Tea Party Uses Searchlight To Find Its Way
LIANE HANSEN, Host:
NPR's Ina Jaffe reports.
INA JAFFE: Woodstock, the original one, was all about peace, love and music. Well, there was plenty of music here, including rap. This is politics.
M: (Singing) The Tea Party's here, Tea Party here, Tea Party Movement got 'em running scared.
JAFFE: But the Woodstock peace and love part? None of that's still around - at least not for Democrats.
SARAH PALIN: We're saying that the big government, big debt, Obama, Pelosi, Reid spending spree is over. You're fired.
(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)
JAFFE: That was the real rock star of this event, Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate and current Fox News commentator. It's what drew about 7,000 Tea Party supporters from across Nevada and around the country to this barren stretch of rock-strewn ground.
PALIN: So proud to be with all of you who are so proud to be Americans. God bless you.
JAFFE: Unlike the signs, though, the crowd was pretty mellow. Palin criticized the media for blaming Tea Partiers for recent threats of violence against Democrats. She also defended her own recent choice of words, telling conservatives after the passage of the health care bill not to retreat but to reload.
PALIN: That's not inciting violence. What's that is doing is trying to inspire people to get involved in their local elections and these upcoming federal elections. It's telling people that their arms are their vote, it's not inciting violence.
JAFFE: Art Brew(ph), who lives near Las Vegas, was perched on a chair on a rock-strewn hillside overlooking the stage. He held a simple sign: Goodbye Harry.
ART BREW: Well, what is there to like about Harry Reid. I mean, he's a traitor, really.
JAFFE: How so?
BREW: Well, he hates America really, he does.
JAFFE: And Chuck Ratliff came all the way from Houston, Texas to say that Harry Reid has a bad case of what he calls the D.C. virus.
CHUCK RATLIFF: He no longer cares about his constituents. He doesn't care about his country. He just wants to be in lockstep with the rest of the socialists up there - Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Hussein Obama.
JAFFE: Ina Jaffe, NPR News, near Searchlight, Nevada.
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