ABC Profiles Tea Party & Cites Fmr Obama Supporters, Finds Moderates ‘Scrambling to Show Support’

On Thursday’s World News, ABC correspondent Kate Snow filed a report that avoided portraying Tea Party activists as extremists, instead conveying the movement’s growing appeal and the fact that even some former Barack Obama supporters have signed on. Snow: "The majority of supporters are long-time Republicans like Danita, but there are growing numbers of independents, and even some former Obama supporters."

After recounting the movement’s recent successes in bringing down moderate political figures for not being conservative enough, Snow related that "moderates are scrambling to show their support." The piece also included a soundbite of ABC News contributor Matthew Dowd who suggested that Democrats are making a mistake in "trying to marginalize" the movement. Dowd: "I think Republicans definitely dismiss this at their peril. I also think Democrats, by trying to marginalize it, underestimate the anger out there."

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Thursday, January 7, World News on ABC:

DIANE SAWYER: Up next, in politics, it was confirmed today that former Governor Sarah Palin will keynote two political conventions in the next month – not Republicans or Democrats, but the anti-establishment movement of the Tea Party. A month ago, we saw those heated town hall meetings on health care, but Kate Snow says since then the Tea Party has become a more organized political force – at least 3,000 outposts taking aim at moderate candidates for office and taking them down.

KATE SNOW: It is a movement with momentum, and now it's taking politicians down. The biggest example this week, Florida's Republican Party chairman, brought down in part by pressure from Tea Party activists who've rallied around a young outspoken conservative in the Florida Senate race. His opponent, Republican Governor Charlie Crist, may be the next Tea Party victim. Where once Obama's army had the passion, columnist David Brooks wrote, "Now the Tea Party brigades have all the intensity."

MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think Republicans definitely dismiss this at their peril. I also think Democrats, by trying to marginalize it, underestimate the anger out there.

SNOW: Their influence is showing up all over the country. In California, the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 company may lose her bid for Senate because she's not conservative enough. In Kentucky, the son of former presidential candidate Ron Paul is riding the Tea Party wave.

DANITA KILCULLEN, TEA PARTY FORT LAUDERDALE: We just don't give up. We're unrelenting.

SNOW: Danita Kilcullen has been bringing people to this corner in Fort Lauderdale every Saturday for 46 weeks, then posting it on YouTube.

KILCULLEN: The tea parties across America are going to have a great deal to say about who is in office.

SNOW: The majority of supporters are long-time Republicans like Danita, but there are growing numbers of independents, and even some former Obama supporters.

NATE WHIGHAM, GEORGIA TEA PARTY: The Tea Party kind of aligned what I was already feeling with their three core values.

SNOW: They organize mainly online not bound by religion but loosely linked by an overarching philosophy for small government, against deficit spending and against raising taxes. There's no real leader, but star power – Sarah Palin and TV host Glenn Beck whose empire includes everything from a Christmas picture book to ads to a live stage show – have both given face to the movement. And moderates are scrambling to show their support.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I've added a tea bag.

SNOW: A tea bag in his pocket, armor for a former Congressman running for Senate. And just recently the first Tea Party political action committee was created. That means money – $13,000 so far, Diane, and growing. This is a force to watch.