Tea party activists band together to talk 2012 plans, frustrations
June 27th, 2011
04:57 PM ET
9 years ago

Tea party activists band together to talk 2012 plans, frustrations

Washington (CNN) – On Monday, conservative activists banded together in Washington to talk about their early 2012 electoral plans – as well as some of their early frustrations.

Some 40 grassroots leaders from across the country spoke with reporters at the headquarters for FreedomWorks, a major conservative backer of the tea party movement. This comes after a weekend "boot-camp" to train many of them on policy, social media, and campaigning - among other issues – in preparation for the 2012 presidential and congressional races.

Activists have long been bent on defeating Democrats, particularly President Obama. And yet they are also determined to oust Republicans they deem not conservative enough.

Case in point: they have launched a concerted campaign against Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch's re-election, a six-term Republican who, they believe, does not live up to the tea party's brand of conservatism.

Activists also aired frustrations about the electoral landscape.

Among them: a few well-known tea party figures lamented what they see as a weak GOP presidential field.

David Kirkham, a trailblazer for the tea party in Utah, said there is no current candidate who actively defends the movement's ideals.

"It's a very weak field," Kirkham said, a sentiment echoed by FreedomWorks President and CEO Matt Kibbe and backed up by several recent polls among Republican voters.

Kirkham continued: "Someone else needs to jump into the race right now, someone who is dedicated to freedom and prosperity. There is no current candidate out there who is really impressive."

That feeling was not necessarily mutual among all the assembled activists. During an unofficial, informal straw poll held during the press conference, there was strong support for Republicans such as Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul. All three received substantial votes and shouts from the crowd.

Current GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a frontrunner in some polls, received virtually no support from the activists.

Another frustration expressed by the activists: improving voter registration.

Ann Sullivan, from North Carolina, called voter registration challenges "a travesty."

"We have soldiers willing to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, and yet some people cannot take the time to vote and register to vote," Sullivan said. "There's no excuse for not voting. And yet we're a growing party with more people banding together behind our ideas, but we need voters to actually register and show their support at the polls."

–CNN Political Producer Shannon Travis contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • Tea Party
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Fascism will come in the front door draped in a flag and carrying a cross. You people that vote republican must want fascism for our country. If you don't know FOR SURE what it means, google it.

    June 27, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    "There's no excuse for not voting. And yet we're a growing party with more people banding together behind our ideas, but we need voters to actually register and show their support at the polls."
    Guess that's why the republican governors are putting in laws to make voter registration near impossible for elderly, students, poor, and those lacking transportation. Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida. Take an HONEST LOOK.

    June 27, 2011 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. Ed Texas

    I find it interesting the Tea Party came about when a Democrat was in office, but while the Republican (George Dubwa Bush) was in office carelessly spending billions and billons of tax paying dollars on two costly mismanaged wars, you heard nothing about wastful spending from these people. Only after a Democrat got into office did the Tea Party come into play with their message of wastful spending. I guess they are only concerned when a Democrat is in office and it's card blanche for the Republican!

    June 27, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. Roscoe

    They hate Obama so much that they're willing to destroy the country to try and bring him down. They claim they are not racist but ever email I get from one of them has a racist joke or cartoon in it. Most are stupid enough to want the government out of their social security and/or medicaide. Very small brains.

    June 27, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The Republican Tea Party is no more than a separatims hate group in disguise, just look at them. The Tea Party doesn't seem to understand there are millions of registered voters but not on their tickets so what they've counted is all they are going to get.

    June 27, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. vet in texas

    The problem with the this party is that they didn't immediately purge or censor the racists and bigots. Had they did that, they would have had at least some credibility, the fact that they didn't, and the fact that the same things they are yelling about, W did to the letter with spending, freedoms, wars, etc...........they lack crediblity and will always fall under: "they are what we thought they were" – Coach Denny Green

    June 27, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. Ken, AZ

    Take a good hard look behind you; no one is following.

    June 27, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    You know what they teach these idiots about social media? "Go to liberal sites and hijack the conversations by posting our baseless talking points so they can't discuss anything amongst themselves. Go there and pretend to be a disheartened, disappointed, disenfranchised member of their group who is angry and sad about Obama and the Dems and their 'inability to get anything done' or their 'broken promises'...sow as much discord as possible." I've even read accounts of Koch brothers funded "strategy" seminars that tell them to do nonsensical things like go to Amazon, search up liberal books and then give them one star ratings or even take the time to write a horrible review of the book...or vice versa for conservative ideologue books. Don't believe me? Go look up The Communist Manifesto and then go look up Atlas Shrugged and see what you get in the reviews. Some are reasonable, but you can tell the astroturfers flocked there to make comments about contemporary political themes in fits of robotic talking opint regurgitation. Google it...they actually teach and encourage them to do this crap.

    June 27, 2011 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  9. george busch

    This party is sounding more and more like the Nazis of the late 1930s, promising to build a better country by suppressing races and/or groups they don't like, discarding education (bad evolution and science – educated people can see through them) and promising a better country and life while preaching their hate.They are just waiting for their Hitler to come and unite them. They just need one spokes person who doesn't sound like a complete lunatic.

    June 27, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. Former Representative Dick Armey IS Freedom Works

    This is not "grass roots". It's Koch brother financed neo John Birch Society organization.

    June 27, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  11. Republican Robber Baron

    tea party's brand of conservatism = right-wing extremist social engineering and NUTS!

    anyone with an ejamacation amongst them is labeled as liberal elitist or communist

    June 27, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  12. Brian

    The GOP already has an issue with inclusiveness. Now the tea party people are making the GOP even more exclusive by holding the GOP politicians' feet to the fire and campaigning against some of them because they're not right-wing enough. Moving to the political outer fringes works both ways. All the right-wingers love to call the Democrats socialists, communists, etc. while it's groups like the tea party that are driving the GOP further and further to the right.

    June 27, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. SecedingfromTexas

    What happened to the "knocking on the door of the NRSC"? Chickened out?

    June 27, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  14. diridi

    Are those yellow flags for communists?????????????I then pity Tea Party Thugs, with GOP idiots....Obama2012. The moment they come to power they repeal health care law, and Fin. Reg. reform....fools, nasty animals, they do not care Insurance thugs denying pre-existing conditions....Hospitals robbing highest prices, I am glad, they are using PAs, and NPs, in Hospital settings, and every where....way to go...Obama...

    June 27, 2011 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  15. concerned citizen

    this people are the end of America if they ever obtain any form of majority influence over any real legislation. This people are on the fringe and want everyone to think exactly like them........ it is horrifying to think what America would be like if they were to have control of the legislature and the executive you could simply say goodbye to all freedoms that you have ever enjoyed....

    June 27, 2011 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  16. Raven in Or.

    The Tea Party is splitting the Republican party and ensuring no GOP presidential candidate will be electable in 2012. If a Romney or other even slightly moderate candidate is the nominee, this bunch will defect and vote for some extremist running as an Independent/other party. If one of the candidates the Tea Party favors is the nominee, the mainstream, moderate Republican base will defect in droves. Either way, enough of their votes will be siphoned away to prevent victory. For all their slander and bile, the fact is that Obama is more popular than REAGAN was in his time (with an all-time overall approval rating several points higher than Reagan's highest ever and to date beating Regan's average approval rating as well.) Not to mention that the economy HAS improved significantly under Obama (from losing 750,000 jobs a mth for Bush's last year or so to gaining 50,000 to 250,000 per mth for 15 straight months now.) He will be very hard to beat, even w/o the rift in the GOP. Oh, the IRONY of a "movement" formed to destroy Obama that ends up destroying the GOP instead, LOL!

    June 27, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  17. Bill

    This artical is wrong! Ron Paul is very strong candidate! and he is the tea party movement! so deceptive! Ron Paul IS going to be our next president. Freedom will prosper once again.

    June 27, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. MB Seattle

    The Tea Parties battle cry "Death to the Middle class". The Brown shirt storm troopers of the republican party.

    June 27, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  19. once upon a horse

    so what kind of conservatism do these people really want? To keep women "barefooted and pregnant" and make sure that minorities "know their place"? The Tea Party itself may not be racist but there were too many racists in the Tea Party that came out front and center. Heck the Klan could show up at a TP rally and be welcome. They must at least look at the polls because their popularity is very much on the decline. And just look at who they DO like....Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmannn, and made a tokenism like for Herman Cain. Enough said!

    June 27, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  20. Raphe

    There is no current candidate out there who is really impressive." says the Tea Party. Well, this just represents the folks who elected them.

    June 27, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  21. robert Vasquez

    what i can not understand on tea party is why they so silence in slicing medicare for adult and silence in tax credit on millionaires are they really for the people or a party of rich people who just want to make sure everything will go the way they like it

    June 27, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |

    A "boot-camp" training weekend at FreedomWorks?!? Imagine a whole weekend of telling 40 people how to tell half truths, twist the truth and outright lie. I'm somewhat surprised they were able to round up 40 people who are dumb enough to believe their crap, then again they are Tea Baggers who watch Fox News. several surveys indicate that the most uninformed people are those who watch Fox News, imagine that? The only the Tea Baggers want is to have the President fail, even it that means having our great country fail. Talk about a group of un-American people.

    June 27, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  23. fayse

    The Tea Party must not get one of its own in the White House. I hope that in 2012 America will wake up and see just what a travestry it was to put in all of those Tea Partyites in the Congress in 2010. This is a radical extremist group and they are dangerous for America.

    June 27, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  24. Doug

    So racist that these tea party Americans want Herman Cain for President. Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Cain is a Republican, supporters of the party that ended slavery. The Democrats are the party that started the Klan and are carrying out the Genocidal great society plan today in our inner cites that have had complete Democrat control for the last 50 years.

    Every decent American has a moral obligation to vote Republican. The history of the Democrat hate party clearly shows what Democrats are all about. This is why a young girl on a dance show received 10,000 death threats, Bristol's mom is a Republican. The Republicans have their flaws but if you honestly and objectively compare them to the Democrats, you see that they are morally the only choice we have right now.

    June 27, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  25. Ancient Texan

    You'all seem to think that the Tea Party and people that are like minded are a very small number. President Obama thought he got a shellacking in 2010, but he hasn't seen anything yet.

    June 27, 2011 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
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