September 13th, 2009
07:00 PM ET
9 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. Flex

    Obama is naive. The Tea Party people are scary! The DHS should raid their homes, and lock them up in Guantanamo!

    September 13, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  2. Grizzly

    Where were all of these Tea-baggers when under Bush, the Repubs passed the huge Prescription Drug bill with no way to pay for it, thus adding millions to the deficit?

    Government spending rose and rose under Bush, contributing trillions to the national debt. Yet these Tea-Baggers wait until Obama becomes President to rage against govt. spending. Just proves how partisan they are.

    September 13, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. matt from RI

    Let the cons protest. It’s their right to do so. But this is in no way a growing movement or a sign of a disgruntled majority. These folks are pissed because they lost last November. Nothing has changed. All these folks made a mark for McCain/Palin. They were and are in the minority. They are a vocal minority, but a minority nonetheless.

    September 13, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. liberal in Madison, WI

    Every time I hear a republican cry about high taxes and deficits I must laugh. Who do they think got us in this much debt in the first place!

    Again, hypocrisy is the main theme of the republican party, did they protest over a false war and what it cost us?

    Sorry Obama, they are racists. Look at the members of the republican congress: 90% white males. They do not represent america.

    September 13, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    More food for thought:

    – The Savings and Loan crisis was a huge bailout. Unscrupulous financiers – including Neil Bush – took advantage of the FDIC protection of savings and loan accounts, made horribly risky investments, stole the life savings of many people and then left the inevitable collapse to be cleaned up by us, the Taxpayers.

    – The most recent financial crisis was a direct result of de-regulation of the banking industry. Again, unscrupulous financiers, out to make a quick buck, took advantage of people and then came to the Big, Bad government for a hand-out when their risky schemes inevitably collapsed.

    Both of these problems came to a head under Republican administrations, leaving the mess for a Democratic president to clean up.

    Again, do a litle research, folks!

    September 13, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. Debbie in VA

    We who disagree with the President are racists. What does that make all the people who disagreed with President Bush? The robber wore blue jeans, therefore, all people who wear blue jeans are robbers. I thought liberals were supposed to be so intelligent and open?

    September 13, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. No Flouride

    Even if the Federal deficit was zero, Republicans would have an issue with Obama's policies. Don't think you're fooling anyone. Republicans have had plenty of opportunities to fix healthcare and they've done NOTHING. How about coming out with your own solutions to the problem that makes sense instead of killing all of our ideas?

    September 13, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  8. grace

    someone said ...we prefer to believe what we prefer to be true.
    These folks are the ones who believe their truth because someone else has given them the words to express fear,greed. and loathing. I think it interesting they call themselves the TEA PARTY. Do they not know that the participants of the Tea Party dressed up as Indians in order to blame the Indians for their protest against taxes??? Who are these participants hiding behind as they protest? Whose words and actions will they blame? What are they as individuals really worried about?

    September 13, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. Wade

    As a lifetime Republican, I've finally seen and heard enough! One of my core values was Country first. How does a man shouting "you lie" at the President in a joint session of Congress garner support, but it has fired up Republicans who feel left out since the last election. Imagine someone shouting "you lie" at President Bush when he was speaking to Congress about the reasons for going to war against Iraq including their possession of WMD's. What would the Tea Baggers have said to that!

    September 13, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  10. Bryan

    They are RACIST. Where were they when Bush was in office? I vote for a president that has America's best interest at his heart. Obama has it. Nut job Bush was the furthest thing from caring about the people. If there is 1 person that believes he did is a LIAR! If the people do not like the fact of a BLACK president then they could do on of two things. Leave the country until another president is elected or commit suicide!

    September 13, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. Blue

    Being from a red state, I can tell you that racial is the main reason that the republicans are going after President Obama. They will not accept President Obama because of his color. I know this for a fact because I have had them to tell me that. They do not want a black president, period. The deep south is on a slippery slope if we do not accept this great man. We, the white race, will be in the minority in a few years, what then? I think at this time the south is brain-dead, and they like it that way.

    September 13, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. kyle

    I think there is racism in this. also, partisan politics. Obama has done everything to include the republicans and conservatives, but they keep calling him names and say he wasn't born in america, or he wants to kill your grandma, or puppies, etc. he continues to gives republicans credit for some of the ideas in this plan and they still ostresize him.

    these are people who are upset because the landscape of america is changing. they see that people of color will out-number them, have more money and political power than every before, and they are scared. this happens everytime there is a paradiam shift in america.

    lastly, i understand people are concerned about the national debt, healthcare, the economy, foreign policy, etc. let's discuss this; however, where was this kind of protest and anger when bush/cheney were running up the deficit?

    September 13, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |

    Stoking underlying racist tendencies is only one part of what the moronic leaders of this rabble are doing.

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


    September 13, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. irish

    Read Maureen Dowd's essay in today's NY Times. At least she has the courage to say it. Wilson with his finger pointed probably had to bite his tongue not to add 'boy' to his 'You lie' outburst. Typical South Carolina racist behavior. I recently visited South Carolina for the first time. I won't go again. In my lifetime, I had not seen such blatant segregation, at least in the areas where all the 'snowbirds' join the Southerners to survive the winter. These people need to get out into the real world and see that the good ol' white boy America is long gone. And good riddance to it.

    September 13, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. Waller, Texas

    Yes, SOME of the protestors hold racist views and are having trouble taking direction from an African American president.

    However, the president and the White House staff are playing this situation correctly. It is a no win situation for them to acknowledge the racist acts of the fringe on the right.

    The republican party is in trouble because the reasonable moderate people are not being represented.

    September 13, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. minority

    When you show me one minority (that is not getting paid by these clowns) at these TEA (The Extremist Arrogants ) parties, is when I will believe that these imbeciles are not Racist.

    September 13, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. Whiteboy

    It is good that the Obama admin. is taking the high road. However, I hear my Republican friends and co workers make racist comments about Obama constantly. In fact , the main complaint seems to be that Obama is turning the country over to the Blacks and Mexicans. "I want my country back" is the war cry and it is blatantly racist. Let's not deny the obvious, I'm tired of bedwetting conservatives who feel one way in private but are ashamed to admit it publicly.

    September 13, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. goobs

    Really? The president won't say it but I will. This so called movement is definitely racially motivated to bring down Obama. If you disagree with his policies or you didn't vote for him, then so be it. But all this talk of being a socialist, communist, marxist, and any or -ist you can up with is frankly dangerous. America is under attack but it's not only from al Qaeda, it's from inside.

    All you scared people crying about wanting YOUR country back, has this warped idea that all these bailouts and government spending started nine months ago. You must've forgotten the last eight years. How convenient.

    September 13, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. Doug

    It's funny. President Obama warns people not to believe "scare tactics" about the health care debate and then tries to scare people by saying half of Americans will lose their health insurance in the next ten years. That is a good old democratic lie that the media will not fact check, just report.

    September 13, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  20. Wise Latina

    This is the race card page from Obama's playbook. Remember during the election when Dems continually warned that McCain & Reps would try to frighten voters with racism, and then Obama kept talking about how he didn't believe racism would be part of the election? By the Dems and Obama continually talking about race (in good cop – bad cop fashion), they intentionally keep the issue alive - even though NO ONE else was talking about it. NO ONE in the tea parties is concerned in the least with race. It is only the Dems trying desperately to invent this issue (e.g. Garafalo's irresponsible comments) as a diversion, since they are losing badly on the issues.

    September 13, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. CNN =

    It's hilarious to see the liberals cry "racism" when they can't answer the actual criticism. Typical of liberal democrats to whine and call names, when they immediately don't get their way. They are like children who think they know everything, but in reality they don't know jack. What's the matter liberals? Are you upset that people are calling you out and exposing your lies to the rest of the world?

    September 13, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  22. Reformed Republican

    Don't be so naive about what's in these peoples minds – or try to be patronizing to these jackbooted teabaggers.

    I'm a white guy who was raised in the south in the late 50's and early 60's – I know for a fact that thinly disguised racists call themselves teabaggers, birthers, tenthers or Birchers as "white man's" code to gin up anger, hate and ultimately violence against ALL people of color.

    These people are racists, pure and simple. Don't try and sugar coat it in an effort to be "bipartisian" or "inclusive" of everyones opinion to this radical fringe. They'll just hate Obama more because of his skin color, they'll think you're weak and all you will succeed in doing is turning up the volume on their stench spewing hate machine.

    Racism is the hidden brown stain on some Americans underwear. Don't think you can talk like it isn't there, you have to point it out and use the stain remover of shame and mockery to get rid of it...

    September 13, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. amy

    So it was ok for the left to call Bush Hitler, war criminal and murderer. It was ok for Nancy Pelosi and her friends on the steps of Capital Hil to say the most appalling things about him , it was cute to all of those who opposed Bush. No comment by Keith Olberman was too much. But now you have folks who have probobly never protested in their lives excersizing their civil rights to protest and its an outrage and they must be racists. Boy oh boy I dont know how you folks can say this stuff with a straight face.
    I am not a racist but I do not like the march towards socialism. Health care is not a civil right. I do not feel like spending more of my tax dollars and here is a crazy idea I actually do pay copious amounts of federal tax dollars as opposed to 40% of Americans who do not .
    So it the only way to defend the Presidents positions against his opponents to call them racists is really sad. Says you really cant defend his position if this is the best you can do.

    September 13, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  24. Racism and Stupidity are not Mutually Exclusive

    Death Panel moderator September 13th, 2009 12:19 pm ET

    Most Americans are mad because: Endless wars, bailouts to wall Street, Torture, Spying, Socialism, fascism, Lies,

    Then, where was your outrage when all of this was going on under the last administration?? Where was your outrage when Cheney;s reaction to 75% of the population being against the war was "So?" I'll bet you supported the millions of anti war demonstrators that opposed going to war in Iraq which is costing us a billion dollars a week, right? Where was the outrage when Hank Paulson wanted to hand out the first bailout package in August of 2008 with no oversight and no questions asked? Let's face it, if this same health care proposal was being presented by the prior administration, there would be nary a peep from these tea bagging morons. They are the epitome of hate, fueled by ignorance.

    September 13, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  25. chris

    Let me get this straight......all the protesters are Fox watching lunatics, uneducated and racists. However ACORN and the all the union membership and minority voters are primarily composed of great intellectual minds and all cast their vote for the greater good of the country. In addition to the aforementioned voter bloc, our esteemed unbiased college professors, mainstream press, & Hollywood elite (curious to see Sean Penn's college transcript...aaah but I digress) have it all figured out too. Got it I am glad we settled that. Oh,,,,one last thing which is baffling me........ I am curious about the Code Pink , Dixie Chicks, Springsteen, and war protesters.....they seem to be in short supply....I am looking high and low and the streets are empty yet the body count keeps rising in Obama's Afghanistan War. I know those deep thinkers are not biased in their thinking and they too only have the best interests of the country in mind and not partisan politics. Maybe the Boss & the Dixers are barnstorming Kabul with their bands to support the troops. In which case I apologize. LOL.

    September 13, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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