April 15th, 2010
08:31 PM ET
13 years ago

Dems dismiss Tea Party activists

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/15/art.taxday.tea.jpg caption="Tea Party activists were in Washington on Thursday."]Washington (CNN) - As Tea Party activists mounted protests in Washington and announced a list of Congressional Democrats they're targeting for defeat in November, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed the group's impact on Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections and argued the Tea Party could hurt Republicans.

"I think it's going to have an impact on Republicans in November. We always just keep our eye on the ball as to what our own races are and keep going in a forward direction," Pelosi said Thursday.

Pelosi explained that Republicans could suffer is because Tea Party activists are promoting conservative challenges to GOP candidates in their primaries.

While the speaker said she welcomes "any and all voices of the American people," she said that Democrats have the message and the money to prevail in November.

Our message about health care, about job creation, about fiscal responsibility, about lowering taxes for the middle class, about stabilizing the economy," she said. "We believe will hold us in good stead.".

But House GOP leader John Boehner, who spoke at an Orlando Tea Partyevent earlier this week, said Thursday Republicans were working to earn the support of the Tea Party activists. "We are going to talk with them and listento them and we are going to walk amongst them and again earn their support this November."

Boehner said Democrats aren't listening to the concerns of the protesters, and noted that people at Tea Party events around the country only represent a fraction of Americans who are frustrated with the current leadership in Washington and could prove to be a powerful force.

"Just remember this, these people are just the tip of the iceberg. You all know that 90 percent of the iceberg you don't see. They represent the same concerns, the same worries, the same fears of tens of millions of additional Americans who just haven't quite gotten off the couch or out of the easy chair and into the street," Boehner said. And he warned, "Democrats better look out."

Although Pelosi waved off concerns about Tea Party groups, a couple of Ohio Democrats, who gathered to tout middle class tax relief on Thursday, took aim at the Tea Party activists mounting protests in their districts and accused them of misinforming the public about Democrats' record on taxes and health care.

Rep. Steve Driehaus, who represents Cincinnati - where the Tea Party has organized a tax day protest featuring Fox News host Sean Hannity - acknowledged "there are very legitimate concerns that are energizing folks to participate in the Tea Party," pointing to serious economic uncertainty for many in his state.

But he criticized some members of the group, saying "the Tea Party and other leaders are playing upon that fear and they're exacerbating that fear to their political advantage." The Ohio Democrat added, "you hear a lot of fear" at Tea Party events, but he argued the group's leaders presents very few facts. He said the challenge for Democrats is getting the facts out so that the public understands their record before the fall election.

Another Ohio Democratic freshman, Rep John Boccieri, said he's probably had more Tea Party events in his district than any other member in Ohio. He echoed Driehaus' charge about the rhetoric at Tea Party events. "We do have to substantiate the difference between facts and fear."

Boccieri accused some of the anti-government protestors of talking out of both sides of their mouth - railing against government intrusion while at the same time accepting federal benefits. " What's so ironic about this, is that the very things they suggest they are against they will gladly take and support."

Filed under: 2010 • Congress • Extra • Nancy Pelosi • Tea Party movement
soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. Smith in Oregon

    If the 'true' issue of the Tea Party is fair taxes then they would go after the Republican led Corporations who appear to be the largest tax evaders in American history instead of being largely bankrolled by them.

    And when it comes to cleaning up the huge environmental disasters those same Republican led tax evading Corporations cause to the tune of Hundreds of Millions of dollars per site, WHO PAYs the CLEAN UP?

    American taxpayers are stuck with that huge tax bill also, the Republican placed Federal Jurists and Appeal Court Jurists routinely disallow huge major settlements against these Corporations for the toxic dumping and cleanup costs

    April 16, 2010 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  2. Pat Raugh

    It's time for Nancy and Joe to take a long leave of absence. The USA needs more help than I would be allowed to comment. God – if you still believe – help us ...

    April 16, 2010 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  3. Party, Party??

    Well I listened to some of the speeches yesterday from those party people and generally speaking their "facts" are pretty much out of wack. Government should be doing things like maintaining law and order, providing health care and education, regulating natural resourses and banking etc ... there's plenty of room for critzizm and improvment but I trust Obama's administration far more than the apperent fanatics I've seen so far.

    April 16, 2010 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  4. Funny man

    Don't fall for the fake tea partiers. The real Tea Party people are Ron Paul supporters.

    The Neo-Cons are tricking and corraling some of the sheep back into the republican party. The Ron Paul supporters are real Patriots.

    Real Tea Party people want:
    -End all illegal wars
    -End the Patriot Act
    -End torture
    -Bring troops home from all over the world
    -Enforce illegal immigration laws

    April 16, 2010 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  5. so rich even obama couldn't hurt me but you middle class folk should worry

    facts and democrats don't mix! these people are truly delusionsal, fiscal responsibility? really? facts ? really lol the party of spin does everything but talk about the facts! all rhetoric and faux racism! Nancy Pelosi is truly a crazy person! we have the money!!!!!! that's great!!! every time she speaks the party takes a hit! keep it up crazy lady lol!!!! keep it up!!!!

    April 16, 2010 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  6. Eddie B.

    These Tea Party activists were founded on a platform against excessive taxation, but now they are crackpot extreme conservatives that have no solutions. A spokesperson was on Campbell Brown and she asked her is she willing to give up her Medicare and Social Security which are entitlement programs and the woman was a bumbling fool. These people just hate to have a black President. PERIOD!!!!

    April 16, 2010 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  7. Gia

    These Tea Party kooks have no idea how foolish they come off. Their leaders are Sarah Palin and Michelle Buchanan, the Lucy and Ethel of the Lunatic Fringe, and they decry socialism but don't mind accepting unemployment benefits, social security and medicare. Typical Republican hypocrisy.

    April 16, 2010 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  8. Eddie B.

    Who is funding the Tea Party?!?!? These protestors seem to not have any jobs because they are protesting all of the time during the week. They are funded by Conservative PAC's and corporations that are against the reform of this administration.

    April 16, 2010 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  9. Texas Doc

    Destroy the brutes! Everyone knows they are a paper tiger. Discredit and destroy them with plain facts. They represent the very worst of America. It was starting to look like America was coming back, then these idiots show up. Help or get out of the way you losers.

    April 16, 2010 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  10. Larry

    Intelligent people Laugh Out Loud at the Tea Party and their childish antics

    Just another arm of the Party Of NO ...

    GET A REAL JOB ... do something positive for this country, instead of whining and complaining ...

    April 16, 2010 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  11. AK Steve

    Don't be naive Pelosi – angry, loud, ignorant and fear-mongering right-wingers cost you the 2004 presidential election. And least I remind you, these folks have money – the more to spread their lies with.

    Better start spreading the truth or you all (dems) are doomed.

    April 16, 2010 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  12. simplefact

    TPs & GOP,

    Guess who has really small government, no national healthcare, no gun control laws, and very low taxes? Somalia!

    Buy a one-way ticket and you will be happy. Everyone else will be happy!

    April 16, 2010 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  13. RANDY

    Pilosi is a democratic IDIOT. A traitor to her country and no better than Jane Fonda. Pilosi dismisses the tea party activists, who does she think she is, the misiah? She is a lump of nothing. I would have a lot more to say, however, like O'Bama, she listens to no one. She will find out who is dismissed in November. I hope she is the first to go.

    April 16, 2010 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  14. Stacey Radinovich

    Pelosi needs to take a look at the bigger picture...which is that such a large number of Americans are so fed up with the current state of government they are out protesting in mass numbers. This is not a GOP thing...it is a dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs in our great country. I am not a Tea Party goer but I too am frustrated with the way things are going, I will honestly say I have never seen this level of revolution with the American people in my 32 year lifetime. I think the last time Americans came out in mass numbers like this...was Vietnam.

    April 16, 2010 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  15. crpreston267

    of course Pelosi disrespects anyone not like her.
    Pelosi has $25 MILLION in cash. along with her husband they control 52 companies.

    most importantly Pelosi and family do NOT hire union employees.
    they are ANTI-union when it comes to their businesses.

    April 16, 2010 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  16. Tom

    Pelosi is such an elitist boor. She sniffs at the Tea Party as if it is not worthy of her political brilliance. She believes her exalted station should be sufficient evidence to prove she knows what's best for America. She reminds me exactly of the French aristocracy living off the backs of the poor as they flit through life. I only wish she were up for re-election in 2010. I will have to wait until 2012 to send her packing.

    April 16, 2010 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  17. Ryan

    After all the debunked lies and the examples of ZILCH, seriously...how can anyone in thier right mind take the GOP seriously??

    April 16, 2010 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  18. gary

    The Tea Party is about as fair & balanced as Republicans get. Started by Dick Armey & promoted by Fox news. The party is a bunch of disgruntled Republicans who now claim to be independent. What Republicans really need is IDEAS & a willingness to work with the Democrats to solve problems.

    April 16, 2010 04:32 am at 4:32 am |
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