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. Bob (Illinois)

    It is disgusting to see some of these "tea party" participants carrying poster of President Obama and Hitler. Most of these folks fall under the heading of "nutters"!

    September 13, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. Dave M

    Now if people protest about a Health Bill that is not bipartisan we are now called racist? WOW!

    September 13, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Spencer

    It's motivated by the projected 9 trillion dollar debt Obama's OWN OFFICE came up with. But I guess if people want to discredit common sense, go ahead and call it racist if it will help you sleep better at night.

    September 13, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. Worried America Has Seen Her Best Days....

    Once the people began to fight among themselves, the end is near. Please STOP and UNITE America...Our country's future depends on our actions now. I know that everyone has (and is entitled to) their own opinion. That is what makes us different in the US. But you must realize that if the world looses fear of America, they will overcome us. That is a guarantee.. don't believe some history. We can keep our country, but it will take work and compromise.

    September 13, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Its said to know that our President's aides get asked every chance possible, does the POTUS think something is racist. Just because he's black doesn't mean, he thinks every opposition comes from a foundation of racism, its simply, Americans are finally tied of being tied of wasteful Government spending for no just cause. Stop spending $$$$ on things that can't produce a better and more united country

    September 13, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. Sue

    I'm glad the President takes the high road. But he is Black he has to have a sinking feeling about the tone and the look and feel of this protest.

    September 13, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  7. Claudette Siar

    I found myself wondering; Is my health insurance payment paying to bring the tea baggers to Washington? The insurance lobbyist are fighting healthcare with Manson mind control of the weak and death camps from Mein Kampf. I must admit I prayed for rain.

    When will they realize healthcare reform is for the people, not against. Don't be fooled by the power of the insurance industry.

    September 13, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. rickymo

    I love Obama but he is naive. This is racism in its most ugly form...denial that it is racism. Personally I am afraid for his life with these whackos.

    September 13, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  9. Dan, TX

    Here's my ranking of recent presidents
    1) Obama (so far), Bush Senior (tie)
    2) Clinton
    3) Nixon (!)
    4) Reagan
    5) Carter
    6) Ford
    7) Bush Jr.

    Other than Watergate, Nixon did a reasonable job. He got us out of Vietnam, he started the path to opening relations with China and showed that closing the doors on perceived enemies is what makes real enemies, he led us through a terrible economic crisis. Incidently, Nixon's approach the economy was pretty much socialism (setting the prices that companies can charge for goods, making it illegal for business to set their own prices). Obama has been far more capitalistic in his policies.

    September 13, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  10. JIlli

    The President is just being gracious. Those of us who are intelligent, civil and sane, see exactly what is going on. This tone has been evident since the run up to the elections – it was obvious then, and it's obvious now. It's shameful.

    September 13, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. RangerTx

    1. We did not protest the war because we thought it not illegal. DUH!
    2. CNN's estimate of tens of thousands would have been a little more objective to say hundreds of thousands.
    3.Get off the race deal. I am sick of hearing about that. Bitterness is the tool that Satan uses to rot a life.
    4. Tea Party people simply believe that Self Reliance is a nobler, happier and higher human condition than self imposed dependence.
    5. Medicare is going bankrupt so President Obama and Congress want everybody to be in the same sinking ship? I will take care of my self.

    September 13, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. tessaprn

    This forum is without any doubt Liberal. These people have called the protesters everything but Americans. The only racism I see is coming from Liberals in an attempt to turn it around and picture those who do not believe as they do as being the racist. So stop with the stupid race card, it does not work like it used to. Actually it is becoming quite offensive. Amazing how it is appropiate to refer to another as a "redneck, senile, nut cases, uneducated, old, delusional, on and on it goes," This is America and we can disagree with our government and should not be put in the position of defending our beiiefs. It is a right to protest and not agree with one another.
    Why should the majority who have insurance have their benefits screwed with to give it to the minority of those who do not. Spreading the wealth is not the American way. Work for it and earn it.
    the protest is not about a President. It is about the representatives of the people who are not listening to us.
    This country is broke not only financial but in values, morals, and has become very apologetic. Leave me and what is mine alone. Go earn your own way and stop trying to take mine.

    September 13, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  13. FactCheck

    Almost everyone agrees that the current healthcare system is broken. The debate is on how to fix it,

    In order for it to be considered a debate, the opposition must put forth some ideas of what to do different. I have yet to hear a single idea from any member of the Republican party. I guess they are too busy counting their campaign contributions from the health insurance lobby.

    September 13, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. KC

    President Obama on this I have to disagree with you, these people most of them are racists, they again most of the tea baggers don't even think you are a legal american. Now if they are not racists where was the uproar when Bush sent us to a war that NEVER should have been, spent all the taxpayers money which left this mess we are in to begin with, lent money to the banks and so forth. NO you didn't see bus loads of white people marching in Washington against Bush.

    BTW I am white and am very proud President Obama you won the election. You have lots of class. Keep up the good work.

    September 13, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. Patriot

    A black man beat a white man at the polls. Get over it and grow up or leave the country.

    September 13, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Karen

    I just hope this pitiful group of the last of the KKK doesn't distract miniorities from the fact that there is a lot of whites that do stand for the President, that did vote for him and that doesn't judge by the color of his skin. Far too much the media only covers those racist crazies, this is not about race its about the educated vs. the ignorant. Whites have been instrumental in a lot of good changes in this country involving miniorities lets remember that history.

    a black woman wrote this

    September 13, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. cbc

    Obama holds the moral high ground while the gross antics of the conservatives turn off more and more regular Americans who would never go to an idiotic tea party but do indeed vote.

    September 13, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. Julie

    This is whats so histerical about these "tea party" protesters and some people on this comment board. 1 guy says we dont want to be a socialist country like Russia. Are you people really this ignorant or were you asleep in history class? oh thats right, conservatives home school. But anyways, Russia represents communism, not socialism. I love the signs that say "Obama is a socialist, communist, fascist" Which is like calling someone a "jewish, christian, muslim" They are 3 different styles of governing and very different from one another and in fact the opposite of eachother. But these people have no idea what their talking about. Then they hold up signs saying " hes taking away are freedom of speech" while their fu$%ing protesting. Does these people not understand the definition of irony? Honestly people pick up a book and educate yourself. And next time you protest socialism, thank the police officers that "keep the peace" because they are a socialist part of government. As is public schools, librarys etc. Dumb!

    September 13, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. Robin

    First of all, it is not an illegal war. Second, Obama supports the WINNABLE war in Afganistan that is crucial to our National Security. His 9/11 speech brought tears to my eyes and gained him alot of respect from me and my fellow Republicans.

    I'm a conservative. I'm against Obama's spending spree. I'm not against him as a President. The health care bill is big hearted and empty headed. We simply can't afford it. It is not a good idea. There is no way it won't add to our deficit. There is no way that illegals won't be covered.

    Another real threat to Obama is Pelosi, Reid, and Frank. They are set on putting their agenda forward, regardless of the consequences for this Country. Should Obama win a second term, we will need a Republican controlled Congress and Senate. It is the only way to have checks and balances.

    People have to realize that just because people speak out against the President, it has nothing to do with his race. Which, by the way is half white.

    September 13, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  20. Max Fury

    Where were these idiots when Bush was in office and the country was heading to financial insolvency? These morons only care about the Republican party being in power, not what's best for the USA. Why don't they just go home and stick their heads back in the sand like they did when Bush was president.

    September 13, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. Robin

    Mark in Tacoma September 13th, 2009 1:00 pm ET

    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.

    Malia and Sacha NEVER went to public school. In Chicago or in DC. Why not?

    September 13, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. bill

    i am so sick of hearing the left throw out charges of racism every time someone disagrees with Obama or any other black person.

    the thing we dont like is all the spending, the waste, the corruption... get this through your thick skulls.

    i can 110% guarantee if Obama was white we'd all be just as upset over these same things. many of us didnt like Bush doing it either, the more it grows, which it is under Obama, the more fed we are getting.

    Knock off with the race garbage, save it for when there is really racism involved in an issue.

    September 13, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  23. Sergio from Maryland

    Racism?? Who is talking about Racism? When did this come out? Whoever thought this tea party was about racism is either has a MAJOR disconnect with what is going on with the amount of spending in this country...or is happily manipulating the direction of the tea party's message....

    September 13, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. jenn

    I guess Mr. Gibbs and President Obama didn't see the same photos I saw, which contained some viciously racist, ignorant, hateful images and words. Or maybe they know that there is no point in starting a back-and-forth with crazy people. Because that's what those folks are–crazy. Ignorant, too, but that's pretty obvious. The un-American pseudo-patriot teabaggers are a blight on this country, and the sooner real conservatives distance themselves from these lunatics the better.

    September 13, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. John

    They are racist. They just can't get over the idea that a black man is the head of the country. Is it a coincidence that the only president that's been heckled is a black man. Is it a coincidence that the man that heckled him comes from South Carolina, voted to keep the confederate flag flying in his state, and thought that the child that Strom Thurmond had with a black woman should have kept her mouth shut after Strom died, and not reveal that Strom was her father.

    The right does not see Obama's actions as a display of generosity, but a sign of weakness.

    September 13, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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