Tea Party Movement 2010. Here's a question-and-answer primer on the tea party movement.

Q: Is the tea party a political party?

A: No. The name plays on the 1773 Boston Tea Party, when colonists protested British efforts to tax tea imports and dumped tea into Boston Harbor. The modern tea party movement brought together Americans who were angry, among other things, about tax dollars going to federal bailouts of banks, automakers and mortgage holders, as well as massive stimulus spending in the wake of the financial crisis. When the movement first began, some tea party activists mailed tea bags to members of Congress to express their anger.

Q: What's their platform?

A: There's no universal platform. Common themes among tea party groups are deficit reduction, opposition to spending "earmarks," reducing the size of government, eliminating mandates and repealing Obama's health care expansion. In recent months, there have been some efforts to rally tea party activists against global warming policy. Social policy has not been central to the tea party movement, although there have been some efforts, including Fox commentator Glenn Beck's recent rally in Washington, to connect religion to the tea party movement.

Q: Who started the tea party movement and when?

A: There's no one founder. The movement came together in January and February of 2009, as President Obama took office. Rick Santelli of CBNC on Feb. 19 delivered a commentary from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange that went viral on the Internet, in which he ranted against federal mortgage refinancing, said the federal government was rewarding irresponsible consumers, compared the U.S. to Cuba, and proposed a "Chicago Tea Party" to dump derivative securities in Lake Michigan.


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