Tea Party Express kicks off nationwide tour in Napa
August 27th, 2011
04:48 PM ET
3 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. GonzoinHouston

    The Tea Party understands that it may be necessary to destroy everything good about America in order to save everything bad. A lot of these folks are Christian evangelicals, and they use the Constitution like they use the Bible; quoted selectively, interpreted conveniently, then held up as the absolute undeniable law. Historians are going to have a ball with the Tea Party.

    August 27, 2011 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  2. Mary555

    Its the beginning of the end for the TP.

    August 27, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  3. Freeman

    I find it ironic that tea party people get upset when they're called racist. Considering they are I would think they would be proud of it.

    August 27, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is so nice these tea people like their wine because they're whine is getting old. Many of these people who claim to want the government to back to the constitution haven't read the part about the Congress. Congress is the part of the government that makes the laws. If these people want to change or repeal them, then they need to get something going with the members of the House and Senate to repeal laws. Just what do they want to repeal?

    August 27, 2011 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  5. MTATL67

    "Compromise is what got us into this situation," said event Sharron Angle. Typical extremist comment. I remember in history class a speach that Hitler gave. He said "This for us is not a fight which can be finished by compromise." That sounds exactly like what this fiscal terrorist group has been saying. Sounds like Nazism to me. This group has proven time and time again that they only care for those that think as they do and that is not America

    August 27, 2011 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  6. frank in valparaiso

    Koch brothers aren't taxed enough.....

    August 27, 2011 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  7. John J. Puccio

    Ask any Tea Partiers what they mean by supporting a candidate who's "behind the Constitution," and they will just give you a pained, quizzical look, meaning they have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. They're like sheep, manipulated in this case by the Koch brothers, who own and operate the Tea Party and are close to owning and operating the government for their own profit and amusement.

    August 27, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  8. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Would you please supply us citizens their exact times and routes they will take on this "tour"? We would like to show them our appreciation from the overpasses just like the founding fathers would!

    August 27, 2011 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  9. Obama voter

    Napa of all places. They won't tour communities that need funding for new roads, bridges, or upgrade tranportation. They won't tour in communities like south central Los Angeles, or state agencies like housing, social services to help the needy or homeless. The Tea Party is a joke. Obama 2012

    August 27, 2011 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  10. FactCheck

    Bough to you fully funded courtesy of the Koch brothers. Good luck with that 18% of the electorate that view you favorably.

    August 28, 2011 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  11. Anonymous

    When people talk about "Muslim Extremist scum", I think of some guy sitting in Gaza and reading about the Tea Party and having very similar thoughts

    August 28, 2011 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  12. Marla

    All I can say is get out of my state, GOTP!

    August 28, 2011 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  13. Captain America

    I hope they plan a stop in Compton as well a few urban areas. They certainly will be treated well.

    August 28, 2011 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  14. kat

    Sorry Tea Party Members, give up on California, they are hopeless, these people keep electing idiots like, Pelosi, Waters and that wilson nut, they are WAAAAY too far gone for any sanity.

    August 28, 2011 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  15. vic , nashville ,tn

    Last year republicans thought tea party was the best gift they ever had this year they don’t know how discard that gift

    August 28, 2011 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  16. mike

    Wow! I guess they've legalized Klan meetings!!! Hey Michele, 2.00 gas? you better get a good pair of knee pads because that's the only way your gonna get those oil boys to agree with you!!!

    August 28, 2011 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  17. Americanadian

    The protestors with their blow-up rat mascot made the day even more fun than expected and becoming more pathetic as they continue their search for more free government cheese.

    August 28, 2011 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  18. J.V.hodgson

    Same extreme words that got them the house last time around when we all did not K\know the effects of such extremist views and words.
    Now we do know quite a lot of the consequences and my guess is the teaparty will not be as influential in 2012.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    August 28, 2011 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  19. P M Lynch

    Are these the same people that criticized Obama's bus ?

    August 28, 2011 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  20. Ralph

    A big blue collar movement that starts in Yuppie wine country? Name a tea party candidate that is worth less then 10 million....

    August 28, 2011 04:34 am at 4:34 am |
  21. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Koch Bros bought and paid for. The out of control GOBP monster rolls toward the trainwreck implosion.

    August 28, 2011 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  22. mike

    The naqsty tea fanatics are coming to town. I cannpot wait to beat some nasty bblubber behind at the voting booth. Freaks are goiung down!

    August 28, 2011 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  23. Clyde

    Ill pray taht the bus goes over a cliff. Those people are huge morons and we dont need them in our gene pool.

    August 28, 2011 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  24. Clwyd

    If people don't toss road spikes in its path I will be surprised. The tea party is what is destroying the compromise and negotiation that has been a foundation for this country. Instead we have some old racist right wing greedy people holding us hostage!

    August 28, 2011 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  25. mb2010a

    I find it interesting that their bus is identical to the one President Obama used on his bus tour. The tea party criticized him for using a bus made in Canada and for being very expensive, yet they're using the exact same bus and manufacturer. Looks like typical blatant Republican hypocrisy...Obama 2012.

    August 28, 2011 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
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