Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) debuted her Tea Party Caucus this morning, a collection of 29 -- and counting -- conservative Republican House members who Bachmann says plan to be a direct line of communication between the tea party movement and floor of the House.
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The goal of the debut press conference was clearly to show how tuned in with the tea party Bachmann and colleagues like Steve King (IA), Louie Gohmert (TX) and John Culberson (TX) are. The event was light on legislative substance and heavy on tea party praise, both from the representatives in attendance and the tea partiers who spoke from the podium. But after the tough week the tea party movement's been having, the event's emphasis seemed to shift to the most overt possible display of tea party diversity.
[TPM SLIDESHOW: Meet The Tea Party Caucus]
Here's what that looks like: Of the several tea partiers who spoke from the podium today to praise the creation of the caucus, just one was a white man -- Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots. The others? Two African-Americans, a Coumbian, a Brazilian, and several women. Rep. Dan Burton (R-IA) made it clear what he thought the takeaway message should be.
"This should dispel any claims about the tea party," he said. "Because we have people of all backgrounds up here."