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Tea Party Convention marks coming out for a movement

NASHVILLE — In the weeks leading up to the National Tea Party Convention, Judson Phillips didn’t do much talking to the media. The founder of Tea Party Nation, the chief organizer of the conference alongside his wife Shelley, was buffeted by attacks from Tea Party activists who accused him of staging a costly, “elite” convention, and dirtying the reputation of the movement by paying Sarah Palin $100,000 to speak there. On January 14, Tea Party Nation put out word that only five conservative media outlets would get full access to the convention. On January 30, they issued an email to their internal list pushing back against “baseless accusations and criticism” from angry Tea Party activists.