July 18th, 2010
10:43 AM ET
12 years ago

Top Republican mum on Tea Party controversy

Washington (CNN) – The top Republican in the Senate sought Sunday to stay out of the weeklong war of words between the NAACP and the Tea Party movement.

At its annual convention last week, the longstanding civil rights organization passed a resolution that called on the conservative grassroots movement to repudiate racism within its ranks. The resolution set off a national firestorm that came to a head Friday when Mark Williams, a spokesman for a national Tea Party group, decided to remove a satirical letter he had posted on his blog site earlier in the week in response to the resolution.

Related: Satirical letter meant to spark discussion, Tea Party leader says

Asked about the controversy on CNN’s State of the Union, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sidestepped the prickly issue.

“Oh my goodness, . . . I’m not interested in getting into that debate,” McConnell told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “What we’re interested in is trying to have an election this fall that will respond to what the American people are asking us to do which is to have some checks and balances here.”

Asked whether some of the signs and imagery at some Tea Party rallies made him uncomfortable, the Kentucky Republican responded, “there are all kinds of things going on in America that make me uncomfortable, both on the right and on the left. I’ve got better things to do than to wade in to all of these disputes and discussions that are going out in the country.

“What we’re trying to do is to make the president a born-again moderate. We’re trying to send enough conservatives to Congress this November to move him in a different direction.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, had a different take on the racial controversy.

Asked by Crowley whether he believes the Tea Party movement condones racism, Hoyer suggested that some individuals might be taking advantage of the grassroots movement to stir up racial strife.

“I think there are some members who have used the Tea Party – whether it’s the Tea Party itself – there are some individuals who have tried to exacerbate racial tensions in this country,” Hoyer told Crowley.

The leading Democrat added, “What we need to be doing is talking about the issues and solutions and what happened in the past to get us in the ditch that we’re in. If we do that, I think this will be a positive election [in November]. If we try to simply inflame differences and create division, I think that will not be positive and I think that’s frankly what some are doing.”

soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. Marge

    We got some nutcase here folks saying pedophiles are Democrats. So does that mean Craig was a Democrat....I thought he was a republican. But then marxism and Fox always did lie about everything.

    July 18, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. Bob

    This is nothing more than diversionary tactic. SInce the Tea Party is gaining so much momentum, the Left has to vilify them by labeling them racists and bigots. And now, with the NAACP adding their two cents, they are winning the battle of the labels. However, most Moderates like myself see right through what the Democrats are doing and am disgusted by it. Instead of working on the problems that now exist, they are worried about elections. Pathetic and sad.

    Obama once had my support. No longer. 2012 can't get here soon enough.

    July 18, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  3. Big_D

    I don’t know if you can really call the Tea Party a movement. The Tea Party in my old home town has a real crazy person running it. I’m not talking somebody flamboyant I’m talking sent up to the state hospital. They seem like a lot of FOX putty and frankly I will choose to ignore them because they seem to be a little too angry. The Tea Party absence during the first 12 of the 14 trillion debt and their FOX dictated party line is well suspect at best.

    July 18, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. geminitwo

    Wasn't the Congress controlled the last two years of Bush's administration by the Democrats? Please stop blaming Bush – it divides this nation. Both parties were at fault, including no one reigning in Fannie and Freddie which they still haven't done. We need to find solutions, but the blame game every time Obama and company get on television is such a turnoff to the American voter.

    July 18, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. gr

    Dems just need to keep hammering to the American people do you want to go back to Bush tax cut polilcy that got us in this mess or do you want to move this country? President Obama have al ready warned getting the American out of the this mess was not going to be easy, but the Republicans continue to believe the American people still like their tax cuts for the rich policy over the Dems policy that will help the middle class. Nov. the American have a choice to make and I hope they are smart enough not the vote for the Bush Tax cuts voodoo policy.

    July 18, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  6. Ron W.

    Not surprising, the tea party are conservative activists that represent the republican point of view and don't want to risk their support. I wonder if we'd see the same silence if the tea party represented the liberal or democrat point of view.

    July 18, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  7. John in Colorado

    When "any" organization, company, social group, or family sees action/behavior outside their core values and does not repudiate that action/behavior they are nurturing a cancer that will grow and spread.

    No matter what minority of their party creates the problem, the Tea Party would do well to repudiate any racist activities in their organization before it metastasizes.

    July 18, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. SuburbanBob

    @ Keith in Austin
    I quote you... "liberal know-it-alls", "smug, quasi-elitist"... Now who's the name-caller? I live in Austin and I'll say this... If you are all liberal OR all conservative, then you are ALL WRONG.

    July 18, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. James

    The NAACP is a racist organization. Its very name backs up the fact that it is a racist organization. All the left wing sissies like to call everyone else that doesn't believ in their crap a racist, but in reality it is they who are the true racists. This makes them hypocrites, and utterly disgusting.

    July 18, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. TheCruxDefender

    Marxist Dogs are out of Control says:

    "Sorry Suburban Bob for my incorect speling. I was edubacated in a public schooles staffed with union teachers."

    Is it the mark of an Anti-Marxist to fail to accept responsibility for their own failings and to blame others?

    I mean really, you can't blame other people because you can't spell. I learned to spell by reading books, many, many, thousands. Don't blame others for your illiteracy.

    July 18, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. jim in texas

    THIS is an absolutely ridiculous article! I'm so sick of "race-baiting" in this country. It has gotten out-of-hand and it is being purposely done to pull people back into politics that have checked out since the last election. If the media causes a civil unrest in this country, they will regret what they will have caused.

    July 18, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. jim germann

    cnn,should stop pimping race hatred,and race baiting. this is a manufactured story. Barack Obama sat in rev wright's church,yr after yr,after yr,after yr. and applauded his racial hatred,and anti-amricanism. when the liberals and dems had there anti bush rallies,and thousands had signs of bush with the hitler moustache,no one, on the left,or in the media,criticized it. as a matter of fact,cnn,made sure every newstory covered one of the signs. enough already with the race baiting,cnn. Dems have the issues on there side,i believe, but race bating will turn off independents a lot.

    July 18, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. Surthurfurd

    This is proof that the Republican party has sold its soul to the Dixicrats. They want to win so badly that they have dropped the core Republican values for we vs they values.

    July 18, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  14. Tomhere

    The republicans have already said that they WILL NOT run on the issues, because if they do, they lose.
    SO – They will run only attack ads. They have nothing good to say about what they've done, only bad things to say about Obama.
    McConnell's strategy all along is to oppose everything that Obama has put on the table. Everything.
    Obama reached out to them, asking them to be a part of the process. They refused. McConnell told all of them that OBAMA MUST FAIL.
    Now it's payback time. You want PARTISAN ATTACKS? Get ready.

    July 18, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. gr

    I wish you racist right wing nuts just for one time tell the truth that there are racist elements in the Tea Baggers and address them onces and for all, but lying about it only make you Tea Baggers look even more racist. Keep up the good work with alinating the minority voters every day Republican and see just how far you will get in Nov.

    July 18, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. vic

    Last year tea party convention in Nashville Tn what I seen is Rich and Color

    Party of No will be the loser in November

    July 18, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. Marxist's and Socialist's?

    Marxists and Socialist's are figments of the dog's imagination meant to conjure a "boogey man" for the Right whose apathetic voting base has disintergrated into sand. Too bad.....

    Instead...you should conjure up policy with substance to solve the Nation's problems your own Party caused. Not divide and conquer politics based on ficticious "boogey men" leading to NO solution of any problems......get a clue.......

    Mcarthy is dead and gone.....resurrecting him won't help your failing Party...........

    July 18, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. Kregg

    So freedom of speech is now racist. God is racist too, or if you dont believe in God, then nature is racist being blacks are the only to get sickle cell. Holy cow, we have a society of overly sensitive gutless pansies fluttering around. Grow a backbone people. Just because someone doesnt believe in what you do doesnt make it racist. And if it does, thats their right. Obviously its good enough for la raza, black panthers and all those who milk the system who are none White. Yeap truth hurts

    July 18, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. Ignorance is blisss...

    Our attention span as a nation is way too short.

    Republicans have 8 years to cause a huge mess, and when the democats can't clean it up in 3 months, their heads are being called for.

    I just don't understand where all the right-wing anger suddenly came from? It just magically appeared when a 1/2 black democrat became president? NO, and we are not racists.

    I will say however, that Barack Obama forgot to take one thing into consideration......

    sometimes change brings out the worst in people.

    July 18, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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