April 15th, 2010
08:31 PM ET
8 years ago

Dems dismiss Tea Party activists

Tea Party activists were in Washington on Thursday.

Tea Party activists were in Washington on Thursday.

Washington (CNN) - As Tea Party activists mounted protests in Washington and announced a list of Congressional Democrats they're targeting for defeat in November, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed the group's impact on Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections and argued the Tea Party could hurt Republicans.

"I think it's going to have an impact on Republicans in November. We always just keep our eye on the ball as to what our own races are and keep going in a forward direction," Pelosi said Thursday.

Pelosi explained that Republicans could suffer is because Tea Party activists are promoting conservative challenges to GOP candidates in their primaries.

While the speaker said she welcomes "any and all voices of the American people," she said that Democrats have the message and the money to prevail in November.

Our message about health care, about job creation, about fiscal responsibility, about lowering taxes for the middle class, about stabilizing the economy," she said. "We believe will hold us in good stead.".

But House GOP leader John Boehner, who spoke at an Orlando Tea Partyevent earlier this week, said Thursday Republicans were working to earn the support of the Tea Party activists. "We are going to talk with them and listento them and we are going to walk amongst them and again earn their support this November."

Boehner said Democrats aren't listening to the concerns of the protesters, and noted that people at Tea Party events around the country only represent a fraction of Americans who are frustrated with the current leadership in Washington and could prove to be a powerful force.

"Just remember this, these people are just the tip of the iceberg. You all know that 90 percent of the iceberg you don't see. They represent the same concerns, the same worries, the same fears of tens of millions of additional Americans who just haven't quite gotten off the couch or out of the easy chair and into the street," Boehner said. And he warned, "Democrats better look out."

Although Pelosi waved off concerns about Tea Party groups, a couple of Ohio Democrats, who gathered to tout middle class tax relief on Thursday, took aim at the Tea Party activists mounting protests in their districts and accused them of misinforming the public about Democrats' record on taxes and health care.

Rep. Steve Driehaus, who represents Cincinnati - where the Tea Party has organized a tax day protest featuring Fox News host Sean Hannity - acknowledged "there are very legitimate concerns that are energizing folks to participate in the Tea Party," pointing to serious economic uncertainty for many in his state.

But he criticized some members of the group, saying "the Tea Party and other leaders are playing upon that fear and they're exacerbating that fear to their political advantage." The Ohio Democrat added, "you hear a lot of fear" at Tea Party events, but he argued the group's leaders presents very few facts. He said the challenge for Democrats is getting the facts out so that the public understands their record before the fall election.

Another Ohio Democratic freshman, Rep John Boccieri, said he's probably had more Tea Party events in his district than any other member in Ohio. He echoed Driehaus' charge about the rhetoric at Tea Party events. "We do have to substantiate the difference between facts and fear."

Boccieri accused some of the anti-government protestors of talking out of both sides of their mouth - railing against government intrusion while at the same time accepting federal benefits. " What's so ironic about this, is that the very things they suggest they are against they will gladly take and support."

Filed under: 2010 • Congress • Extra • Nancy Pelosi • Tea Party movement
soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. Capt. Snarky

    Well, I've a differing opinion. I think that there will be lots of Progressives dismissed this November....

    April 15, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  2. Limbaugh is a liberal

    The Tea Party aren't republicans... they just happen to endorse almost all republicans, target all democrats, frequently invite republican politicians to their events, have the republicans co-organize their events, and rely on a republican consulting firm for funding. Oh no, they aren't republican...

    April 15, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  3. Four and The Door

    Boccieri ..." What's so ironic about this, is that the very things they suggest they are against they will gladly take and support."
    I have heard this really stupid argument many times. Think about it. This is an argument you might expect from a 6 year old. I hope Representative Boccieri has a second career choice to fall back on. If this is his best attempt at logical argument, his political career will be short.

    April 15, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  4. ray

    hello tea party people, the senate extended your unemployment so you can protest more you racists.

    April 15, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  5. keiron Jackman

    As a progressive republican, I see this whole political hullabaloo as a North vs South thing. I mean think about it. The tea party is hand in hand with the Republican Party. Against Obama. What does Obama stand for: EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW. His 1st legislative effort EQUAL PAY. Now come on we know our history when it comes to THAT, especially when the health care law helps people who are disadvantaged, so the Confederacy is alive once again. Look at the Tea Partiers, don't they look like the confederacy??? What you didn't know there was BLACK Confederate soldiers, check the story

    Search "The south will rise again Jackman"

    April 15, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  6. Debby

    Pelosme is such an idiot. When she was interviewed by Candy Crowley she had all nice things to say about the tea partiers. Now its they can hurt the Republican party. Hey Pelosme they are voting a Republican ticket you moron. This movement is growing every day and by November they might have mulitudes of tea partiers.

    April 15, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  7. Ken

    Buncha hypocrite sheep protesting what they themselves happily supported under Terrorist Bush. Bigots - plain and simple.

    April 15, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  8. m smith

    it is nice to see that in some states groups are coming out in opposition to the tea baggers. They are expressing in a very civil manner that not everyone thinks the president is a socialist and they support health care. More people should do that. The old addage the squeeking wheel gets the grease is true. More people should stand against thes nuts. Most Americans are not crazy and need to speak out.

    April 15, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  9. Chris in Va.

    Must be nice to not have to work for a living.

    April 15, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  10. ib

    Keep dreaming and wishing Pelosi; you and the others like you are in for a rude wake up call in Nov. It will be nice to see you ride out into the sunset on your broom.

    April 15, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  11. Mary Ann in VA

    I will not support any canidate who is backed by the tea party. If the tea party leaders came out and equally critcized democrats and republicans who over spend and don't follow the same rules the rest of america follows that would be ok . But mostly it is a partisan organization and that will be it's downfall.

    April 15, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  12. Dano

    What exactly are these "legitimate corcerns"? The want to keep their SSI & Medicare but are against others being offered affordable health care. They want to "take back our country" from some undisclosed person or persons, while they are afforded the freedom to travel from state to state complaining that "their" freedom is being taken away. They claim they are overtaxed but they still seem to have plenty of money for tour busses, renting halls, and of course paying Sarah tens of thousands of dollars for each appearance. I think it's the Republicans that need to worry. This group is NEVER going to vote for any Democrat no matter what, so when they figure out how they are being used by the GOP they will turn on them with a vengence.

    April 15, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  13. Marc

    Rep. Steve Driehaus 'criticized some members of the group, saying "the Tea Party and other leaders are playing upon that fear and they're exacerbating that fear to their political advantage." The Ohio Democrat added, "you hear a lot of fear" at Tea Party events, but he argued the group's leaders presents very few facts.'
    Rep John Boccieri 'accused some of the anti-government protestors of talking out of both sides of their mouth – railing against government intrusion while at the same time accepting federal benefits. " What's so ironic about this, is that the very things they suggest they are against they will gladly take and support."'
    And both gentlemen are so right on!!!

    April 15, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  14. SLM

    Go ahead and dismiss the Tea party and pretend they don't matter............that's not going to change the growing movement. Pelosi can stick her head in the sand........even the highly liberal San Francisco can't be stupid enough to re-elect this Botox abuser.

    April 15, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  15. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Dear CNN, you have given SO much press to the Tea Party today. However, you have failed to report that there were others protesting the Tea Party, where is this story.

    April 15, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  16. CEE

    Most of the Tea party protesters are there because Faux news told them that they were angry, nothing but puppets for the rich and greedy.

    April 15, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  17. Susan L.

    I'm really BEYOND sick to bloody death of the tea people. WAY beyond. Teahadists, this is my country, too, you know! And I totally, completely, and utterly do NOT support you or what you are doing. I'm a REAL AMERICAN, too. In fact, my ancestors literally fought and were wounded at the Battle of Bunker Hill. I think my claim is pretty strong to being a Real American. So you can take your elitism that says that anyone who doesn't agree with you is a socialist or a terrorist or a nazi or whatever other names you call and shove it. Go back to your retirement homes and sit on the porch and yell at the children as they go by.

    April 15, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  18. Matt

    LOL Nancy you are so delusional. The TEA Parties will help pick the most conservative candidate and that person will get the nomination. But in no case will we ever choose another idiot Liberal over a Conservative in a General Election.

    April 15, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  19. Larry Winger

    The tax issues should have been talked about back in 2001 when Bush and company decided to take our social security money which was in the black and making money,with his privet war and giving his friends more money. He took our money and put our children in debt. We are now trying to pay for his fret party. Do not blame someone else for his mess.

    April 15, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  20. normajean

    The "Tea Partiers" themselves and the people that defend them attempt to picture these groups as just your ordinary citizens who are concerned about their government.If that were true and they made an effort to improve things by attitude, legitimate involvemant such as really understanding what is happening by reading honest material and learning from non partisan sources, just what improvements they could help bring about, I think the rest of the country would have a better picture of their activities. What i see is a loud bunch of people carrying signs that at best are disgusting,no help to anyone including their party and give the impression that they have learned everything they know from the Michelle Bachmanns and Sarah Palins of the country. This is all worthless,misguided talk meant to just stir up the masses which it obviously does, accomplishing NOTHING.

    April 15, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  21. Jake

    No matter how much you polish a tird Pelosi, it is still just a tird. Keep telling yourself and your defeat will be greater than most are predicting.

    April 15, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  22. David

    Shame on you CNN for not holding this group accountable for their rhetoric, they are trying to incite violence, I have heard on CNN their so called leaders doing so and you let it slide, disgusting.

    As for their platform, all I get is that they want a "to each their own" governing philosphy. What are they going to completely abandon the elderly and disabled? If they had their way the poverty and crime rates would skyrocket and the US would soon become a police state.

    April 15, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  23. Larry Winger

    It looks like we have a short memory and I hope we do not have to re-live it again.

    April 15, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  24. Joe in Vega$

    But they're so dad-burned angry!!!!! Grrrr!

    April 15, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  25. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    A self cannibalizing feeding frenzy by a pack of morons!

    April 15, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
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