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. steven harnack

    What a pitiful bunch. What a strange place to start from. Bakersfield maybe. Napa Valley, what?

    August 27, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  2. steven harnack

    Just a little change in his pocket? So who's paying for his jaunt across the nation for two weeks?

    August 27, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  3. JOH

    Here's why Tea Party are idiots. Their "no more bailouts" part is shared by EVERYONE. Even the very people who handed out the capital injunction did NOT want to do it. It's just that when we run into another financial crisis like 2008, and Tea Party get their way, there won't be a way out and the economy would collapse in a matter of HOURS.

    Second, what did the Tea Party DO to deserve a nice bus and a vacation time in Napa? They'll say as an excuse they went for the rally and to check out Napa is just a plus, but I would go and pretend to be a Tea Party to enjoy Napa. But answer me that. You say power to the people but you get to enjoy a nice day in Napa while millions of people can't even afford to go on a vacation and hasn't done so in several years. Of course the Tea Party's defense would be "I haven't gone on a vacation for 2 years!" Yeah, my family and I have not gone either.... for 10 years.

    August 27, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  4. Michelle

    These are the retired rich people that do not have anything esle to do with all the money but try to make hell for those that have alot less. Good work republicans/tea party. You people need to get a LIFE!

    August 27, 2011 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  5. Ron Paul

    RON PAUL is the People's Choice in 2012! Join the rEVOLution!

    August 27, 2011 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  6. bud

    Are they going to put the buses back on the cargo jet and haul them to the next town like Obama's "bus tour" aka Barry's Dog and Pony Show?

    August 27, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  7. Publius Novus

    28% of Americans view the Tea Patsies favorably. That's a far cry from majority support.

    I believe that all Tea Patsy adherents should prove their belief in 'constitutionally limited government" by voluntarily returning all social security and medicare payments to the U.S. Treasury.

    August 27, 2011 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  8. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    You might be a libertarian if: you are opposed to the interstate highway system, against bringing electricity to those in Tennessee Nevada and Kentucky, opposed to clean air and clean water, don't like safety regulations for airlines, are opposed to having food inspected, dislike the CIA FBI and NSA, go ballistic when laws to prevent future Enron disasters are enacted, hate when billionaires are asked to pay their fair share of taxes, want social security and medicare eliminated, do not think veterans should have benefits, do not believe the government should help states that have disasters, etc. Whatever happened to elected officials being called to serve one another and act with justice?

    August 27, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  9. Phil in KC

    Maybe if they just stayed there in CA and drank the wine instead of heading east and drinking the tea-flavored kool-aid, they might actually join the rest of us in the real world.

    August 27, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  10. w l jones

    If they stop at every city,county and state line an pay toll they would be glade to pay there fair chair of tax like everybody else.Bless.

    August 27, 2011 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  11. MaryM55

    GOPers, the tea party is going down in flames. Scrape them off or the tea party will take you down with them.

    August 27, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  12. Squigman

    Where do they get the money for the buses. Could it be donations, or campaign contributions? Or are they taking care of their own needs like they profess to do? Enquiring minds see through the hypocracy.

    August 27, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Does this mean the Tbaggers now want "Trigg" to run for president. There are many children with disabilities whose parents haven't gotten the attention of Tbaggers, what's up with that, or is it they don't count. Hypocrits.

    August 27, 2011 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  14. skarphace

    We all know what the Tea Party is against: taxation and government spending. If you are wealthy, that is fine: in order to remain wealthy you do not need the government. If you are not wealthy, however, you should not be voting for these anti-government polititians who, ironically, want to be part of the government they seem to so despise.

    August 27, 2011 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  15. MikeH

    Paid for by the Koch brothers, to promote a goverment of, by, and for, the extremely weathly facist Plutocrats.

    Americans, this is the face of the enemy of American Democracy. Treat it accordingly.

    August 27, 2011 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  16. Mike G

    We're Americans, capable of accomplishing hard and sometimes impossible tasks; we, the voters, single-handedly put G. Bush (Jr) in office for 8 yrs (well, legally only 4), and with him, the trust of the rest of the world along with the surplus left by B. Clinton went down the drain. I'm sure we can give these characters enough power so they can destroy whatever is left of this country. Welcome aboard tea-baggers, kick us while we're down, you really showed us during the debt ceiling process that yes, yes you can.

    August 27, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  17. Indy

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

    The hope and changed with the "Hell No Conress" The Republicans main agenda was destroy all hope and change. And you got a little change in your pocket ? You expect Obama to line your pockets ? What a bunch of ingnorant people gathering together here. Palin didnt kill her youngest child so you want her to be President ? You would be willing to let Palin kill everything that is good about America and let Medicare die and the entire US financial system would implode the day Palin was elected President but that would be OK for the Tea Party because she didn't have an abortion. Kooks that are nothing less then uneducated terrorists.Joe Biden Rocks !!

    August 27, 2011 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  18. marc

    Cutting spending, capping the debt and balancing the budget will not put one unemployed person to work. Sharon Angle, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and Rick Perry are dolts, just like the rest of the empty-headed, bible thumping racist maniacs in the tea party they represent.

    August 27, 2011 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  19. Terry B.

    I live in a neighboring county and it's offensive to even think of them being this close. If I had a barrel of nails I'd dump them under all their tires. They were willing to default our country; traitors in a grand way. Sharon Angle is a wacko; I'm surprised they were even allowed to enter CA. Eggs anybody?

    August 27, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  20. NoTags

    Tea Party Express, don't forget to put a couple of bottles of the $350 a bottle wine that your boy Paul Ryan prefers on the bus. I'm sure he would be disappointed if you didn't have some for him.

    August 27, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  21. Anne

    It's hard to believe that Don Bahl voted for Obama, since his 2008 political donations to folks like Michele Bachmann are easily viewable online. Could Don be...a LIAR?

    August 27, 2011 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  22. ModeratePoli

    The shallowness of people's understanding is amazing. They bash Obama without considering what state the economy was in, and declare supports for candidates who don't know how to formulate a policy (Palin, Bachmann) or have incredibly antediluvian policies (Paul).They should free themselves from talking points and look seriously at this country's problems and possible solutions. The same goes for Democrats, independents, and other Republicans., and everyone in Congress. Stop spouting and starting thinking. http://moderatepoli.blogspot.com/2011/08/obamas-recession.html and hooray for Bowles-Simpson–we'll be listening soon...

    August 27, 2011 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  23. John

    The Tea Party what a Joke. They will destroy America middle class.

    August 27, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  24. taylor


    August 27, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  25. ruemorgue

    Tea Party Express crossing the country and spreading it's cheer. All Tea Baggers suffer from a case of adult-onset cranial-anal insertion.

    August 27, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
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