[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/05/art.tancredo.gi.jpg caption="Tom Tancredo opened what's being billed as the first Tea Party Convention with a bang."]Nashville, Tennessee (CNN) – Tom Tancredo opened what's being billed as the first Tea Party Convention with a bang.
The former congressman from Colorado and 2008 Republican presidential candidate blasted President Obama, saying "people who could not even spell the word 'vote', or say it in English, put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House. His name is Barack Hussein Obama."
Tancredo made his comments as he gave the kickoff speech for the convention, which is being held at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville.
Tancredo's speech received polite applause among the 600 attendees at the convention.
"So the race for America is on right now. The president and his left-wing allies in Congress are going to look at every opportunity to destroy the Constitution before we have a chance to save it. So put your running shoes on. Because I'll tell you, I've heard we need a revolution. My friends, we already had it. We lost. I mean, what happened to us in that last election was a revolution," said Tancredo, discussing the 2008 presidential contest.
Tancredo also slammed that election's Republican presidential nominee, saying "thank God John McCain lost the election."
The former congressman known for his strong opposition to illegal immigration also attacked "the cult of multiculturalism, aided by leftists, liberals all over who don't have the same idea about America as we do."
A spokesman for the Tea Party Nation, the group that organized the convention, said Tancredo's speech may provide some red meat but termed it problematic.
"It doesn't further the dialogue," said Mark Skoda, a businessman and founder of the Memphis Tea Party, who is also serving as spokesman for the convention.
Tancredo ended his speech telling the crowd that "this is our country" and urged them "to take it back."
- CNN Correspondent Mary Snow contributed to this report