MEDFORD — They're back and feisty as ever.

MEDFORD — They're back and feisty as ever.

Protesters clutching anti-Barack Obama and pro-Constitution signs braved damp, chilly weather Thursday in Alba Park as they waited for the arrival of the Tea Party Express II.

Two Express buses wound their way up from San Diego to Medford as part of a cross-country tour to spread the belief that the federal government has lost its way.

Jeff Krump, of the Americans for Prosperity, took to the gazebo to address the 100 or so protesters.

"We believe in the founding fathers' vision of a constitutionally limited government," Krump said to a round of cheers. "There is a tyranny happening in America and we can't let it continue."

Several booths and button sales stands popped up in the moments before the Tea Party Express buses arrived.

Participants shelled out $15 a piece for T-shirts emblazed with anti-tax and anti-gun-control logos.

Louise Gliatto made the trip from Yreka, Calif., to join the Medford protest.

"We've been called racists and worse, but that isn't true," Gliatto said. "It's that we are having our rights taken away and we don't like it."

Rick Butler, a Vietnam War veteran, compared the current protest with the Boston Tea Party.

"These protests are in favor of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights," Butler said. "It's a shame, because I spoke to someone earlier who didn't even know what the original Boston Tea Party was."

Krump said the protest was not partisan in nature and was part of a grass-roots movement created to protect personal liberties such as private property ownership. He welcomed Democrats and Independents to join the Tea Party cause.

However, former Jackson County Democrat Party Chairwoman Paulie Brading said the Tea Party message often is confusing and shrill enough to alienate moderates.

"Fundamentally, they claim they're a grass-roots movement, but that's not really true," Brading said. "It's a top-down strategy designed by conservative groups such as Freedom Works to create media opportunities and to disrupt health care meetings."

The Tea Party Express buses rolled into Alba Park just before 5 p.m., announcing themselves with loud honks. They were greeted by a chorus of cheers.

The buses unloaded nearly 100 riders, among them singer Lloyd Marcus, who led the crowd in a satirical number skewering health care reform and President Obama set to the tune of "New York, New York."

The Tea Party Express tours have been economically productive for Bob and Ellen Prescott, of Jacksonville, Fla.

The couple joined the Express in San Diego and sell homemade pins decrying tax increases and bearing the face of Sarah Palin.

"We traveled around 5,000 miles so far on this tour," Bob Prescott said. "These protests have done a lot of good for the country."

The Prescotts said the Tea Party gatherings are getting larger and more popular than campaign stops made by Arizona Sen. John McCain during his ill-fated run at the presidency last year.

"At a stop like this in Medford, we'll sell about 30 to 40 buttons," Ellen Prescott said. "But that hopefully will increase as we continue across the country."

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail