April 15th, 2010
04:48 PM ET
11 years ago

View from the 'sidekick' seat on a Tea Party bus

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/15/art.teaparty.gi.jpg caption ="CNN’s Shannon Travis perched himself in the ‘sidekick’ seat of a Tea Party Express bus."]
Washington (CNN) - It was one of those behind-the-scenes moments that a reporter covering the Tea Party rarely gets to witness.

About 1:35 a.m. Thursday, a man ran up to a Tea Party Express bus, approaching from the left, waving his arms and shouting something that none of us on the bus could understand.

I was sitting in the "sidekick seat," a leather perch near the driver with a clear view.

The three-bus caravan had just rolled into Washington, hours ahead of the final rally of the "Just Vote them Out" tour - the movement's third national event since coming together a little over a year ago. The bus I was on carried about 14 weary travelers: Tea Party leaders and activists, journalists and Casey the dog, a small girl with floppy ears belonging to Tea Party Express Chairman Mark Williams.

We had just arrived after a grueling trip from Boston, Massachusetts, where Sarah Palin rallied a crowd of thousands on Boston Common, and were blocks away from our destination.

The bus was hard to miss, wrapped full-on in a Tea Party advertisement.

Apparently, just the sight of it made the man angry. As he rushed us, shouting all the way, the bus driver cautiously slid open his window.

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Filed under: Tea Party Express
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. David R. Scott

    Just a bunch of irate, ignorant rip-publicans who don't want to pay their fair share in taxes. Screw all lying rip-publicans in 2010, they deserve to go down for all their LIES.

    April 15, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  2. Mike, Albany

    The Tea Party is moving through with a message of hate and racism, and they are leaving a big carbon footprint behind in their wake. Great job, idiots.

    April 15, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. The Unsub

    Who cares, I support Obama and I support America!

    April 15, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  4. 0nce upon a horse

    I ask it before and I'll ask it again........WHERE THE HECK WAS THE TEA PARTY WHEN BUSH WAS IN OFFICE?? Other than some of the racists and homo-phobic stuff that comes from some of the people...and I don't think ALL of them are like this by the way, that is my major gripe with this movement. It looks to me like a bunch of sore loser GOPers that either turned a blind eye to the spending that Bush and company were doing, or waited until a Democrat took office so they then could come out and show their true colors. And with Obama being the first non-white POTUS makes it look all the worse it can be.

    April 15, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  5. Mickey, NY

    ...and another thing...as far as this "just vote them out" garbage...it'll be tough to get these blowhards off of the sofa in November...they'll have their hands buried up to their elbows in a bag of Cheetos while watching Dancing With The Stars.

    Either get a life or get your party (the GOP) to straighten out their crap.

    April 15, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  6. The GOP wants to take our country backwards

    The tea party is full of idiots who are basically just sore losers angry that their candidate did not win the presidential election. They throw around words like freedom or constitution, but really don't have a clear stance on much of anything. We know they hate to pay their taxes and would like to cut taxes although we are currently trying to pay for two wars and that they want a lower deficit although cutting taxes would only make the deficit larger. They make no sense at all. Like I said, a bunch of sore losers (and all old ones at that).

    April 15, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  7. lil

    These are people who are angery because we have a black president nothing more.

    April 15, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    Gee, I wish I had the leisure time to ride around on a luxury bus mouthing off without thinking!

    But I'm a Liberal, too busy working for a living, putting food on the table and taking care of my family.

    Besides which, I enjoying thinking for myself and not just regurgitating what I hear the bombastic pinheads on Fox say.

    I'd never fit in, because I'm a worker and a thinker ...

    April 15, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  9. gary21

    Tea is good for the body (green and black tea) and the tea party is good for this country. Let's balance the budget, flatten the tax rate, cut the spending including entitlements, get out of the wars and stop spending money on programs that we cannot afford.

    April 15, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  10. Cali girl

    I am so sick of these people. Their stand is not for anything concrete, and I would not want to be associated with any of them
    They want Big Government to stop. Ok, there goes Police, Fire, Schools, Libraries just to name the top of the tax payer dollar.
    I doubt any of the tea party peeps would be wanting to educate their own children or pay for books or stand up for justice by themsleves.
    These people just peev me. They want it their way,and want to draw the lines themselves. Can't have your cake and eat it too.

    April 15, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  11. El Gordo

    The Tea Party movement is choreographed by Republican Party operatives. They provide street theater for the media and they provide an opportunity for Republican leaders to "hear them and feel their pain."

    In the end, on November, most Tea Party hayseeds will vote for the Republican incumbent because most of them are from Republican states. They are being played like harmonicas, and they are too naive to realize it.

    April 15, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  12. P. D.

    Pretty fancy bus, isn't it? i bet the 'Astroturfers' provided the arrangements. And of course they charged the Sheeple for the service......

    April 15, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  13. Fed Up!!

    If one added up all the Tea Party parties that were held today, they would not have totalled the attendance of a bottom-dwelling MLB team on a bad day.

    The Tea Party – 90% of the noise – 10% of the voters.

    April 15, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. ran

    That is exactly what we are going to do. Vote out every fear/hate/obstructionist/purity Republican,"blue dog" and for sure Lieberman when they are up for reelection if they are stupid enough to run again.

    We the people have had enough of the fear mongering/hateful/obstructing and the tea party/Republicans trying to cookie cut us into one type people. We know what the outcome would be: it is called Nazism. No thank you.

    April 15, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  15. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    There is an ugly strain of vicious insanity running through the American landscape as self-propagandized people work themselves further and further into a mouth-foaming rage about a highly distorted vision of America-gone-wrong.

    Political violence is on the way. Expect Oklahoma City stuff from the right-wing extremists. Hope you aren't there when their "patriotism" EXPLODES onto the scene.

    April 15, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  16. Voice of Reason

    TPM = Deluded Fruitcakes Anonymous.

    Sarah Palin = the Brittney Spears of the GOP

    Tea party Express bus = a gimmick to dupe flag-waving would-be patriots into dontaing to the GOP.

    If i hear that wretched woman use the term 'You can keep the Change' one more time i'll vomit.

    PS – All you TP-ers did you notice that your taxes went DOWN this year?

    April 15, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  17. Barack reads his lies, unions thrive, government and debt grows, and our future has become dire.

    Obama has a lot to brag about next time he reads his teleprompter;

    High Unemployment nearing 10% (actual about 20% if you include those that have given up).

    New record for Bankruptcies filed by small businesses.

    New record for rate of Foreclosures.

    New record for national debt.

    Obama will likely go down as our worst President in our history.

    His policies belong in Cuba, Russia and North Korea. He is about as un-American a President as anyone can elect. An ideologue that is destroying this once great country.

    April 15, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  18. AndyBlue

    They all seem a little looney. Its just a matter of which looney group to categorize them in.

    I think these poeple have too much time on their hands and the majority are just sore losers of the 08 elections.

    I say let them scream and cry all they want.... The rest of us will progress forward leaving the extremists in the dust. We always do.

    I mean come on. Its the same attitude of people who wanted slaves, wanted to burn witches, didnt want women to vote, feel emasculated when they see a gay person, watch Fox News, and only feel like men when they have a gun. (penis extention,Almost always white males)

    They just need to grow up and stop acting like little girls. Although I do love it when they show their faces on camera.

    April 15, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  19. ike

    Tea party is the urgly side of freedom of speech and association.

    April 15, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  20. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Gallup Poll, March 26-28 2010:

    28% of Americans approve of the TP; 26% oppose; 38% do not care; 8% have no opinion.

    NY Times article said that 1 in 2 Tea Partiers, SUPPORT Social Security and Medicare! THE TWO BIGGEST GOVERNMENT RUN ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS! So, its all well and good for us, poor working slobs to pay for these old white men to have Social Security & Medicare!

    Its A-Okay for the old white guys to have their entitlements, but do not give Americans who need it......... healthcare!

    And before someone posts that these people PAID for their SS & Medicare, let me remind you that IT IS TODAY's workers who are paying for our parents Medicare and Social Security. Its fact!

    April 15, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  21. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    PS. CNN where is the story of the OTHER protesters????????????


    April 15, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  22. cmb

    Most of these people seem about retirement age (social security) or employed (government benefits)–and yet hate "socialism." Hmmm.

    April 15, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  23. Joe in Vega$

    That's one expensive and fancy looking bus. What's gonna happen to it come November?

    April 15, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  24. So Sad!!

    I support the Tea Party movement and it is about time people starting waking up to the fact we are losing our rights and our country is losing all credibility. It won't be the country I grew up in in a short time and it makes me sad to see that all our men and women of uniform who fought so hard and even lost their lives for our freedom and it is all going down the tubes. I am a Christian and it pains me to see that God is being taken out of everything and we will pay a heavy price for getting away from our values and principles that started this great country. We are being taken over and we are all to blame because we are just letting it all happen. All I can say is God help us all!

    April 15, 2010 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  25. BAI

    Where were the tea party 7 years? They are too late. The guy who messed up everything is gone. He lives in Texas. Now

    April 15, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
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