The Tea Party National Convention is in full swing in Nashville, Tenn.

A man who asked not to be identified wears a National Tea Party Convention shirt as he awaits lunch(Ed Reinke / AP Photo)

By Frank James

Tom Tancredo, the former Colorado Republican congressman, was really serving up the red meat at the Tea Party convention currently taking place in Nashville, Tenn.

As NPR's Don Gonyea reports on Friday's All Things Considered, Tancredo tapped into some of the free-form anger at the convention over President Barack Obama's occupancy of the White House. Don describes it this way:

DON: And that anger was visible at a reception last night where former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo spoke. He is a fierce opponent of immigration and brought the crowd alive when he talked about President Obama.
TANCREDO: People who could not even spell the word "vote" or say it in English (audience applauds) put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House. Name is Barack Hussein Obama. (crowd hisses)

Incendiary to say the least.

But of course there was a lot more happening at the first and what it's organizers hope will be many annual Tea Party conventions than Tancredo's unrestrained bashing of Obama and immigrants.

There was strategizing about how to win key congressional races in November. There was celebrating of Republican Sen. Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts. And there was the plain old social aspect, the meeting and greeting of people who had in common that they are just anti-Obama and anti-big government.

Don's report continued:

DON: There was instant camaraderie among Tea Party activists as they waited in line to pick up badges and registration materials.
Don: Seventy year old Susanne Curren from Shenandoah County, Va. says her first political activity was as a volunteer for the 1964 presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater. Her mood today?
CURREN: I have never been so afraid for the future of the United States of America in my entire life.
DON: Curren sees President Obama as a threat to the Consitution and a threat to the America that she loves.
CURREN: Why am I here? I want to meet people. These ladies. From Virginia. I never laid eyes on them before. These two ladies, Massachusetts. Yes. We just helped them. (Cheering)
DON: That cheer, of course, is over Republican Scott Brown's election to the U.S. Senate seat long held by the late Ted Kennedy. The Tea Party was active in Brown's campaign. Convention delegates Donna Wright and Ellen Gilmore are from Georgia.
WRIGHT: We sent money to support Scott Brown.
GILMORE: In Massachusetts.
WRIGHT: For his campaign...
GILMORE: And you have to admit, that was quite an earthquake of an election up there.
DON: Brown is hailed here as a rising star. But ask people here about the fact that he calls himself pro-choice on abortion and you get a response like this one from Debbie Dante of North Carolina.
DANTE: You can't be nitpicky I think at this point, you know like he's not pro-life so he's out of my field.

categories: Politics

5:35 - February 5, 2010