Make no mistake about it: CNBC editor Rick Santelli is proud of the movement he helped launch. Santelli's 2009 rant on the floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange is often credited as the match that ignited the Tea Party movement. In an interview with the Chicago Sun Times (h/t HuffPo), Santelli says that while all of his views may not align with the Tea Party, he's still happy have to have set it off, calling it a "very proud moment for America:"
"People ask me if I'm the father of the Tea Party movement," the CNBC commentator said outside the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. "I was the spark ...that started it. If being the lightning rod that started the Tea Party is what's written on my tombstone, I'll be very happy."
For what it's worth, we gave Santelli credit months ago when we looked at all the disgruntled loud mouths who had helped get the Tea Party going. But while Santelli may have helped give it a start, make no mistake that the Tea Party is far from an organic populist movement. Both Richard Kim and Frank Rich have traced the real corporate driven and conspiracy obsessed roots of the movement. Check out our April 2010 interactive history, above, of how corporate media and the Republican Party both exploited and encouraged some of the Tea Party's more racist moments.