Behind the Scenes: The Tea Party Express

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 2, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: Well, the tea party is rumbling across the country, 16 days, coast-to-coast. Final stop is Washington, D.C. Don't get on board unless you want to join this crowd and you are also angry about health care, taxes or the size of your government, because that's what this group is all about. Today's stop is El Paso, Texas. Griff Jenkins is with them.

GRIFF JENKINS, FOX NEWS: Hey, Martha, welcome to El Paso, Texas!


JENKINS: It is the 10th stop, day six of the Tea Party Express. We're here in El Paso. Just over those mountains, Juarez, Mexico. You can see the "Don't tread on me" sign, a lot of the same concerns, the size of the government, the bailouts. And Martha, I talked to the folks at El Paso, and they had an awful lot to say!


JENKINS: Why are you out here today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just here to protest the government's out-of-control spending. It has nothing to do about being Republican, you know, Democrat. It's just what's doing what's right for the country and what's doing right for my kids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And right now, we see the out-of-control spending. We see how much debt we are, and that's not right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government -- you know, we -- we have problems with our health care system, but we do need to fix it, but an 1,800-page bill is not reform, it's a government takeover.

JENKINS: What's your name, and where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Naomi Demott (ph). I am from Wasilla, Alaska.

JENKINS: Wasilla? That's a long way from El Paso!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it is. Me and my husband came here. He's in the military. He fought for this country. He went to Iraq. And I'm very proud, very proud of the country.

JENKINS: Thank you for his service. Now, have you met Sarah Palin?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I have. In Alaska, I met her. She is a genuine woman. The liberals may be scared of her, but that's because she's doing what is right for our country.

JENKINS: Naomi, this movement, the tea party movement across the country doesn't have a leader. Do you believe Saran Palin will be a good leader for this movement?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, she is a genuine, honest woman who cares for our people and is willing to fight for our country. She is a strong woman. I believe she can.

JENKINS: I found in El Paso two Griffs. Your guys names are Griff.


JENKINS: One is a veteran, one is an active military. Why are you out here, Griff?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to see what is going on and appreciate that our country can do stuff like this and take concerns on issues of our time.

JENKINS: And why are you out here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to take back America, take back America.

JENKINS: There you go, the three Griffs, two of these are American heroes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here because I want to see our country go in the direction I was always raised for it to go, that's what freedom. Business, small business -- I am a small-business owner. I struggle every day with what I hear is going on, and I am very frightened with what is going on.

JENKINS: Why are you here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am here to tell all of the veterans -- myself being a veteran. We all took an oath when we joined the service to protect the constitution of the United States from the enemies outside of this country as well as inside the country.

And I will die -- just because I left the service with an honorable discharge, I would still give my blood to protect this country from going down the tubes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel that we are losing our freedom now, and we need to stand up and say this is our country and it is worth fighting for. It is worth dying for. This is how I feel.

JENKINS: That is it for El Paso. San Antonio, Tom.

Back to you, Martha.


MACCALLUM: Griff's having a good time out there.

Well, you have heard all about it, so we are going to get you a look inside the tea party express. So follow Griff.


JENKINS: We promised you an inside look at the Tea Party Express. This is the bus, we are going from Las Cruces to El Paso, Texas. Let's go.

The most important person on this bus is Travis Duder (ph). Travis, you have gone over 1,800 miles from Sacramento. How do you do it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just do it for the clause. I have got a good bunch of pit crews, and we have got places to be, so we have to make it happen.

JENKINS: The Tea Party Express bus has a lounge area up front, back in the back, a private cabin, bed. We'll get to that.

But first, this would look like a computer lesson going on, but it is not. It is the nerve center of the tea party express. We have the organizers, we have the media folks, we have the official blogger, and they're all in contact with the press.

This is a moving operation as they go from one place to the next, they're always looking forward.

Levi, you're the press guy. You organizing everything, you are calling for it ahead. How is he going, and how hard is it to work on the road?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has actually been going great. And our bus is well set up for this. We have wireless Internet as long as we are not going through some canyon or something like that, so we are staying in contact.

And the local press we are contacting is very receptive, and usually happy to come out.

JENKINS: Do you guys ever e-mail each other just sitting across from each other?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is what we do all day.


JENKINS: Has anybody texted each other right now during this interview? Like, "This is so dorky"?


JENKINS: You just did? You just e-mailed her and said I can't believe the Griff is in here?

Deborah Jones is a vice chairwoman of the Tea Party Express. She is a Marine mom, she is a political activist, and she is also texting other people across the way from me. What did write?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are just saying funny things to one another about what's going on. That is about it.

JENKINS: Are you making fun of my interview?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just a little bit.

JENKINS: What is your favorite thing about being on the bus?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're surrounded by babes.

JENKINS: You are talking about her? The resident blogger Diane, Deborah?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're surrounded by babes.

JENKINS: What is your favorite thing about the bus?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mark, obviously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the tea party express bible for us. It has all of our hotels, or ever we are going, locations, routes.

JENKINS: The preferred in nutrition on any bus tour -- Red Bull, Cheetos, Doritos, Cheeze-its. We have all the important things.

The Tea Party Express bus has 12 bunks. And a lot of people have to get some sleep. They mostly stay in hotels, but it is a rough road gruel, and so if you Google's shuteye, even if you just want to watch a little TV, you have your own personal TV. Not bad.

Back in the back, we also have some of the musicians, fellow tea party patriots folks, a journalist, Jim Spellman, platform journalist from CNN filing some stuff. Amy Kramer is the tea party patriots founder, which is different from the tea party express but it is a similar grassroots organization.

Lloyd Marcus sings "Freedom ain't Free."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he really gets the crowd riled up.

And Diana Nagy gets it all kicked off with a National Anthem.


JENKINS: What is your reaction when you are out there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The major things we have been reacting to, Griff, is the fact that I say I am not African-American. I am Lloyd Marcus, un-American. They go nuts over that, and I had no idea that that would strike such an emotional chord with people. And their affection has been overwhelming. I am writing about it right now.

JENKINS: We're here. And that is the behind-the-scenes look. Back to you, Martha.


MACCALLUM: All right, thank you, Griff Jenkins.

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