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. Wow

    I'm so tired of the "I want my country back crowd". When my friend's 5 year old son heard some of the birthers, deathers, tea baggers say this, he went to the window, looked out and asked, Where did their country go. He's too young to understand that they really mean, I WANT TO GO BACK TO THE TIME WHEN THE PRESIDENT WAS WHITE AND BLACK MEN DIDN'T THINK THAT THEY COULD BE PRESIDENT.

    President Obama isn't naive, he knows that racism is at the bottom of all this. He's just too good to say it. If this were really about policy and spending, where was the protest and outrage during President Bush's administration? IOKIYW.......................

    September 13, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. Jose Palacios

    Finally the White House has acted in a way that does not feed the meanness that is out there. Meanness that is equally viral in the extreme left as the extreme right. The White House, Pelosie, Reid and the DNC can not dismiss the conservative demostrators by simple disqualification. This is a growning movement that needs to be given its share of respect. Failure to do so will result in failure to accomplish anything and that would be the biggest mistake of all.

    September 13, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  3. ray

    these people are all racists like joe wilson. white people dont forget you dont own this country. you killed, rape, murder, burnt the homes of the natives for this land so stop yelling at rallies you want back your country. go back to europe.

    September 13, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  4. Proud and Happy Republican except for the Democratic BS!

    Denocrats as well as Obama believe that anyone who disagrees with them or Obama is a racist. Just read the daily comments and watch the news. Everywhere you tuen, if you don't agree, your a racist.

    September 13, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Larry

    As always Obama is generous with his thoughts

    Unfortunately, this is one time I do not agree with him

    Conservatives can not stand the fact that a man of a different color is running this country ... they simply can not swallow it

    Their ignorance is so pitifully obvious

    One of the greatest people this country has ever seen in the office of president ... and they simply can not swallow it

    Peace

    September 13, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. Karen

    I cannot understand the need to save the auto industry when the basic needs of America ... Food, clothing (including shoes) and shelter did not receive the same consideration. Who owns the majority of Americas farms? Where are our clothes and shoes made?

    I think Americans are frustrated by a spending policy for big government that equates to us getting many credit cards, running them all up to the limits knowing we can never pay them off and saying that our kids and grandkids can pick up the bill.

    Something must be done, no doubt, but not at the expense of future. At some point, other countries will quit giving us credit or require us to give too much in exchange.

    Objections have nothing to do with President Obama personally, but with the policies of the Democratic Party that will send the message that minimal effort and mediocrity yield the greatest benefits for the least sacrifice. You can only take from the higher earners for so long. Eventually you run out of other people's money to fund the these programs.

    Lets have term limits, eliminate congressional pensions and make available to all Americans the same health plan available to congress for starters.

    September 13, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. smei

    It is really very simple. The group that protested yesterday has every right to do so. What this means is that if you support healthcare you had better protest louder. (but appropriately) Get involved in the fight, however you can!!! Write letters, call legislators and talk to your friends and family. We need to be as loud as the naysayers. Correct the bad messages and give this country what is deserves, reformed healthcare that is effective.

    September 13, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. God Save this Republic

    Obama is a demented and dangerous socialist that obviously believes you can destroy both the American government and our capitalist society....he will not succeed however, America is awake and we know what he is, we also know how to prevent his policies from succeeding, his actions have rallied us. The American people will win this battle. Obama has lied to the people (especially on Health Care) and in 2010 and 2012, we will remove both him and your disgusting bunch of socialist camp followers from office. Then let the prosecutions begin.

    You have awakened the sleeping giant Mr. President and he is filled with a terrible resolve”

    September 13, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  9. phoenix86

    People are not against Obama because of his race. They are against him because he is implemented the far-left fringe agenda, which the majority of Americans strongly oppose.

    If Obama had been honest about how he would govern during the campaign, we would be talking about President Hillary Clinton right now.

    September 13, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. Bob

    No they aren't racist they are just stupid Republicans who don't want to pay their fair share of taxes so they can buy more toys. Here is a party that for 8 years screwed up America and then after a Democrat wins they found and drank some magic Grape juice that gave them the answer to all problems.

    September 13, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. Mike in MN

    The Tea Party protesters are no more racist than those on the left who protested and opposed Bush policies or those on the right who opposed Clinton policies.
    The left wants to cry racist to distract attention from the fact that the Tea Party protesters and the people who showed up at the Town Halls are making a lot of sense and they are connecting with a huge number of Americans.
    There were only 60 to 70 thousand protesters at the capital, there were 10s of thousands more on the same day at Tea Parties all accross America who could not make it to Washington. Just a couple of days before a petition with over 1 million signatures was delivered to congress protesting Obamacare. This petiton was a product of those who support the Tea Party movement. This movement is just getting started, it is powerful and it will grow many times more powerful by the time of the 2010 and 2012 elections. It has nothing to do with race, it has everything to do with out of control and reckless spending and deficitis that threaten to destroy our long term economy.

    September 13, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. Hope

    Until the phylosophy which makes one race superior and another inferior, is finaly and permanently, discredited and abandoned, until the color of a man skin is of no more signifacance than the color of his eyes, we will not see harmony.

    September 13, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  13. JoePlenty

    I believe these people and motivated by nothing more than race.Period. End of story. Their country is now in the hands of a black man. The dream of their confederate empire is vanishing and the rise of a true multi ethnic and diversified american is emerging. These are the people whose parents used the Bible to justify slavery. Lynched black men, refused education to black kids and deserted urban centers coz it was becoming inclusive. Denied black people the right to vote and still unfearfully discriminate against people of color in employment, housing, education and what have you ?

    September 13, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  14. Beverly

    What our elected officials DON'T understand is common sense. I've always driven GM cars. But, if GM can't make a profit, they shouldn't be in business. The same goes for banks and other financial institutions like huge insurance companies. As an investor, I had to deal with my losses. Why don't they? Nobody bailed me out and I'm still cutting costs to make ends meet! As for health care, either leave it alone or socialize it so it's the same and fair for everyone! The whole issue is fairness.

    September 13, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  15. Courtney Anne

    I think the republican party and the conservative groups have gotten way to personal with the retoric towards the president and it needs to stop. Some of those people are so crazy, they need to be put in mental hospitals. I worry about President Obama's safety sometimes.

    Fort Myers, FL

    September 13, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. CTSadler

    Glenn Beck: moving crazy into the mainstream since 2007.

    September 13, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. Robert

    Katherine said...

    "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. "

    Well Katherine, unless you walked around with a poster of Obama in African chief clothing and a bone through his nose, or photos of him as a monkey.... or use of the 'N" word, then you don't really have anything to worry about would you? If you had any of those photos or used the racial words that many did, then the term fits you whether you like it or not.

    So you're opposed to government intervention eh? Just let the insurance companies continue to rack up 450% profits while our coverage premiums increase crazily and what is actually covered decreases? Who else is supposed to look out for our interests and make sure we're treated fairly? What other entity has the power to make laws/rules that will protect us from the corporate greed that has nearly bankrupted this nation?

    At least you didn't use the term government takeover of insurance, which is what so many of your fellow tea baggers falsely claim. So I have hope that you are open minded enough to understand that government regulates all aspects of our society. And it will be to our benefit that they regulate and reform how our system of healthcare operates..

    September 13, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. Ryan

    It's pretty obvious that the Tea Party participants are a group of people who are unhappy with the way their lives have turned out, and they are now focusing unreasonable rage at Barack Obama for some perceived injustice. Bill Maher said it best this weekend when he told Obama to quit trying to please everyone and fight for the 70% of us who are not crazy!

    September 13, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. Karen

    Perhaps they decided to save the Auto industry over others because it drives the major use of oil and decisions made regarding continued supply.

    I'm an independent voter and I expect that frustration will cause further examination and reflection on party policies and affiliations in future elections.

    September 13, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  20. Bill Mosby

    There was plenty of anger at Bush. Remember his nicknames? Shrub and Chimpy come to mind. Then there was "Bush Lied, People Died" on countless bumpers. I'm sure anger with Bush played a big part in the election of Obama.

    September 13, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. SLRTX

    Why are all those "politicians" sprinkled about the protesters?

    Aren't they the same politicians who have been part of the problem for the past 8+ years? And they just happen to be conservative Republicans.

    And, why are the tea partiers focusing just on HC reform, and not other issues, like spending upwards of $3 trillion on Iraq (unnecessary war)?

    And, why has this become such an issue now? Where were they guys a year or two ago?

    It's a tea party without the tea. It's a con game by the right-wingers.

    The conservatives are using real, authentic anger about waste and fraud in gov't to con these suckers into thinking they are "raging against big gov't" when all the while, some of the biggest offenders are right in the crowds with them.

    Once again, the ignorant and stupid unite for.... uh, what was that cause again?

    September 13, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. Ryan, Council Bluffs

    Racism, why the he!! would racism get brought up by Gibbs unless he wants the media whackos to run with it!!! First the Tea Partiers are not just mad at Obama or Democrats (they just happen to be the majority of the people pushing over reaching government.) These are people tired of big government. Bail outs, hand outs, bigger social programs, higher taxes... those are the things these people are against. It could be a white or purple person in the WH. Gibbs brought up racism to put the seed of doubt in peoples mind, that these people are mad about something other than the costly, big government programs that Obama's administration stands for.

    September 13, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  23. The Republicans are DIVIDING our great country!

    Of course the President has to say that. Many Americans are finally waking up to see that the Tea Baggers are racists. The first protests, some were understanding but after the school speech debacle and seeing the blatantly racists signs at the latest protests, many are waking up to see the division is NOT coming from President Obama but is from the race-baiting Republicans who are pushing an agenda of seeing this President fail and not wanting to see America and Americans succeed. When people hold up signs of President Obama dressed up as a 'savage' (ignorant references to his African heritage), and some saying he's trying to 'indoctrinate' our children (meaning 'white' children) then ask yourself 'Where in this argument is health care reform and government spending'???? WHERE?

    Note to GOP: I am a white woman in my early 30s. I WILL NOT STAND IDLY BY AS YOU RUIN AND DIVIDE MY COUNTRY AT THE EXPENSE OFHOPING TO WIN AN ELECTION. My grandfather who was in the military fought for this country- a country he believed included ALL. And I will not allow you to divide this country any longer! You've just re-energized the Democratic base!!!

    September 13, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. Denise

    I attended the Tea Party. CNN-Sorry but there were well over 1 million peaceful protesters there. No one paid anyone to be there, no one was coerced. Every individual was there to protest the overspending and growing government and the policies they are enacting to bankrupt our country. This crowd was completely civil, courteous, well mannered, educated, and respectful. Check out the YouTube videos. When we left, there was no litter on the ground, no violence, nothing but the best of America. I'd like to see a liberal protest that could accomplish that. Wake up America-this has NOTHING to do with race. It has everything to do with a corrupt government.

    September 13, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  25. Nea

    All of it is not racism some are really concern about the government but not all, some are racialiy motivated. The President dont want to play the race card beacuse people will say he is using the race card and that will get a lot of attention, the truth of the matter is this the President has an agenda and he dont want to keep being distracted because he knows that people really need help, he dont want to keep waisting time, with people that wants to make excuses why we dont need this or that. The republicans dont want the race card to come out either. President Obama cannot say it but RACE IS WHAT WE ARE DEALING WITH HERE PLAIN AND SIMPLE, im a black female but i heard the same talk coming from older whites females as well that some of it is because we have a black man for President.

    September 13, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
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