April 9th, 2009
03:02 PM ET
2 years ago

Organizers reject Steele's request to speak at Chicago 'tea party'

RNC chairman Michael Steele was told he could attend but not speak at an upcoming gathering of conservatives in Chicago.
RNC chairman Michael Steele was told he could attend but not speak at an upcoming gathering of conservatives in Chicago.

(CNN) – Organizers turned down Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele's recent request to speak at a conservative gathering in Chicago because the event is focused on "everyday citizens," one of the event's organizers told CNN Thursday.

A representative for Steele reached out Tuesday to Eric Odom, one of two lead organizers for an April 15 gathering in Chicago that is part of the so-called "tea party" movement against government spending and in favor of the free enterprise system. Odom responded to the Steele request via e-mail on Wednesday.

"We respectfully asked that he attend but said that we would not be giving him stage time [to speak]," Odom told CNN.

Steele's rejection was based in the organizers' desire to have the event focused on the views and participation of the conservative grassroots rather than on elected officials holding political office or official positions in political parties.

"This is an opportunity for everyday citizens to speak and for elected officials to listen," Odom said Thursday. "We've been listening to them for years. On April 15, we are taking this opportunity to speak to them. It's not an opportunity for them to speak to us."

The national "tea party" movement was inspired by CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli's late February outburst on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Joined by several traders, Santelli expressed frustration about the Obama administration's plan to increase government spending in the hopes of turning around the economy and helping homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages. During the outburst, Santelli suggested the idea of having a "Chicago tea party" on the shores of Lake Michigan.


Filed under: Michael Steele
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. John

    I love it. I am for the tea-party movement, but it is not the stage for Steele. He needs to listen to where the people want the republican party to go.

    April 9, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. Veronica

    Ha! That's funny! And, I'm curious as to how many "real folks" will be represented. Unless, of course, the GOP is saying that the majority of "real folks" in this country make over $250K. Or, they just found themselves a whole slew of "Joe the Taxpaying Evading Unlicensed Plumber."

    It cracks me up that all Obama wants to do is up the tax rate to Clinton-era levels, which equates to about 3%, and the ridiculous right and its base have their tighty-whiteys in such a bunch! From what I can tell, ALL benefited from the economic boom in the 90's so.

    This is just another ploy by the GOP to project its fears into people who just don't know, and don't care to know, any better. While I find it amusing that the GOP is using the same old, tired tactics, it is pretty sad that about 30% of people still fall for this bull.

    April 9, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. phoenix86

    Steele should be allowed to speak. He is not the one raising taxes. He is not the one increasing spending. He is not the one threatening American's viability as a nation.

    Let him speak.

    April 9, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    They won't let Michael Steele speak at their tea party. Poor baby! Even his own party is starting to disown him.

    April 9, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Reggae

    Wake up Michael, you are in the wrong party!

    April 9, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. Lisa T

    The "tea party" happened on Nov. 4th, 2008...

    April 9, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. Patrick Era

    Simply put: Persona non grata!

    April 9, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. KLK

    Poor Mike just can't catch a break.

    April 9, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. James

    I agree with you. Forget about Geneva. We have to reconcile with Sinhalese and Muslims berfoe power-sharing in Sri Lanka. I accept we have conflict among us but Indian made it worse in 1987 and now American making the situation lot more muddy.I will place my view soon. we are idiots chasing the mirage in intellectual Sahara desert.kind regards

    April 27, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
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