Members of the Tea Party movement protest on May 25, 2010 in San Francisco, California. (Getty Images)
(CNN) – There will be a big "tea party" on Capitol Hill today. The newly-minted congressional Tea Party Caucus holds its first official meeting on Wednesday. How will the new status impact the growing Tea Party movement? Our Jim Acosta takes a look. Watch
The first national Tea Party convention wrapped up this weekend in Nashville.
Sarah Palin was the featured speaker. Organizers are hoping she can help them turn their conservative grassroots movement into a political force.
Republican strategist Ed Rollins and Daily Beast columnist John Avlon joined us on Monday's American Morning to read the tea leaves.
The first-ever national Tea Party Convention is under way in Nashville. Here at CNN, we're shining a spotlight on the grass-roots political movement that wants its voice heard in Washington.
One person in particular not only embraces tea partiers' anger – he was born from it.
For the final part of our series "Welcome to the Tea Party," we spoke to Kentucky Dr. Rand Paul, son of former presidential candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
Editor's Note: The Tea Party is not a political party, but the movement is making efforts to organize. There's this weekend's first ever Tea Party Convention in Nashville, the countless rallies and hundreds of Tea Party Web sites. But there's another venue tea partiers are using to get together that you may not have heard of – cruises.
By Jim Acosta, CNN
On board a cruise ship easing into the U.S. Virgin Islands, among the thousands of passengers ready for some fun in the sun, are members of a rising American political movement having a meeting of the minds.
"People are just not ready for this mad charge to the left," says Kevin Collins, a Staten Island, New York Tea Party member.
Led by former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes, more than a hundred conservative and Tea Party activists and their families rented out space on this ship for what was billed as a "cruise for liberty."
Cruise organizer Michael O'Fallon markets this seven day voyage as a chance to talk politics in paradise.
"Right now people are wanting to be with other conservatives. Maybe it's because they feel like they're on an island right now,” says O’Fallon, Sovereign Cruise president.
At the pre-cruise kick-off at a Miami hotel, Keyes explained why he believes the Tea Party is gaining steam.
"I think it is quite obvious that this isn't about Republicans and Democrats. It may be about the failure of both parties and the whole party system," says Keyes.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/04/tea.party.march.gi.art.jpg caption="Protesters march to Capitol Hill during the Tea Party Express rally on September 12, 2009 in Washington, DC."]
By John Avlon
From The Daily Beast
It’s Super Bowl weekend, but the big event in politics is the first national Tea Party Convention in Nashville.
As with all pre-game press, there’s plenty of hype that offers more heat than light. There have been last minute injuries and substitutions—wingnut Rep. Michele Bachmann dropped out from her long promised speaking role, while Sarah Palin has stuck with her $100,000 speaking fee and been rewarded with prime-time speech coverage from cable outlets during the Saturday night banquet.
There is plenty of second guessing and insider scandals—the convention’s for-profit status has rubbed many grassroots activists the wrong way. They see themselves as defenders of the American Revolution, and this twist has some asking whether John Hancock would have rented out Independence Hall and tried to make money off the concessions.
But the big game, the “Thrilla in Vanilla,” goes on. If you’re keeping score at home on cable news or via The Daily Beast, here are the top five key Tea Party players to keep an eye out for.
As part of our special coverage, "Welcome to the Tea Party," the best political team on television will be tracking the convention in Nashville all this weekend.
What does the Tea Party want to accomplish? Who are its members? And what do they mean for the future of American politics?
Our independent analyst John Avlon joined us on Thursday's American Morning along with our Jim Acosta, who's been covering the Tea Party movement extensively.