FreedomWorks CEO slams Romney event: 'This is a photo op'
September 2nd, 2011
11:29 AM ET
11 years ago

FreedomWorks CEO slams Romney event: 'This is a photo op'

(CNN) – The leader of a large grassroots organization instrumental to the tea party movement isn't happy with Mitt Romney, and he's not afraid to show it.

Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks, was adamant that the former Massachusetts governor is "not good with the men and women of the tea party movement" Friday during an interview on CNN.

Objecting to Romney's appearance on the Tea Party Express national bus tour Sunday in New Hampshire, Kibbe voiced his frustration.

"He's been standoffish I think up until now and suddenly he's in trouble in the polls so he wants to create this perception. But this is not a dispute about Mitt Romney, it's a dispute about his record," he insisted.

Earlier this week, Romney reversed course and decided to attend a Monday forum in South Carolina being held by Sen. Jim DeMint instead of a tea party bus tour event in New Hampshire. Instead, he elected to attend an earlier event in the state on the bus tour schedule Sunday.

FreedomWorks promptly pulled their sponsorship of the Tea Party Express tour and set the stage for a protest.

But Kibbe sought to remove any confusion about his group's intention. "There's a misperception about tea parties. We're not disruptive," he said. "But we are going to set the record straight."

"We would love to hear [Romney] take a stand on some of these issues, but we want to make sure that people know that just standing up at a tea party rally is not the same thing as being right on the issues."

Kibbe's biggest bone of contention is Romney's record.

"On health care, on regulation of carbon, on Wall Street bailouts–he's been wrong on the key issues that tea partiers care about," he said.

"We've been in this debate for quite some time now listening to Gov. Romney, hoping to hear him step away from his support for government-run health care, hoping to hear where he's going to be on some of our key issues, he hasn't been there yet."

The group sponsoring Romney's appearance communicated no qualms about the second-time presidential candidate's upcoming remarks and billed the event as part of a larger forum for all presidential candidates.

A statement released by the Tea Party Express described the tour as an open opportunity for presidential candidates who want to speak to the tea party–and balked at the notion that tea partiers should be told "who they can and can't listen to."

Kibbe begged to differ.

'"I don't think that's what's going on here," he said. I think this is a photo op."

"What we're looking for is substance and if we hear that from Gov. Romney we'll give him credit where credit is due."

Watch American Morning weekdays 6am to 9am ET. For the latest from American Morning click here.

soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. Economizer

    Washington DC is doing everything right to ensure they've lost control of the country. States are seemingly better off bucking DC and doing things their own way. Politicians are owned by corporate interests, and don't give a care about the populace whatsoever.

    September 2, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  2. Indy

    OK everyone quit getting along so well on this blog, Fair is Fair and all Republicans hate it when people get along. It is anti Republican to have a laugh once in awhile and be nice to others, so quit that and start blaming Obama for the high price of tea in China ! And dont you dare have a nice long weekend !

    September 2, 2011 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  3. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Dennis, be careful with that thought; it may be exactly what the Rove's of the GOBP are planning. And you can bet that despite how "moderate" they sound, deep down inside they'll still be the same vile corrupt corporatist cult members as the vast majority of the party. They'll still want deregulation and tax cuts for the ultrarich. That's where to focus your attention.

    September 2, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  4. Gemini Girl

    It is a shame that people like Huntsman get very low poll ratings. Crazies like Perry & Bachmann steal all of the thunder because of their noise. Today the Wall Street Journal wrote that Jon Huntsman's economic ideas are better than any of his peers. This was stated a short while ago on MSNBC, as well as a dozen other good points about Huntsman, and MSNBC is usally liberal! How does that grab ya? They also said that it looks like the Repub party wants to stick to "purity." Too bad. The Repub Party will NOT win in 2012, not as long as they have crazies like Perry and Bachmann, who are not at all good for the country. But you see, with FAUX NEWS & Hannity making sure that their base remains low-information, what do you expect?? I am not Republican, but if I were I would certainly look at Hunstman.

    September 2, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  5. NES5000B

    The fact the the Tea Party, Palin, Perry, Bachmann are even being given attention is appauling. This country is heading for ruin......

    September 2, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  6. T'sah from Virginia

    "FreedomJerks" is just that... JERKS who refuse to realize that they are already FREE!!! Fighting to get their country back that NEVER belonged to them in the first place!!! Not willing to work with an African American president because their goal is to make him a "one-term" president!!!! Work with BIG CORPS/KOCH just to "prevent" the creation of JOBS!!!

    Yep, "FreedomJERKS!!!!!"

    September 2, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7