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. Jeet

    I think the cfonservative groups usually consist of people who can afford to spend more money as they have more money to spend. That is why they can go to different places to demonstrate and claim to state the facts when in fact they the one fabricating lies. Joe Wilson was wrong on the house floor and is wrong now to suggest that the illegal aliens are covered in the healthcare bills. Asking for verification of status to get medical help is demeaning even for a citizen (how will Joe Wilson feel if he is asked to give proof of his citizenship all the time). Also, how will he feel if he is the one who does not have insurance? Mr. Wilson, you were wrong whern you said those words and you are wrong now. Also, it is clear that when you apologized, you did not mean it as is evident from your later statements. Shame on you!!!

    Calling President names is rude and anti-American. Demonstrations are good if they stay with the facts. Healthcare reform is not taking money away from any one individual. We are already paying that money. The issue is to provide everyone healthcare insurance. These conservative demonstrators should think about that: what will happen if their riches banish in a day and they need healthcare? Where will tehy go? If they go to the emergency services of a hospital, which they will, surely it will be at the Government (and hence Taxpayer's) expense. So what is the difference? These prople need to get that clearly before proceeding to demonstrate and call our President names.

    Let us be true to the American Character that President Obama defined. These demonstrations do not show the American Character. Or, have we lost that character as well?

    September 13, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. Debra

    "red neck peckerwood T Bagers"

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

    "they are dellusonal, uneducated NUTCASES"

    These are some quotes I just took from this thread of comments. This kind of bullying is extraordinarily devisive, and it is not representative of the group of people I personally saw in the Tea Party march on Capital Hill yesterday.

    I was a part of a massive crowd of people from every walk of life. Families with children, doctors, physically challenged in wheelchairs, elderly, teens, rich, poor and middle income.

    As with every large event, those with extreme views can be in attendance, but overall the people I observed were reasonable, rational, and not what are described on this commentary board.

    As for myself... I am a Democrat. I do not ever listen to the political rabble-rousers on TV or the radio... from either side of the aisle.

    My actions and decisions come from my own ability to think and reason and ARE NOT handed to me by TV, Radio, or PAC.

    September 13, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Eileen

    Obama has not reached out to Republicans he shut them out.
    I am sick of seeing him on TV. Gibbs is a moron. Obama has spent more than all the other presidents combined.

    September 13, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. "YOU LIE" !

    In the minds and hearts is exactly what the people think that Politcians do "you lie" Just look the mess we are in..

    FOR TOO LONG THE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN AFRAID TO SPEAK-OUT

    The time to speak up and out is now or never..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 13, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  5. Buddbo1

    This president, is too classy to call these nuts racists. But, you can judge them for yourself, as most of the world has, they're racists. Look at the crowds, made up of mostly loud,ignorant, threating white people. White people who can't fancy the idea of a black man being president, after all the years of having only white men. How many minorities do you see in these crowds? It doesn't look like this America. It does look like the America, when these same type of screamers were trying to blocking black students from entering the University of Mississippi. These are the people the media needs to pay less attention to. If the president's speech, was somehow threating to school children to hear, then these crazy people should never be shown, as they are a threat to any civilized country !

    September 13, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. hd

    You libs are going to use the race card whenever you face opposition, granted. Are you too stupid to see this vanguard of socialism in the socialized healthcare, or do you actually want a soviet style America? Barry doesn't care that you don't have insurance. Wake up.

    September 13, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. JR

    -60,000 to 70,000 Glenn Beck followers protesting in DC don’t have any right to stop the American government to protect its people in need, including the 50 millions uninsured who are exposed to death in case of serious illness.
    -If they don’t want the American government to be involved in their business, it is up to them. The rest of us need the government to protect us against powerful corporations abuses. If the government isn’t involved in our lives, people would be doing anything they want, killing each other, abusing their spouses and children, and so on.
    -Bill Maher is not the only one who believes that we, as Americans, are dump. The GOP leaders also have the very same view. Otherwise, they will not make their followers protesting against their own interests, which is also against the well being of their children and grandchildren. Obviously, those protesters don’t know that they are fighting for the insurance companies and against themselves.
    -If President Obama keeps waiting for the group of six or any GOP who would pretend to support the bill, he would be waiting until the end of his term.

    September 13, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. A Democrat of 51 years who has finally got smart to their follishness.

    How could anyone think otherwise. The American people only want answers that have not been forthcoming. The health program he insists on is just as non-producing as has been his birth records.

    September 13, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. Terry from West Texas

    Jules wrote: "Racism is not a conservative value. Aspiration and greatness are conservative values. ..."

    Actually, the Republican Southern strategy was invented by Dick Nixon (the best Republican president of the 20th century). When Lyndon Johnson rammed the Civil Rights bill through Congress in 1694, life-long Southern Democrats turned into Republicans. They understood what Nixon and Agnew meant by "States' Rights". It meant that the federal government should not be allowed to integrate the South. We all know that, unless we have never read a history book. Racists joined Libertarians, Goldwaterites, Corporatists, and Protestant Fundamentalists to form the current Conservative Coalition – an unholy alliace it ever one existed.

    What Conservative voters do not realize is that our Conservative leadership has no intention of implementing any of the values they speak about. If you follow the money, you will see that Corporate Boards fund Conservatism as a tactic. Conservatism seeks to neutralize the federal government because it is the only force powerful enough to regulate global corporations. Protecting the wealth of the wealthy is the only goal of Conservatism.

    As for you and me, our value is only in voting for Conservative candidates despite the fact that our quality of life will suffer as a result. We are also valuable as big spending consumers and low wage employees. That is it.

    September 13, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Katherine

    I am so sick and tired of being told I am a racist because I disagree with our president’s politics. I am tired of being demonstrated as an ignorant redneck because I am against government intervention into our health care system. You people can’t honestly be objective about any policies that are put forward by this administration. I think that you democrats are nothing but a bunch of sheep because you just soak up anything that the Democratic Party says or puts into some pretty puff piece of an advertisement. As a republican I am cautious of government because I believe that I know how to take care of myself better than some federal government who has no idea of my individual needs. I am skeptical about this health care reform because the president promises to make all these changes with only higher taxes of the wealthy, those who actually supply the jobs in this country. Anyone who thinks that there is any way that he can pass this HUGE piece of legislation without adding anything to our horrible deficit is totally blind. We are just continuing to put more of a burden on future generations for the mistakes of previous generations. Take a look at Ireland, they just passed almost the exact type of health reforms that we are hoping to pass and health care is now taking up about 60% (this percentage given by their health minister) of their national budget. How are we going to find that kind of room in our budget?

    September 13, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. Marie Laveaux

    Bless you, Mr. Obama, and I don't know how you do it, day after day, being positive and not seeing the hatred toward you by many, many white Americans. I am white and live in Mississippi, and I can tell you, every person I know who doesn't like the President has called him every ugly racial slur you can think of, all the while yelling about socialism, taxes, and welfare queens. I cannot talk to these people any longer, I have pretty much written them off. Say what you will, for whatever reason, but denying the racial undertones of this movement will not change what's going on in the minds of many, many whites in America, particularly in the South.

    September 13, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. Former Repub

    Once again, the President chooses to rise above the fray and seek out the better qualities in our nature....... whether this is realistic or not.
    In reality, these angry groups are starting to look more like the early rallies to build Naziism in Germany-people who were disgruntled with their economic and social status, and needed to blame someone else for the effects of the 1930s depression.

    In the U.S., Franklin Roosevelt used federal stimulus money to support the economy, just as Bush and Obama have done. This was not always popular, but it maintained our democracy.

    In Germany, Hitler came to power as a puppet master who told the people that they should blame their government for all of their problems. The Nazis scapegoated anyone who did not reflect the Aryan ideal [white skin, blue eyes] and built the war machine that killed over 6 million Jews and launched World War II.

    It's obvious those who attend these rallies are not independent-thinkers, nor do they know their own history. Loaded weapons? Swastikas? All they're missing is the brown shirts. Is this the new face of America???

    September 13, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. Mark in Tacoma

    These are the types that abandoned our cities so they didn't have to send there kids to schools with black people, let alone pay taxes for there education. They then set up private schools when illegals and blacks infiltrated there rural enclaves. And they are absolutely petrified at the thought of people of color having any say or prescence in there church.

    It's O.K. to have ringers play point guard or wide receiver at 'Bama or Ole Miss and they've accepted blacks in hotels, restraunts and public transit but the line for them is schools and church. The code is I don't want to pay taxes for other peoples schools and I don't want them in my church. It's that simple.

    Racist? More like seperatist and a failure to accept assimilation. They have there own music (country), sport (NASCAR), schools and church and they don't want anyone to tread on that.

    September 13, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. tip

    Everyone has the right to thier own views. One gentleman said that the President was surrounding himself with " His Kind" I'm pretty open minded, just not sure how to take that. The notion that some people feel tey have to take thier country back. Where did it go, and who are you taking it back from. I do belieive that racism still exist in this country and at least one person who is anti- Obama and was at the tea party is blinded by color. There are good people of all races in this country, having said that there are also people of all races with serious issues about people of other colors.

    September 13, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. Moosehead

    CNN = Moveon.org September 13th, 2009 12:46 pm ET

    "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?"

    WHO'S CRYING ABOUT NOT GETTING THEIR WAY??? The GOP lost the election, the dems are in power, yet the right makes demands, obstructs, stalls, bribes, cries and complains at every turn, gives ultimatums,... give your head a shake DUDE!!!

    September 13, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. davit

    Where was all this rage when our previous Commander-in-Chief blew our surplus?

    September 13, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  17. Margie, Rockport

    One of the main lessons that these right wing "Christian" racists need
    to learn is that god did not create this country for white people only when
    they gather in mobs to declare "I want my country back".

    Their motives are obvious to everyone who is capable of cerebral thinking. And what a shame it is being unleashed on one of the
    greatest presidents in our history.

    September 13, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  18. bill sandwick

    in response to moveon.org, the article being commented on is about Obama NOT crying racism! Do you understand that? And God knows the republicans never tell a lie. They're totally up front about their weapons of mass destruction, various affairs (straight and gay) and concern for human life;ie make sure a baby is born safely, and then start killing them in senseless wars . Please stop wagging your little moral fingers at the liberals until you get your own mess of a house in order!

    September 13, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  19. Concerned

    Where are the protesters against the illegal war in Iraq? Why they have not protested knowing over on trillion has been spent in that war and another trillion will be spent over the long run.

    I think these people are all crazy, selfish, ignorant and hateful. Who in his right mind would protest about policies that will help them "the protesters"

    Most are on Social Security, Medicare or Medicare and those are all social policies. Do they not realize they are protesting against the same hand that feed them? I think they are a shameful lot who prefer spending their children birth right on wars that is of no logical meaning or worth; rather, preferring to loose their kids for unjust reasons. The bottom line is that are simply hatefull people with no good agenda.

    September 13, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  20. Ms. Johnson, Pearland,Texas

    The fact of the matter is that it is racist. One would think that considering he is half white, Harvard educated and brilliant he would at least be given a chance. I thank God that the election showed the majority of Americans do not believe this.

    It is very sad to witness this level of disrespect toward this president or any other president. When the president is treated this way one can only imagine the treatment of persons who are black in schools, on the job, and in social environments.

    I live in a small town population 85,000 where the school board refused to show the back to school speech in any form.

    September 13, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. Ancient Texan

    This is only the tip of the iceberg folks. There's millions more out there that do not like what is happening to our country. When the President gets up and makes a speech that is a theme of "it's my way or the highway" and seems to consider everyone that is not in lockstep with his party, to be the enemy, bipartisanship is not likely to happen. If the Left shoves this healthcare debacle down our throats like they have everything else in the last nine months, the makeup of the Congress will change drastically in 2010. Also the only ones playing the race card here are the leftist that can't take criticism of their far out policies.

    September 13, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  22. Bill in Montgomery

    It seems like everytime someone disagrees with the Chosen One, they're racists. I'm getting sick and tired of the race card being played by Blacks everytime they don't get their way or whenever someone doesn't agree with their position. They're the most whinny, complaining bunch I know. You'd think they were the only minority in town. If the majority of them would get up off their lazy butts, get an education, take responsibility for their actions, try another line of work besides stealing, pimping, hooking, drug dealing, robbing, and killing, not mating like rabbits with everything that moves, they could actually accomplish something!

    September 13, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  23. Robin in Tampa, FL

    These Tea Party protests should be renamed the Sour Grapes protests, because they are more about venting hated for our President more than anything else.

    September 13, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  24. andrea

    I disagree with the president on these counts: #1: his timidity in pushing for a single payer health care system or at least a strong public option in health care; and #2: the statement that the tea-baggers are not racist. I see a strong undercurrent of bigotry in the opposition to the government although they take pains in disguising as "a difference on issues".

    None of the tea-baggers were out there protesting when the Bush administration was doing illegal wiretappings in clear violation of the Bill of Rights.

    What does the country has to lose if a public option drives the insurance companies out of the health care field though greater competitiveness? That is actually the capitalist approach and in this case the public sector would beat the private insurers.

    September 13, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  25. Wake Up

    Far left wingers like Obama and his minions, never debate the issues. They call names, play race card, lie...but never want real debate.
    It's about SMALLER FED GOVT. just like the founding fathers wanted.
    Obama obviously directs his minions (moveon, Maureen Dowd) to do his dirty work.

    September 13, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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