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. barb

    When the president of the united states treats other countries better than his own,everyone should worry. When he gets his own cilvial military , no one will be able too have a tea party.

    August 30, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. SAW

    The folks that brought us into a war in Iraq are complaining that they are being taxed without representation?......... you have to be kidding, right?

    August 30, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  3. Al Paul

    I don't think these people have anything to do but wasting their precious time for no reason. They need to look for something better to do than making the American people to know what have behind the scence for over 200 years. Most of the tea party goers are not educated so it is a disappointment to the American society. Go home and ask your kids to educate you about the word "CHANGE". Your all are still sleeping. Wake up, America had turned in a new direction and will never or ever turn back to more than 200 years ago activities. Get over it and start a new life. The next president will be a native American hero. It is just starting so get over it. Next will be a chinese America president and so on and on. You guys are done. Eight years for Obama and another hundred for other contributors to this great nation.

    August 30, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  4. Concerned American

    How's a 9 TRILLION $$$ deficit? NBD Right! As long as your part of the 40% of the country that does not pay ANY income taxes. The only positive side of this I can see, is that my 15 year old daughter now understands why you only buy what YOU can comfortably pay for.

    See ya in DC on 9/12! You are either part of the solution or part of the problem!

    August 30, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  5. Dave

    There is a huge difference between were and we're

    August 30, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. calvin

    hope it fails. to far to the right and our leaders now are to far to the left when a middle movement comes out i will listen to them.

    August 30, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  7. Bob from Pittsburgh

    I been to Elko Winemuca and so.. Most of those people would not be able to point Alabama on a map.. so what is a socialist to them? Judging by the comments they don't have a concept of what is been propossed, so how can they have an educated opinion?

    Just my two cents..

    August 30, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  8. M. Ames, Syracuse

    The tax cuts they've received make these folks unhappy? I don't get it. Do they even know what they're protesting? Or do they all make over a quarter of a million a year?

    Honestly, the angry low-information voter is the greatest threat to this country there is.

    August 30, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  9. Britt

    I love a goood party when are you going to get to Baltimore,Md.

    August 30, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  10. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

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

    In the first place, it's not the responsibility of the Tea Party people to come up with solutions–that's what we hire Congress to do.

    In the second place, the health care problems are complex and there's no one solution to them all.

    In the third place, if Ms Hatfield is an Obama supporter, history suggests she'll dismiss with contempt any solutions offered by Tea Party supporters. Obama supporters, on the whole, look to government to solve their problems; Tea Party supporters, on the whole, think government is the problem and look just about anywhere else for solutions.

    August 30, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  11. ps / North Carolina

    "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."

    -Carolyn, "Joke" was your buddy GWB not BO.

    "She fears losing her choice of doctor if health care reform passes."

    - You already have lost your choice of Doctors with the Private Health Insurance companies "In-network", "out of network" fiasco.

    August 30, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  12. Don

    Dems to CIA: no one is above the law.
    Tea party to Dems: You are below the low!

    August 30, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  13. Patrick

    These people obviously haven't been hit by the Bush economy to be able to afford driving their SUVs and campers across the US in an attempt to. Have "more voice" than the rest of us.

    But just like Joe the fake plumber, they'll gladly take assistance when they need it while denying others the same in a bad siuation.

    These people are sick, greedy people who think the worst of their fellow americans.

    August 30, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  14. Willy Brown

    Ride on America!

    August 30, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  15. Edgar

    Well done TEA partiers

    August 30, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  16. Jeff S.

    Hey Burwell, when it comes time to get your social security check, send it back.

    August 30, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  17. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    I am ASSUMING that all of these "anti-socialist" idiots will not be accepting Medicare or Social Security when they get old enough.

    Right, CNN?


    Someone please respond!

    August 30, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  18. Anonymous


    Nothing but misguided ignorance

    These people remind me of monkeys with sound bite notes in their mouths

    Sure feels Republican to me ?????



    August 30, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  19. mike d

    let's hope the TEA party folks will move to another country if they don't like this one. some of them call obama a socialist,some hitler. he can't be both although i doubt that they really know what each term really means. i hope they all get what they deserve. the healthcare system in this country needs reform very badly. just saying no to everything doesn't help make things better.

    August 30, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  20. Jane Boucher

    Don't these tea party people have anything positive to say about this country. Nay Sayers and complainers, what a downer. Impeach everyone, ? do these folks think they can do a better job running this country, if so why aren't they out there running in elections. I personally thank all these public service people, republicans and democrats and independants, they spend their lives trying to improve this country, many could make more money outside of government. I especially thank Ted Kennedy for the millions of children now on Chip insurance, school lunches, and many other programs we take as a given. and I will thank this congress and senate for passing the healthcare reform bill, Ted Kennedy is right, it is a right not a priviledge. . Jane Boucher.

    August 30, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  21. RAG

    Tea Baggers make me laugh. The idiot with the "I will not be a Socialist" sign might as well hold a sign that says "Sociopathy, Not Socialism!"

    Who told all of these people to stop their meds all at once?

    August 30, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  22. Dems are nothing but HateMongers

    The Dems will "mark" these legitamet protesters with mounds of hate speech in an attempt to discredit. However, they will be unsuccessful as the tide of political change turns against the Democratic Party. I have to laugh out loud to realize that Obama himself is the effective change agent he advertised himself to be... not for liberal views but for conservative views – as America realizes the folly of his election.

    August 30, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  23. Hugo

    Get ready Obamaites, and self serving political do-nothings you haven't seen anything yet. Your Messiah and his far left group of "community organizers" has awakened the sleeping masses of intelligent and informed middle class American tax payers. You know, the ones that had bought in on all that "Gee, this is the right thing to do crap" and "I want to help the poor and impoverished better themselves with my tax dollar." The dog has bitten the hand that feeds them, we have seen the agenda, the techniques and "Movement" and now they shall feel the wrath of the bitten Owner!

    Regulate Lawyers, Regulate Corporations, Term Limits, Voter Reform!

    August 30, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  24. Ralph

    Watch out for IEDs along the way. The leftists / socialists are getting desperate!

    August 30, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  25. Timus

    Wow. Enough of the wackos already!!! The lady who's son died in Iraq that protested Bush didn't get nearly as much press as these wackos get!

    August 30, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
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