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. P. D.

    Why should Dems pay any attention to a group of elderly, white angry people? They are Republicans anyway. They just renamed themselves. They vote Republican and they are 'Conservative'. Some 'Movement'. The 'Astroturfers' are making a lot of money at these peoples expense. What a group of Sheeple.

    April 15, 2010 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  2. GaryB

    I don't know what the tea party members are like in other parts of the country, but out here in very conservative (65% Republican leaning) South Orange County, CA, they tend to horribly misinformed and ready to panic at a moment's notice. I can't believe how many e-mails I get from tea party supporting friends about "the latest Obama bill to take away our guns" or "Obama's favorite pork projects" or... Almost 100% of the time, when one investigates the presumed bill that they're all up in arms about, it either never existed, or the bill named is a completely different bill, or the bill was soundly defeated ten years ago. Yet these people keep passing along these rumors, without ever checking them out, believing them to be completely factual because, gosh arn it , their e-mail wouldn't lie to them!

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

    Heard one interview where a tea partier said he "wants government to leave him alone." Do these people REALLY want nothing from the government?
    It appears that many of these people take for granted the services and protections that the government provides with tax dollars - roads, schools, military, food and industrial regulation, clean water, clean air (and soc. sec and medicare on which many of these tea partiers depend, whether they will admit it or not)... if the government doesn't collect tax money and manage these services, the services will cease to exist. I suppose tea partiers think that we don't need the govt to take care of these things, that somehow they will be taken care of. Which brings me to my point – these people are delusional.

    April 15, 2010 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  4. Whoever

    lol she's done.

    April 15, 2010 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  5. Theresa

    I am a Democrat who supports the President but I really wish that Nancy Pelosi would just keep her trap shut.

    April 15, 2010 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  6. lieNoMore

    The Tea Party folks are mindless pathetic cows, give me Pelosi or any body with an ounce of courage any day. Blah Blah Blah who doesn't want lower taxes and smaller government? But watch how quickly gramps runs home from the Tea Party rally –like a crying baby– if we make his social security the first thing cut in the "smaller government".

    April 15, 2010 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  7. Ancient Texan

    The arrogance of the ego-maniac Democrats is amusing to say the least. But, if they persist in ignoring and belittleing the Tea Party Members, so much the better. The total number of supporters of the Tea Party Movement is so much more in number than the Dems realize, they'll be amazed come November.

    April 15, 2010 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  8. EDR

    The Dems can dismiss the tea Party all they want, because the Dems will be the ones dismissed in November!!!

    April 15, 2010 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  9. cajr

    more like the country is going backwards, wacko lib.

    April 15, 2010 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  10. William

    Sure, Nancy. This is only proof that delusion ends in insanity. And guess what? When the Dems lose those 40 seats in the House, Pelosi will never again be Speaker because her own party will never let it happen again.

    April 15, 2010 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  11. Patriot

    When reports show the majority of the tea party is racially political, it is difficult to even relate to the antiquated nonsense (witch doctors, slavery revival, etc.)–ad nauseum.

    This is the 21st Century.

    April 15, 2010 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  12. greg morris

    tea party and facts just dont seem to go together..

    and the more they continue on with their dis-information tour and rallies, they will draw more and more democratic supporters of their defend their candidates who are actually WORKING for the people.. i see this tea party movement inspiring more people to get out and vote this fall,,, however to their dismay, i think the outcome is going to be ALOT different they think

    April 15, 2010 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  13. Please, Please

    Nancy, Nancy, Nancy.............c'mon, at some point you are going to have to acknowledge that the T Partiers are having an impact!! I'll guess you'll finally acknowledge it in November.

    April 15, 2010 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  14. RB

    Someone actually cares what Pelosi thinks? Amazing...

    April 15, 2010 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  15. Bobby

    Thank you Nancy Pelosi. This is just the news that the Tea Party needs to hear. Obviously, you don't get out much to listen to people or see what is going on. I guess you are still unaware of what happened in the beloved Democratic State of Mass. Living in a fantasy world must be so nice. You really helped out your buddies by making this stupid statement. Boy, are you ever going to eat those words in November. Of course, as usual you will have some lame excuse to blame it on. It will be because all the Republicans are racist, or maybe the Democrats did not read and understand the ballots, or, I know, it is Bush's fault.

    April 15, 2010 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  16. Mark

    Pelosi is the one who will be DISMISSED in November!!!

    Say Good-bye to that radical loon....

    April 15, 2010 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  17. Bill

    That's what King George said about the first tea party. We all know how that turned out.

    April 15, 2010 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  18. MAD IN TEXAS

    Well STUPID PELOSI is wrong again. yes we're targeting Democrats. Yes we are critical of Republicans who do not do their job. But you better understand when it comes election time the Republican block will be checked. Goodbye immoral Democrats. You don't realize it yet but you are a ship that does not float and who is dead in the water with your deadbeat leadership who want to lead us to the road of destruction. IT WILL NOT BE. FOR WE ARE THE PEOPLE OF THE CONSTITUTION AND CHRISTIANITY.

    April 15, 2010 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  19. Henry Gomez

    Nancy Pelosi should not Demis The Tea Party. She will see in November when she finds herself out of a job. Maybe she ask the President for another Bailout for all those Democratic out of a job. The unemployment will increase we elect people in this country to reperesent us it does not mean they can do what they want as long they are getting Kick-back. We need to take over before socialism does

    April 15, 2010 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  20. Robert

    Good for you Mrs. Pelosi. I totally agree with you. Those people who are smart do not belive on that so called "movement" People who cares for this country shouls offer solutions to our government with positive attitude and optimism not with noise and negativism.
    republicans will pay the price.
    Go Nancy!

    April 15, 2010 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  21. DCKID

    The Tea Party Movement will fail. Its members are not willing to die for its cause. They are willing to commit violence and possibly even murder. But they are not willing to die.

    The civil rights movement was a real movement, its members could care less about being jailed and there has never been an accurate count of how many died for the beliefs in which they fought. Suffice it to say at least tens of thousands actually died.

    If you consider yourself to be a tea party member and you think you can create real change through name calling and intimidation you will be gravely disappointed. Some of you will have to loose your lives. But we all know that the changes you are fighting for are not worth your life. Those changes are only worth other peoples lives and so you will fail.

    April 15, 2010 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  22. lisa

    It may not affect Nancy's district so she will probably stay in office. Which is all she seems to care about. Congress needs to address really important issues Unemployment the housing market. Wait they don't have clue

    April 15, 2010 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  23. Ben Dover

    Pelosi has been talking trash about the Tea Party since it began and this is a moderation from her early verbage. Come November we will see if she still is still talking like this is a pick up basketball game. As a tea party participant I can tell you we won't be voting for any nuts like Pelosi and her ilk.

    April 15, 2010 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  24. rateman

    Pelosi had a comment, was she awake & aware??

    April 15, 2010 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  25. tag

    pelosi is an idiot! wake up nancy and smell the tea!

    April 15, 2010 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
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