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. Lee

    He better listens to the people, NO government-control.

    September 13, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. HJA

    The Republicans are DIVIDING our great country! September 13th, 2009 4:13 pm ET

    QUESTION FOR THE PROTESTERS AND DEFENDERS: If the Tea protesters aren't racists than why didn't I see any of them yelling at other protesters who were holding up signs of President Obama with a bone in his nose or signs with President Obama depicted as a monkey? ANSWER THAT AND THEN YOU'LL HAVE CREDIBILITY!!!!!

    Because it's the same people at the TEA parties. They are the real Nazis and the real danger to freedom in this country. Only their opinion counts. All others are traitors. Just like the Nazis in the 1930's.

    September 13, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Ted R.

    What does any of this have to do with race? You can try to marginalize all of them into one stereotype, but it is truly unfair. All citizens have a right to voice their beliefs–and doing so does not make one an extremist. Would you be complaining if this was a protest by liberals? Does anyone here spend their money like the government does on contrived wars and bogus stimulus packages?

    September 13, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. bnsteel

    Obama's policies did not get us into this financial mess. The @#$ hit the fan over a year ago. The Tea Party didn't care at the time because it was someone else loosing their job.

    It took a little while for the pain to trickle down to the (mostly white) Tea Party, but now it's hit them hard and they need someone to blame. Obama makes a great target because he's the Democratic President.

    The real hatred is fueled because a black man has risen to power while the whites are falling in power. And these whites are carrying guns and hinting at needing to use them. Now why does that sound familiar?

    September 13, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Dennis

    People are just angry at the level of debt Obama has committed us to. Obama has apparently never heard "don't spend money you don have".

    September 13, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. SRK

    Demeaning the tea parties' participants ignores the frustration and anger building throughout the country–at both Democrats and Republicans. The Boston tea party was also by a small goup of people before the major revolution. If the elected officials, who are the peoples' servants and NOT their rulers, don't change their ways, a second revoluton is coming.

    September 13, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. Steve Lyons

    Every last Senator and Representative that approved the bailout and subsequent federal "investment" in the private sector should be hanged for treason. They violated the very core principles of the US Constitution by rewarding failure, implementing quid-pro-quo paybacks to their special interest groups, and disadvantaging private companies they didn't hand money out to.

    September 13, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  8. wbn

    Doggone right it has nothing to do with the president's skin color; it has to do with his policies, appointments, and attitude. He has given the federal government too much power where boards and investors should rule (car companies, banks, etc.), and he has tried to nationalize medical care–in spite of Canada's own recent admission that their federal system doesn't work and the UK's obvious flaws in a givernment-run system. Obama speaks of "bipartisanship," but he has yet to organize a bipartisan group of politicians and business experts to recommend a solution. His definition of bipartisanship (in his own words!) is "We won!" and the rest of the country should just give in.

    September 13, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  9. Pat

    Teabaggers are not predjudiced. They hate all with equal passion.

    September 13, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  10. JW in JH

    Where were these people when GWB spent all their money on Iraq and tax cuts for millionaires? Is government spending only a problem when it actually might help sick people?

    And if they're so scared of government rationing health care or interfering with medical decisions, why are they happy to let for-profit corporations do exactly that?

    September 13, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  11. Charlie Brown

    Here are a couple of questions all those crazy cons:

    Why do you care so much about the deficit now when your beloved ex VP Cheney said deficit didn't matter?

    Why care about the future of your grandkids when you live your lives constantly waiting for the rapture?

    September 13, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  12. Charles

    If it were about race he would have never made it to the White House. It's about government over-stepping its boundaries. As much as you pro-Obama guys want it to be, it's just not about race.

    September 13, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  13. Marsell

    Why don't you Tea Party people check the facts and see who ran all the debt up this country is about to sink under, then tell us how great republican run governments are ?

    September 13, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  14. Jane

    Only one network covered the tea parties because they are not slobbering over Obama and want to give people the news ~ all the news and not just want they want the people to hear. Beware of what you wish for because your rights are slowly being whittled away and it seems this one is on the fast track to doing it!

    September 13, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  15. Robin

    I was there and it was not a a million protestors here in DC. Stop lying! All I can say is the faces of the crowd were not indicative of our country. How can these people afford the travel around the country and end up in DC staying in hotels. Who is funding their cause???

    September 13, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  16. m jeff

    Go ahead and have your tea parties, I want affordable insurance. We both can be happy.

    September 13, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  17. deborah

    Ok, I have an idea. Everyone and anyone that is receiving any kind of government assistance (federal) has to relinquish it and the states will be responsible for taking care of their own. This would include any type of healthcare, living assistance such as social security, etc....

    Next, we can eliminate at the House of Reps because we don't need them either. Let them can go on the job hunt like everyone else.

    Then, what we can do next – is get rid of the supreme court, get rid of all of the federal departments except for defense and the executive branch.

    That should make the teabaggers happy, I think.

    September 13, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  18. Bill Haywood

    What we are observing is right wing populism, the most dangerous and anti-democratic force on the planet. And racism is always a central component of right wing populism.

    All the 'baqggers, birthers, and others like them are missing are a few Munich beer halls.

    Who says history doesn't repeat itself?

    September 13, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  19. Tyrone

    Anyone who disagrees with Obama for any reason, is racist. Period.

    September 13, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  20. Felly

    These Tea Party idiots don't even have a decent Health Insurance. Why didn't they protest when Bush was the President? If it smells like racism, it is what it is.

    September 13, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  21. Joyce Becker

    You have to believe there is a racist tinge to this group, you don't see very many black folks among them, these are the right wing whites that are crying for their country back, back from what, I guess it is the black president that they just won't accept.

    September 13, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  22. Margaret

    You're also here to represent the 2 million who went to Washington yesterday.

    What do you plan on doing about that, Mr. Gibbs?

    September 13, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  23. june

    Ok, for the sake of this dabate their not rascist. But, their are angry and crazy. Where were these clowns when Bush invaded the wrong country that cost of thousands of Americans lives and trillion dollars. Teabaggers are a joke!

    September 13, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    teaparty members aren't racists, they are just complete incompetent morons

    September 13, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  25. NICE REAL NICE

    go ahead, keep disrespecting half the country. axlerod just said it was wrong to protest. is this anyway for a president to treat citizens in a free country? cnn is up to their ears in partisanship, you will be the first under the bus when it all crumbles and we vote them all out.

    September 13, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
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