DETROIT (AP) -- Charlie Gennara thought there would be a sizable showing for a planned Tea Party protest outside the annual international auto show in Detroit on Monday.
For the first 45 minutes, though, it was just him and one other person voicing their displeasure with the billions in aid spent by the government on General Motors, Chrysler and auto lender GMAC Financial Services.
"I didn't expect this," said Gennara, a 58-year-old retired carpenter from Northville, Mich. "Most of the Tea Parties I've been to I've seen 300 or a couple hundred at least."
Joan Fabiano, an organizer for a number of Tea Party events in Michigan, may have played a part in the poorly attended event, sending e-mails to hundreds of supporters urging them to stay away.
"I'd like to think I had something to do with that," said Fabiano, who is affiliated with a group called Grassroots in Michigan.
Fabiano, of Holt, worked at GM for 30 years and believes protesting at the auto show sends the wrong message.
"I think it was ill-conceived," she said. "It only hurts fellow Michiganders and Michigan commerce. Businesses are already hurting."
A message seeking comment was left Monday with national Tea Party leader Michael Johns.
The U.S. government owns about 61 percent of General Motors and nearly 10 percent of Chrysler. GM has said it will repay nearly $7 billion in loans by June. The two automakers were forced into bankruptcy, and many automakers and suppliers faced painful job losses and a sharp decline in auto sales.
Another demonstrator, Jeffrey Allan McQueen, said the weather also may have been a factor in limiting the number of attendees on Monday.
It was a windy, snowy morning with temperatures in the 20s at Cobo Center, the site of the North American International Auto Show. McQueen said it took him a long time to get downtown from suburban Rochester.
McQueen said he respected Fabiano's position, but still felt it was important to call attention to the issue of government intervention in the auto industry.
"I respect Joan and I think she's really done a lot of good work for the Tea Party movement and that's what makes the Tea Party movement so beautiful, because we're not an organized group," McQueen said.
"Many of us have many different beliefs," he said.