April 15th, 2009
08:23 PM ET
5 years ago

A box of tea forces White House into lockdown

 Uniformed members of the Secret Service are seen outside the White House after a suspicious package was tossed over the fence onto the White House grounds.
Uniformed members of the Secret Service are seen outside the White House after a suspicious package was tossed over the fence onto the White House grounds.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Secret Service officers were scurrying to close the North Lawn of the White House Wednesday afternoon because of a suspicious package and it appeared that trouble was brewing.

But it turned out that nothing more was brewing than an innocent little box of, yes, tea bags.

The security alert started around 2 p.m. ET, when an unidentified person tossed the box over the gate of the White House and it landed on President Obama's lawn with a thud.

Journalists were quickly banned from moving outside of the press briefing room, and hundreds of protesters gathered for a "Tax Day Tea Party" were quickly shooed out of Lafayette Park as a security robot inspected the package closely.
After about a half hour of high alert, a Secret Service official told CNN the "suspicious package" was merely some tea bags. So the threat was over, and so was the anti-Obama protest.

Updated: 5:05 p.m.


Filed under: Tea Party movement • White House
soundoff (178 Responses)
  1. J Norman

    Where were these folks the last 8 years when taxes were higher?

    It's looking more and more like the GOP is done. Nothing but hard core wackos driving a nonsensical, out-of-date ideology seem to remain.

    April 15, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. soldier girl

    This person should be found an locked up. Bush would have done so if he was in the white House.

    April 15, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. Cass

    The Tea Baggers are so out of touch with reality, its not funny. The tax structure and deficits you are "protesting" are the policies of George W Bush ( the idiot who could not even string a sentence together) Additionally, unless you make a quarter of a million dollars a year, your taxes went down, but the again you probably don't know math and the difference between a tax cut (more in you pocket) and a tax increase (less in your pocket).

    Stop falling for the Rethuglican fantasy and think for yourselves. its spineless follow along sheep like you that allowed 8 years of hell and the reason we are currently in this mess,

    As for your claims of "socialism", what the heck do you think programs like Social Security and Medicare are. Please, use what litle brain matter you have and think.

    Thank God the rethuglicans are out of power and I pray the rest of them are swept away with the elections of 2010, they are disgusting and so are you.

    April 15, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. catmom

    I thought the tea parties were against taxes, why does it seem like it they are against President Obama? CNN interviewed a man participating in the tea party and he kept calling President Obama a fascist. When asked what he meant and how President Obama was being a fascist he couldn't answer. Had no clue. Probably couldn't even give a definition. That was his complaint and why he was participating, nothing about taxes.

    With Fox news and other right wing talking heads promoting this, most people who think for themselves understand and believe that this is more sour grapes from Republicans. Had these same people came out and protested during the Bush administration when they were running up the deficits, when they began to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Off budget, the tea parties would make sense.

    I just received a small increase in my check because of President Obama. It may be small but it helps a lot. I realise that President Obama is trying to give middle class and poor a break and I thank him for it. You pitiful people who think we can run this country, pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, fund the military, schools, police, fire ect. without paying our share of taxes are just being plain stupid and selfish.

    April 15, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. sene

    This whole tea party thing is idiotic. Of all the things to protest what are they actually protesting?? 3% tax increase to top 1% in 2011??? or do they just not want to pay any taxes?? (Don't they call that unpatriotic). Do these people feel like they have no representation? How about they call their local republican representative and ask what they are doing? How about they get some lives like the rest of us...pay your taxes...and support the veterans that are wilting in an army hospitals and not getting the care they need.

    Bunch of nonsense!!!!

    April 15, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. GB in Kansas

    Too bad they didn't throw some milk and sugar over the fence, too!

    April 15, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. 2009TeaParties

    These protests are not a partisan protest against just Barack Obama. They are against ALL excessive government spending and taxation, past and future, whether by democrats or republicans. Sure, more republicans may support them, but that doesn't mean that the anger is focused solely at democrats; just at the signs people are holding, very few are partisan, many specifically criticize spending and bailouts that have been going on for years. And in response to everyone who says, "where were these people under Bush", perhaps they were just not fed up with bad government yet.

    April 15, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. Moe NY

    As usual, the republicans/conservatives go too far! What ever possessed the moron to throw a package onto the WH lawn? Truly stupid move.

    April 15, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. Annette

    What on God's beautiful earth are those folks protesting for??? Most of those folks likely make under 100K a year? Most of those same folks protesting benefit from the stimulus, middle class tax cut and the change in the new tax code, the refinancing act, let's see......

    Yet those who make more then 200K, I guarantee none of them are out there protesting, naw...they want the under paid, over tax folks like the ones protesting today, to walk up and down in the dampness and coldness of April 15th, to accuse for them. What a drama show. I understand freedom to protest, but this is absolutely ridiculous.

    Regarding the gun issue, remember guns done kill, but people will use gun to kill and destroy,...it doesn't seem real until it effects those same people protesting their right to bear arms. I not once heard the President say he will disarm that right to bear arms??? Yet, we have seen time and time again what happens when guns are in the wrong hands, Columbiine, VA Tech, MD Beltway Sniper and so on and so on...

    I bet the folks in France and Canada are laughing at those protestors,,,why aren't they protesting about affordable healthcare, and wages, and housing...that's worth protesting for...

    April 15, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  10. Paul

    it's silly things like this tea party that is driving the GOP to extinction. (Well, that and the fact that they spent the last 8 years ruining the country). Have you tea partiers seen the GOP's poll numbers?

    April 15, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  11. Tulsa

    Robin,
    If you really believe we are going to lose free speech then there isn't much hope for you and your ilk.
    President Obama is a constitutional lawyer who has sworn to defend and preserve our constitution. If you don't believe him, fair enough. But aren't we in this country innocent until proven guilty?
    It seems to me that you and people who hold like views are buying into the fear mongering that is the Republican party.

    April 15, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  12. david

    What a bunch of fools. these bailouts started on GWB watch. Now they are coming out now that obama is finally turning around our economy?

    What a bunch of idiots. Especially the one who said they were a clinton supporter but now is becoming a republican. You are a wolf in sheeps clothing. republicans started this mess. Obama will finish it!

    How can you have a tea party now when taxes have been lowered? LOL make sense out of that

    April 15, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  13. Suzy

    I am sure the White House knows how to handle "Pranks"

    April 15, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  14. Barbara in Boston

    @ Mr. Thompson: you said it so well, I have nothing to add - except praise.

    April 15, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  15. Carole

    So with NO taxes there would be NO police; NO schools, and so on. These people are just sour grape right wing extremist racists or uncle tom and aunt jemimas.

    I like the fact they at least told Newt back off buddy. LOL Poor Repubs thought they had some red meat to devour. All they know is to spew hate and racism.

    April 15, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  16. TJ

    How much money did they spend on the tea? Who is paying for it?

    April 15, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. worriedmom

    Isn't it amazing that CNN states it was an Anti-Obama demostration. That is not what it is all about. It is about the overspending our money rewarding people who did wrong. If you guys would figure it out, this is not a Republican thing, this is an American thing. I have loads of friends who are Republicans, democrats, Independents and all of them are attending tea parties. It is about saying enough is enough. stop spending our money!
    It just cracks me up how some of you are so afraid of these demostrations. I guess you have no problem paying higher taxes, or giving your money to others who don't work for it, or letting govt dictate what business will succeed and what wont and most of all the fact that the media and our Govt is trying to suppress Freedom of Speech. I think this has actually scared a lot of you that people are out there.

    April 15, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  18. The Real Slim Shady

    Talk about asinine. The Republicans need to find another way to be relavent.

    April 15, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  19. Pam

    Were these people protesting when Bush created a huge deficit?

    April 15, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. Pam

    How many of these protesters do you think earn more than $250,000.00 a year? I for one am enjoying the extra money in my paycheck, thank you very much.

    April 15, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. Barbara Independent in NY

    If these people would take a minute to actually listen to someone other than Rush and Faux News they might not be so angry and hateful. For the first time in a very long time (maybe ever) we have a president who sincerely wants to help the majority of the American people and some of these protesters are so bogged down in ideology that they don't want to see what's in front of them. They don't even realize that they have been manipulated.

    April 15, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  22. Mike

    It's time The People took back our Democracy. It's not up to the politicians to vote their opinion. It's their duty to vote as the people who elected them say. They can lead by presenting their ideals for debate, but in the end, they Must vote as We The People tell them to. No more father knows best routines. No more blindly voting based on party line.
    We demand our right to majority rule. And by majority rule we mean the majority of the people, not the congress!!!

    April 15, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  23. Carl from MI

    @ Tax Cuts for the Employers Please:

    Japan has been doing exactly what you suggest... do nothing!! They've been nothing about their economic problems for over 15 years now with no results!!! They are in their SECOND DECADE OF DEPRESSION!!!

    Being a worldly-wise person, you obviously are aware of what's been going on in Japan and have learned that history repeats itself when we refuse to learn from it. No? You haven't been paying attention??

    Don't feel bad... neither have your Republican counterparts or your tea-bagging friends at large...

    April 15, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  24. SJ

    Republicans buried their head in the sand for 8 years. Now they deny those 8 years never happened, and blame the first 12 weeks of the Obama administration for all the worlds problems.

    April 15, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  25. GOP is done!

    To all the people who say the govt should stop spending, do us a favor, stop using roads, stop using schools, don't call the police or fire dept. When you all stop doing that, the govt will stop spending.

    Then we can get back to the GOP's type of spending, Wars!

    April 15, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
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