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. Jack B

    While the overall focus of the tea parties are ideological and blissfully ignorant ideologues who refuse to recognize that we came very close to economic melt down because of the previous administration, theirs presumably, it is foolish to think that there is no a racial component to their diatribe. We are a nation of many peoples. If the nation they want back is one that does not recognize this reality then I just feel sorry for them. In not too many years I as a strictly white American will be a minority. I do not fear this. I relish the diversity and the exciting directions this will take our nation.

    September 13, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. Gerry

    How many posters of the President with a Hitler mustache painted on until we understand the real motivations behind this "conservative" movement. The people who perpetuate this comparison clearly do not understand what Nazism was about and did not have a loved one summarily killed as part of that movement. Shame on them. Period.

    September 13, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. Purberson

    We will never understand some of these people. They love the unborn children but hate anybody who wants to give free medical care to these children once they are born.

    September 13, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. mike

    Why would they be racists? You mean, if you disagree with a president, you are a racist? If that is the case, anyone who disagreed with President Bush is a racist.

    Whatever.

    September 13, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. NC

    I am glad the racists and ignorant ones are in the minority in our country. I wish the protesters would decline their medicare, medicaid, food stamps, social security and pell grants. These are government programs. The people they hate and protest against are paying for all of this. The grandmas that never worked out of the home get medicare and social security have not contributed a dime for what they receive. If people of all races in this country were protesting I would not think it is racist. But look at who the protesters are. They hate anyone that is not white, that includes greeks, italians, jews, latinos, polish, arabs, africans, asians and all of you that are not white. These people are losers and want to blame someone because they have not accomplished anything in life.

    September 13, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  6. Paul

    Wow! Most of you on both sides need a hug... really! If you read most of this stuff one can conclude, almost ALL of you are racists. Yea, there are obviously racists in the Tea Party, but I can also clearly see allot of racists against rural citizens. This is not mere disagreements here; most of you here HATE each other discriminately. Few are debating anything here. Most are just name-calling and insulting each other and not getting anything done. No wonder our government cannot get anything done... because they are doing the same thing all of you are doing, which is HATING each other and not talking to each other, which means congress is a mirror reflection of it constituents! Neither side will get EVERYTHING it wants, welcome to a mixed democracy. Yes, there are some that are smarter than others are, but hey, who grows your food? Who drives the big rig? Who built your house? Who are the enlisted (non-officer) ranks in the military that takes a bullet so you do not have to? Someone probably less intelligent than you, but someone you NEED so you can live, eat, and survive and without them, you would perish so show some respect! Now for you on the other side that obviously hate intellects… they engineered your nasscar stadium, they designed your pick-up truck, your tractor, and American Idol, and those hybrid drought resistant seeds you plant. In short, this modern life you are accustomed to, and the cool gadgets that make your life easier (cell phones, stealth bombers, and nuke technology) exist because of them, so recognize and show some respect. None of us can have the lives we all have without each other, because we need each other. Please just look at each other and say, “you complete me,” and get it over with already.

    September 13, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. eolufemi

    Classy guy, this president of ours.

    Unfortunately, he's wrong. He lives in the White House and thus does not actually have to hear these people speak. I have heard them speak and they are racist.

    The non-racists need to disassociate themselves from the racists. But I understand why they won't. Because that would cut their numbers in half right there.

    Politics makes for strange bedfellows.

    September 13, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    I'm just curious where these people were when the man who created the mess was making the mess? Instead they are protesting the efforts of another man to fix the mess. Do I understand that they favor the mess and the mess-maker over the man trying to fix the mess?

    I know this question is hard for the avowed saviors of our country, so just wait until Rush, Beck and Hannity get around to giving you your next instructions and speaking points; after all, you're incapable of formulating your own thoughts and actions, so we wouldn't have it any other way now, would we?!

    And like it or not, racism IS at the core of this. Not only do they resent the Democratic Party, but now they have "One of THEM" in the White House. The reason for the quotes? I heard this expressed on right-wing radio here in Texas, that's why! One caller went so far as to say that Bush was far more educated than this ONE! (Me thinks a look at the facts will disprove that, don't you?)

    September 13, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. Aqua

    I think that religion, i.e., faith-based perception, is a big part of the problem For example, at least 40% of Americans "believe" that the Earth is 6,000 years old. When your culture lets you invent your own truth, its all downhill from there.

    I support segregated healthcare – a public option for blue-staters, the status quo (or whatever they want) for red-staters.

    September 13, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. Tony in Maine

    StormerF –

    it's not the disagreement it's the hatred, the rage, the out of control shrieking about Muslims coming and Obama as Hitler. Either the videographers are taping a mass escape from the violent ward of the local haha hotel, or these people are blatant racists who can't abide a black family living in the WH unless they have the servants' quarters.

    You don't have to use the "n" word to be obviously racist.

    In this case President Obama is being political, something I wish he'd stop doing. Glenn Beck and his acolytes need to be told what they are.

    September 13, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Estaban

    Typical LIBERAL, have make everythng RACIST if you dont agree with OBAMA.
    Robert Gibbs is a PINHEAD. If the LIBERALS on the hill pass this using the simple majority, I can the people of America riaing up and this could get real ugly.
    Congress needs to listen up, this is not worth the chaos that will come if you ram this down the American citizens throat.

    September 13, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. white grandma

    Where were all these demonstrators when president Bush run up the deficit with the trumped up war and tax cuts for the rich. What benefits did we get in 8 years of his administration? Oh, I forget, the benefits went to Halliburton, the corrupt company Cheney used to work for.Maybe this is the kind on "non socialist" government these protesters admire and they resent president Obama for trying to get us out of the mess, that was left behind.

    September 13, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. Lee Terry

    Of course it is racism – the ferocious anger cannot be justified otherwise. I mean, if you are so against federal spending, where were you when Bush went crazy spending? Is it really the idea of expanding Medicare so more people have that option – how can that be so hideously horrifying you would paint the President with a Hitler moustache. Give me a break. President Obama just doesn't want to stir a hornet's nest as he likley believes, as do I, that most Americans are turned off by the overheated hateful rhetoric. This is the Republican's death rattle – the young, the educated, people who are not white or straight – see a future where we do honor our Judeo-Christian heritage and treat those in need with compassion and mercy. No one is immune from a layoff. anymore. Wouldn't you like to know Medicare would be an option in that event for your family? Wouldn't you want a neighbor to have that option in a time of need? Stop the hatred and selfishness. It is the opposite of Jesus Christ's message of love.

    September 13, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. Earl Grey

    Maybe not racists, but how about congenital idiots? Look at most of the home states of these fools. They get far more back from the Federal government than they put in! It runs in families. Have in-laws that would like Obama to disappear, but are getting a 30% tax credit for the cost of a "tankless" hot water heater. "Socialism" works only one way, I guess.

    September 13, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. Kaye Martin

    Last night I saw a protestor on the CNN webpage with a placard depicting President Obama with a bone in his nose and carrying a spear. I was speechless! What are we teaching our children?

    September 13, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Deuce

    That is not the reason. Everybody is walking past your Store. Nobody wants to buy. The guy who is running the store is scaring business away. But!!!!! But you wont be told. You will insist in talking Crap..

    The World does not trust Obama, He is Wrong for this world.

    he is a Racist. Socialist. None democratic entity..

    September 13, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. Jane/Seattle

    These folks are sadly misguided and are blaming the wrong parties. Where were they when we were out protesting the Bush deficits, war spending and illegal wars he started?

    September 13, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. howie

    Where do the left wingers get the racist info, this is NOT about race.

    September 13, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  19. Bert

    They may not be racist.

    Just people who were taught intolerance for people not like them.

    September 13, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. Paul

    If any of you liberals would study your history, maybe you wouldn't be so quick to let this president's policies lead you around by the nose. You are in danger of losing all your rights and freedoms. History has a way of repeating it's self. Wake up and see that you are falling in the trap...................

    September 13, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. America Shrugged

    @ Lisa, you are correct. They do work for us and unfortunately if you voted GOP, you are in the minority and don't get as much of a say in how things are run in DC. That is how it works. For 8 yrs, I watched our former CIC deficit spend on 2 wars, tax cuts for the top 5% of the wealthiest (which didn't produce jobs), and pass Medicare part D, none of which were paid for. Where were you people then? Liberals protested and were called unpatriotic and treasonists. That you didn't do this during a time of war. When the GOP were in complete control, they could have been hero's and done what real conservatives would have done, reined in Bush and Cheney. You folks have no gripe coming and have lost any credibility you might have had. Nuff said

    September 13, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. Dex Houston TX

    The Tea Baggers aren't racist, they are just a bunch of hateful, ingnorant people who want to "take this country back" to the 1950's.

    September 13, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. Hugo

    I can't help but to keep seeing the liberal supporters continually asking where were these people when "Bush" invaded Iraq? They were at work making money to pay the taxes that this Administration has continued to misspend. Some of them were on a transport to the very war that the Congress, composed of Democrats alike voted to support. I am not a Bush supporter but it sure seems so many of you liberals forget what it must have been like to be the President and have an attack on US soil that left 3,000 innocent victims dead. Since the Obama Administration has taken power absolutely nothing has progressed toward a stable anything. The birther issue was started by Democrats for Hillary, the healthcare issue is a civil war between Democrats and the economy is pretty much screwed no matter what with a deficit as we now have. Have a nice day...

    September 13, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. alexandra

    President Obama and the WH are being way too tolerant and passive about the abusive behavior, language and insuated death threats by these white supremacists and the republican party! Obama should have taken the opportunity during his address to embarass and verbally punch that senator from SC right back.

    September 13, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. Bill P in RI

    Lisa Meyers September 13th, 2009 12:16 pm ET

    "The public is demanding an end to the Federal attempt to bankrupt our entire country."

    Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush already accomplished this.
    Where have you been?

    September 13, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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