TAMPA, Fla. -- If the Tea Party protests and rallies of 2008 feel like a distant memory, the leader of Ohio's Tea Party says you're right.
"The Tea Party is dead," claims Chris Littleton of the Ohio Liberty Council, a statewide organization of Tea Party groups. Chris told us, "The protests and rallies which swept the country from 2007 to 2009, those are all gone. They're done."
Littleton's death proclamation is making national headlines, but Tampa Bay Tea Party groups beg to differ with his assertion.
"The Tea Party is alive and well. Absolutely," says Karen Jaroch with Tampa's 912 Project.
Jaroch believes the Tea Party silence really has more to do with the Republican primary. "From the Tea Party's perspective, three of the four candidates have some spending problems in their past," she said.
Jaroch worked on Herman Cain's campaign until he left the race, which now has her feeling that "there seems to be no Tea Party candidate. I think part of that problem is that we're not a national party. We're a national movement."
In a sense, that's exactly what has Chris Littleton claiming the "party" is dead. "It's evolved into something different and far more powerful because people are seeing past a guy like Obama," Littleton says. "I don't think Obama is the enemy. Obama isn't the enemy. The enemy is government that's gone completely out of control, and that happened under both parties."
Both Littleton and Jaroch agree members of Tea Party groups will become more active and visible once Republicans have chosen a nominee for president.
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