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. Laura

    Pelosi is a moron. She will be jobless soon. Good riddance!

    April 15, 2010 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  2. Candy

    I'm not a fan of Obama, but I am a Democrat. I'm not very proud of my party right now. To be honest the "political" scene in our country now from both sides of the aisle pretty much makes me want to throw up! But for Nancy Pelosi to say the Tea Party will have no affect on the Democrats this fall??????? Girl you aren't in touch with reality. Isn't anyone listening?

    April 15, 2010 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  3. JThomas

    Oh, please ... a Democrat talking about spreading lies and mis-truths is akin to the pot calling the kettle black. It goes both ways. How's this for misdirection:

    I'm not a Republican, so I don't endorse their platform, but I am an Independent who is sick of the out of control spending in this country. The Dems have attacked the Tea Party constantly on baseless claims. Not the least of which is calling it a racist organization. Are you kidding me? If you're worried about lies, Dems, you better stop spreading them!

    April 15, 2010 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  4. Alert Citizen

    If democrats are doing all these despite of a possible defeat in the foreseeable future, then either they are stupid or they know whats worth sacrificing their seat for!

    April 15, 2010 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  5. dennis

    Does anybody care about what Pelosi says, she will ruin America if given a chance.

    April 15, 2010 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  6. Dan

    pelosi is such an idiot, just wait until november, 2010!!!!!

    April 15, 2010 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  7. Barbara

    N. Pelosi"s statements are double the intelligence level as those of the tea partiers. How can a bunch of ignorant people get together and raise havoc? Yet this has happened throughout history. I started to name some facts, but why bother? The dummies can turn anything around to their advantage. I am predicting that everything said and done will backfire on the Republicans, who started this tea movement. Someone needs to pray. God is in this mix!!!

    April 15, 2010 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  8. its me

    Why am I not surpised Pelosi would be dismissive? What an arrogant, out of touch fool.

    April 15, 2010 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  9. JES

    I guess they would stop spending, no higher taxes, balance the budget, and on and on. I am sorry that only makes sense.

    April 15, 2010 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  10. Cynthia -MN

    Keep thinking that Madame Speaker! I hope you all lose, matter of fact what if we just ousted all of you regardless of party affiliation.

    All these people that spend years and years doing nothing in Congress has to end. WAKE UP AMERICA!

    We keep having the same problems because no one has our interests at heart except when it is election time.

    April 15, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  11. Patterson

    It's always fun to watch the conservatives implode themselves. Boehner does himself and the Republican Party no favor by aligning himself with these Tea Party People.. He is enjoying all the noise they are creating for now but when it comes down to the elections he will have to witness the huge split in his own party. He can applaud the fringe for now but the damage done by election time will be to his party. Reasonable Republicans will be damaged by the mudslinging from this Tea Party Democrats will just be more united.

    April 15, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  12. DonJuan1943

    The rhetoric of the "Tea Party" folks sounds familiar. William L. Shierer in his book "The Rise and Fall of The Thrid Reich", described elements of The Nationalist Socialist Party and their message of fear and loathing in pre-Nazi Germany.

    They successfully manipulated the electorate and the legislative process, leading to the ascent of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party to power. If you tell a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.

    But hey! It couldn't happen here. ...could it?

    April 15, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  13. Darth Vadik, CA

    The Rebels once looked upon themselves as saviors, but in the end they were nothing more than people who stood for slavery, inequality and injustice. To be looked upon as morons by the generations to come.

    April 15, 2010 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  14. Dab

    Pelosi and her ilk act just like the British did before the revolution. She dismisses them aye? Yeah just like the British dismissed the Colonies and their cries for freedom and justice. Pelosi is a walking hag and I cant wait for her political career to die.

    April 15, 2010 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  15. Jeff

    Good, let them ignore it. At least until the day after election day.

    Don't worry, the legislation they have passed (and will pass in the next few months) will create agencies that need high paid figureheads at the helm. They can all get appointments (like Stupak will) after the election.

    April 15, 2010 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  16. Bingo

    Speaker Pelosi's dismissal of the Tea Party and the legitimate voices of a significant number of American voters just further demonstrates how incredibly out of touch she is with mainstream and main street America. She seems to have no concept of how alien her thought processes and political views are to the vast majority of Americans who live either beyond the Beltway or outside her extremely liberal San Franciso district. She is in no danger of losing her seat because she faithfully represents the voters of her district. But there are many, many Democrats who will lose their seats this November because they followed Speaker Pelosi's political ideology instead of the wishes of their hometown constituents. Hopefully, by the time the next Congress is seated in January 2011, she will once again be "The Honorable Congresswoman Pelosi" and no longer "Madame Speaker Pelosi."

    April 15, 2010 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  17. People's Voice

    What a lot of people do not understand is how small a percentage of the total population the Tea Party really is. They are mainly a bunch of old white men and women who are retired or very close to it.

    These are the members of the generation that spit on troops returning from Nam. To be "targeted" by them would be an honor.

    They can go spit on themselves.

    April 15, 2010 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  18. Michele

    If these people would stop their foaming at the mouth for a minute, they would realize that they got a TAX CUT this year, that the TARP money is being repaid by the banks, that they themselves are huge recipients of government money via SS and Medicare, and that their arguments are based on lies from Beck, Hannity, Bachmann and the queen of sarcasm, Madame Sarah.Nothing they say is benefiting anyone but Palin's huge pocketbook, and they are driving a wedge between themselves and the rest of the country. I am not a huge Pelosi fan, but I think she is right on this one...it is Republicans who will suffer in November, because they have refused to do anything but whine about what's wrong, and not work to make anything better.

    April 15, 2010 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  19. Jamey

    Pelosi is an example of why we need term limits.

    April 15, 2010 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  20. Pelosi.....say your goodbyes to Harry Reid....

    he won't be back....ditto for Blanche Lincoln and Arlen Specter.....

    April 15, 2010 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  21. Justin - NC

    This country is not center-right. Its currently center-left as they elected President Obama and a host of Democrats the past two election cycles and they'll more than likely elect more thanks to the Tea Party cannibalizing GOP candidate votes. Even if the Tea Party candidate loses, they'll sap the money straight from the GOP candidate making the Democrat's chances better. Thanks Tea Party, you're ensuring Obama's re-election in 2012. Better start enjoying that Socialism now, you won't see the end of it 'til 2017 at the earliest.

    April 15, 2010 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  22. Robert Martinez

    She just illustrates just out of touch she is her own constituency and the general American public. Harry Ried and Obama are other ones. "Head the Sand " is what brought LBJ down too!

    April 15, 2010 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  23. anthony

    Say all you want about Pelosi BUT

    INTELLIGNET AMERICANS dismiss the Tea Partiers as well.

    April 15, 2010 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  24. Ruth

    I'm sorry but I think the tea party is just a bunch of frustrated republicans who are not, at this time getting their way, so they're throwing a tantrum. They pretty well had their way for 8 years and I guess they do not like change. I am not an expert as a world leader but I do think I understand that working people need good paying jobs and we need our elected officials to work for us not the big corporations that line their pockets with cash. I stress to everyone to please get out and vote.

    April 15, 2010 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  25. tj

    I am indep. I feels that the tea party cannot think for themselves. Where are the tea party when bush was taken us in the wrong direction. I don't agreed with everything with obama. Just as we all don't agree with our boss at work but we have to do our jobs. Americans are very supid and still listen to fox lies. Wake up and we can solve problems if we stand united. I am embrassed to be associated with christains in this country. Jesus christ was for the poor not corporations

    April 15, 2010 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
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