April 15th, 2010
08:31 PM ET
5 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. Steve

    I hope the dems continue to play ostrich. Their stunning lack of regard for the opinion of the majority is the ultimate Narcisism.

    April 15, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Yep,
    the Tea Party complainers are going the way of the dinosaurs !
    And there taking some fiscal openminded conservatives with them down the drain.
    I can no longer vote republican ! Steel and the Tea Party have taken the integrity and intelligence out of the party.

    April 15, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  3. Imperiled Speaker

    People dismiss the tea party at their peril.

    April 15, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  4. Jason

    What a disgusting display of fear, ignorance and misinformation the tea party is.

    April 15, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  5. Aspen Professor

    OK Media -- Tell us who is funding the transportation, hotel, meals, sign costs for these below average IQ Tea Party fools. They are obviously unemployed to be traveling about the country.

    April 15, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  6. Nini

    Lies and more Lies, I can't take any more Lies from her.

    Come on America is this the best we can do for Speaker of the House?

    April 15, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  7. Fed Up!!

    Safe call for Pelosi, the Tea Party accounts for 90% of the racket, not even 10% of the votes, and how many Tea Party candidates????

    April 15, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  8. RTB

    The "Tea Party Movement" is a typical right wing tactic to throw sand in the face of the American voter by distorting of the facts, fear mongering, outright lies – so clear vision on the issues is compromised.

    They are really insulting to the term "Tea Party" in the context we know of it historically.

    These present day folks are self destructive, if one were to examine the movement carefully.

    April 15, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  9. catmomtx

    Oh, why did she go and do that? Now they will vilify her saying she is un American and a traitor for dismissing the majority of disgruntled Americans. Or, they will make something up and just vilify her. Oh, yeah, they already do that......

    April 15, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  10. Phil W.

    Wow...she really doesn't get it, does she??

    April 15, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  11. Bill

    I'll just wait and see what the democrats are crying about in November while they are packing up to move out of their office(s) so the Republican winners can move in..

    April 15, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  12. Joey

    Just keep ignoring us Nancy! When you are all kicked out, we will have the last laugh!

    April 15, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  13. cy

    When so many middle class Americans are struggling economically in terms of joblessness, mushrooming IRS, mushrooming Big Government with Big Government payrolls, continuing and expanding war fronts, Healthcare with never ever before 'individual' mandates, 16,000 new IRS agents in the Healthcare Bill, erosion of rights at the State level, Taxes on the weather, does Nancy Pelosi think that the average thinking American thinks: GEE, lets vote for more Democrats !!

    April 15, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  14. tess

    keep being stupid pelosi – your days are numbered because of just this kind of disdain for the american people! i can't wait to hear your pityful excuse as we send you packing back to the land of fruits and nuts (the perfect place for you).

    April 15, 2010 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  15. CNN T-bags the T-baggers

    Why is it that every time I read a CNN ticker item I feel like I'm watching an episode of Springer?

    It takes awhile to get the vomit taste out of your mouth afterwards.

    April 15, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  16. vwrtb

    And so do 9and1/2 out of 10 AMERICANS !

    April 15, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  17. Watch out Pelosi.

    Tea Party, by Washington's standards they are nothing more than a ragged bunch of trouble makers and will amount to nothing, rebels....

    sound like the Sons of Liberty, but then again they had NO impact, other than to lead the repeal of the Stamp Act, the classic example of Taxation without Representation.

    Watch out Pelosi.

    April 15, 2010 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    WH Democrats don't have time to listen to none sense rheteric when these people don't have a clear forum other than bitter name calling. Republicans want their support but they too have nothing to offer and know the Tea Party is not good baggage for them. These people are like children on a merry-go-round and at some point they are going to have to stop spinning because they are becoming nauseating.

    April 15, 2010 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  19. Jon

    Nancy, I hope you enjoy watching the turnover of the House after forcing all of your members to vote for a health care bill that their constituents did not want them to support. Luckily, you'll burn in hell yourself.

    April 15, 2010 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  20. Danny J

    It's neither smart or ethical to dismiss a large portion of American citizens.

    April 15, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  21. Rob Johnson

    The Democratic Party has nothing to gain by catering to the Tea Party crowd in any way.

    Let them keep doing what they're doing, and they will eventually split the Republican Party in two. Maybe not in November, but by 2012 the GOP as we know it will basically be split in two. It is hard to imagine there NOT being a third party candidate in 2012, maybe Rand Paul, who siphons off a good portion of the conservative vote.

    Which means four more years of Obama.

    April 15, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  22. aware

    The Obtuse Obama is an abnormal guy from a dysfunctional family who never learned what it mesns to be fully human! :(

    April 15, 2010 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  23. shamgar50

    Tea party leaders say they would ‘absolutely’ abolish Social Security."
    Did they tell older Americans this, when you lied about "Death Panels"?

    April 15, 2010 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  24. Proud to be the Party of NO Socialism!

    This crazy woman will do everything except what she needs to do- listen to the concerns of the Tea Party and not dismiss them. She could begin the process of defusing them immediately if she had half a brain. Fortunately for conservatism in America....she doesn't.

    April 15, 2010 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  25. Alan

    This is coming from the same idiot that said that congress has cut $800 million in taxes. I doubt very seriously if she even knows what day it is!

    April 15, 2010 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
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