September 13th, 2009
07:00 PM ET
5 years ago

Aide: Obama doesn't think tea partiers are racist

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday that the president doesn't think growing conservative anger directed at the administration is being motivated by the color of the president's skin.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday that the president doesn't think growing conservative anger directed at the administration is being motivated by the color of the president's skin.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A day after tens of thousands of conservatives gathered in Washington to protest the policies of the Obama administration, a top White House aide said that President Obama doesn’t think the protests and the growing conservative movement against Obama are motivated by racism.

“I don’t think the president believes that people are upset because of the color of his skin,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

Pointing to the upcoming first anniversary of the collapse of investment banking giant Lehman Brothers, Gibbs said he thought the anger directed at the administration stems from the federal government’s unprecedented intervention in the private sector during the financial crisis that began last fall.

“We’ve had to do some extraordinary things, both this administration [and] the previous administration, to rescue the financial system, to ensure that our domestic auto industry didn’t go out of business, and to stimulate the economy,” Gibbs said.

“This rhetoric often gets way too hot,” Gibbs added, “I think what we have to all do is take a step back, take a deep breath and remember who we’re here to represent: millions of Americans that have health insurance but are watching their premiums double.”

soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. Hugo

    Wow, someone needs to pass that along to his liberal blog machine. Oh wait, I guess they just did. What will they do now that the race card no longer seems to have the social effect that it once did?

    September 13, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. sara

    Mr. President.........you are soooo classy. But the reality is what it is! The Tea Partiers need to relingish their government ran Healthcare and Pension checks, now. And government wouldn't be in their lives.

    September 13, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. stormerF

    Finally a thought of trurth,from Obama. Glad we can Disagree and not be racists,as the liberal bed wetters would like to label those who disagree with the Government.

    September 13, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. Steve A. , New Braunfels , Texas

    from the looks of this group, instead of calling themselves "tea party" they should call themselves "tea panty's".

    September 13, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. Olga

    Duh CNN. Obama is the president. He can't outright accuse a sliver of the population of racism. That would inflame the fringe, maybe even cause them to pick up arms and use them.

    September 13, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) on ABC’s “This Week” (Sept 13, 2009)said, “We all agree. The current [health care] system is UNSUSTAINABLE and BROKEN.”

    Everything else that comes out of the mouths of morons like Sen. DeMint (R-SC) and Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) at Teabagging Party Rallies is part of an evil effort to make a small horde of haters loathe the very leaders, our real leaders, who are working hard to solve our country’s problems.

    What makes the effort of jackals like Sen. DeMint (R-SC) and Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) evil is that they know that they’re lying to their sheepish followers, JUST LIKE PAWLENTY KNOWS IT.

    Sorry, but the drivers behind these morons – Limbaugh and “but i’m the real messiah” Beck, Armey and Gingrich – know that they’re accomplishing nothing more than recklessly enflaming an irrelevant mob and, MORE IMPORTANTLY, THEY KNOW THAT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO STOP SERIOUS PEOPLE FROM SOLVING OUR COUNTRY'S REAL PROBLEMS.

    September 13, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. tr

    Puhleeze. He doesn't need to think that becuase average people do!

    September 13, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. Lisa in Ga

    I don't think "some" of the protester's are racist, I think that they are dellusonal, uneducated NUTCASES.... half of the people interviewed by the media as to what they were protesting DID NOT EVEN KNOW, or they made something up or they are just following the rest of the selfish right winged loose cannons.......sad that America is being deprived of what is best for our country by people who can barely read!

    TYPICAL GOP!

    September 13, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. jon,philadelphia

    They are not racist. They are however planned and partisan. There is nothing spontaneous or reala bout these events. Where were these people when Bush was running up the deficit??? This pure and sim-ple right wing propaganda, and you know what, it may be racist!!!! No one ever protested when Georgie boy ran huge budget shortfals. Only when a black democrat does it, or proposes to do it to actually help the american people do these insects come out. One would have to thinkthat maybe there is something that just doesn't smell right.

    September 13, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. Annie, Atlanta

    Hope springs eternal, apparently, for our optimistic President. Maybe we could all use a little of that attitude. What would it hurt. We may even stop hating each other long enough to get things done. That would be a good thing. What do we have to lose? At the rate we're going we're destroying ourselves.

    September 13, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  11. David

    Of course they have to say that. It's the politically correct thing to do.

    But, racism is definitely at the core for a lot of the protesters, whether explicitly stated or not.

    September 13, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. ISE

    I agree. I don't think racism is behind everything, and reducing every political disagreement to an issue of race only creates and inflames racism itself.

    September 13, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Lisa Meyers

    ".... take a step back...."

    Yes, thats exactly what the Federal bureaucrats need to do.

    The vast majority of Americans, in poll after poll, reject the Federal attempt to nationalize our private health care system. The Tea Party in Washington, D.C., also demonstrated that.

    Yet, the WH press spokesman suggests or infers that the public is wrong.

    No, sir. You work for us. Not the other way around. The public is demanding an end to the Federal attempt to bankrupt our entire country.

    YOU take a step back. And get a clue.

    September 13, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Joanna in PA

    I fear for this country with the way these people are acting. Will someone in the GOP stand up and act like an adult? This is racism, plain and simple. I hope they step outside there own ignorance soon. It is just fine to disagree with Obama's policies, but it is another to lie, provoke violence and fear bait. This is ridiculous. ENOUGH!

    September 13, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. David Jones

    These folks represent .000001 of the voting electorate. Keep protesting if you like, it's the American Way. But the majority of Americans do not support these fringle loonies. Vote in 2010, 2012, 2014 or 2016 but the reality is you will lose. How many Hispanics, African Americans or educated young people do you see in these crowds? The answer is none.

    September 13, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. Scott L

    Yes, take a deep breath, meanwhile unemployment is skyrocketing to 11% and the economy is getting worse. Mortgage foreclosures are going to get worse too, only 7% of troubled mortgage assets are receiving relief from banks? Why? Because Americans don't understand what is going on.

    These morons in congress are so focused on health care. CREATE JOBS FIRST THEN TAKE CARE OF HEALTH CARE!

    Health care is not going to magically create jobs.

    What don't these people understand? Two party system has to go.

    New tariffs on China means retaliatory measures in the world market.

    NICE JOB OBAMA!

    September 13, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. Corporate Fascists have taken over healthcare already

    I see and hear these racists everyday here in Texas.Because im white they think, I think like them and dont hide the fact from me.You should hear the hate speech.

    September 13, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. Bob of Lompoc

    O M G, as a philosophical and financial supporter, I must state that The President is either clueless to the nth degree, or he is playing possum and not being forthright.

    These red neck peckerwood T Bagers are the poltical children of the , Congresswoman Bachmann, Congressman Wilson, Anne Coulter, Boss Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and all the rest of the psycho speakers out there in the woods. All the sign carrying and "demonstrations" are designed to do is to raise the excitement and anger quotients, get people really jacked up, in the hope that out there somewhere, an already existing marginal nut will dive over the edge and attack The President, physically. Mr. President: How could you have earned your bones in Cook County Illinois Democratic Politics and have come out the other end so naive ? Wake Up ! You think those who denied their children to watch the President of their Nation on the closed TV hookup were REALLY conerned about "Government Propaganda". Goodness no. They didn't want their children to watch you because they were afraid their children might actually like you, thus undermining the parent's racist agenda. Do ya think ?

    September 13, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  19. Peggy-TX

    President Obama my not think that they are RACIST, but I do. The basic idea "taxed enough already" sounds like a legitimate cause, but the main message has been high jacked by RACIST. The TEA Baggers as well as Republicans in general have failed to stand apart of the RACIST and they have failed to condemn RACIST language. Instead of rejecting the Racist, they embrace them, gleefully accept their money and give them "legitimate" cover for RACIST actions.

    As a fairly well off, conservative, white person – I know Racism when I see it and I see it plain as day in these TEA Baggers.

    September 13, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. Bj

    To Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    Almost everyone agrees that the current healthcare system is broken. The debate is on how to fix it, and the liberals are not wining on this. There are currently more people against the options presented so far than people for it. Check the polls....

    September 13, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  21. The Scarce Truth

    Or perhaps they're all narrow minded Fox News fanatics who are too stupid to think for themselves.

    September 13, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. Paul

    It's worthwhile to point out that the organizers of this event were touting two million attendees... and they get tens of thousands. The real story here is how small a minority these loud and angry people are, despite their claims to represent the whole country.

    September 13, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  23. victim of republican greed

    At least the GOP is finally beginning to realize the American people need to haveour current health care system reformed. Their game plan of standing along the sidelines, lying, and supporting the health insurance industry is not getting them much support from the voters.

    September 13, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. Dennis

    I sincerely believe that the people who are participating truely believe that their lives are crap and are looking for somebody to blame.

    Unfortunately because this same people are unable to produce a cognitive thought they simply rely on the hatemongers to feed their brain. Of course, those who are reaping the benefits will continue to manipulate them into believing that working hard and sending all their hard earned wages to Wall Street and Insurance company executives is cool. Just leave them with a little beer money and enough for a gun rack.

    September 13, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    President Obama is taking the high road and is right on keeping the focus on the important matters at hand. The Republicans and rightwing nut jobs are constantly trying to distract our president, so they can later say he did nothing.

    Good for you, Mr. President! Once again, you show how much more class and intelligence you have than your political opponents.

    September 13, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
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