"They had absolutely nothing in common, except they wanted to do what's right for this country," she said.
Bachand's group teamed up with others in the state -- from gun rights to anti-abortion groups -- to form the Connecticut Patriot Alliance. "Everybody in the alliance has their own particular bugaboo," she said. "But we all agree on the Constitution, so we work together on the big issues."
They focused on local Senator Chris Dodd, the Democrat chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. "Every time Chris Dodd set foot in the state, between us we had 50 to 100 people waiting to protest," Bachand said. "We made a real statement."
In Waco, Texas, the town's Tea Party group blocked a local bailout. According to local media reports, in October the Waco City council approved a $700,000 loan to keep a local high-tech firm afloat under new ownership. But when the Waco Tea Party got wind of the decision, they mobilized to prevent it.
"It made me mad," recalled leadership council member Lisa Dickison, a mild-mannered woman who looks incapable of anger.
Waco Tea Party head Toby Marie Walker said five or six members went to a county commissioner meeting, where the bailout was due to be approved. Walker said their presence alone led the commissioners to stop the bail out.
"We just had to show up and they knew why we were there," she said.