Rubio has Tea Party concerns
January 24th, 2011
10:53 AM ET
12 years ago

Rubio has Tea Party concerns

Washington (CNN) - When the Senate Tea Party Caucus convenes for the first time Thursday, one of the movement's biggest stars will be noticeably absent.

Alex Burgos, spokesman for Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio confirmed the event is not on the senator's schedule, but said he has not made a decision regarding caucus membership.

"Senator Rubio is proud of his relationship with the tea party movement and shares its commitment to tackling debt, defending the free enterprise system and restoring our limited government tradition," Burgos said in an e-mail to CNN. "Ultimately, he hopes Floridians will judge him on his voting record and his commitment to delivering on the promises he made through the campaign."

Burgos added that Rubio will join the Senate Steering Committee, a group chaired by South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint that meets regularly to promote conservative policies and legislation.

Rubio, who received early support from the Tea Party, told the Florida conservative blog "the Shark Tank" that he's "concerned" the Tea Party is abandoning its roots.

"If all of a sudden being in the Tea Party is not something that is happening in Main Street, but rather something that's happening in Washington D.C., the 'Tea Party' all of the sudden becomes some sort of movement run by politicians," Rubio said.

The freshmen senator who won a three-way race in November against independent Gov. Charlie Crist and Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek, said the power of the Tea Party comes from its "ability to drive the debate and issues from the grassroots up, as opposed to from the politicians down."

The meeting of the Caucus was announced by DeMint, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Utah Sen. Mike Lee, all of whom enjoyed backing from the conservative faction during the midterm elections.

Amy Kremer, Chairman of the Tea Party Express said she's "very disappointed" in Rubio.

"When you rose to victory with the help of the people within the Tea Party movement, I think a lot of people are disappointed over it," Kremer told CNN. "But ultimately he's going to be judged on how he votes, and if he doesn't vote the way people want him to his term will be limited here."

Kremer, who plans to speak at the meeting, said new members are mistaken if they think they can "straddle the fence" between different groups in the Senate.

"If they don't vote the way we want, they will be voted out," Kremer said.

Filed under: Marco Rubio • Tea Party movement
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Sasha

    Is anyone really surprise about this?

    January 24, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. LooneyBin

    Rubio's being a bit intellectually dishonest. Ever since the Tea Party became a national movement it's been a movement run by politicians like Di-ck Armey's FreedomWorks and American Crossroads of which Karl Rove is an advisor. Just because the Tea Party is being forthright about their politician roots doesn't mean it's anything new.

    January 24, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. Matt

    "the 'Tea Party' all of the sudden becomes some sort of movement run by politicians"

    Yeah, Gawd forbid that the Tea Party be run by politicians – everybody knows it should be run by the lobbyists (Dick Armey, Karl Rove, etc) and CEOs (the Kochs, etc) who paid good money to get it started!

    January 24, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. Protect and Defend Freedom of Speech in the USA

    Who cares if he's there or not as long as he remains true to his conservative values. It might be a good thing to get rid of all these caucases, including the Congressional Black Congress, because of all the factions and perceived "special interest" of being in one of these.

    January 24, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    If all of a sudden being in the Tea Party is not something that is happening in Main Street, but rather something that's happening in Washington D.C.,
    Uh-huh. Sure. Rubio, fess up, you used the Tea Party to get elected. I don't blame you. Good for you. Your statement above, however, should read:
    "The Tea Party is no longer being taken seriously ANYWHERE, be it in Washington DC or the backwoods, and boardrooms where they meet. Thanks for letting me use you to get elected, but I don't need to be associated with you yahoos any longer. I gotta go MAINSTREAM, and you're not it!".

    January 24, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. Ken in NC

    I assume it is their intention to have the entire country stopping at noon for Tea and Crumpets with them as they bring us up to date on what plans they have for how their new country is to move forward. Having already seen how they intend to raise taxes on income between $20,000 and $200,000 and lower taxes on incomes above that range, I'm ready to go to the ballot box and vote. We have a deficit that must be delt with and to do it we must raise taxes on everyone and cut spending.

    January 24, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  7. Ancient Texan

    Me thinks the freshman senator is making a big mistake. If he fails to "dance with the one that brought him" or is planning on being another Senator Brown ( Kennedy Land), he won't last long. He might want to rethink this.

    January 24, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    Oh my! Politicians using a grassroots movement to get elected, and then stabbing them in the back? What a shock! I am shocked that this could happen! Alert Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman that there is a traitor in their midst!

    BTW, has anyone told them that Rubio's family was born in a Commie country? Are we sure he's a real American?

    On a serious note, no one will remember what the Tea party was about in 2 years when all of them will be attending DC fundraisers and listening to boring speeches from Dick Armey. They will have outlived their usefulness, much as Ross Perot did.

    January 24, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  9. DAW, NC

    A real inclusive open mined group, vote the way we want you to or "your outa here", "you betcha">>>>>

    January 24, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. OneMoreTime

    Rubio has plenty of reason to "have Tea Party concerns". So do I. This a bunch of bullies who threaten their newly
    elected Congress members by saying "we are watching you", now in this article Kremer says "if they don't vote the
    way we want they will be voted out". This fine little group is telling Lugar he needs to retire because they don't
    like his willingness to be bipartisan in finding solutions for America. Is this what we really want to go on in
    Washington? Just a bunch of puppets doing what a few bullies say to do, with no thought of their own? I do not, and
    we had better wake up.

    January 24, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. Mikey

    Good call, Rubio. A movement that claims to be primarily about fiscal restraint, but spends at least as much energy on narrow social and religious driven positions at its base and is funded and largly controlled by people like Jim DeMint and the Koch brothers, who are mostly interested in the welfare of big business and not the rights and interests of individuals is suspect at best.

    It's a toxic mix that is best avoided.

    January 24, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. Non-creative type

    Rubio is a political oportunist. When he looks at the tea party he correctly sees a group of older white people whose influnce is becoming more and more marginalized. To be a candidate of that faction is to decrease in value over time. So, he is trying to reposition himself in the usual template of the faux 'conservative' pol. Lots of luck after your one term, Marco. Not because of the tea party, but because Floridians will find another champion easily.

    January 24, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. M

    The Tea Party has been bought and paid for by Washington insiders for a very long time now, and the only ones who seemed oblivious were its foot soldiers. Hey guys, here's a news flash: Not only did these guys get you to vote against your own self-interest, but now that they've gotten themselves elected, they're about to kick you to the curb. See, they needed your energy and enthusiasm to beat the "establishment candidates" (ie: the incumbents), but now THEY'RE the incumbents, and they have contributions to solicit, and, well, the big donors might feel a little uneasy about contributing to politicians associated with a bunch of crackpots.

    Yes, I'm cynical, but no, I don't think all movements can be so easily corrupted, but you guys really bet on the wrong horse here. All us liberals tried to tell you that this whole Tea Party movement was one huge astroturf organization, but you wouldn't believe us. Joke's on you, I guess. Thanks for playing, and better luck next time.

    January 24, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. rob

    Rubio is right, he is beholden to the people he reresents and ultimately it is the people of florida who will judge him. The Tea Party is not an organized group like other interest groups, they are plain folks of every stripe who don't like the way the Federal govt has been growing so large and running up debt that will strangle future private sector growth and the ability of future generations to enjoy the American dream.

    The Dems and the major liberal media have been and will continue to try to tear down the Tea Party. They will try to drive wedges between them and misrepresent what the tea Party stands for. This will not work because the American people are watching whats going on. They don't have to rely on the Liberal media's monopoly on information, they get information from many sources now and contrary to what the Liberal elites in the Dem party and the media, believe, they are not STUPID.

    January 24, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  15. Patriots Salute the Flag! Traitors don't!!!

    For the ones of you that have a problem of, "we are watching", then it is you who definitely have a problem. Someone needs to be watching these people. They are elected officials for the people. Not someone to go to Congress to become pigeons for the President are cater to the lobbyiest. Especially you Democrats who are just plain blind to what is developing in this country. WAKE UP like I did. After 50 years of being a Democrat I am now nothing.. To watch my favorite party go to Hades in a hand basket was more than I can take. Immoral party that lets Federal Judges take religeon out of school activities and wanting to take In God we Trust off of our currency is going to far. Our country was founding on Christanity not the immoral activity oif the present administration who seems to have aim to destroy America.

    January 24, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. Dino

    I blame palin and rhetoric.

    January 24, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. Reggie

    Come on folks! Rubio's actions are exactly what to expect when a politician is elected based upon support from "fringe" elements such as the tea party. he's trying to portray himself as middle of the road, but he is actually just trying to follow the direction of the current political tide.

    I am surprised he seems to be

    January 24, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. Vet in TX

    "they're what we thought they were" Coach Dennie Green

    January 24, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Rubio has no interest in the tea party or being a senator, only in being president. The tea party carries too much baggage for Rubio or anyone with aspirations of becoming president and no matter how much he tries to distance himself from them Americans will never forget. The tea party leaves one with a legacy that's been one of the most ugliest sides of American politics.

    January 24, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. XWngLady

    Oh no no Mr. Rubio...Don't run away now!...Trying to keep yourself electable for 2012, hmm?.....Save it! You've already shown your true colors. Trying to run from it now is a fruitless gesture!

    January 24, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Our country was founding on Christanity not the immoral activity oif the present administration who seems to have aim to destroy America
    I'm a Christian, and I'm here to tell you that you that the IMMORALITY BUS left the building with Bush.
    You're so concerned about the whole in God We Trust, and the outward APPEARANCE of Chrisitianity in a government that you're missiing TRUE Christian priniciples being applied by this administration in the form of TAKING CARE OF THE LEAST AMONGST US. But no. Folks like you see those priniciples as socialist and communist and NOT Christian. You make me ill. You wouldn't recognize Jesus if he walked amongst us because he wasn't paying lip-service to Christianity, but actually ACTING LIKE A CHRISTIAN.

    January 24, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |

    I agree completely with "Protect and Defend Freedom of Speech in the USA". As long as he does what he was elected to do, and do what he said he would do, all will be fine.

    January 24, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. Paul from Phoenix

    To Non-creative type:

    EVERY politician is a political opportunist. Look no further than our suddenly centrist President.

    January 24, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. JLR

    So he's more concerned with his constituents than any party affiliations. Sounds good to me.

    January 24, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  25. DaveyD

    To the guy who posted the above comment, let me state that the United States was NOT founded as a Christian nation. Most of the founders were Deists, and they wanted to keep religion and government strictly separated. The 1796 U.S. Treaty with Tripoli states in no uncertain terms, "The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." You need to read some American history.

    January 24, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |