Just who is in the Tea Party movement? In the lead-up to the anti-health care reform, anti-Obama administration rally in Washington DC on September 12, the "Tea Party Express" bus tour held smaller, local rallies across the country. The Connecticut rally featured Ann Coulter and the Congress of Racial Equality's Niger Innis. The bus tour was organized by Our Country Deserves Better (OCDB), a political action committee formed in 2008 to oppose Barack Obama that -- like Move America Forward and the MAF Freedom PAC -- has extensive ties to the Sacramento-based PR firm Russo Marsh & Rogers. At an October 2008 bus tour rally covered by the Center for Media and Democracy, OCDB's Mark Williams accused then-candidate Obama of "socialism" and implied that he wasn't a U.S. citizen. Of the recent rallies, Williams said, "What brought everything together was the Obamacare idea, which contains every odiferous objection." Blogger Lindsay Beyerstein reports that BusBank, "one of the featured corporate sponsors of the Tea Party Express had to pay millions of dollars to settle lawsuits for its role in a bus fire that killed 23 elderly nursing home residents fleeing Hurricane Rita in 2005."
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