Saturday, October 30, 2010

Boiling Point: Inside The Tea Party

CNN will tonight debut an investigative documentary that examines the impact of Tea Party groups. CNN's press release and preview of the program is below.

CNN Press Release: Investigative documentary examining the impact of Tea Party groups debuts Saturday, October 30at 8:00pm ET & PT on CNN/U.S.

CNN has criss-crossed the country over the last 18 months, logging campaign coverage of literally hundreds of candidates – their ads, the controversies, the primaries, and the polls as the nation counts down to the mid-term elections on Nov. 2nd. CNN writer and producer Shannon Travis has followed the political movement that has proven to be the most energetic and the most provocative of this campaign season, the various groups that self-identify with the Tea Party.

Boiling Point: Inside the Tea Party debuts Saturday, Oct. 30 at 8:00pm ET and PT on CNN.

Reporting from California, to Delaware, to Alaska, to Florida and beyond, Travis interviewed the movement’s chief influencers – conservative talk radio personality and former Tea Party Express chairman Mark Williams, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, and Mary Rakovich, considered by some to be “the godmother” of the Tea Party movement – about their goals and the messages they want delivered to the corridors of power in Washington.

Travis’ investigation also looks into the leadership and the funding of tea party groups. Sal Russo, a long-time Republican activist and organizer of the recall of California governor Gray Davis (D-CA), is a founder of the Sacramento-based Tea Party Express. In a rare interview with Travis, Russo says that the candidates his group supports focus upon fiscal conservatism over social issues, which he feels has been key to its success.

However, Russo has also been accused by his former Tea Party Express vice chair, Deborah Johns, as well as other tea partiers, of simply co-opting the “tea party” label to make money for his consulting firm. Travis also talks to FreedomWorks founder and former U.S. Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX) about accusations that his group is funded by powerful, moneyed groups – not grassroots supporters.

A multimedia report on the tea party, including video clips from tea party events and candidates from the campaign trail, a photographic retrospective of American populist movements, and an excerpt from the Boiling Point documentary can be found at Comprehensive campaign coverage and the latest updates on all of the latest breaking political news can be found at

Boiling Point was reported by CNN political producer and writer Shannon Travis. Marcus Hooper is producer, Steve Turnham is senior producer, Jeffery Reid is executive producer, and Bud Bultman is managing editor for this production. Scott Matthews is the executive producer for CNN’s Special Investigations and Documentaries unit.

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