate Saturday.

The Tea Party Express, one of the nation’s largest tea party groups, launched its 29-city bus tour this weekend in California.

The bus, a modern twist on the whistle-stop political train tour, will end in Tampa, Florida, on September 10 for the CNN/Tea Party Express GOP presidential debate.

And as the bus tour rolled into Napa, a verbal assault on President Barack Obama rolled off tongues.

Don Bahl, wearing a dunce cap that said, "I voted 4 Obama," fired an opening shot.

"I was promised hope and change," Bahl said. "All I got was despair and a little change in my pocket.”

Tea party members in Napa will tell you that they are asked at times by out-of-state supporters how they survive living just up the road from liberal strongholds Berkeley and San Francisco, the realm of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

"Well, I think our rally shows the tea party is just a mindset,” said Tea Party Express communications director Levi Russell. ”Our principals are supported by the majority of Americans, even in Pelosi’s shadow.”

Several dozen protestors began shouting, "Hey ho, hey ho, the tea party has got to go," outside the expo grounds fence.

"It's almost like rubbing it in our face by showing up here," said anti-tea party demonstrator Almon Bundy from Yountville.

The Obama supporter accused the tea party of racism and said the party just could not support "a progressive black president."

The demonstrators also chanted: "Tax the rich."

Another anti-tea party sign read, "trashing America and the economy,” while a giant inflatable rat peered over the top of the fence.

Inside the expo, tea party members said they want this bus to roll out of Napa and pick up momentum and unity along its stops to Florida.

“Republicans have gone back forth and taken differing positions on various issues,” Russell said. “I hope we coalesce behind a single (presidential) candidate. And I hope local tea party groups start getting behind their No. 1 choice for senator or representatives. We want to repeat the election victories of 2010.”

But which politician should the tea party throw its weight behind in the 2012 race for president?

Don Synder held up his Ron Paul sign.

"He should be our president," Snyder said. "He is 100 percent behind the Constitution. In Congress, he always votes against the legislation that is not constitutional."

Meanwhile, other participants said they favored the other 2012 candidate from Texas.

Holding up his “Don’t tread on me” flag, a popular logo for the group, Brian Alizer said, “I guess I favor Rick Perry more than anyone else. But I am undecided. I guess I am still waiting for Ronald Reagan to show up."

Nancy Witmere said she is leaning toward Michele Bachmann.

"I think she will move us toward more individual responsibility and less government assistance," Witmere said.

Kevin Trout watched the speeches with a Sarah Palin sign leaning on his wheelchair.

"I want Palin to run. She's for constitutionally limited government," Trout said. "And she did not kill her youngest child."

Trout was referring to Trig Palin, who was born with Down syndrome. Palin has said that, after tests during her pregnancy, she knew her fifth child would be born with special needs.

"Compromise is what got us into this situation," said event speaker Sharron Angle, who ran and lost against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for Nevada’s Senate seat in 2010. "We gave (Democrats) our best shot. We need to cut spending, cap the debt and balance the budget."

The expo gate was wheeled open, and just after 1:30 p.m. the Tea Party Express glided through without incident.

A handful of demonstrators sealed off by police chanted: "No more war."

The bus turned, fittingly right, and headed to Reno.

Filed under: 2012 • California • Tea Party Express
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. thomas

    Palin cant bust a grape in Napa, she's all white wine vinegar and sour grapes !

    Tea Bags and coffee cups!

    August 27, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. blue j in cali

    Most americans do not agree with the Koch brothers and thier propaganda, mostly just the misinformed Faux News zealots.

    August 27, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    The John Birtch Society is rolling again. Amazing how often a bunch of ignorant tools think they're special (because they hang around with each other). Please stay out of the port cities (i.e. those that are the real lifeblookd of our nation. You don't understand the merits of getting along with people who aren't exactly like you. Conservatisim is synonomous with 'stubborn old fool', 'ignorant racist', 'Confederate'.

    Please stop doing the bidding of those that rape and pillage (i.e. greedy rich; big oiil, big tobacco..). I realize you do not realize that is your primary function.. follow the money. It's not too late to be born again – emerge from your ignorance!

    August 27, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. MAC

    If getting spending by the government under control and reducing the deficit for our children and grandchildren is trashing America, then raising spending and deficits for our children and grandchildren makes trashing look like a good deal. These people must have went to the liberal public schools where they were taught FUZZY MATH since they cannot do the math that says if you taxed everyone making $200,000 or more 100% it would not even pay for the entire deficit created each year by the Obama Administration and the democrats in Congress. Also if you think that raising taxes will get the democrats to cut spending you also failed history!

    August 27, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  5. ChrisM

    Teapublicans, you are on your way out. After your irresponsible statement of wanting America to default on its debts, shows just how unknowledgeable you really are.

    August 27, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Mary555

    tea party, Where do you get your funding? Perhaps the Koch Bros? that does not sound like grass roots to me.

    August 27, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. Tea Party is Brainless

    NOT NAPA VALLEY!! I just went there and had a fabulous time!! Why are these idiots tarnishing the image of such a great place??

    August 27, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. Chrisg510

    The tea party people have always been part of American, they just changed their name. Anyone remember the John Birch society?

    August 27, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  9. once upon a horse

    I think these guys must have their heads in the sand. The Tea Party is right now amongst the most disliked groups in our country and if they think they had some protesters show up there, let them go on their cross country tour. In fact maybe that is just what they need to do so they can hear just what a lot of Amercans think about them now. I suggest they read their poll numbers though before they head east.

    August 27, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  10. DENNA

    OMG. What crust! After the mess you have caused, I cannot believe that any of you would dare show your faces. Where were you when this mess first started? You gave President Bush permission to do whatever he pleased and it caused a royal mess. You only became 'concerned' when Barack Obama was elected, by the majority, to be POTUS. And if you care so much, why don't you get on your elected Rethugs and demand that they create some jobs? One of the best ways out of this mess is employment so that there are more tax payers. You are a bunch of grifters. You want all that America has to offer but you want someone else to pay for it – kind of like those "lazy welfare you claim don't want to work". I would bet that if there were jobs available few people would refuse them. I mean good jobs, manufacturing jobs like we used to have in America. Not like the minimum wage jobs that Rick Parry "created". He did use stimulus money you know – that money you were all so horrified was spent. Seriously, why don't you people get a job instead of traveling around the country making trouble. You can't be working; you have too much free time.

    August 27, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  11. SecedingfromTexas

    Wow, a free cross-country vacation courtesy of Koch Brothers. Must be nice. I guess they will have to use some of
    their social security money to buy little trinkets along the way. So they "luv" the Guv, or Bachmann, or Pain. Real deep thinkers here. Ron Paul got honorable mention. Those young people in front of the bus must be on welfare, or
    independently wealthy. Maybe they work for the gubment, oops, can't do that. Only corporate jobs are acceptable. What a "lovely bunch of coconuts".
    Spread your hate people, tell your lies, we are on to you now.
    Wonder what they think about Cantor and his no relief funds for hurricane victims unless matched spending cuts.
    What a guy! And he's one of theirs. Gotta go, I'm getting sick.

    August 27, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  12. shamgar50

    The “Clown Car” leaves the station.

    August 27, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I wonder if our country ran like the libertarians wanted it to run, with no roads, how they would get their million dollar party bus to the next town. By the way, if a hurricane strikes Florida, do you think tea bagger governor Rick Scott will drug test those who will need government assistance? He does own a company that provides drug testing equipment.

    August 27, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  14. Almon Bundy

    Nice job Paul but we had about two hundred or more anti-tea party protesters. You just couldn't see us because of the wire and wood fence that obstructed your vision. We were kept away from the rally. I'll send you some photos of the crowd so you can see for yourself. Napa Valley is Progressive country. Most of the people on the inside of the Tea Party rally are not from Napa County. Our message is simple: The Tea Baggers do not stand for most of the people in this Country. Their movement reminds me of the Newt Gingrich days. The more the country sees them and learns about them, the more they will fade from view. Most Americans can accept a black man as President. Some cannot. Their party was here today and that is why we came to protest. Racism by any other name is still racism.

    August 27, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  15. MaryM

    in the aftermath of the debt ceiling debacle caused by the Tea Party, the fact that the Tea Party polls are WORSE than Obamas, must give Tea Party a tremendous sense of pride.

    August 27, 2011 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  16. Stratmaster

    Glad to see that the country is waking up and turning the Tea Party from the protesters into the protested. I am going to have to check their route to see if they come anywhere near me. If so, I will be there.

    August 27, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  17. Uncle Congo

    Isn't that a PREVOST bus made in CANADA? Weren't the TEA Partiers all upset about the Secret Service's two buses made in TN using a Prevost shell? Why the Hippocracy?

    August 27, 2011 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  18. Al Dente

    Palin has kicked off a new endeavor, Sarah's Scores, her ratings guide for eveything from politicians to pop-tarts:

    August 27, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  19. independent

    While the Tea Party, the GOP Republicans and congressional Democrats play politics (like kids in a sandbox) thank God the President and his branch are looking out for us. Another high ranking Al Qaida terrorist has been eliminated, making it 3-4 including Bin Laden. We don't need politics in the White House, there is enough of that in Congress. We need this President, his demeanor, his focus.

    August 27, 2011 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  20. bj

    Great! When are they coming to Southern California? Are they coming to INGLEWOOD OR COMPTON? ummmmm

    August 27, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. GI Joe

    6 pictures of republicans on the main page of the Ticker AT ALLTIMES - and you tealiban haters/liars think CNN is liberal???

    August 27, 2011 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  22. GI Joe

    Guess those folks have plenty of time and money to vacation all over the country and spread their hate and lies - oh wait - Koch brothers? Dick Armey? Who is financing it??

    August 27, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  23. Jake

    California is NOT interested...keep moving!

    August 27, 2011 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  24. The REAL tea party

    THIS IS NOT a tea party group! This is FREEDOMWORKS, which was formed LONG BEFORE the tea party came in 2007, but has hijacked our good name. Please CEASE AND DESIST calling Dick Armey's GOP PAC, a 'tea party, because it's fake.. WE do not support this bus in our state and we will NOT advertise its stop here.

    August 27, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  25. ApostasyUSA

    Ah...The United Republicans Tea Party Corporation.....

    Remember when teachers, public employees, Planned Parenthood, NPR and PBS crashed the stock market, wiped out half of our 401Ks, took trillions in TARP money, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses, and paid no taxes? Yeah, me neither.

    Obama and Democrats get my vote, the choice is simple. If you have Social Security, Medicare, the right to vote, the right to an education, a clean park or a lake near you. If you were given a disability check or a wheel chair ramp into the store you buy your food, if you like safe bridges, clean drinking water, clean air and a nontoxic environment, if you feel safe when you fly, or eat out, or give your child a toy, then it's time you give Liberals the credit they deserve.

    “Nature abhors a vacuum, and there is no vacuum in nature as empty as the leadership of the Republican Party today.”
    Conservative columnist Richard Viguerie

    August 27, 2011 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
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