April 29th, 2009
04:00 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama responds to tea party movement

(CNN) – President Obama has finally responded personally to the so-called the "tea party" movement – a move amongst some conservatives that criticizes the new administration's policies on taxes, spending, and borrowing during a national economic crisis.

Those critics, he said, were "just waving tea bags around."

"I know you've been hearing all these arguments about, oh, 'Obama is just spending crazy,'" the president said at a town hall event in Arnold, Missouri Wednesday. "Well, let me make a point. Number one, we inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit - that wasn't from my - that wasn't me."

"Number two, there is almost uniform consensus among economists that in the middle of the biggest crisis - financial crisis since the Great Depression, we had to take extraordinary steps. So you've got a lot of Republican economists who agree that we had to do a stimulus package and we had to do something about the banks."

The president told the audience that the federal government's biggest long term fiscal challenges are its commitments for Medicare and Medicaid.

"That's why I've said we've got to have health reform this year - to drive down costs and make health care affordable for American families, businesses and for our government," said Obama.

On his 100th day in office, Obama said he would like to have a "serious" discussion" about how the federal government can rein in spending and meet its long term obligations.

"So, you know, when you see - those of you who are watching certain news channels on which I'm not very popular and you see folks waving tea bags around, let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we're going to stabilize Social Security."

"But let's not play games and pretend that the reason is because of the [$787 billion stimulus bill], because that's just a fraction of the overall problem that we've got."

The national "tea party" movement was inspired by CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli's late February outburst on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Joined by several traders, Santelli expressed frustration about the Obama administration's plan to increase government spending in the hopes of turning around the economy and helping homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages. During the outburst, Santelli suggested the idea of having a "Chicago tea party" on the shores of Lake Michigan.

soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. Sorry Pilan

    Go OBAMA!

    April 29, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  2. anita

    duplicity doubled again

    April 29, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  3. Moderate Democrat

    Republicans screaming "Don't fix it, just ignore it, cut taxes for the rich and torture the other 95% of america" in 3.....2......1

    April 29, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  4. globalgrove

    How asesome is that!!??? Our President just dissed FOX News!!!

    April 29, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. Lowell

    Yeah, they were just waving tea bags around. The time for revolution lasted for 8 years, and I didn't see these people waving tea bags around protesting a dictatorial government. Where were they for the last 8 years?

    April 29, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. jim, kansas city MO

    This guy can not handle criticizm, I think that is going to be his downfall.
    I can not believe he is responding to tea party movement.
    He is very much concerned about his popularity, and the fact that somebody does not like him or think like him does not sit well with him.

    April 29, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. Takeshi

    super funny. call them out on their BS. NO BODY TAXING anybody so what in the h-ll are they mad about . hahahaa.

    April 29, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. Barbara - Atlanta

    CNBC& FOX, there you have it...put your tea where your bag is!

    April 29, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. Laugh now Obamarites......

    you won't be laughing when you're working as a "coolie" for the Chinese government.

    April 29, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. Bud

    Tea Baggers. Just a bunch of people still upset that they lost... To a black man.

    April 29, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. 4 and No More

    His Point Number One is to point his finger at the previous administration?!?? I guess that's the Democratic flavor of leadership. Of course, that's the platform he ran on ( even though Bush left the White House because of term limits ), so I guess this is what we got.
    This will be " The administration of excuses". Good luck with that.

    April 29, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    "So you've got a lot of Republican economists who agree that we had to do a stimulus package"

    Is this anything like having a lot of democrats agree/support that waterboarding needed to be done, "in the middle of the biggest crisis" in 2001? Sounds the same.

    April 29, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  13. HEYDUDE CBUS

    787 billion is about half our national debt!!!! in 100 short days Obama has taken "thier" 1.3 trillion in just debt and turned it into 2 trillion with CHINAS money.

    The spending has got to stop!!

    Im single and IM the one bailing out the country, NOT the families of ppl that complain. I pay 2x the taxes of a family of 4 making 3 times as much as i do!!!
    How is this right? And all you (families) are on here saying that Obama is the "savior" of this country, well when YOU start putting in your FAIR share you can have a REAL complaint. I will be registering to vote for the first time in 20 years, why? OBAMA, I will be voting AGAINST him in 2012. Looks like the democratic "trick" of getting (young) ppl to register to vote will work against them next time!!!

    heydude

    April 29, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. ChiGuy

    Wow it took 15 days to say that?

    April 29, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  15. joe smith

    has any one seen a report, read some clip, or in some other way bin made aware of a replacement, for our dearly departed Mr. Kellerman, at Freddie Mac. perhaps, someone could give us a hint, as to what Mr. Kellermans' upcoming report would reflect..maybe there is an investigative reporter out there somewhere..

    April 29, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  16. munchmom

    "So, you know, when you see — those of you who are watching certain news channels on which I'm not very popular and you see folks waving tea bags around, let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we're going to stabilize Social Security."

    At least he realizes that he isn't very popular on one network...too bad he is still acting like a campaigner instead of the prez. Don't diminish those of us who disagree with you, because we have a right to "wave tea bags around" as much as he does wasting all of our money! At least some of us are actually calling him to task for wasting it.

    April 29, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  17. Veronica

    Tell them mr President!!

    April 29, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  18. Chuck, Tennessee

    Just like most other politicians, Obama does not understand that many Americans are tired of the government getting larger and larger with no end in sight to the growth. In 2008, while many businesses were cutting payrolls, the government increased the number of its employees. Whenever the government begins a new program, it never goes away. Obama promised to cut PROGRAMS, not just spending. Have we heard of one program on the chopping block? NO! He only proposed that his Cabinet cut $100 milllion in spending. Compared to the budget proposal for next year, that is the equivalent of a person making $90,000 per year deciding to order water instead of a soft drink at ONE MEAL PER YEAR.

    April 29, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  19. KC

    So the president is making fun of Millions of voters? The president is criticizing American people for voicing dissatisfaction and frustration in a peaceful manner? Wow, that is pretty un-American. President Obama - America first.

    April 29, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. Scott

    You tell 'em, Barack!!! Although the entire tea bag story is overblown. The numbers reported by FOX are bogus as to attendance. Let a few malcontents whine. Let Republicans be the party of "No." The president is trying to fix an eight year mess and that requires drastic measures.

    April 29, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  21. Wayne

    You tell 'em MR. President.

    He's right you know.

    April 29, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  22. Steve, Columbia SC

    Mr President,

    We pay alot of money for our branches of government to govern............I expect you and our Congress to figure out how to rein in spending............and consider reducing our long term obligations. It is those obligations we can no longer afford. I expect you to live within our means, not print and spend as much as you want.

    April 29, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  23. mikeinfxbg

    "...didn't happen on my watch..." "...I inherited this deficit..." He needs to stop the bellyachin, pointing the finger at "..it was the last guy's fault" whining. If he would spend less time getting his face on television (and stop listening to that pack of idiots he calls a staff, more properly it should be listed as a 'staph') and working the problems, he might actually make some progress.

    April 29, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  24. Mike

    "rein in spending"? Is that what he's doing right now by spending trillions.
    Under his philosophy, if I was in debt then the best way to get out of it is to spend more money.
    Great. Thanks for the advice, but I think I'll stick with cutting my expenses first which is a philosophy you Mr. President don't seem to understand.

    April 29, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. Rick

    The "blame it on George Bush excuse" has just about run it's course....it's on Barry now.

    April 29, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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