Many who consider themselves Tea Party supporters believe that the modern Tea Party movement began after Rick Santelli’s now famous “rant” on CNBC on February 19, 2009 in which he said, among other things, that he would organize a “tea party” in Chicago. It should be noted that Santelli did not claim, that day, to have started this new “tea party” movement, only that he wants to organize a tea party event in Chicago.
Though Ron Paul supporters organized a Tea Party back in 2007, they are and have been notoriously ignored by the press and therefore were not able to reach as many people as Santelli did that day in 2009. Thus began the misconception that the Santelli “rant” was the impetus for today’s Tea Party movement.
According to Conservapedia.com, an online Conservative database:
“The birth of the Tea Party Movement is often mistakenly traced to February 2009; however, while Rick Santelli’s famous impassioned speech on CNBC was perhaps the most visible spark that ignited Tea Party gatherings across the nation, the movement’s genesis was in progress long before that notable day in early 2009. One earlier manifestation of both the movement and the name occurred in the fall of 2007 when supporters of Ron Paul called for a ‘Tea Party 2007′ to promote Paul’s bid for the presidency and a return to limited federal government.”
An article from 2007 referencing the beginning of the Tea Party movement and its record fundraising for Ron Paul’s 2008 Presidential campaign:
One of many videos that can be found doing a search on YouTube that is dedicated to Ron Paul and the Tea Party movement:
This article was written in April 15, 2009 and it references Ron Paul “tea parties” from 16 months prior (2007):
“Maybe you remember about 16 months ago the 11-term Texas Republican representative, who’s now organized a new Campaign for Liberty, was raking in more political contributions each month than most other GOP presidential candidates, relying on his hundreds of thousands of fervent supporters staging their money bomb days of online donations and — oh, yes – tea parties.”
There have also been numerous references on Fox News to Ron Paul being the “father” or “godfather” of the modern Tea Party movement. Here’s one example (at 2:27 specifically):
The Associated Press also ran an article with the headline: Tea party godfather Ron Paul running for president
So while the modern Tea Party movement was certainly given more publicity and grew after the 2009 Santelli “rant”, it is clear that its seeds were planted by Ron Paul supporters back in 2007.