March 29th, 2010
11:10 PM ET
13 years ago

Tea Party activist defends against critics

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption ="The CNN Express is following the Tea Party Express Tour around the country."]St. George, Utah (CNN) – Supporters of the Tea Party movement said Monday that critics have unfairly portrayed them as an uneducated and inarticulate band of activists with little knowledge of politics.

Mitzi Butler, an area coordinator of the Tea Party Express Tour, chastised critics who describe her fellow grassroots activists as, "a bunch of hillbillies with no teeth, and [say] we're stupid."

"We are not stupid," she said in an interview with CNN as the tour was preparing to pull into St. George, a picturesque Utah city nestled in a valley of cliffs. "We are well versed. And I think we're smarter than what we've been sending to represent us in Congress."

The cross country political tour began this past weekend in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's hometown of Searchlight, Nevada and made stops in Arizona before heading to St. George, a city of about 65,000 people. While the Tea Party movement does not officially align itself with the Republican Party, it champions similar goals: less government, less taxes and the defeat of Democrats, such as Reid, in November.

"We want to get our message out to all of America," said Tiffiny Ruegner, director of Field Operations for Our Country Deserves Better PAC, which is overseeing the tour.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was the headliner Saturday in Reid's hometown, where she decried big government and criticized the initiatives being promoted by President Obama and the congressional Democrats. Ruegner echoed Palin's theme about the expansion of government and said that it is becoming far more intrusive in people's lives. Specifically, Ruegner said she was worried about what the future held for her 8-year-old son.

"I want him to grow up in the same country I grew up in," she said. "And I feel like it's slipping away."

The cross country tour ends in Washington on April 15, the deadline for people to file their taxes.

Filed under: Extra • Tea Party movement
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Ann in Colorado

    These people continue to amaze/daze me. They appear to be a very homogonized (white) milk group of people collecting their social security/medicare, etc. They protest providing health care to their next door neighbors but do not protest spending billions per day waging wars in 2 countries. They say they are 'pro-life' but in supporting war they are supporting killing. If we were to go and bomb Iran & kill the Iranians they would be cheering and blasting anyone who disagrees as being unpatriotic. When they say they are Christian they sure do not represent the Christianity I have been taught

    March 29, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  2. Stacey, Connecticut

    "I want him to grow up in the same country I grew up in," she said. "And I feel like it's slipping away."

    What's slipping away? That you and your ilk have it all, and the poor (and/or minorities) have nothing? That you are losing your secured sense of entitlement and feeling of "superiority?" I hope your tea party loses because you have shown yourselves to be racists and you're darned proud of it.

    March 29, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  3. SC-Pub "no" more

    Do they do any more than just ride around the country in their colonial costumes?

    March 29, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  4. Eli

    That's right Tea Partiers are just as intelligent as your average liberal if not more so in my opinion. The hate that is spewed by the left against these people is unamerican as the only thing they have done is think for themselves and form a different opinion. The Constitution is supposed to be the supreme law of the land and congress has ignored it. They work for us and are not above the law. That is a common theme that I've heard from the tea party, and it makes sense. Certainly more intelligent than the liberal attitude of just do whatever feels good even if it's driving our country off a cliff at 100 mph! The Constitution must be respected and obeyed as it is the law and until that happens we must vote out all incumbents.

    March 29, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  5. Our nation is divided and on the brink

    There are probably millions of people who are not official members of a Tea Party but support their initiative. My son and his friends would join and attend rallies but they have jobs and young families which consume most of their time. You can be sure they are for less government and lower taxes.

    March 29, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  6. George P.

    America has been good to this group of Tea Partiers. They don't have to work, they travel in gas guzzling RV's, they're 99.99% white and I'll bet they all have great health insurance. Are they representative of the average US citizen?.....NO!

    March 29, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  7. Rebekah

    ooh universal health care...scary!!!

    March 29, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
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