July 19th, 2010
12:06 PM ET
12 years ago

What's the Tea Party Express?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/19/art.tpesign0719.gi.jpg caption="The Tea Party Express has become a major player in Republican politics."]
Washington (CNN) - The National Tea Party Federation, which seeks to represent the Tea Party political movement around the country, has expelled the Tea Party Express because of an inflammatory blog post its leader, Mark Williams, wrote last week responding to criticism from the NAACP.

Williams' blog post satirized a fictional letter from what he called "Colored People" to President Abraham Lincoln.

Even before this current controversy, the group was criticized by some within the Tea Party movement for being run by Republican consultants and for trying to influence GOP primaries far from its base in Sacramento, California.

CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser sums up the Tea Party Express and its place in the larger Tea Party movement:

High profile: The Tea Party Express is one of the best-known groups in the movement because of its three high-profile bus caravans and rallies. Sarah Palin spoke at the beginning of its third caravan, which began in Searchlight, Nevada, and its next-to-the-last stop in Boston, Massachusetts, before it ended with a Tax Day rally in Washington.

Political impact: The Tea Party Express has become a major player in Republican politics, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads for Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown in Massachusetts who upset Democrat Martha Coakley to fill the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat.

More recently, the organization helped little-known Sharron Angle win the Republican primary in Nevada to face Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, endorsing her and spending about a half-million dollars on ads for her. The organization says it plans to spend more to help her get elected.

The group also targeted incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah for his vote on the Troubled Assets Recovery Program and helped defeat his bid for a fourth term. It then backed underdog Mike Lee's successful primary campaign and Lee now appears to be a shoo-in to win the general election in November and join
the Senate next year.

Political action: The group runs the "Our Country Deserves Better PAC-Tea Party Express.org" political action committee, which was formed in 2008 to help raise money to oppose presidential candidate Barack Obama. It was created by Republican political consultant Joe Wierzbicki, who appears to have come up with the original Tea Party Express cross-country caravan.

What's next?: The Tea Party Express is targeting GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska and has endorsed her little-know primary challenger Joe Miller. It plans a Monday event to announce its support.

soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Tea Party = too ashamed to admit to being a Republican

    Although they would do America a favor to get rid of Republican cancers like Murkowski and Vitter.

    July 19, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. Chris

    "The Tea Party needs to get back to its roots."

    So you mean they should start wearing their hoods and white robes again?

    July 19, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. bco

    Love the photo with the "just vote them out" slogan. So let's see, if your candidates win, will you vote them out next election? Someone needs to show these people what happens when you keep multiplying by -1.

    July 19, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. katiec

    It is sad that the tea partiers cannot realize they are being led, used and manipulated by the radical right.
    The fact that they support irresponsible radicals such as Bachman, Palin, Angle, Paul etcshows they do not have real knowledge of what is going on in our country.
    Yet, the media continues to give this misguided, non credible group constant headlines, while the majority of us feel nothing but disdain.

    July 19, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I think that many of these "tea party" people are Libertarians that don't really know it. They are speaking all these things that I have hear Libertarians say for years. These "tea party" need to figure out that they are Libertarians and fast. I would like another major party to rise.

    July 19, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. ruty

    Amen-–VOTE OUT the party of NO.

    July 19, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. Shari from Madison WI

    The tea party express is nothing more than a republican front. They represent the worst type of people, those who feel their way is the only way and anyone who thinks differently is not only wrong, but stupid and a step below being human. They make me sick.

    That being said, they do have the right to free speech. I just wish they would think before they speak and would give those of us who don't believe in the Tea Party movement the same right.

    July 19, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. Amunaka

    I can't understand why they keep talking about the TParty being behind Scott Browns win in Massachusetts .. when that was just a fluke ..nobody in Mass thought a republican would ever win Ted Kennedy's seat dems stayed home ..Martha Coakly really didn't run a campaign to speak of and I like many others in Mass never even heard of Scott Brown till like three days before the elections ..the media has over blown the TParty's influence and along with Dick Armey 's Freedom Works created and are selling this fake grassroots movement ..

    July 19, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Donnatella

    No matter how you call it the Tea Party/Old Republicans/Racists don't fool anybody, the reason why they will always be labled as racists is because they didn't come to be known until we elected our first black president. That's it plain and simple. I bet money when Obama is done and a new republican president is elected no matter how bad he is, you won't hear a peep out of these teabaggers.

    July 19, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. Eric in Denver

    @Felicia you are a typical left wing nut job that has never been to a tea party. Believe it or not the tea party events are not just white republicans which you probably believe. There are a lot of independent people as well as democrats of all different races. It is people like you that cause racism to exist in our country. You need to listen to something other than Al Jazeera and MSNBC to get the news. All the clowns insulting the tea party have probably never been to an event since they are so busy collecting money from our socialist government

    July 19, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  11. Fallen

    Dem's keep up the race bating and childish name calling as it is only annoying people more. The DNC is great at campaigning and arm twisting but are absolutely inept at governing. Case in point is our President who is in over his head.

    July 19, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  12. marius

    These vans look suspiciously like the "straight talk" express....talk about a bait and switch!

    July 19, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  13. Steph

    You're right carrie! We all saw the signs when the Tea Party express busses rolled in. Sorry folks, but seeing is believing. I was sickened by the cheers some received for their hand made racists posters.

    July 19, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. one voice

    These TP bloggers are paid by the very ULTRA RICH Corporate masters that brought our country to her knees. Their ways of spreading lies and misinformation is to continue to grow their ignorant base. Wake up you fools, you're being played.

    July 19, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. GI Joe

    It's a money-making organization built by the likes of Dick Armey (R), who charges it's members exorbitant fees to be members and attend functions. Then they pitch hate, fear, division, and paranoia.

    Buyer beware.

    July 19, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  16. Tina, NC

    I am not fooled for one minute by the fact that the tea party kicked Williams out. They are doing this after the vile letter he posted but what about all his comments before this letter got so much attention. =? He's called Obama an Indonesian welfare thug, said that Muslims worship the "monkey god", and still has many racist and vile stuff posted on his blog that were there long before his "satirical" letter. Here is just one example:

    This is the text under a picture of 3 black men: Yo, yo, YO! Hey Cracker! We be collectin' the 'Bama Whitey Tax. Posted JULY 9, 2010

    If they were serious about this and not just doing this to save their reputation then why didn't they kick him and his group out when he posted that photo or said those racist things?

    July 19, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. GI Joe

    They build Palin wealth by charging their members fees and paying Palin and other radical speakers large sums to come in and brain-wash the attendees.


    July 19, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. Errold Webb

    How about this Muslim faithful, organize a movement aimed at finding Binladin and his culprits, send them into Pakistan, find him and all his conspirators and bring them to justice. That would be the best way to convince America of your good intension

    July 19, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  19. Debby

    Oh Jimmy give it a rest with the race thing already. If Hillary was President there would be cartoon signs of her held up by the Tea Party Express. It goes with the territory of public office.

    July 19, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. Bob in PA

    Give it a break. The Tea Party is a view of what our government should be, not an organization. Like minded Independants, Republicans, and Democrats alike are welcome

    July 19, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  21. doug

    :don't think that treating other groups of people like dirt is the way to go"

    It got Barry elected!!!

    July 19, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  22. Marie MD

    Let's see ,. . . the party who freed angle from wherever her famly had hidden her to go after the senate seat in NV? Once again, of course, not vetted and completely useless and clueless and crazier than the failed vp candidate.
    Yes, our country deserves better and it would be a better country if all you racists/bigots would disappear and move to Siberia.
    The only reason they are betst known is because the media loves. to feed the monster. they would be nothing if they hadn't picked the quitter as one of their leaders to shrill her way across America.
    The repugs are going to be sorry that bachman and paul and others have embraced them to start revolutions and send us back to the 1950s.

    July 19, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. David in Houston

    I know foreign exchange students who know more about the U.S. Constitution than most of the so-called "patriots" in this movement.

    These tin-foil hat wearing birthers have no idea what it truly means to be "American".

    For shame...

    July 19, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  24. MikeH

    "Ron in California" comment's typifies what's wrong with the Tea Party. Ron appears to be a Republican plant, he states the country was headed in the right direction before the Democrats took over.

    Really Ron? America headed for another Great Depression is the right direction? Bleeding America's economy into the coffers of the corporations is the right direction? Ron, aren't you just another corporate sycophant masquerading as a concerned citizen?

    I believe the majority of the Tea Party are individuals ignorant of what's really being done to them by the very interest organizing them, and who harbor latent racism against someone, who is not white, being President. It's not coincidence that this movement came into prominence only about a month after Obama was sworn in. The Republican/Corporate organizatrions such as "Freedom Works" put 'plants' in place to instigate hate. The "We want out country back" blather from these folks is proof enough of their 'Ignant racism'.

    July 19, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  25. avm

    The Tea Party is for limited Government which means we do not want our representatives paying $50Mil for a toad, but no jobs, Paying out 780Billion for buddies in finance, 2 trillion for welfare for illegal Criminals including medical, We want everyone to be able to apply for a job not just the union members, we want our representative to vote NO when we tell them NO. There is NOTHING, no BIG Business that is too big to fail, someone will buy it up and bring it back. What we want is for government to do its job and get out of our lives. I determine what I drive, I determine what I eat. I pay for my own health insurance, and I work 60 hours a week 20 of which is to pay my ever increasing tax burden for slackers and spendthrifts.

    July 19, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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