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. Name king

    The slaughter of America is on their mission to spew lies and hate once again. Their black and white way of doing things is influencing the most gullible in America to destroy their own self interest as they push money to the corporations who are making more money than any other time in history, as the middle class dwindling ride to the bottom excellerates, Their is no one left to buy America's homes and high end items. The tea bagger hatred for the first black president have past all understanding. they stump for tax breaks for the rich, by jumping over our local consumers, and businesses, as they denies them an opportunity of touching the billions to corporations furthermore anchoring them to pay the bill, which corporations are using billions to build china into the
    most powerful country on the planet.

    August 27, 2011 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  2. Belinda

    The party of hate moves on and i can bet that California, is grateful to spit them out. If Rick Perry runs for president, the tea party will have won. You cannot be more right wing than Perry, he will stick his beliefs down your throat whether you like it or not.The Texas Gov. is not a man of his word. HE IS A LIAR AND A CHEAT!!!!!!! HE made a lot of promises, while running for Gov. He lied about everything to get the Hispanic vote. He has turned his office over to the Tea Party , they are running this state and who voted him in??? The seniors, that are in a panic about entitlements!!! You were warned !!! Belinda

    August 27, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  3. The Prince of Common Cents

    "We need to cut spending, cap the debt and balance the budget." These crazy, mindless, spineless, clueless tea party members are running this talking point into the ground! Enough, already!

    August 27, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. thomas

    Looks like a lot of white people having bad BBQ !

    August 27, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  5. Tex71

    Launching a 29-city bus tour in the California wine country – yeah, sounds really grass roots – NOT.

    August 27, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  6. Jonathan

    Hahaha. I was there. Anyone who thinks they are racist are kidding themselves

    August 27, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  7. cindy

    Still spouting they are what the american people want. Not just no but HELL NO!!!!!!!

    August 27, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  8. Goofy

    Hey shouldn't there be a picture of a banjo on that bus?

    August 27, 2011 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  9. BDM

    May Osama Bin Laden now rest in peace. His goal was to cripple us financially and to cause division amongst us. "Mission Accomplished."

    August 27, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  10. Elaine

    Facts never matter to these people.The polls show, overwhelmingly that people realize they were duped by the Tea Partiers.The leaders of the Tea Party in essence act as lobbyists for the agenda of corporate America; and most of the rank and file , Joe-the plumber type members, are mainly Obama -haters , who are just being used by corporate America to spout-off about things they don't even know anything about.

    August 27, 2011 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  11. sparky

    "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.""

    hope the he puts his money where his mouth is and doesn't collect social security or any other government programs!!!

    August 27, 2011 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  12. Errm

    Aren't these the same people who were b*tching about President Obama riding in a bus (omg, no! A bus!) while campaigning b/c they were supposedly worried about the cost and use of fossil fuels?
    What a bunch of fools.
    Can we please stop reporting on these people?

    August 27, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  13. Limbaugh is a liberal

    And nothing says that Tea Partiers are struggling to make ends meet than taking a long vacation, touring the country, and drinking high-priced wine.
    As for their so-called support to cut spending, don't take that seriously. They were the ones pushing for the original republican spending cut plan that just HAPPENED to exempt social security, military spending, and medicare, which together already make up three quarters of the federal budget. Sure, cut spending... on others... but if these Tea Party retirees don't get THEIR benefits, they will raise hell!

    August 27, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  14. Peter E

    Ron Paul won't win his own party's nomination. Republicans are afraid of him because he is an ACTUAL fiscal conservative who would want to hugely cut military spending (there go the veteran supporters and military contractors) social security and medicare (there go the seniors) as well as end subsidies for their corporate contributor buddies. Republicans won't allow him to do that.
    As for Rick Perry, he will have a tough time by next year explaining that behind his so-called job creating lies nearly $30 billion federal stimulus he quietly accepted to balance his state's budget and thereby artifically prevent the massive layoffs, just to boost his employment figures. But he'll be out of luck next year because the money has now ran out, and his artifically supported employment figures will soon join the ranks of the rest of the country.

    August 27, 2011 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  15. GaryOwen27

    Don't they mean "Terror Train"?

    August 27, 2011 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  16. bad newt

    looks a like a big crowd

    August 27, 2011 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  17. wiliam

    Tea Party Express....Restore Liberty....Honor the Constitution.....Make signs of the president looking like Hitler.....Ah nothing quite like being an Tea Party Member....

    August 27, 2011 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  18. Bill in Florida

    I'd be surprised if the Tea Baggers attract more than a few dozens dimwits at each stop.

    August 27, 2011 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  19. polite centrist

    'Compromise' is not a dirty word. A compromise would be to cut spending and Raise Taxes.
    If you own more than 2 houses, you can afford to have your taxes go up 3%.
    If you own more than 4 cars, you can afford to have your taxes go up 3%.
    If you make more than a million dollars a year, you can afford to have your taxes go up 3%.
    Is that so unreasonable?

    August 27, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  20. JP

    Riddle: Whats 20 feet long, has 3 teeth and is dumb as a rock?

    Answer: The line to get on this bus

    August 27, 2011 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  21. Who opened the gate? The Idiot's have walked In !

    I could care less what they do or where they go ! I hope they drive that stupid bus in a ditch ! I can't stand the teaparty because it seems their only purpose is to cause trouble ! They are toxic to our democracy and should be shut down immediately !

    August 27, 2011 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  22. Justin

    if anyone has any doubts about who to vote for next year? Just read this article. This is the party of crazy. One man thinks Palin would be a great choice just because she had a handicap son. You have another man who likes bible thumping pastor Perry but will wait to see if the ghost of Regan shows up. Another woman who uses Bachmann & responsibilty in the same sentence. The bus turned right to Reno to bad its not going right to hell.

    August 27, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  23. sick of republican phonies

    Wow!! Must have been at least 35 tea baggers there. That's what I call news! CNN, in its quest to sink lower and lower until it is the "STAR' magazine of newscasting, will send a reporter anytime they hear "tea".

    August 27, 2011 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  24. Larry L

    Just take a look at their web page. These folks are nothing more than modern day KKK. They get their words from hate media but their core values are exactly what you'd expect from fearful, bigoted, homophobic, xenophobic, anti-science, anti-environment, old white people. They want to take us back to a time that never really existed... They are totally incapable of existing in a modern world of diversity and constant change. They support Michelle Bachman – enough said!

    August 27, 2011 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  25. NC

    Please don't come to our state we have enough problems at the present dealing with the after effects of the hurricane.

    August 27, 2011 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
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