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. Rosslaw

    Don't listen to them, Barbara. We round earthers think that you make an outstanding Republican candidate. Hang on in there.

    October 28, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. Pam

    Hilarious!!!!
    You can move to Alaska and have Sarah Palin as your neightbor!
    You two would get along fabulously! You both have the same IQ .... 12 !!!!

    October 28, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. rs

    Maybe Bachmann really does represent the GOP/TP- she's only in it for the money. Pretty well describes what the GOP has been doing for the last 20 years!

    October 28, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. Jacob

    I have said this before and time again, Americans will not elect a women, we will see a hispanic and then a asian and everyone eles be elected before a women gets in office,

    October 28, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. Mark from Canada

    "The strength of the Tea Party is all individual's opinions are valued but the no single leader speaks for it."

    "The strength of the Occupy Movement is all individual's opinions are valued but the no single leader speaks for it.

    Which is true? I think I know the true answer...

    October 28, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. blf83

    Bad news for Bachman? She IS the bad news.

    October 28, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. Mark from Canada

    What a waste of time!!

    October 28, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    I like Bachman . She was a shining light when all looked dark and were afraid to speak up. I think the more candidates the better. Obama is waiting to unleash his millions of campaign funds. On one special candidate. Better to be alive on many fronts.

    October 28, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. V in Chicago

    Bye-Bye, Michelle!

    October 28, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  10. Big Al

    Michelle Bachmann is all about Michelle Bachmann? Fair enough. But no one notices that about Sarah???

    October 28, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. jim

    "...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."

    A group that operates in only 7 states and is 'liked' on Facebook by approximately 0.1% of the US population has the balls to call itself "American Majority?" Amazing self aggrandizement.

    October 28, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Pepinium

    "I think it's pretty obvious that Michele Bachmann is about Michele Bachmann",
    Gee, I thought that just made her the perfect Republican candidate !!!!

    October 28, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. Rick

    And take that Sarah Palin with you!

    October 28, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Rick 7809

    It is no surprise that you can't find this story on the Faux News website. There will come a time when the money in the Rethuglican party will tell the Tea Party to shut up if they really want a chance to win, but the TP won't understand it and stay on the far right fringe of the party and it will all go up in smoke on election day.

    October 28, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. Lenny Pincus

    Bachmann has never had a thought about governance. She has been obsessed with the gays, just like Santorum. Both of them are cracked. BTW, I've enjoyed some of the right wing Congress goobers bemoaning how unpopular they are. Gee, you define yourselves as obstructionists then cry when you are seen as such. What a shock.

    October 28, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. Don

    Michelle doesn't need the tea party. All she has to do is get the voices she hears in her head to vote and she'll win in a landslide.

    October 28, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. James K. in Minneapolis

    When did she have time to write a book?

    October 28, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. Drew Williams

    I don't think the GOP should turn ALL of their comedy relief over to Herman Cain just yet.

    October 28, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. CCHUCK

    The writing has been on the wall for Bachmann to quit for some time. Her outlandish comments have left people running for cover. Santorum needs to read the writing too. His outragous comments are without any merit also.
    A candidate cannot make ridiculous comments and views and expect to be on a national ballot. The public for the most part, recognizes truth from fiction.

    October 28, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. Zach

    "Michele Bachmann enjoys strong support from Americans across party lines"

    Sorry, you wanna run that one by us again, Mr. Campaign Manager?

    October 28, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. RickT

    Go be a mother, Michelle. It will be a better way to serve our country.

    October 28, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. Pepinium

    @Richard....keep dreaming, the American people are not going to return to power the party that has conducted 275 filibusters during this administration, just to ensure that the President's policies are not implemented. They realize who the obstructionists are and, as far as the Republicans, you are ignoring the infighting in our own party. The true conservatives don't trust Romney (your most likely nominee) and neither do the Evangelists, many of whom will stay at home rather than vote for a Mormon. There are going to be riots next year at the Republican convention , and those who are associated with representing only the interests of the elite (read, Republicans) are going to pay a heavy price in the next election cycle !!! Recommend you provision your cave properly because you are going to have to live in it for another 5 years at least !!!

    October 28, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. jim

    Anonymous says ...

    I like Bachman . She was a shining light when all looked dark and were afraid to speak up.

    – That's pretty funny!!! Thanks for posting it! Very Good Laugh !!

    Maybe the tea party dumped her because she preached $2 a gallon gas...

    Bachmann = Tea Party
    Bachmann = $2 a gallon gas
    Tea Party = big business & big oil.
    $2 a gallon gas = less profits for oil
    Tea Party = Get rid of Bachmann

    October 28, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. Tea Party

    Only good republican candidate is Huntsman...An he isn't crazy enough to get republican voters attention. Too bad he could really swing Independents/Moderates/non extereme Liberals.

    October 28, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. Mark

    As long as they don't support that crazy old coot Ron Paul, I'm fine with whoever they support.

    October 28, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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