January 29th, 2010
06:12 AM ET
5 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)

soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. BJs65

    Smart move. Showing up there is not going to do them any favors whatsoever.

    January 29, 2010 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  2. me

    Palin 2012.......:)

    January 29, 2010 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  3. jim atmadison

    When something is too nuts for Bachmann, you have a real problem.

    January 29, 2010 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  4. dann

    i dont rember any thing about profit in the american revolution!!!!!
    just the reverse was the norm many well to do everyday people put at risk ther own wealth to speak out against the king.
    this tea party crap is just a poor cover up for conseratives.
    put this effort in to helping the country not just tearing down what dosent put money in your own pocket...

    January 29, 2010 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  5. Dino

    The GOP and the Tea Party are all about PROFIT...follow the money.

    January 29, 2010 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  6. Doug, NC

    I see the republicans found a new idea, privatization of political thought and ideas. how novel and a continuation of their agenda....

    January 29, 2010 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  7. Jinny Lee

    Honestly, the tea party coalition should be renamed "Chock full O'nuts!"

    January 29, 2010 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  8. once upon a horse

    and so the FUN begins!!

    January 29, 2010 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  9. Army Vet in Charlotte

    It's always amusing when the unstable people start eating themselves.

    January 29, 2010 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  10. buckwheat

    When were there ever any standards in this government? Sounds like a threat and needs to be looked into.Where has freedom of choice and speech gone?

    January 29, 2010 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Palin is not skipping out on her 115k payday. There is Steak & Lobster on the menu at this event and the seats run $600. And these are suppose middle class Americans. Give me a break.

    January 29, 2010 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  12. buckwheat

    I am not a supporter of Obama but, if I understand correctly ,when he got on the Supreme Court crowd's ass the other night it was about their decision to let people from other countries donate to our elections. If so Obama is right on this . We don't need their money to decide who rules us.He should have brought them down a notch just as when they okayed abortion. If murder is wrong then abortion is premeditated murder. Even the devil deserves his dues. We have more than one problem with our system and this is one of them. Obama was not wrong on this part of his speech.

    January 29, 2010 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  13. Real American

    The Tea Baggers are clearly the tool of oil companies, insurance companies and lobbyists. How could they be "not for profit"? Given their deepest of pockets, I am sure they can come up with some cash for Michelle and Sarah, and all of the other Repugs on the take if that is what they require for an appearance.

    January 29, 2010 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  14. The Spin Starts with CNN

    Here's CNN's attempt to discredit the TEA Party!

    Nice Spinn, CNN.

    obama's now second guessing the KSM in NY as he waffles yet again.
    obama's now waffling on Gitmo detainees being released.

    Who wants to bet CNN will NOT be coving that piece???

    January 29, 2010 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  15. Real American

    Michelle Bachmann erring on the side of caution. That has to be a first.

    January 29, 2010 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  16. Richard in Austin

    Oh come on. Blackburn and Backmann doesn't know how proceeds from the Party of Timothy McVeigh will be used? Sounds like they don't trust them very much to be ethical.

    January 29, 2010 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  17. Darryl Schmitz

    I suppose there could be a problem with a for-profit organization being involved, but don't politicians go on for-profit book tours all the time? I wonder whether behind closed doors the Party powerbrokers are telling them that should there be an ethics challenge there won't be any support for them.

    January 29, 2010 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  18. Annette

    For profit...I thought they only cared about bringing America back to the 1800's. I guess they care enough to make money off of their cause. Gosh, what hypocrites.

    January 29, 2010 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  19. Shawn

    Those Teabag extremists are so hilarious!

    January 29, 2010 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  20. Scott, Tucson

    And I bet the head of the House Committee on Standards is a Democrat to boot. So where was the Committee on Standards when Nancy Pelosi took her fellow Democrats on that 2-day junket to Copenhagen last month sticking us taxpayers with a 1.1 million dollar bill for their trip?

    This Tea Bag movement can easily go after and attempt to remove Republicans from office as well as Democrats. Besides a real good house cleaning of both parties over the next few election cycles is in order here

    January 29, 2010 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  21. BM

    Michelle Bachman is a complete idiot!How did she ever get to hold a public office?

    January 29, 2010 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  22. Preston kk

    Pkm your tea pot group must be hard up to get sara hope rhe brings in a lot of money

    January 29, 2010 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
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