The weekend of March 27-28, 2010, some 7,000 Tea Partyers poured into Searchlight, Nev. (Senate majority leader Harry Reid's hometown), to kick off the group's 42-city bus tour, which is set to end in Washington, D.C., on tax day, April 15. Republican stars John McCain and Sarah Palin turned out to lend their support to the growing grass-roots movement of Americans unhappy with the government. The event comes just days after President Obama's health care legislation was signed into law, a policy that like taxes and Big Government the group strongly opposes.
The same weekend, the newly formed Coffee Party organized a national summit in (appropriately) coffeehouses nationwide. The events, designed to be civil discussions, follow the group's kickoff March 13. Despite its name, the movement claims it was not formed in direct opposition to the Tea Party. The party's organizer, Annabel Park, who built momentum for the group on Facebook, says the Coffee Party shares in the ideal of civic participation, but instead of advocating a stripped-down government like the Tea Party, thinks the government can be fixed. "The way I see it," Park told the New York Times, "our government is diseased, but you don't abandon it because it's ill."