September 13th, 2009
07:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Aide: Obama doesn't think tea partiers are racist

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday that the president doesn't think growing conservative anger directed at the administration is being motivated by the color of the president's skin."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A day after tens of thousands of conservatives gathered in Washington to protest the policies of the Obama administration, a top White House aide said that President Obama doesn’t think the protests and the growing conservative movement against Obama are motivated by racism.

“I don’t think the president believes that people are upset because of the color of his skin,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

Pointing to the upcoming first anniversary of the collapse of investment banking giant Lehman Brothers, Gibbs said he thought the anger directed at the administration stems from the federal government’s unprecedented intervention in the private sector during the financial crisis that began last fall.

“We’ve had to do some extraordinary things, both this administration [and] the previous administration, to rescue the financial system, to ensure that our domestic auto industry didn’t go out of business, and to stimulate the economy,” Gibbs said.

“This rhetoric often gets way too hot,” Gibbs added, “I think what we have to all do is take a step back, take a deep breath and remember who we’re here to represent: millions of Americans that have health insurance but are watching their premiums double.”

soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. Deb

    Where oh WHERE were these oh so concerned citizens back when Bush was lying to us, back when our 'then' president got us involved in a needless war, divided us with the 'you're with me or against me' mentality?? When our deficiet was building faster than we could count?? ... where were YOU Tea Party people then? Oh that's right, your guy was in control so it didn't matter what happened to anyone else. How , what did you call us who questioned Bush's policies... OH yeah... Un-American!! A little too little and a little too late.

    September 13, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  2. Joe citizen abroad

    No. The "tea party-ers" are probably not motivated by race. But it's easy to see why there might be some confusion. They are motivated by ignorance. Ignorance is generally associated with racism, so yeah, you're going to get some major overlap.

    September 13, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  3. what the %@$&?!

    Who does he think he's kidding?! Those tea parties are a magnet for bigots who are pissed that he's president.

    September 13, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    "...mostly white...” 70% of the USA population is white. Why must race be a factor?

    September 13, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  5. Scott Peters

    Everyone is aware the GOP has been reduced to a fringe minority. A two-party system works to help keep things in balance. The right, if they wish to be relevant, should educate themselves...

    September 13, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |

    Tell Robert that EX-President Jimmy Carter has a job for him with "Habitat for Humanity" who started that program after he left office, under similar circumstances.

    September 13, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  7. doc

    too funny! all you liberals still spewing about how brilliant obama is............still trying to convince yourselves? too funny!

    September 13, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  8. D. Tree

    All these angry Teabaggers got tax cuts from Obama this year so they have nothing to complain about.

    This President is actually trying to help those angry and confused people, whether they hate him or not.

    I thank God every day that we have such a good President who cares about working people, instead of the Republicans who only care about the Rich.

    September 13, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  9. mel in Fl

    Once again, where were you all tea baggers for the past eight years, back them, you just didn't care, was allright all the gigantic over spending?????? so, you were not too patriots back them????

    September 13, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  10. PaulC

    Obama is being kind and diplomatic but the reality is that when Bush II passed the prescription drug plan and the Iraq war there was no concern about funding or claims of socialism.
    If it looks like racism, smells like racism, and quack likes racism then it is racism.

    September 13, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  11. SC guy

    I think everybody is just getting fed-up with what he is doing.

    September 13, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  12. Chenna Benna

    How come the MSM only covers the teabag protesters marches, but not the pro-health reform rallies? There was a pro-health reform march today in DC and across the country but no mention of it in the media. I guess if the people aren't carrying crazy signs defaming our presidents face and calling everything he does socialism, those rallies won't get covered.

    September 13, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  13. Michael Coudret

    Racism has not gone away and am sure you can find someone at the te party who is motivated by race. That said I believe the majority of the anger is about the reckless spending from our government. This is not just this administration as the last 8 years was full of it as well. This President seems to willing to take spending to a new level which is scary.

    September 13, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  14. huskersva

    I laugh every time I read that I'm racist because I disagree with the president's policies because the people calling me racist are the true racists. After all, the only reason the majority of african americans voted for Obama was because of his color. Now, tell me that isn't racist. Oh, I forgot, that's different.

    September 13, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  15. Sue

    All these people calling the Tea Party participants racist are really acting "STUPIDLY".

    September 13, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  16. nelson

    OBAMA better wake up to what people are saying... get out of our private lives, period!

    September 13, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  17. Fan of HJA

    You are so right: the Republicans are dividing this country. And I think it's a planned division. Like Rush says, Republicans want Obama to fail. That's so American (*tongue firmly in cheek*), isn't it? I'm an Independent and I've voted all over the political spectrum...but the Republicans are swiftly losing this swing vote.

    September 13, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  18. JENNY

    I have to believe that racism played a BIG PART in the tea partiers.If not then WHY DO THEY ALL LOOK ALIKE? Something is wrong? Good grief no one is that dumb?

    September 13, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  19. Jennie S.

    I am so sick of the race card being played! Our Country, Our Freedoms are in trouble people! I don't care if your a democrat or a republican, you'd be a fool to think that the government can efficiently and effectively run anything! Look at Medicare for example, also, the IRS can't even pass their own audit and we expect the government to get us out of financial trouble. Let's remind our politicians and our President that they work for us and if they don't like it that way then they should get their pink slip!

    September 13, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  20. Chad

    Yes they are.

    September 13, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  21. cjl

    I think that's the first accurate statement that Robert Gibbs has made since Obama took office. And liberals seem to live to misinterpret the tea party movement as a number of things: racism, ignorance, partisanship. It is nothing other than very smart or common sensical people not wanting their government to be the be-all-end-all problem solver for the nation and to stop intervening in the private sector – even if that means failure to some extent. It is Americanism in its purest form.

    September 13, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  22. Chad

    They just don't get it. Government is elected by the people – if you do not like the government perhaps you should elect someone else to represent you. Joe Wilson, Jim Demitt and your other heroes all voted for trillion dollar tax cuts (welfare for the rich), war, and billions of dollars in pork spending. Yet you continue to elect these people. Where was your precious Glenn Beck then?? Now get mad because we have a president who wants to spend money for good reasons.

    September 13, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  23. Amanda

    Of course they are. Starting wiht Wilson who has a history of it. These people cannot accept the fact that a young, brilliant, articulate, educated black man is our democratically elected President. This is why they are constantly trying to de-legitimize him (alien, not born here, etc ...)

    September 13, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  24. JP

    Oh, they are racists, let those tea party idiots go without Social Security, Medicare and other governement programs if that's the way they want it.

    September 13, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
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