January 29th, 2010
06:12 AM ET
4 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. Marie MD

    Political hypocrital "love" knows no boundaries. They are already eating their young! :) :)

    January 29, 2010 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  2. Steve in Ct

    That was a good catch by the staff. Palin is in a different position by not holding public office at this time. They could try Huckabee but I think he'd be concerned the party would have issues.

    January 29, 2010 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  3. Ain't life strange?

    It's sad, but many of the tea party members have only part of the truth but all of the lies about where America stands and where it is going.

    January 29, 2010 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  4. Saxo Grammaticus

    I don't admire much of anything about the whole Tea Party phenom - but the for-profit status is refreshing, if perhaps more candid than anyone involved intended to be.

    January 29, 2010 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  5. opus512

    Why the hell are they for profit?

    *sniff*sniff*

    Smells bad to me.

    January 29, 2010 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  6. Sharon

    With tickets over $500.00, SOMEONE should be making some profit from this activity.

    January 29, 2010 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  7. Sharon

    Maybe FOX news will report on this soon.

    January 29, 2010 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  8. Sharon

    They haven't written or spoken anything that is not positive, that I have heard, about the their TeaParty

    January 29, 2010 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  9. james

    Somehow, someway, this will be Obama's fault. I guess the teabaggers should have known that the teabaggers would balk at something that costs money. Maybe what they need is some governement funding.

    January 29, 2010 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  10. Joe Friday

    Just as always the money takes over yet another good idea. Palin getting $115,000 to give a speech? She should NOT be the darling of the conservatives. That's greed pure and simple. This convention is going to be a disaster if it even happens at this point.

    January 29, 2010 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  11. Don

    The Tea Party movement is too crazy for Michelle Bachmann? WOW! That's saying something.

    January 29, 2010 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  12. Dawn Ada, Ohio

    The teabaggers seem to be falling apart at the seams. With leaders like Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin, who is surprised?

    January 29, 2010 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  13. Ryan

    I heard rep Bachmann in an interview after the state of the union .
    It almost felt like the Tea Party does not even know why they are complaining about anymore.
    They just feel and or have the urge to oppose and say NO , but they actually do not know why .
    They rather protest instead of helping out.

    The whole tea movement is not making a lot of sense any more, just like the war in Iraq never made sense but tea bach's still supported it.

    January 29, 2010 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  14. nomoreneocons

    Ha Ha! Looks like the Republicans are trying to distance themselves from the teabagger lunatic fringe. The teabaggers just need to go away. The more they open their mouths and let the neocon crap flow out, then the further to the center will the country turn. Sarah should go away with them–QUITTER!!

    January 29, 2010 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  15. mike

    again the uneducated tea party fools were used buy the republican
    party and now its time to throw the fools under the bus its not about issues that the republicans want but the noise they created and once
    they got there little tin soldier in office its time to drink espresso
    SUCKERS

    January 29, 2010 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  16. Replace all of Congress with People that want to help

    If they want to help the American people like they said, why not show up? Why are they worried about the consequences? It seems to me their political career is more important than the American people needs right now, because if it wasn't and the tea party stands for what they believe in they should be there to give them the voices they need to fight. Sounds like a bunch of BS is you ask me. The tea party says that Obama's State of the Union was hot air, it seems to me that Marsha Blackburn and Michele Bachmann are the ones that are giving you the hot air. I believe that no one in the house or the senate cares about the American people. They only care about themselves and what they can steal from us. This country is going down and Obama is not to blame. Its all those bastards that are sitting in the house and senate that are playing politics and games in our lives.

    January 29, 2010 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  17. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    It appears that not all is going well with the tea baggers. $549 to listen to that RINO Sarah Palin give the message that big business should not have to pay back tax payer money it was loaned, and that maintaining health insurance profits are more important than helping 45 million uninsured.

    January 29, 2010 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  18. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    I think the right wingnuts might be a little premature in celebrating their victories in November 2010. As my grandpa used to say, "Don't flush the toilet until the train leave the station."

    January 29, 2010 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  19. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    The right wingnut-birther-party of purge has just lost two of their department store mannequins, but still has RINO Sarah, centerfold Brown, and empty suit religious nut McDonnell to lead them. Being pretty is better than being intelligent for the GOP.

    January 29, 2010 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  20. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Maybe people are beginning to see that John 'Howdy Doody' Boehner and his anti American ilk do not care about voters. They did not support Obama's tax cut on April 1, 2009; they do not want the businesses that we bailed out to have to pay us back, they are opposed to getting health reform for all Americans, they will not support jobs creation for the middle class, they are opposed to equality for all citizens, and they will obstruct every attempt for government to move forward.

    January 29, 2010 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  21. Todd

    sarah couldn't get an outfit to go wit the required tinfoil hat...

    and who is this other woman? She sounds like an even dumber and not quite as barbie doll-ish version of palin.

    January 29, 2010 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  22. david

    tea party for profit. just another form of lobbying, of special interest grouping. there is already a republican party, rnc, and state republican groups even young republican groups. like another republican grouping is needed? if anything it indicates divisions among republicans rather than a unified political party.

    January 29, 2010 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  23. George

    They know it's political suicide to show up. Wish that Bachmann would. Would not mind her being one of the first victims!

    January 29, 2010 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  24. AEK

    So these two members of Congress, and others, got these tea bag folks all riled up when it suited their reelection needs and now are bailing out on them when it appears they are as crazy as everybody in the country thought. Pretty typical Republican behavior. I mean, if you're a Republican politician, do you really want to court people of limited means when you can sell your soul to corporate America? The tea baggers just want a voice and to be represented by people who believe in their skewed version of America but most can't even afford to attend their own gatherings unless they're in their home town.

    January 29, 2010 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  25. R in Maine

    Just why would any respectable person wish to be associated with those low-life traitors who feel that they are above the requirements of law and patriotism?

    January 29, 2010 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
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