August 30th, 2009
05:14 PM ET
11 years ago

Tea Party Express cruises through Nevada

'They want to make us a socialist state,' Johnny Burwell told CNN.

'They want to make us a socialist state,' Johnny Burwell told CNN.

ELY, Nevada (CNN) - Hundreds of people turned out for a series of weekend events as the Tea Party Express cruised across northern Nevada.

The caravan of tour buses, RVs, cargo trucks and SUVs kicked off a cross-country tour Friday in Sacramento, California, and plans on holding events in 33 cities en route to Washington, D.C. for what organizers hope will be a big rally on September 12.

The tour is being funded by Our Country Deserves Better, a conservative political action committee.

The tea party movement gained momentum this year; several parties were held across the country this summer to protest President Barack Obama and the Democrats' economic stimulus plans, among other things.

On July 4, nearly 2,000 advocates, toting signs and chanting slogans, rallied outside Congress. Activists said the TEA Party Day - an acronym for "Taxed Enough Already" - was in response to runaway government spending. But now, the focus is on health care reform, an issue that has brought about demand for bigger, more encompassing debate throughout the country and in Congress.

At an event Saturday in Winnemucca, Nevada, Carolyn Rowe came to the tea party in a T-shirt depicting Obama as the joker from "Batman." In place of the familiar "Hope" logo of Obama's campaign was the word "Joke."

She says she is concerned about the number of so-called "czars" in the Obama administration and she fears losing her choice of doctor if health care reform passes.

"I believe he's trouncing the Constitution and taking control of our country in a direction we don't want," says Rowe, from beneath a wide brimmed straw hat. "I think he has a hidden agenda, and I think he doesn't tell the truth and that in itself bothers me."

Husband-and-wife team Barbara and Pete Jones drove up from Reno, Nevada. Barbara's red T-shirt said "Impeach Everyone," but she said Obama is first on her list.

What is her main concern?

"Socialism," she says.

Husband Pete elaborates, "They're spending too much money. Were going into debt spending money on things we don't need, bailing out companies that should have failed."

The Joneses, who are in their 60s, have never been what they call "protesting people" before, but they think the tea party movement is picking up speed and they are happy to be spending their Saturday afternoon out the blazing midday sun of the Winners Casino parking lot. They even made a sign that reads, "Don't borrow, tax and spend our children's future."

"Were the sleeping giant that has been awaken," she says, "We're the silent majority that is no longer silent."

Mike Bryant nods in agreement with Barbara Jones. He attended Friday night's Tea Party In Sparks, Nevada, and drove up to Winnemucca for Saturday's event.

"I think a lot of people are just waking up and getting active. People are reading and educating themselves," he says, "I think too many of us that have been working, busy raising families and haven't been involved."

He has been to tea parties in the past and thinks the protesters have gotten a bum rap in the media.

"I think were not an unruly mob, I think most of us are just average citizens and were trying to make a difference, trying to make our feelings known."

Later Saturday the tour arrives at a park in Elko, Nevada, where Johnny Burwell minces no words. His sign (and just about everyone has a sign) reads, "I will not be a socialist." He holds it up between the tines of a pitchfork.

"They want to make us a socialist state." He says, "I got a good life I don't want em messing it up."

But the crowd of several hundred in Elko has some surprise attendees: Obama supporters. Four of them.

Nora Hatfield and her three pals voted for Obama and support the president now. They are parked near the back on folding chairs.

"I wanted to know why they don't support health care, why they don't support the issues that are important to this administration," Hatfield says. "The way you learn these things is by listening to what other people have to say."

After hearing the speakers from the Tea Party Express, she is unsatisfied.

"What I have heard today has all totally been negative." She says, "Nobody has given me a solution."

Sunday morning, the Tea Party Express rolled into Ely, Nevada, where about 100 partiers were waiting for the caravan. More T-shirts, more signs and more newly minted activists.

Next stop: Las Vegas.

Filed under: Nevada • Tea Party movement
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. Nan

    I am not going to comment on the "protests" as this is a free country and individuals have the right to their opinion and the right to voice it. That being said, I really wish people would get off of the "impeach Obama" bandwagon. He has done nothing impeachable. If these individuals wish to be taken seriously they need to stop preaching hate and stop making silly comments like the impeach comment. Again go for it and voice your opinion but for goodness sake make some sense and have some real suggestions.

    August 30, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  2. Mike R

    Of course they're driving through Nevada, they only have to chant in front of southern trash that already agree with what they're supporting. I dare them to come up to Maryland- we'd put those fools in their place.

    August 30, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  3. I am Newt's ex wife

    I will make this real simple.

    Where was all this FALSE outrage when Bush was running up the tab on debt? This is nothing but hypocrisy shielded by conservatives out to destroy a Presidency.

    Tea Party folks for the most part remind me of the Swift Boat veteran campaign.....I sure hope people don'r sit by and allow themselves to be "swiftboated" by the Tea Parties....becuase that is all it is.

    No answers....just a negative press and comments....did you hear me?? answers just negativity!!

    August 30, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  4. Bill Sampson

    These silly people who participate in these contrived events don't seem to understand they are pawns for the "health" insurance lobby. The insurance lobby that funds this circus certainly is not interested in their health or welfare.

    Why are average folks sometimes their own worst enemy? Almost all of these "demonstrators" would benefit enormously from a pubic health insurance lobby, or, even better, universal health care. Fortunately these screamers are a very small minority. But they have figured out how to make a lot of noise thanks to insurance lobby funding.

    August 30, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. Mario, mtl, ca.

    There are all coconuts to me

    August 30, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  6. Greg

    And CNN continues to cover this like it's some grassroots organization. This teaparty crap is funded by millionaires against anything the president will do to hurt their bottom line and they are recruiting racist and scaring the elderly. I beg CNN to call it like it is and quit propping this up like it's a bunch of angry Americans. The facts are out there, use them CNN.

    August 30, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  7. Terry from West Texas

    Here comes the Free Lunch Bunch. These are people who think that you can run a modern Democracy in the middle of a global warming crisis which is living on a very fragile global economy with no redundancy built in to the supply chains – and it can all be done for free. No one has to pay taxes. Just ask the road fairy to build highways for you. People have no medicine? They should have thought about that before they got sick. Kids got no decent schools? Screw 'em. Americans going hungry? Let 'em eat cake. The levees are breaking? They shouldn't have put a city there.

    Wild fires are threatening MY home and neighborhood? Call FEMA! Call the National Guard! Call the UN! Fly in firefighters from all over the world! Bernis Madoff stole money from me? Where were the regulators? Call Congress into Special Emergency Session! Where is my bailout? Oh, and don't raise my taxes.

    August 30, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  8. minnie

    I am so glad people are waking up. We need to start over and throw all of congress, Obama and his communist jailbird czars out of Washington. Oh Pelosi too.

    August 30, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. Tina

    I think this is a great opportunity for those of us who live in cities on their 'tour' where there is a huge discrepency between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' to invite the tea-baggers to see what is really going on. Inner cities, the middle class who work 2-3 jobs yet cannot afford health insurance, folks we preexisting conditions who have been 'banned' from getting insurance, I'm sure there are a million examples in every city on thier list. If we condemn the teabaggers travling across the country by their own words and misguided emotions, we miss a great teaching opportunity. The only problem is, I doubt they would take us up on the offer.

    August 30, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. Susan

    Somebody tell Ms Rowe that many of the current 'czars' are left from the Bush administration...this is not some socialist plot to control the country.

    August 30, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  11. Tony from Michigan

    The New American Taliban Rides again!

    August 30, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  12. vijay

    Where you been for the last 8 years when this country was upside down.
    We should have impeached Cheney and Bush. Nothing can be change within 200 days. American people knows better.

    August 30, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  13. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Of course, all the Tea Prty advocates are proposing counter-ideas as to how to fix the problem, right?! Of course they're not because the right-wing radio/tv zealots haven't got one to crow about because they'll never have one – they think everything is just hunky-dorey!!!

    They are a party of pure sheep, and they prove it everytime they show up and disrupt other Americans' rights to hear someone speak. Last time that happened a little Austrian with a funny mustache was orchestrating those "free" protests – and we all know how that turned out now, don't we?!

    August 30, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  14. Marie Laveaux

    So much for the so-called "non politcal" agenda of this group. Not much commentary about healthcare reform, just more anti-Obama slavering. I love the guy who said the Republicans on the buses were just as upset with their own party over healthcare reform. Let's face it, it's all about the right-wing back lash, not about healthcare reform.

    August 30, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  15. from the middle

    Do these people ever have to go to work? Or do they fool around all the time, accomplishing nothing but bad manners?

    August 30, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  16. Tina

    Does anyone notice how each of their "complaints" is steeped in "me, me, me?"

    The woman afraid of losing her choice of doctor – what about those of us who have no choice at all? Those who cannot get insurance due to prexisting conditions (which in some cases are as simple as having been admitted into the hospital for one night ten years ago). Or those who work 2-3 jobs yet are not offered insurance through that job and can barely make the rent.

    And the man who said: "I got a good life I don't want em messing it up." Completely selfish.

    I don't think they care about anything but themselves – and are afraid to admit it, so they speaky loudly and carry a stick with Obama's face pierced through it. Nice.

    August 30, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  17. Peggy

    All I want is the same health care that the President, Senators, and Congressmen have. Seems to me that is not too much to ask for. Most of these people can afford private health insurance but they choose the government plan. It must be better, and I want what they have and pay what they pay for it. Plain and simple.

    August 30, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  18. John W. Racine, WI

    We need a Tea Party Movement about as much as we need Cheney for President...

    August 30, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  19. PaulC

    A large number of these "patriots" are on social security and receive medicare, medicaid and possibly food stamps.
    Do these geniuses have any thoughts on how to improve the heath care in this country or do they think it is perfect the way it is.
    They are just afraid they will lose their place at the trough.
    Health care is not mentioned in the constitution so I don't see how Carolyn Rowe makes that leap. If she doesn't agree with an issue then it's obviously trouncing the constitution.
    Obama should go on vacation to his ranch and clear brush until the next election. Maybe Sarah Palin can make these morons happy.
    If I had the power I would reimburse any equity they have in these programs and wish them the best of luck in the open market.

    August 30, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  20. T. Nicholson, Boston, MA

    Bunch of simple tools these folks, from their rich overlords to their corporate and insurance industry sponsors.

    August 30, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  21. hypocrites_are_everywhere

    I voted for Reagan but am enjoying watching right wingnuts get a taste of their own medicine!

    "You are either with us or you are against us." What did Bush say that they don't understand?

    We can kiss bipartisanship & reasoning goodbye. Just sock it to them!

    August 30, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  22. Zion

    "I think a lot of people are just waking up and getting active. People are reading and educating themselves," he says, "I think too many of us that have been working, busy raising families and haven't been involved."

    Education or educated should never be used in the same sentence with the current ilk of Conservatives.

    August 30, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  23. Mark

    The short bus in on the loose! Be wary!

    August 30, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  24. mike

    I agree. uhbumba is a joke and should be impeached. He should also be brought up on war crimes.

    August 30, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  25. Jim

    Why is this bus covered on CNN but the Get it Done bus, which drew over 1500 people in Denver on Friday not getting covered? There are 10 times as many people FOR changes to our health insurance as there are against it.

    August 30, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
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