What is the tea party?
A loosely-knit — some would say not knit at all — series of organizations across the country usually dedicated to reducing federal debt and slowing the growth of government — or shrinking it. There’s no centralized organization and no real structure, making it hard to easily characterize or even identify who’s powerful or who’s behind the movement. Its origins are often traced to CNBC journalist Rick Santelli, who in February 2009 was angry about a government mortgage refinancing plan. He recommended a “tea party” for the Chicago River.