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)

    If we get a few more monthly job reports like last month's, the dems will be really tough to beat come November

    April 15, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  2. Rhonda

    Once again, I flip to CNN (on my way to some REAL journalism at FOX News) to see CNN's right-slanted "coverage" of a tea party featuring background music that sounds like circus music as the "journalist" Pete picks out the few in the crowd in weird costumes. Once again, it is CNN's attempt to paint them all as a bunch of nuts!! No real coverage of the majority of the people that were there or any real interviewing of them or talking about the issues that bring them there. Maybe all of you at CNN will start taking the people that attend these tea party meetings seriously in November.

    April 15, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  3. Indy

    Obama earns 5 Million in 2009 for working 24-7 and saving a financial collapse and bring hope to all
    Palin earns 12 million for lying since 2008 and does absolutley nothing for Americans. Tea Party Palindrones pay well to listen to hate speeches

    April 15, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  4. Gil

    Supposedly they are better educated, but the education tooks place so long ago that they are now ignorant as to the problems with America. Also, with a much greater income than most, I guess they don't know what poverty is either! Along with them having health care they don't know what it must be like for 30-40 million Americans having none!

    April 15, 2010 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  5. Steve-Illinois

    Watch out people. Listen to those you know and meet. There is a lot of noise out there these days. Never, have I ever, heard so many people talking about, or at least mentioning politics, in most conversations. I'm not talking about tea party folks, or the real political types, just normal everyday people.
    A storm is brewing.

    April 15, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  6. Navy Vet

    There was a "rally" here also at our state capital. About a thousand people showed up. 15,000 people showed up last year at the gay pride parade.

    This group may be loud and boisterous, but they make up only 18% of the US population.

    They are the minority.

    April 15, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  7. normajean

    Name calliing, signs of your president in a coffin, spitting at a passing offical simply cast the doer as someone in the position of ten year olds on the school yard, being too inept at life to do anything else in their frustration. We are all frustrated in one way or another but we try to find more mature ways of handling it.GROW UP folks.You might be able to handle it better if you really made an effort to understand the issues you are fighting against. Do some reading, thinking and listening. Stop talking 'till then., and don't pick up all your information from sources that are just trying to confuse you. Learn to know the difference.

    April 15, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  8. Helmetbreaker

    Pelosi must have slugged down some more koolaid! Do you suppose she is really that naive? Minority bound!!

    April 15, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  9. RB

    If the Dems want to "dismiss" the Tea Party, that's fine. The Tea Party actually has the votes to dismiss the Dems this fall.

    April 15, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  10. RON

    Where were these jokers when BUSHIE BOY was president. At least Obama is spending our tax dollars in the United States and not sending it to Iraq. Look at all the boys he sent to death because he lied to get us into war. WHERE WAS THE TEA PARTY THEN?

    April 15, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  11. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    Yeah, the Dems wish the Tea Party would go away–just like the British wished Sam Adams and the Committees of Correspondence would just go away in the early 1770s.

    In the end, as we all know, it was the British who went away. Maybe the Dems will do the same.

    April 15, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  12. Glen Wilson

    Nancy Pelosi views the Tea Party movement as a Republican effort. It is a conservative movement which is why the party is not afraid to challenge members of both parties. The Republicans failed to lead when they were in power. The Dems are even worse. A third political party or force is needed to bring real change to Washington. I hope it succeeds.

    Too many deficits; too many special interest deals; too much finger pointing between the GOP and Dems. It is time for real change.

    April 15, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  13. Ben

    The more I listen to Republicans, the more I am convinced I must be a Democrat. Not that I want to be a Democrat. But the current lunatics representing the Republican Party leave me little choice.

    Is there not one smart, intelligent Republican out there?

    April 15, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  14. john alvey

    she can only dream that there won't be a impact on the (dem's) come election time. the tea party will still be around and we can only hope she won't after the election.

    April 15, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  15. Donnatella

    The republicans are going to lose big time because of these idiots, nobody is impressed with the teabaggers except for hateful republicans, any independents that they may of had has been turned off by the negative retoric. Did anybody see Victoria Jackson sing that song, it was truly the worst display of human stupidity I have ever seen, I also felt sorry for the teabaggers, her voice is worst than Palin's if that is humanly possible.

    April 15, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  16. Concerned Canadian

    Where was the Tea Party when Bush was pouring billions and billions of dollars into the sands of Iraq and Afghanistan for no good reason? These fools want the highest standard of living in the world without actually having to pay for it.

    April 15, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  17. valwayne

    Total Contempt!!! The Arrogant Left Wing Elites have totoal contempt for average working Americans. Keep in mind that a vote for any Democrat for the House of Representatives in Nov is a vote to Keep Nancy Pelosi running the nation as Speaker of the House and next in line after the VP for the Presidency. If your Democratic representative tries to tell you that he voted against healthcare or that he's not a radical left wing Elite just remember that voting for him/her will keep Nancy Pelosi running Congress!

    April 15, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  18. dave denver

    Just keep doing that Nancy, dear. That's what we're hoping for. Harry made fun of the movement in Nevada, let's see where that gets him. I guess you are as stupid as I think you are.

    April 15, 2010 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  19. Tea

    It must be nice to live in denial.

    April 15, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  20. Pat Paret

    When is the press going to stop giving free publicity to the tea party they nothig but pack of sheep incapable of thinking for thenselfs an follow of wolfs leading them to slougter. the leaders of that movement ere enriching themself at a the expense of true americans

    April 15, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  21. Daniel

    These Democrats think they are fiscally responsible and want the American people to believe this nonsence. November 2nd is going to be a real reality check for them for sure!

    April 15, 2010 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  22. Redneck

    Making these statements and holding her breath! You betcha!

    April 15, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  23. dan in capitola

    She's right. The TP and GOP will get in a race to the bottom to see who is the most angry, ignorant, and "conservative". I predict they will eat each other. Their "positions" are just knee-jerk anger and are not thoughtful informed tenable positions. It's telling that they were OK with Bush spending us into oblivion but suddenly it's an "outrage" when we have our first Black president.

    April 15, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  24. Tea Party Here I Come

    Dem's dismiss working, tax paying Americans...there's a shocker! Dems will continue to vilify what they are terrified of and don't understand. Love the tea partiers and Sara Palin...nuthin' gets under a lefty's skin...LOLOLOL.

    Oh..but on the "good news" front...VP & Dr. Biden who made over 300K in in 2009, donated HALF of what I did charity....nice! Generous with other people's money...classic Dems!!!

    April 15, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  25. Ridgeway

    Of course she and the Dems are dismissing the Tea Party. They're American taxpayers and are no different than any American other than they belong to a group who vocally dissent with the Commies led by hound face Pelosi. The Dems can kiss their sorry liberbal political asses goodbye in November.

    April 15, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
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