More astroturfing? Sure looks like it to me. From Hardball April 15, 2009. Mike Barnicle questions Mike Pence about why only now the outrage over deficit spending. Pence says that it was the bailout and stimulus bill and claims that this is just a grass roots movement that started in the fall. The other guest John O'Hara claims that this was something that's been boiling up since George Bush was in office. Barnicle then asks O'Hara how he got involved in the protests.
Barnicle: So John I mean clearly you're a young guy....What got you actively involved in this. Give me a little bit about your background. Who are you and why are you involved in this?
O’Hara: Absolutely. I work at a free-market think tank, the Heartland Institute here in Chicago. In my spare time, on weekends and nights, leading up to the Feburary 27th tea parties, my good friend J. P. Freir, he's been on this network, at the American Spectator invited me and asked me if I could help him get some momentum behind having a tea party in front of the White House. We did. We had over 300 people show up. And there were concurrent tea parties across the country that day and ever since then you’ve had thousands come out in Orlando, Cincinati and then today in Chicago we had over 5000 and man more in cities across the country.
Think Progress has more on John O'Hara's "weekend work" organizing these protests. He wasn't really organizing any of this for his employer. He was just spending his time off volunteering. Riiiggtt. Of course Mike Barnicle doesn't ask him why he thinks anyone should believe that.