January 28th, 2010
09:48 PM ET
12 years ago

Two key Tea Party Convention speakers cancel

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/28/art.bachmann.1210.gi.jpg caption=" Rep. Michele Bachmann has dropped out of next week's Tea Party Convention."]Washington (CNN) - Two major speakers at next week's first Tea Party Convention are dropping out of the lineup.

Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann announced Thursday that they will not be attending the convention, which is scheduled to start late next week in Nashville, Tennessee.

Blackburn was scheduled to serve as a featured speaker and also introduce the keynote speaker, former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Bachman was scheduled to serve as one of the convention's kickoff speakers. Both congresswomen are strong supporters of the tea party movement.

Blackburn's congressional office says the House Committee on Standards advised her not to participate in the convention, which is being put together by the Tea Party Nation as a for-profit entity. Tea Party Nation is run by Judson Phillips, a lawyer in Tennessee.

"I spoke to Judson Phillips this morning and let him know that I could not participate in the convention. I told him frankly that Tea Party Nation's for-profit status has put many of his speakers in an awkward position," Blackburn said in a statement.

"Standards advised Congressman Blackburn not to participate in the event due to uncertainty about how any proceeds from the event may be used. Convention organizers have not been clear about how those funds will be put to use. We have every indication that any profit could be put to work to advance grass roots causes and some of those uses could make the Congressman's participation improper after the fact," says Blackburn Communications Director Claude H. Chafin

It was a similar message from Bachmann's office.

"Due to conflicting advice on whether Representative Bachmann's participation in the upcoming Tea Party Nation Convention would be in line with the Committee on Standards, Congresswoman Bachmann has decided not to participate in the event. There is uncertainty about how any proceeds from the event may be used, and we must err on the side of caution," says Bachmann Press Secretary Debbee Keller.

"We regret that they are unable to attend, however we do not want them to be challenged by the committee or the Democrat led Congress," said Philips in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

Both congresswomen say the canceling of their speeches is not sign that their commitment to the tea party movement is fading.

"Some will want to portray her withdrawal as a repudiation of the Tea Party Movement, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Congresswoman Bachmann remains encouraged by all Americans, regardless of political party, who are concerned about this nation's future and dwindling prosperity, and continues to be inspired their passion," says Keller.

Blackburn says she remains encouraged by the "outpouring of energy from constitutionally minded grassroots organizations in Tennessee and around America.

These groups are not made up of Republicans or Democrats, but everyday Americans who are concerned about their freedom. They know that out-of-control spending and the expansion of government ultimately limits that freedom. I share their concerns and look forward to working with them in the future."

(Updated at 5:00 p.m. EST with statement from Tea Party Movement)

Filed under: Extra • Michele Bachmann • Popular Posts • Tea Party movement
soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. Paul

    Bachman and Blackburn have USED the tea baggers for their own personal gain trying to ride the anii-washington movement. Now, they bail out on their own supporters

    January 28, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  2. Donkey Party

    The bigger question is if we can still bill it as a "freak-show" without two of it's supporting cast?

    January 28, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  3. Disgruntled Progressive

    Two kooks for you.

    January 28, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  4. Tor

    Let's hope these people aren't really "everyday Americans." They actually started as a tax protest when Obama CUT taxes, and are famous for such slogans as "Get government out of Medicare!" They are quite a lesson in how the profoundly uninformed can come together through blind rage and mobilized through nonsensical manipulation. How fitting that Palin is their keynote speaker.

    January 28, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  5. sandra

    I still don't get the connection between a government helping its citizens in times of great need and freedom.

    But, then again, I'm Canadian and I don't fear my government, even if I didn't vote for the guy currently in office.

    January 28, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  6. Carol of Missouri

    It's just as well that she's not going as the Tea Party is just a bunch of cry babies.

    January 28, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  7. Lilarose in Oregon

    I am a Bachman descendant, and I sure hope that Michelle Bachmann is from an unrelated genealogical line.

    She is a total embarrassment to American women.

    January 28, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  8. bmw

    So now we have the teabaggers paying Palin $115,000 for a speech and the entire Republican National Committee traveling halfway around the world to Hawaii for a meeting.

    Is this the same gang that claims to be more-frugal-than-thou????

    January 28, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  9. Matthew

    I don't care whether they support the Tea Party movement or not, but I am pleased they recognized appearance of impropriety associated with a for-profit event/group and declined to participate. This is the kind of openness and forthrightness that all members of the House and Senate would do well to take note of.

    Chapel Hill, NC

    January 28, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  10. Squigman

    I dont assume to speak for anyone except myself, but here's a wish I'd like to see come true. That all politicians from either party take up jogging, run toward the nearest river or ocean, and go deep.

    January 28, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  11. despite

    the tea party needs to keep focused. Just read a report that obama told the democrats to keep pushing his agenda despite public opposition, who the hell does he think he works for anyway, i guess the unions, acorn and move on only.

    January 28, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  12. Ray

    Ummm....."These groups are not made up of Republicans or Democrats, but everyday Americans who are concerned about their freedom".....right, and Rush Limbaugh is an independant.

    January 28, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  13. Gus

    Rats fleeing a sinking ship

    January 28, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
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