January 28th, 2010
09:48 PM ET
8 years ago

Two key Tea Party Convention speakers cancel

 Rep. Michele Bachmann has dropped out of next week's Tea Party Convention.

Rep. Michele Bachmann has dropped out of next week's Tea Party Convention.

Washington (CNN) - Two major speakers at next week's first Tea Party Convention are dropping out of the lineup.

Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann announced Thursday that they will not be attending the convention, which is scheduled to start late next week in Nashville, Tennessee.

Blackburn was scheduled to serve as a featured speaker and also introduce the keynote speaker, former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Bachman was scheduled to serve as one of the convention's kickoff speakers. Both congresswomen are strong supporters of the tea party movement.

Blackburn's congressional office says the House Committee on Standards advised her not to participate in the convention, which is being put together by the Tea Party Nation as a for-profit entity. Tea Party Nation is run by Judson Phillips, a lawyer in Tennessee.

"I spoke to Judson Phillips this morning and let him know that I could not participate in the convention. I told him frankly that Tea Party Nation's for-profit status has put many of his speakers in an awkward position," Blackburn said in a statement.

"Standards advised Congressman Blackburn not to participate in the event due to uncertainty about how any proceeds from the event may be used. Convention organizers have not been clear about how those funds will be put to use. We have every indication that any profit could be put to work to advance grass roots causes and some of those uses could make the Congressman's participation improper after the fact," says Blackburn Communications Director Claude H. Chafin

It was a similar message from Bachmann's office.

"Due to conflicting advice on whether Representative Bachmann's participation in the upcoming Tea Party Nation Convention would be in line with the Committee on Standards, Congresswoman Bachmann has decided not to participate in the event. There is uncertainty about how any proceeds from the event may be used, and we must err on the side of caution," says Bachmann Press Secretary Debbee Keller.

"We regret that they are unable to attend, however we do not want them to be challenged by the committee or the Democrat led Congress," said Philips in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

Both congresswomen say the canceling of their speeches is not sign that their commitment to the tea party movement is fading.

"Some will want to portray her withdrawal as a repudiation of the Tea Party Movement, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Congresswoman Bachmann remains encouraged by all Americans, regardless of political party, who are concerned about this nation's future and dwindling prosperity, and continues to be inspired their passion," says Keller.

Blackburn says she remains encouraged by the "outpouring of energy from constitutionally minded grassroots organizations in Tennessee and around America.

These groups are not made up of Republicans or Democrats, but everyday Americans who are concerned about their freedom. They know that out-of-control spending and the expansion of government ultimately limits that freedom. I share their concerns and look forward to working with them in the future."

(Updated at 5:00 p.m. EST with statement from Tea Party Movement)

Filed under: Extra • Michele Bachmann • Popular Posts • Tea Party movement
soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. sam, littleton, Co

    Buch of tea party wackos!!!!

    January 28, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    I don't see this as a repudiation of the teabagger movement; I see it as proof that these two Congresswomen are clueless when it comes to their responsibilities as Representatives.

    You'd think they would have checked this out before they accepted!

    January 28, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. harvey

    they should invite Brown. I'll send them a roll of Charmin, they can have Brown at their P Party.

    January 28, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. Dean

    Rep. Michele Bachmann is a nit wit ,yeah she fits right in there with the rest of the tea party bunch.

    January 28, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Are they incumbants, then it doesn't matter vote them out!
    Vote them out, if they are in office now, time to put them out this fall, and in the next election and every election going forward until they become the servants of the people once more.

    January 28, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  6. Bill, Bloominton IL

    Neither one seems to be a strong supportor.

    January 28, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. This one liberal I know

    "Congresswoman Bachmann remains encouraged by all Americans, regardless of political party, who are concerned about this nation's future and dwindling prosperity, and continues to be inspired their passion ..."

    Inspired riiiiiight up to the point where her derriere might be left dangling in the wind if Tea Bag Nation ends up using the profits to support something embarrassing down the road, of course. Then it's thanks but no thanks. Love her commitment to the cause.

    January 28, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  8. Mike in Dallas

    Reps Blackburn and Bachman's respective offices have since issued an update to this story. It seems that they have decided to accept an offer to be speakers at the Cool-Aid convention that will be taking place on the same day.

    January 28, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. montag24

    Gee, what a shame. I wonder if Sarah Palin will quit halfway through her keynote speech?

    January 28, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. duffey

    I think the "Tea Pary" is over. Nothing but a bunch of kooks. Bachman does not want to loose her seat, since the people of Minnesota are probably schocked @ how ignorant and uninformed she is of the issues.

    If Jeese Ventura wants to challenge her for her seat. you better belive he would win.

    January 28, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. Stop the Nonsense

    These are hardly "everyday Americans" They are Americans, but do not reflect the view of the "average American"
    The media is making far more of this group than it is. A radical fringe group with a loud voice, but a small number.
    Simialr to many minorities in this country

    January 28, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. Jane/Seattle

    Could it be that someone gave them some sound political advice?
    Could it be that someone is deciding that all this Obama bashing and blaming may not be the best way to proceed? Just asking.

    January 28, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  13. Fooled Again

    The original Tea Party folks are Ron Paul supporters. NEO-CONS are trying to hijack the movement.

    January 28, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. worried about america

    sarah palin put a rotten apple in the mix when she charged 100.000. bucks to spout hatred for president obama. even tea partiers now see how she is just a greety self-centered nobody just lookin out for herself. she has nothing crediable to say and looks like an ignorant, scared bimbo on the FOX show. i hope FOX gets what they deserve by paying this unqualified chick to act so dumb on the air with nothing but babble coming from her mouth. we have all gotten palin's number now since she has proved her ignorance with no message of her own.

    January 28, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. Mike in MN

    This too me is a great sign that the Tea Party movement and Republicans get it. There are many different grass roots Tea Party organizations out there. None should be for profit as the Tea Party Nation turns out to be. Tea Party supporters and Republicans should stay away from any Tea Party organization like the Tea Party Nation and focus their support on those Tea Party organizations that are grass root non profit ones. Palin should back out too unless her contractual obligations prevent her. She should definitly avoid organizations like the Tea Party Nation in the future.

    January 28, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. Luke Brown

    This Tea Party business is a joke.

    These people have no ideas, and no suggestions for solving the nation's problems except cutting their own taxes.

    What is it about them that merits news coverage? They are NOTHING. If it wasn't for CNN, they wouldn't exist.

    January 28, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    The public needs this party to become a real political party, with candidates that offer another choice to voters.

    It is time for the 2 party system, which defeats the cause of the common man, to end.

    January 28, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. Donkey Party

    Democrats are very hard to find in the shallow end of the political pool where the Tea-baggers splash and scream. Plus, name one Democrat that has shown support for these morons. Where were the Tea-baggers during the Bush years? That's why they lack any credibility. I will give them credit for successfully unifying racists and water-headed non-thinkers into one frothing mass of hate and stupidity.

    January 28, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. FactCheck

    I wonder if this had anything to do with the fact that the organizer is making a huge load of money off this "political event". Nah, we all know the tea-baggers are in it "for country".

    January 28, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. SNAPPA

    CNN what is the problem? Why do you insist on calling this group by that name? Its name is "tea baggers" NOT Tea Party it is insulting for you to call them that. They are nothing but a bigoted group of people who cannot stand the thought of a black man ruling the country. This is why I have changed my home page to MSNBC pretty soon I'll stop visiting CNN altogether.

    January 28, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. Steph

    They aren't the most reliable bunch are they???

    January 28, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. dude palin

    please ban them from our party !!!

    January 28, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. Steph

    I, too, wonder how the proceeds from such a haters' conference will be used. Obviously, "transparency" isn't a hallmark of the tea party movement.

    January 28, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. Albert K. L.A., CA

    Wow, The Tea Party is over! First the Purity pledge is dropped from the Republican Hawaiian beach party vacation and now this. Looks like being hard-liners falling off the right side of politics is going out of style fast and moving toward the center is back in style. Therefore nobody wants to be seen on the same stage with Sarah the hockey mom. They must have figured out that adding one new Republican to the Senate still leaves them in the minority throughout the country by almost 50%. – 59 to 41 senators.

    January 28, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  25. Preston

    How unsurprising that this anarchistic, whacked-out bunch of air-heads, malcontents and vipers would start feeding on each other in short order. Bon appetit!

    January 28, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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