July 20th, 2010
04:43 PM ET
12 years ago

Tea Party Caucus: Who's in and who's out

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[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/20/art.bachmann.gi2.jpg caption ="Rep. Michele Bachmann proposed and pushed for the creation of a Tea Party caucus."] Washington (CNN) - One day before the first official meeting of the Tea Party caucus in the House of Representatives, the big question on Capitol Hill which Republicans will join the new caucus?

Rep. Michele Bachmann proposed and pushed for the caucus. The conservative congresswoman from Minnesota, who's a favorite of many Tea Party activists, won approval for the new organization late last week from the Democratic leadership.

Bachmann tells CNN that she's invited "a number of members" to come to the group's first meeting, which will be held prior to a news conference to premiere the caucus.

But she says she already has a big name on board.

"The very first member to join the Tea Party caucus was Mike Pence who's the Republican Conference chair. That's a pretty big endorsement," says Bachmann.

Pence, a five term congressman from Indiana who may make a bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, tells CNN that "having spoken at the 9/12 march on Washington, having spoken at Tea Party rallies, and the fact that I'm proud to be a Tea Party endorsed candidate for re-election, I was honored to join the Tea Party caucus."

Also signing up (at the time of this article's posting) are Republican congressmen Paul Broun of Georgia, Dan Burton of Indiana, John Carter of Texas, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, and Todd Tiahrt of Kansas.

Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Tuesday that he's already joined the caucus as well. At a news conference with reporters, Sessions defended the Tea Party movement as "sincere" and "serious."

Not joining are the two top House Republicans: Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia.

"It's Boehner's personal policy not be a member of any caucus other than the House Republican Conference," spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement.

Bachmann says she understands.

"Leader Boehner doesn't join any caucus other than the Republican Conference. That's his rule so that's certainly no repudiation," Bachmann said, adding she doesn't feel Cantor is rejecting the caucus either.

The year and a half old Tea Party movement has infused a lot of energy and enthusiasm into the GOP, and the party, trying to recover from major election defeats in 2006 and 2008, has to a degree, embraced the movement. But the creation of the Tea Party caucus comes as the anti-tax and limited federal government movement faces its biggest controversy.

Sunday the National Tea Party Federation expelled one of the largest and best known national Tea Party groups, the Tea Party Express, and its spokesman Mark Williams. The Federation, a three month old organization that seeks to represent the Tea Party political movement around the country, acted following of an inflammatory blog post Williams wrote last week about the NAACP. Williams says he wrote the incendiary blog post in response to an NAACP resolution last week that called on Tea Party leaders to crack down on racist elements in the movement.

Tuesday House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer questioned how many Republicans would want to join the new caucus.

"We'll see how many Republicans join the Tea Party Caucus and see whether or not they want to adopt the tea party agenda," the number two Democrat in the House told reporters at a news conference.

The Maryland Democrat also repeated what he stated on the Sunday talk shows, saying he didn't think the Tea Party movement itself was racist, but said he's "seen some virulent racist tracks, which I believe are harmful to the public discourse."

Bachmann says she hopes her caucus will eventually become bipartisan in nature.

"The first letter I wrote about the Tea Party caucus was to speaker (Nancy) Pelosi to invite her to also become a part of the Tea Party caucus, so I'm hoping Democrats and Republicans will come together to become a part of this caucus," says Bachmann. "We're not about any political party – it's about listening to the American people."

Filed under: 2010 • Congress • Michele Bachmann • Mike Pence • Tea Party movement
soundoff (137 Responses)
  1. Crazy Harry

    Would that be called the Loony Bin Caucus?

    Or the Insane Asylum?

    July 20, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. Chas in Iowa

    Step up and get a glass of Kool-Aid folks it won't hurt a bit.

    July 20, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. LooneyBin

    I went to high school with Todd Tiahrt's daughter. They're both certifiably crazy. But she's hot, so at least she's got that one over her dad.

    July 20, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. independent

    And you will know them by the mark on their heads...

    July 20, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Rickster

    Let's see....she is smart, good-looking and advancing the causes of freedom, capitalism and everything else that is good for America. Obviously, she's a conservative.

    July 20, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. get real

    Aww, look! Michelle is inviting friends to her tea party. Will Mrs. Nesbitt be there?

    July 20, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. Robert

    i'd like to see this caucus of phony conservatives gather. it will be interesting to see who the faces of the big spending big government tea partiers come out into the light. we already know bachmann is one of the big pushers of big government-using its power to legislate her religious beliefs into the private lives of the American peopel. and also there is Ms. Palin who raised taxes as governor before she quit and wasted taxpayer dollars building a road to nowhere.

    July 20, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. Larry

    Pence is a big endorsement?

    You teabaggers are desperate.

    July 20, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. Rick

    This woman needs professional help.

    July 20, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. American Patriot - a "real" tea partier

    Kool-Aid! Get your Kool-Aid right over here, friends. Bachmann and Palin will be happy to serve you. O'Reilly, Rush, Hannity and Beck are stirring up new batches even as we speak.

    Kool-Aid! Get your Kool-Aid right over here!

    July 20, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. Mike

    So the republican party has officially become the tea party. More and more I'm less worried about November

    July 20, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. Not All Docs Play Golf

    I'll never forget the televised image of the young Tea Party member throwing a dollar at a homeless man who sat in front of the nuts with their misspelled signs at a rally, and the remarks he screamed at the man. It really sickened me, like the scrunched up faces of the white people screaming at the black school girls in those famous photos of the forced school desegregation. This young man has the same mindset of hate and intolerance, just a different generation, filled with hatred and overestimated self-worth. And those people are indeed at least part of the Tea Party crowd, hiding behind concepts like Republican fiscal policy as an excuse to stand and scream.

    July 20, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    While Bachmann has been traveling around the country in her effort to split the Republican Party withTea Party nonsence, Bachmann's opponent Tarryl Clark has been busy in Minnesota in HER effort to unseat Bachmann.

    Between the two, I wonder who Bachmann's 6th District really want representing them: Michele or Tarryl.

    My bet is on Tarryl Clark.

    July 20, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  14. Wired2theTruth

    All the T-party is going to do is split the conservative votes and make them all irrelevant

    July 20, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. Naqib

    Only 1 in 3 people still back Obama
    Only 1 in 8 people think this congress is doing their job
    Oh yea... Nov's going to be fun... BYE DEMS

    A Republican congress from 94 to 06 grew this country like never before... only took the DEMS 4 years to jack it all up... and America is seeing it "FINALLY"... the smoke and mirrors are gone... the "yes we can" has become "oops we did"... This admin will go the way of Carter... and not soon enough

    July 20, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. Lucas Breen

    What will they caucus about? How to be more effective at tearing down our country?

    They have no plans to solve the problems that face this country, no new ideas to move our country forward, and nothing to add to the public dialogue except overheated rhetoric and misinformation.

    I'd like to see who shows up that this caucus ... so I can send money to their opponents.

    July 20, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  17. informed voter

    Good. Let them split the Republican party, and their votes. This only helps the Dems...

    July 20, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  18. Robert

    This Lady sucks!!!!

    July 20, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. Carol

    How do these nut cases get elected?
    Tell me America is smarter than this.

    July 20, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  20. Ken in NC

    Now the first Caucus meeting of the Teabaggers would be held and the lone member of Congree that is a Caucus Member would put her in a room all by herself. Sounds reasonable to me. Infact locking the room and throwing away the key would be a good idea too. Congressman MB is an IDIOT.

    July 20, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  21. Liberals are poison

    Was Barney Frank waiting first in line to join, thinking that it was a "real tea bagging" party? I'm sure he was disappointed to know that TEA stands for "taxed enough already." How could you libtards accuse average hard-working, tax-paying, peoples of all colors and ethnicity racists? You morons were the ones who painted posters of George W. Bush with a Hitler mustache, had posters of him as the "Joker," called him a terrorist, etc.; and you get your panties in a wad when the same thing is said about your messiah. You slugs of society will be rudely awoken from your drug induced coma come November 2nd, 2010. Get ready to take a shower, put on a suit, and finally look for a
    job; the gravy train will run out of gravy and your free ride will be over.

    July 20, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  22. Darth Vadik, CA

    Don't you get this feeling that Bachmann has a big black boyfriend on the side? Otherwise she really wouldn't be as racist as she pretends to be...

    July 20, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. Michael

    This woman is an uninformed, angry, stupid retard who's presence in congress is just a disgrace. Tea Party...what a joke. They're all starting to eat themselves and I hope they start with her and that other idiot Palin. What have we come to?

    July 20, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  24. AV1

    She is a bright light in a dark room. The libs who gloat now will choke on the words they spew come November. They have tried all year to tear down the tea party and independents to no avail. Just keep up the name calling and blaming and spending. 13 trillion and going, americans will stop this train come november because you can only shove lies down peoples throat till the voting starts. Do your worst while you can cause the end is in sight

    July 20, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. Big Ed

    Ms. Bachmann, seek professional help...immediately!

    July 20, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
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