Tea party group to Bachmann: Quit the presidential race
October 27th, 2011
05:45 PM ET
3 years ago

Tea party group to Bachmann: Quit the presidential race

(CNN) – A tea party group has a surprising and harsh urging for long-time tea party favorite Michele Bachmann: Quit the presidential race.

"It's time for Michele Bachmann to go," reads the first line of a statement from American Majority President Ned Ryun. His group operates in seven states, trains thousands of tea party supporters and is "liked" by over 371,000 people on Facebook.

"Bachmann, the leader of the so-called tea party caucus in the House and the most vocal about her affiliation with the Tea Party than any other Presidential candidate, has consistently presented herself as a champion of the movement and its values," Ryun's statement continued.

"Bachmann has ridden her tea party credentials from obscurity to a national platform like no other."

Bachmann campaign manager Keith Nahigian responded in a statement.

"The strength of the Tea Party is all individual's opinions are valued but the no single leader speaks for it. Mr. Ryun, who supports Texas Gov. Rick Perry, is entitled to his own opinion. And that's exactly what he is expressing. Michele Bachmann enjoys strong support from Americans across party lines and that certainly includes the Tea Party. She will continue to be a strong advocate for the values and principles reflected by the Tea Party as works toward a victory in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses as she seeks to win the Republican nomination."

Ryun denies he supports Perry, telling CNN: "I liked his plan that he came out with earlier in the week. And I said as much in a blog post. But I have not, and neither has American Majority endorsed anybody."

American Majority's rebuke of Bachmann marks the first time a well-known tea party group has turned on one of its own in the presidential race – a candidate who so frequently pushes tea party values it's become a key underpinning of her White House bid.

The group explained its reasons why it's grown incensed with Bachmann.

"I think it's pretty obvious that Michele Bachmann is about Michele Bachmann," American Majority Executive Director Matt Robbins said.

"Anyone who knows the congresswoman, and knows her record, we appreciate a national figure standing up for the tea party types," Robbins added.

Robbins said the statement is not about the group favoring one candidate over Bachmann.

"We are equal opportunity hecklers." Robbins said. "We point out the foibles and the flaws in each one of the candidates. And we don't care which one of the personalities wins, as long as they're conservative."

"Let's face it: she's a back-bencher and has been a back bencher congressperson for years," Robbins added. "This is not a serious presidential campaign."

Bachmann won the first major contest of the presidential cycle, August's Ames Straw Poll in Iowa. The Minnesota congresswoman has also won some good reviews for her performances in presidential debates. And, though her polling fortunes have recently tumbled, many campaign watchers believe Bachman's candidacy cannot be dismissed.

In explaining his claim that Bachmann isn't running a serious campaign, Robbins dismissed Bachmann's straw poll win.

"They're not accurate reads," Robbins said. "That's not the structure, that's not the money, that's not the seriousness, that's not the gravitas, you know, any of the real big league things that one needs in order to mount a truly credible, nationwide presidential campaign."

The executive director also cited Bachmann's recent staffing and fundraising misfortunes.

The group explains another reason it believes Bachmann should quit the GOP presidential race.

"Bachmann's resulting plunge in the polls is troubling for the tea party, not because 'one of their own' is losing her footing, but because the longer Bachmann stays in the race, the more likely we will see her shift to the right," Ryun wrote in the statement. "This rightward shift will come as the campaign works to hold on to its more conservative base of support in advance of the release of Bachmann's new book next month."

Ryun continued: "There is nothing wrong with addressing your base during a campaign. However, I suspect that we will hear more from her about social issues and religion to accomplish that goal. As an evangelical who is deeply pro-life, I can say that while many inside the tea party movement are socially conservative, social issues are not what drive the Tea Party."

Since the movement's founding in 2009, activists and supporters have tried to squarely focus on constitutional adherence, fiscal responsibility and lower taxes. Activists typically steer clear of social issues like abortion and gay marriage. While Bachmann frequently pushes the tea party's message on fiscal issues, she's recently stressed her opposition to abortion rights and her defense of traditional marriage.

"In Bachmann's case, it is clear that the campaign has become less about reform and more about her personal effort to stay relevant and sell books; a harsh commentary, but true," Ryun wrote. "While other campaigns are diving into the substance, the supposed tea party candidate Bachmann is sticking to thin talking points and hanging on for dear life."

When contacted about the statement, some other tea party groups remain largely positive about the Bachmann candidacy.

Jenny Beth Martin is co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, the nation's largest tea party group.

"I haven't heard of any local tea party groups calling for Michele Bachmann to bow out," Martin said. "Michele Bachmann has fought and championed the tea party core values - the fiscal responsibility, the constitutional and limited government and free markets on Capitol Hill – oftentimes when very few others were willing to take up the mantle. And tea party supporters appreciate her for championing their cause repeatedly and consistently."

As for criticism of Bachmann's focus on social issues, Martin said, "When you're running for president, you're appealing to more than just tea party people. And you have to answer questions on other issues as well. So I'm not surprised when any of the candidates are talking about the other issues because those are things that come up in presidential campaigns."

Levi Russell, director of public affairs for Americans for Prosperity, said, "The conservative movement across the country has not made up its mind about any one particular candidate.

"I think it's too early to call for anybody to drop out," Russell added.


Filed under: 2012 • Michele Bachmann • Tea Party
soundoff (238 Responses)
  1. Darth Cheney

    We love her, she's one of us, it's just she's too much of a crackpot to win. Hmm, does that logic say anything about the Tea Party?

    October 27, 2011 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  2. midwestmoderate

    "from American Majority President Ned Ryun. His group operates in seven states, trains thousands of tea party supporters and is "liked" by over 371,000 people on Facebook."

    I like how he "trains" tea party supporters. I can only assume this means he brain washes people on what he thinks they should believe to advance his own agenda and the people he does this to aren't intelligent enough to realize it and form their own opinions based on facts.

    October 27, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    "While other campaigns are diving into the substance, the supposed tea party candidate Bachmann is sticking to thin talking points and hanging on for dear life."
    ----------
    But, Bachmann keeps repeating the same talking points that all of the candidates recite. Her problem is that that is all that she does. She has no jobs plan. No economic outlook. No foreign policy vision. No solutions. I don't think it is fair to single out Rep. Bachmann and to ignore the other candidates who have offered no more than she has.

    October 27, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  4. Phil in KC

    Wow – from darling to dumped, overnight. Perry was urged to enter as the savior of the Republican party, then his numbers plummeted when they really saw who he was. Cain was a joke; now he's leading Romney. Goes to show how fickle these guys are. I wonder who the next 'wunderkind' will be?
    I think Obama was right – wait until they're all voted off the island. They'll have beaten each other up by then.

    October 27, 2011 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  5. Rick

    So is she not crazy enough for the tea party or too crazy? I didn't quite get that.

    October 27, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  6. iTALIAN NONNO

    Stick a fork in her,.. she's done like dinner.

    October 27, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. Andi

    I can't stand Bachmann, but the group is called 'American Majority'? That's funny.

    October 27, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. John

    Both should quit...now!

    Neither Bachmann, nor the so-called tea party is going anywhere, anyway. The tea party nees to quit and Bachmann needs to Quit. The tea party is the right wing bigots of the republican party in the house, and that's the wing that is stalling progression in congress.

    While the tea party calls on Bachmann to quit, the country calls on the tea party to quit holding the American people at ransom through their negative attitudes in problem – solving.

    On this basis both Bachmann and the tea party MUST quit. The sooner, the better for everyone of us.

    October 27, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  9. Nash

    Amen. She should drop out just to save face if not for anything else. Apart from bashing the President, she is not going anywhere.

    October 27, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  10. once upon a horse

    right now the only purpose Michelle Bachmann has in the race is to keep saying negative things about Obama, factual or not, just to keep that part of the based riled up that dislike this president no matter what he does. She does a good job doing that and perhaps a job at FoxNews awaithere if she happens to get booted out of Congress next go around.

    October 27, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  11. vet in texas

    "turn out the lights the parties over" – the Don Meredith edition

    So she's in it, as Sarah was for one thing, money! Selling books that will be bought up by some PAC, then said PAC will give away the books for donations or buying some BS subscription......isn't that Money laundering?

    Bachmann has continuously made nothing but false statement after false statement, that was cool when it's only about Barry, they like that, but when it's about one of their own (HPV causing retardation), "she's only for herself", hilarious, I see Bachmann getting fired from Minnesota (only 1 vote since June or August), and starting the usual hustle of a well paid speaker who will be speaking for the next 4 years about Obama......another pledge signer bites the dust!

    October 27, 2011 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    Her insaniy exposes too much of theirs. Can't have that...no no...the crazy is for AFTER you get elected, not before.

    October 27, 2011 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  13. seriously???

    Ouch!! But so, so funny!!! BYE BYE BACHMANN!!!

    October 27, 2011 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  14. scat398

    The tea party is founded on fiscal resonsiblity and lower taxes. It's time for the tea party to step forward and nominate Ron Paul, the only cadidate republican or democrat that truly is pushing those two ideas

    October 27, 2011 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  15. Durr, Maths

    "I think it's pretty obvious that Michele Bachmann is about Michele Bachmann," American Majority Executive Director Matt Robbins said.

    Well no kidding. Finally the Tea Party is taking back their movement from these right wing demo gauges that leached onto it.
    Now all OWS needs to do is get rid of Michael Moore and they're both on their way back to relevancy.

    October 27, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  16. Indy

    "It's time for Michelle [sic] Bachmann to go," reads the first line of a statement from American Majority President Ned Ryun. His group operates in seven states, trains thousands of tea party supporters and is "liked" by over 371,000 people on Facebook.

    There is training involved for being a Tea Party supporter ? I thought Tea Party people said that they think for themselves. Bachmann is a joke and everyone knows it and yes she is giving the Tea Party a worse persona than it already has, so of course they want her to quit right now. If Bachmann didnt have a book coming out she would quit which is the responsible thing to do, but being Michele Bachmann she will hang in as long as she can so she can benifit financially, like a true conservative.

    October 27, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. Me

    Not just the tea party - the coffee klatch, coke bottlers, agua worshippers, dogs, cats, hamsters, we all want her out.

    October 27, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  18. bb

    Bachmann's not much different from Perry. In fact, add Santorum, Newt, and Ron Paul to that list. When you get down to it, absolutely NONE of the Republican candidates can be taken seriously. Pull 'em all out, GOP. Work hard on your worthless Congress and turn yourself around FOR the people. We are all fully aware that we are watching the Republican party implode before our very eyes. Turn yourself around or you are gone.

    October 27, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  19. RINO Bil

    WTF? Michele Bachmann is the very symbol of the Tea Party! Who are they going to pose as their poster girl now? Palin? O'Donnell? How about Perry? Since the Donald neutered him with that birther thing, Rick could give it a shot..

    October 27, 2011 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  20. Jonathan

    Aaaaaaand there goes the extremely remote shot she had of getting anywhere in this race. If the only base that gives her a snowball's chance is backing out, what does she have left exactly?

    October 27, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  21. ath

    I do not know this Paul Ryun but I do know he must be smart man LOL. Funny how a group of people can eat their own whether they are dead or alive. Oh please let her stay in just a little longer. She amuses the mass.

    October 27, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  22. Nick

    let the feast begin!! And they start to eat their own!!!

    October 27, 2011 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  23. GOP = Greed Over People

    "I think it's pretty obvious that Michele Bachmann is about Michele Bachmann," American Majority Executive Director Matt Robbins said"

    And this makes manic Michele different from Bailin' Palin how exactly?

    October 27, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  24. RWB1956

    Gee, what a shock! I told her that three months ago.

    October 27, 2011 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  25. MaryM

    Bye, Bye bachmann. BTW, does she get to keep all that PAC money she raised?

    October 27, 2011 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
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