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. Keith A Sillsbury

    I've got a name for these protesters GOstoPo.

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

    The Republicans have been on a systematic attack ever since the election of the President. The GOP cannot stand seeing Obama in the "White" house. They are beside themselves. The previous administration ruined our economy so they are doing their best to create a great diversion before the next election. I believe that it will work since the public has a short memory. This is a real shame.

    September 13, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Chenna Benna

    I think there are some misconceptions about when the teabaggers are being called racist. Not all of them are out there because of race. I think some are the anti-government, anti-spending crowd. However, to say that some of them are not out there protesting because of race is kind of naive. Racism didn't die the day Obama was elected and looking at some of those sign some protesters are carrying, it does seem like there is a good portion of this country that isn't happy we have an African American president.

    September 13, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. Expat American

    So it was acceptable to the tea baggers when Bush to shot missiles into family weddings and other gatherings of groups of civilians during 'shock and awe'?
    Wait a minute...of course it was. Tea baggers were cheering, as they defecated in their trousers out of pure joy at the sight of the civilian casualties.
    Of course…there isn’t single racist attending these assemblies. After all, the GOP is truly concerned about uneducated low income whites.

    September 13, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Ernie in LA

    To Concerned, The "Wars" are now Mr. Obama's. Where are the Dems protesting these wars that their Almighty One was suppose to end. Obama is spending all these Billions now. Leave Bush alone.

    The Tea Party people are standing up for what they believe, just like you do. Race has nothing to do with anything. It's his policies, stupid.

    September 13, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. upset

    This makes me sick...Liberals are the ones who were thought the war protesters were standing up for there country.....and now its sad for conservatives to protest please....The fact is the idea of another government health care system is stupidity....Obama has not pointed to Medicare and Medicaid as shinning examples of government run Health Care. Obama has always stated one thing and meant another and I am sure his fake high road that he does not think the protesters were protesting based on racism but yet his has his State run media carry the torch for him True OBAMA LEAGUE......The Supports of this president are politically stupid to believe that this President has the country best interest in mind.

    September 13, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. Randolph Carter

    Well, here's how it works: We have the house of representatives in which states are represented relative to population size. A public option would easily pass here because a majority of people want it. Then you got the senate. Each state gets two senators no matter the size of the population. New York or Idaho, you get two. The public option is doomed to fail here because certain more conservative states get equal representation with more progressive states with much larger populations. So, in effect, real healthcare reform is doomed because it will be blocked by representatives of the southern and midwestern, I hate to say it: hick states. It's a tyranny of the minority. Oh well, we get what we deserve once again and the rest of the industrialized world is laughing at us. Have a nice day!

    September 13, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. michael bulger

    if you in favor of it you pay for it

    i dont need or want the help from the Government

    September 13, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. katiec

    Unfortunately, for far too many it IS a race issue, but of course no republican or radical would ever admit to it.
    They must think the American people are blind and dumb to not
    realize the "south wants to rise again".

    September 13, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. An Ex-Pub

    “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.

    I think you are wrong Robert... They can't use the "N" word, so they call him a communist, a facist, a terrorist, "that one," "not one of us," Hitler, a Nazi; they claim him to be "an illigitimate President; and a member of Congress from S.C., showing absolutely no respect for him called him a "liar." This didn't start because of bailouts or heathcare programs, this crap started during the campaign and has only increased in intensity.

    September 13, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. Ryan

    "The Growing conservative movement" is actually just the Freedomworks Non-profit group organizing protests around the country. I think the individuals in this protest are unaware of the actual Government policies being made and instead are just acting on slanted information from that group and other outlets.

    September 13, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. Todd

    I believe the Presidents assumtionas are correct. Any taxpayer money should have been directed at FDIC insurance. The banking institutions should have been allowed to fail and the the stronger one with solid ballance sheets allowed to assume custodial control until their true value could be determined. The largest ones are bankrupt or even worse, a liabilty on the financial system. Growth will really never recover in earnest until the speculative bubble of so many asset classes are deflated and debt unwound. There is so much cash waiting on the sidelines ready to pick up these assets on the cheap. From the weak to the strong. Creative destruction.. Otherwise we can continue the shell game of hiding the problems, inflate through currency destruction. pass the bill on to taxpayers who are stressed already, erode living standards here in the US and wait for the inevitable. Complete revolt. We really must return to the basis for which Obama was elected. Stop spending money we do not have, and pay back what is owed, lead the government and the public trust by responsible accountability. That is what this movement is about. A fair shake. Solving problems first before crating new ones. I wonder if President Obama was absentia during mathmatics at Harvard sometimes.

    September 13, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. aluko jasiro

    Most of these people believe President Obama does not love this country as much as they do and have openly said they wished something terrible happened to him. We saw this misplaced anger during the campaigns, when the President visited Notre Dame, and in so many town hall meetings.

    Never before have we seen America people exihibit such anger and disrespect towards their President. It would be a terrible miscalculation if the people charged with the task of protecting our president think that racism has nothing to do what we hear in our work places, churches, schools and TV channels controlled by the right-wing.

    Let the racists not be mistaken. Nobody has a monopoly of violence. If any stupid thing happens to the President in those rallies where they openly display their guns, this country will never be the same again.

    September 13, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. Proud Boulder Liberal

    1) I fear that the supporters of these phony and irrelevant tea parties have grave perception problems—seeing what they wish to see and little else. Where were they during the last eight years? Why they were in front of the television, of course, watching FOX News, along with Rush Limbaugh in the background.

    2) It appears that these faux tea parties are little more than conglomerations of continuing corporate control plus anger plus antisocial organizations. (Of course, many corporations ARE antisocial!)

    3) I would suggest to those contributing to these fake protests: A. work on your anger issues at home under professional guidance; and, B. devote much time to the acquisition of critical thinking skills which are all too lacking in this quickly declining country.

    September 13, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. Richard

    Many conservative comments focus on the treatment of Bush by liberals when he was in office. They gloss over the fact that the liberals were right about the lies that got us into an unnecessary war, torture, and the squandering of our budget surplus and our standing in the world. The venom they are spewing towards Obama has no basis in fact. They appear immune to reason and reality. I cannot believe that these TEA-baggers are basically rallying for the benefit of the insurance industry that will eventually bankrupt this nation. They are speaking (yelling really) against their own interests. Many of these people are already ON some form of government healthcare; either VA, Medicare or Medicaid. And EVERY politician that speaks to these groups is covered by a government plan, even Joe "you lie" Wilson.

    September 13, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. Anne

    Hats off to President Obama and his administration for taking the high road. The office of the President of the United States of America is to serve all citizens of the United States regardless of color. Just continue to let the true "racist" (Teabaggers) rant and march to show their true colors because they sure aren't Red White and Blue. Their rants and ignorance has more to do with the Presidents skin color than it does with healthcare, lies and spending because as much as the former President and his administration lied and spent the previous eight years we should have been up in arms. It should not amaze any of us that racism is still alive and well in this good 'ol USA.

    September 13, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. Tired of the lies

    I regret Voting for President Obama. He claimed he would end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and lied. He claimed he would be fiscally responsible with America’s money and lied. He claims he was given a trillion dollar deficit but he has spent/committed trillions in the first 9 months of his administration. Now he is asking me to believe that Government Health Care would be better for me then my private insurance. This President is extreme, Toxic and I whish I had voted for Hillary. I am sorry to say that there are other Obama Voter who will soon wake up and see him for what he is, but I think it will be to late.

    September 13, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. Frank

    I am curious about how you say, "I don't like the government taking over private industry." and yet people hear "I don't like Obama's policies because he is half black.". How is there an argument over this?

    Is it that people cant disagree with Obama on issues because he is black? Reading these comments I do see a high level of racism and yet it is not in the conservative posts. This is crazy. If Obama was purple or green his policies would still be horrible.

    September 13, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. Michael

    I'm just stunned by the Right's sudden vociferous interest in things like huge budget deficits, consolidation of power in the federal branch of government etc. – where were all these strong sentiments during the Bush years? There was a president who recklessly squandered more money on more avoidable situations than any other president in history. There was an administration which did more to concentrate power into one man's hands than any US administration has ever done. Now Obama has to come in and make some moves to try to clean up the colossal mess that the Bush administration created, and suddenly the conservatives are all worried about spending and states' rights. Bizarre. Absolutely bizarre. I just don't get it.

    September 13, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  20. No Hillary = No Obama

    THis is how karma works. The liberal media railroads Hillary Clinton's presidential run and it was just a matter of time until Obama's Presidency gets railroaded. This is the core issue: he is not perceived as legitimate. Why? Well, we still have images of him not bothering to lift his hand to say the pledge of alligence; we have him sitting in a racist church for 20 years with a man he calls a mentor who is as racist as they come; he has a wife who can't bother to feel proud of her country and then suddenly has a patriotism transplant; we have a President who goes oversees and bows to the Saudi prince while dissing America in front of Middle Easterners oh yeah and lets not forget that flag pin that suddenly appeared on Obama. Is it any wonder why people are skeptical of his birthplace and his "truthiness"? Is it any wonder that respect for this guy has broken down and he is called a liar to his face in front of the world? It is only downhill from here.

    September 13, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. John

    Keep in mind that most protesters can't even name the three branches of government.

    September 13, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  22. Bridgette

    Corporate America is the one who stole your country. That is who you need to be angry at. Go home look in the mirror and if you want to be angry then be angry at a person who looks like the person looking back at you. Because that is who has ran this country in the ground. You mad about health care looking at the what the executives look like running this country because they probably look like you to. As all of you people who are at the tea bag rallies use to say for the last eight years if you don't like America then leave. Go back to where your ancestors came from.

    September 13, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  23. Regressive Party Refugee (former republican)

    @Terry from W Texas – A more cogent., astute, and accurate assessment would be hard to come by. Excellent synopsis – the conservative movement begat the culture wars strictly as a means to acquire voters who benefit most under from democratic party. It has worked spectacularly in this age of one liner political debate where republicans have successfully substituted emotional appeals for fact. So now we have misguided hordes shouting ignorant slogans and calling it political participation, which is like saying lynch mobs "participated" in the judicial process.

    September 13, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. jules sand-perkins

    If the objections to Obama were based on racism, he would not be President; he could never have been elected if white people had not voted for him.
    He is smart enough to know this.
    Why do so many of you continue to comment that objections to Obama's policies are racist? In doing so, you point out that you are irrational;
    You probably see racism in a house that has been painted white.

    September 13, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. fred

    Whether it's because of race on not, there is a dangerous anti-American movement happening in the Conservative Right Wing that I never thought I'd ever see. It's so entirely hypocritical because bi-partisan Patriotism is the exact reason they defended and enabled the Bush administration into war, spending, and giving up rights (The Patriot Act).

    People on the left hated Bush as a politician, but none of the liberal leaders questioned his personal faith in God, his American citizenship, or the office of commander-in-chief.

    If Conservatives don't like Obama, here's a suggestion...get your own party in order for 2012 and fight like hell in the next election. Until then, Respect the Will of the people, Respect Barack Obama as President of the United States, and keep your Hate to yourself.

    September 13, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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