American Morning

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February 4th, 2010
12:00 PM ET

Group calls for regular Q&A between president & Congress

There's a growing call from a group of political pros for the president and Congress to air their differences in regular, televised question-and-answer sessions.

The group is using President Obama's exchange with Republican leaders last week as a model. Two people behind the movement joined us on Thursday's American Morning.


Filed under: Politics • Welcome to the Tea Party
February 4th, 2010
11:00 AM ET
February 4th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

Welcome to the Tea Party: Florida showdown

Editor's Note: CNN's Jim Acosta takes you inside the Tea Party movement and sits down with those who started it to talk about the factions within the movement and the first ever 'Tea Party Convention.' Tomorrow on American Morning, we'll tell you about a Carnival cruise to the Caribbean where Tea Party protesters sound off on the president.

By Jim Acosta, CNN

For Republican Florida Governor Charlie Crist it's the hug that just won't let go.

His embrace of the president and of the stimulus program at a town hall meeting last year could cost this once rising GOP star a shot at a U.S. Senate seat.

Meet Marco Rubio. He's a darling of the Tea Party movement and is challenging Crist for the GOP nomination for that Senate seat.

"What I find at these events are folks who've never been involved in politics before," says Rubio.

Rubio takes his message of smaller government and lower taxes to Tea Party rallies. And his YouTube page features Tea Party activists venting their anger at Washington.

Polls show Rubio has closed a 30 point gap and just might win the party primary.

Would he be the first Tea Party senator if elected?

FULL POST


Filed under: Politics • Welcome to the Tea Party
February 3rd, 2010
09:31 PM ET

Welcome to the Tea Party: To hug or not to hug?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://blogs.cnn.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2010/02/obama-crist-gi-art.jpg caption="Governor Charlie Crist is hugged by President Obama at a town hall meeting February 10, 2009 in Fort Myers, Florida."]

By Jim Acosta, CNN

To hug or not to hug?

That's the question facing Florida's Republican voters. The answer could have national implications for the Tea Party movement.

In the white-hot GOP primary battle between Governor Charlie Crist and former House Speaker Marco Rubio, the hug is the big issue.

In case you haven't heard – last year, the governor briefly hugged President Obama at a stimulus town hall meeting in Florida. Tea Party activists in the state immediately cried foul and began moving in droves to Rubio in the race.

Does Crist regret the hug? Does he still defend his support of the stimulus? Yes. And yes. To the governor, it's all about civility in politics. Tea partiers or no tea partiers.

Would Rubio hug Obama? Watch our second part of "Welcome to the Tea Party" – "Florida showdown," Thursday on American Morning.


Filed under: Politics • Welcome to the Tea Party
February 3rd, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Welcome to the Tea Party: Infighting plagues conservative group

Editor's Note: CNN's Jim Acosta takes you inside the Tea Party movement and sits down with those who started it to talk about the factions within the movement and the first ever 'Tea Party Convention.' Tomorrow on American Morning, they were behind Scott Brown's upset win in Massachusetts and now they have their sights set on the Senate race between Florida Governor Charlie Crist and tea party darling Marco Rubio in the Republican primary.

By Jim Acosta, CNN

Take recession-raging conservatives and independents, add a Democrat to the White House, and you get the tea party.

And there's more brewing in this rebellion against bailouts and big government than just Scott Brown's Tea Party-infused upset in the Massachusetts Senate race.

"This was a major victory in what I would call the 2nd American Revolution," says Mark Meckler.

Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin, founders of the “Tea Party Patriots,” want this movement to blow the lid off Capitol Hill in this year's elections.

They plan to back candidates who stand for tea party principles. It doesn't matter if it's a Republican or Democrat standing in the way.

“I think that if it had been John McCain the same thing would have happened. I truly believe it,” says Martin.

In one year, the Tea Party has gone viral – from dozens to now hundreds of loosely linked groups around the country. But Meckler and Martin don't tell them what to do. That's not the Tea Party way.

FULL POST


Filed under: Politics • Welcome to the Tea Party
February 2nd, 2010
06:26 PM ET

Welcome to the Tea Party: Whose party is it?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://blogs.cnn.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2010/02/teaparty-gi-art.jpg caption="Protesters gather on Capitol Hill during the Tea Party Express rally on September 12, 2009 in Washington, DC."]

By Jim Acosta, CNN

Once written off by Democrats as "astroturf" (Washington-speak for faux grassroots) and a word that rhymes with "fleabaggers," tea party activists across the country are proving the skeptics wrong.

Scott Brown's tea party-infused upset in the Massachusetts Senate race stopped health care reform in its tracks. A tea party two-fer.

Still, ask around and many Americans are wondering, "who are these tea party guys?"

So that's what we did. In part one of our series, "Welcome to the Tea Party," we went to some rallies, talked to two of the major tea party outfits and zeroed in on one activist in the movement who's worried it's being co-opted by the Republican Party.

Here's what we've found. The tea party is not astroturf. It's a booming movement of conservatives and independents.

Many of the activists don't like President Obama. But some are just as mad at the GOP. Much of the anger is fueled by the bailouts and runaway deficits. And one thing is clear, the activists are not going away.

As for that activist who is worried Republican Party operatives are circling his movement – that part is true.

On Wednesday's American Morning, we've got a behind-the-scenes look at the Tea Party Express, the popular conservative bus tour that swept the nation. We're not riding the bus. Instead, we visit the group's offices, located – get this – inside a Republican political consulting firm.

Tell us what you think about the Tea Party movement. And don't forget to watch parts two and three on American Morning. Here's a two word preview: Marco Rubio.


Filed under: Politics • Welcome to the Tea Party
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