Cantor shifts tone on Occupy Wall Street protestors
October 11th, 2011
03:34 PM ET
8 years ago

Cantor shifts tone on Occupy Wall Street protestors

Washington (CNN) - House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Tuesday attempted to walk back comments he made last week when he referred to those participating in the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations as "the growing mobs."

In his weekly session with reporters on Capitol Hill, Cantor said he understands why people are out on the streets protesting.

"People are upset and they're justifiably frustrated. They're out of work. The economy is not moving," Cantor said. "Their sense of security for the future is not clear at all. People are afraid and I get it."

But while refraining from using the term "mob" Cantor repeated his criticism of political leaders, indirectly aimed at Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats, who he maintained were using the protestors to encourage a divide between people and the financial sector.

"I don't believe that our role is to inflame a division between different parts and sectors of American society," Cantor said.

The number two House GOP leader argued that policies enacted in Washington are "making matters worse" and he cited the stimulus package and the financial regulatory reform law.
When asked about Cantor's original description of the protestors on Tuesday, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said he "I certainly don't think they're a mob."

Hoyer, like Cantor, said the demonstrations were a reflection of the "angst" on the part of Americans who are fearful about the economy.

The Maryland Democrat argued that the town hall meetings in the summer of 2009 around the health care debate, many attended by tea party protestors, were "much more confrontational in many respects" than the recent demonstrations around the country.

But Cantor said the tea party movement that was "very different" than the Occupy Wall Street protests in that it was aimed at the government, not a particular private sector.

"The tea party were individuals that were attempting to address their grievances, seeking redress of their grievances from the government that they elected. Different, from what I see, from the protestors that I see on Wall Street and elsewhere, who again who are pitting themselves against others outside government in America," Cantor said.

Filed under: Congress • Eric Cantor • House • Occupy Wall Street
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Dear Virginia, Please get this clown out of congress. Love, America.

    October 11, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. sonny chapman

    I can't believe a Macho Repub. stuck his finger in the wind & CHANGED an opinion. They are principled people you know; just ask them.

    October 11, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Lando

    Payback will come from the middle and your cohorts will be vanished like dust..

    October 11, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. hondabear

    cantor, you don't have a clue whats going on. you are inside your own bubble!! you are worried about your own job (as you should be, your days are numbered). the protesters are there because unemployment, wall steet bailouts and people like you in the government holding FEMA hostage for yor own political gain. enjoy what little time you have left in your job!!

    October 11, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |

    Cantor is such a hypocrite, not to mention a liar. Isn't funny that when people from the right protest he calls them true Americans but when the left protests he calls them mobs. Cantor needs to be ousted along with all the other GOP obstructionists.

    October 11, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. westward

    Too late, Cantor. You already played your true cards. You called them 'mobs' and you said you were scared of them, as if they were wrongly violent without reason. In fact these thousands of protesters, that are only a fraction of the Americans that agree with them, but don't live near a march, are peaceful, have a point, and are growing rapidly. In fact the only thing you should be 'scared' of, Mr. Cantor, is your Wall St. payroll being interrupted. What a tool!

    October 11, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  7. Redleg

    That's right, the Tea Baggers carried guns. They also had Karl Rove and his buddies advising them on how to disrupt things. Not at all threatening like OWS

    October 11, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  8. Ed DFWTX

    Eric Cantor is a disgrace to this country. He continues to bully attack poor people, the working class and the unemployeed while preaching the same old tired tax breaks for the wealthy failed GOP economic policies. He praises the Tax Bagger protests while calling the Wall Street Protests "a mob." I hope the good people of Virginia don't forget this and give Mr Cantor an early retirement next year.

    October 11, 2011 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  9. Geoz

    Cantor would hate these people. He's a pretender.

    October 11, 2011 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. fernace

    Eric Cantors song hasn't really changed! He does not "get it!" There Is a great divide between the public & the financial sector & it's not the workers creating it! BigBiz are making lots of $$$, much of which is not going into our economy or our salaries! Infact, we are laid off so they can make more $$ abroad! This & the useless wars are why we're in such dire straits! We are already "inflamed" by the various parts of government that don't take our plight seriously! We are holding the government responsible for bailing out the private sector, while It goes right back to it's questionable methods! All governments must remember, if you don't have The People working for you, you can't get ahead!!

    October 11, 2011 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. Vonnie A.

    Of course, he no longer says the Occupy movement is a "mob" – he received negative fallout from the comment. Time to backtrack. Afterall, wealthy corporate officers don't make up enough of a voting block keep someone in office. A politician also needs thousands of regular middle class voters who are disappearing fast in this economy. Why some politicians thought this wouldn't happen is a mystery to me – a large portion of people are underemployed, unemployed, many have run out or are running out of any kind of help both government and family (since they're probably hurting, too), corporations don't want to pay living wages, they are systematically taking away benefits (also they know full well it's just about impossible to get health insurance without a job at a reasonable rate) and many (not all) are working the poor saps who are left behind in their jobs long hours picking up the slack for those who were laid off. They are supposed to be grateful to have that soul-sucking job, too. The corporations have a real image problem and they aren't doing anything to fix it. Republicans have catered to them all the way and we are just the "mob" who should shutup and behave even if we can't support our families anymore. It's about time people started peacefully assembling to bring attention to these issues.

    October 11, 2011 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. KML

    Mr. Cantor does not believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. We need to elect good Christians to the U.S. Congress, so that we can instill Christian values inside the U.S.

    October 11, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Kwaayesnama

    One thing that Eric Cantor just does not understand is that a major portion of Americans do not agree with him and their GOP/TEA PARTY politicians.
    Take all the Republicans who feel that their GOP has been hijacked by the TEA PARTY, Grover Norquist and the Koch Brothers.
    Add to that Democrats and Independents that feel that jobs, the economy and integrity are more important than saving the top 1% and corporations from paying a bit more in taxes and do you see the writing on the wall?
    In Arizona we have a TEA PARTY president of our senate that is facing a recall election in November.
    Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is facing recall.
    And in 2012 many pompous TEA PARTY Republicans like Eric Cantor will be recalled via the voting booth.

    October 11, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. justaman

    I get a really uneasy feeling every time I see Cantor. Gets much worse when I hear him speak.

    October 11, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. Marjee123

    The only people "upset" about these protests are the tea bags, republicans and corporations. The rest of America the real 99% are over joyed that someone has started the protest against wall street and the banks.

    October 11, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. Chrisg

    To late cantor, you and your TP ilk of simpltons will be VOTED OUT THIS NEXT ELECTION. The American people and the whole world have witnessed the DAMAGE YOU AND THE TP HAVE DONE TO AMERICA in your attempt to make Pres Obama a one term Pres. Bye Bye cantor and TP extremist.

    October 11, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    But Cantor said the tea party movement that was "very different" than the Occupy Wall Street protests in that it was aimed at the government, not a particular private sector.
    But Rep. Cantor, these people are angry about jobs, and how many times have you told us that the private sector creates jobs, not the government. I think they are upset at the sector of our economy that bellyflopped the economy onto dry land. I think they are upset about the new fees, and excuses that government regulations force the banks to do it, all the while the executives at those same banks saw 20-30% increase in pay each of the past 3 years.

    I think they smell another bailout coming because of all of the market fluctuations. They know the first bailout consumed many of the toxic mortgages. The protestors.know how convenient it would be to have another bailout to pay off more of those toxic assets. If you really get it, Mr. Cantor, then you have a funny way of not showing it.

    October 11, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Like Nixon and the Vietnam War protesters, todays Republicans are just itching to attack the protesters and "crack some skulls"...

    October 11, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. opus512

    Yeah, because Lord knows the GOP didn't use the tea baggers to encourage a divide between people, oh noes.

    October 11, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    I think Rep. Cantor is shifting into spin mode to make it appear as if the protestors are angry at the Obama administration, not Wall Street and their political errand boys, the Republican Party.

    October 11, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Cantor has no business being in a position of leadership. He openly attacks the 99% of the population and supports only the 1% of the population. This is the same sniveling twit that supported the mobs disrupting democratic town halls a year ago.

    October 11, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  22. Name king

    What the he'll with these repugs, they pulled out all the stops for the tea baggers, calling them patriots as they brought their guns in public. The tea baggers only objective was to get rid of the first black president in US history. Now all of a sudden people who are protesting because of hunger, jobs, social and corporate justice, All of sudden they are mobs. These repugs have no shame when it comes to protecting wall street. They don't care how much they rape the American people, with high gas prices and high premiums from big insurance companies. All they do is blame Obama, which allow them to rape the people even more. It's about time that the people stood up and say enough is enough.

    October 11, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. GI Joe

    That's just another flip-flopping pander. VOTE HIM OUT

    October 11, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. Rick in AZ

    Looks like the Poll numbers came in and Cantor was dead wrong on the position he was taking. Watch the weasel squirm and try to cover his backside.

    October 11, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. Boomer in Mo

    Someone must have shaken a pitchfork at him. But he is trying to spin the frustration as being just at the Democrats. Those of us who are working every day to keep this country running blame Democrats and Republicans alike. Cantor still does not get it, and neither to the reporters/producers/talking heads at the major media outlets because they are all in a well-paid bubble. Come to Missouri and live among the regular folks for a couple of weeks, walk though schools while they are in session, go out with a farmer to run a combine late into the night, or pull a calf from a cow down on a muddy hillside or get hay to the cattle through a foot of snow before you go off to the job you have to support the farm. Struggle with the small business owner to find health insurance for you, your wife who has breast cancer and your employees. Figure out how to afford the deductible on your health insurance and the prescription you just got and still feed the kids this week. Sit at someone's kitchen table and help them decide which bills to pay this week and which ones can slide another week or so.

    October 11, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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