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Thousands converge in Searchlight, Nev., for the Tea Part... Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Thousands converge in Searchlight, Nev., for the Tea Party Express cross-country bus tour kickoff.

The wind whipped off the desert floor, but the chill seemed to light a fire beneath the Tea Party activists, 35,000 strong, who showed up in Searchlight, Nevada this weekend to send a message to Harry Reid: YOUR FIRED.

I was honored to be able to introduce Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska, and the petite dynamo who dominates conservative politics.

I was also thrilled to be able to introduce to the crowd my friend Chuck Devore, who is running for U.S. Senate in California, who is the only true conservative candidate in a three way Republican primary run-off.

While traveling on the Tea Party Express bus, some of Senator Harry Reid's supporters showed their true colors by assaulting us with eggs. They were union thugs from the SEIU, of course. They went after my friend Andrew Breitbart, who was stuck on the street corner accidentally. Fortunately, he escaped their clutches. Boy, is he pissed.

San Francisco Chronicle reporter Joe Garofoli wrote about the tea party, and the coverage was actually fair. Imagine that.

Palin kicks off Tea Party Express tour

Sunday, March 28, 2010

(03-28) 04:00 PDT Searchlight, Nev. --

Organizers described this gathering Saturday of thousands of Tea Partiers minutes from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's home in desolate Nevada scrub as a "conservative Woodstock."

But instead of gorging on LSD, free love and Jimi Hendrix, thousands of attendees binged on seething anger at Washington and swooned to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as the Tea Party Express kicked off a 43-city cross-country bus tour that's intended to rouse voters to their cause.

"We're sending a message to Washington," Palin told the crowd that exploded in chants of "Sarah! Sarah!" when she took the stage.

"The big government, big tax Obama-Pelosi-Reid spending spree is over," she said, referring also to the president and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco. "You're fired."

Midterm preview

Days after the passage of the health care reform law, the gathering outside the 749-resident town about 60 miles south of Las Vegas previewed the bare-knuckles way the 2010 midterm elections will be fought in California and elsewhere.

The test now is whether the street energy of the anti-tax, small-government message of the Tea Party movement can translate from mad-as-hell gatherings like this into a broader force that can generate electoral change.

But before they can take on vulnerable Democrats like Reid, who is facing a tough re-election battle, the Tea Partiers are going after Republicans deemed insufficiently conservative for their liking. Four Republicans vying to challenge Reid in November appeared before the audience Saturday in a voters forum.

The political pinata of the day was Reid. A giant billboard in Searchlight, close to where Reid and his wife frequently share a booth for dinner at the Searchlight Nugget Casino, said "Will Rogers Never Met Harry Reid."