Tea Party reaches milestone with convention
NASHVILLE – The grass-roots movement that exploded across the nation last year in revolt against President Obama’s economic policies and health care agenda is reaching a critical milestone Thursday as hundreds of conservative activists converge here for the start of the inaugural National Tea Party Convention.
But the first gathering of a sprawling movement, made up of hundreds of disparate Tea Party groups, has been marred by controversy. Some high-profile speakers and activist groups have canceled their appearances in protest of alleged profiteering by the convention organizers.
Attendees have been charged $549 a ticket to gather for three days at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center – an expense that critics say is out of reach for the average activist. Some of the proceeds will go to cover former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s reported $100,000 fee to deliver Saturday’s keynote address.