Tea party group to Bachmann: Quit the presidential race
October 27th, 2011
05:45 PM ET
11 years ago

Tea party group to Bachmann: Quit the presidential race

(CNN) - A tea party group has a surprising and harsh urging for long-time tea party favorite Michele Bachmann: Quit the presidential race.

"It's time for Michele Bachmann to go," reads the first line of a statement from American Majority President Ned Ryun. His group operates in seven states, trains thousands of tea party supporters and is "liked" by over 371,000 people on Facebook.

"Bachmann, the leader of the so-called tea party caucus in the House and the most vocal about her affiliation with the Tea Party than any other Presidential candidate, has consistently presented herself as a champion of the movement and its values," Ryun's statement continued.

"Bachmann has ridden her tea party credentials from obscurity to a national platform like no other."

Bachmann campaign manager Keith Nahigian responded in a statement.

"The strength of the Tea Party is all individual's opinions are valued but the no single leader speaks for it. Mr. Ryun, who supports Texas Gov. Rick Perry, is entitled to his own opinion. And that's exactly what he is expressing. Michele Bachmann enjoys strong support from Americans across party lines and that certainly includes the Tea Party. She will continue to be a strong advocate for the values and principles reflected by the Tea Party as works toward a victory in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses as she seeks to win the Republican nomination."

Ryun denies he supports Perry, telling CNN: "I liked his plan that he came out with earlier in the week. And I said as much in a blog post. But I have not, and neither has American Majority endorsed anybody."

American Majority's rebuke of Bachmann marks the first time a well-known tea party group has turned on one of its own in the presidential race – a candidate who so frequently pushes tea party values it's become a key underpinning of her White House bid.

The group explained its reasons why it's grown incensed with Bachmann.

"I think it's pretty obvious that Michele Bachmann is about Michele Bachmann," American Majority Executive Director Matt Robbins said.

"Anyone who knows the congresswoman, and knows her record, we appreciate a national figure standing up for the tea party types," Robbins added.

Robbins said the statement is not about the group favoring one candidate over Bachmann.

"We are equal opportunity hecklers." Robbins said. "We point out the foibles and the flaws in each one of the candidates. And we don't care which one of the personalities wins, as long as they're conservative."

"Let's face it: she's a back-bencher and has been a back bencher congressperson for years," Robbins added. "This is not a serious presidential campaign."

Bachmann won the first major contest of the presidential cycle, August's Ames Straw Poll in Iowa. The Minnesota congresswoman has also won some good reviews for her performances in presidential debates. And, though her polling fortunes have recently tumbled, many campaign watchers believe Bachman's candidacy cannot be dismissed.

In explaining his claim that Bachmann isn't running a serious campaign, Robbins dismissed Bachmann's straw poll win.

"They're not accurate reads," Robbins said. "That's not the structure, that's not the money, that's not the seriousness, that's not the gravitas, you know, any of the real big league things that one needs in order to mount a truly credible, nationwide presidential campaign."

The executive director also cited Bachmann's recent staffing and fundraising misfortunes.

The group explains another reason it believes Bachmann should quit the GOP presidential race.

"Bachmann's resulting plunge in the polls is troubling for the tea party, not because 'one of their own' is losing her footing, but because the longer Bachmann stays in the race, the more likely we will see her shift to the right," Ryun wrote in the statement. "This rightward shift will come as the campaign works to hold on to its more conservative base of support in advance of the release of Bachmann's new book next month."

Ryun continued: "There is nothing wrong with addressing your base during a campaign. However, I suspect that we will hear more from her about social issues and religion to accomplish that goal. As an evangelical who is deeply pro-life, I can say that while many inside the tea party movement are socially conservative, social issues are not what drive the Tea Party."

Since the movement's founding in 2009, activists and supporters have tried to squarely focus on constitutional adherence, fiscal responsibility and lower taxes. Activists typically steer clear of social issues like abortion and gay marriage. While Bachmann frequently pushes the tea party's message on fiscal issues, she's recently stressed her opposition to abortion rights and her defense of traditional marriage.

"In Bachmann's case, it is clear that the campaign has become less about reform and more about her personal effort to stay relevant and sell books; a harsh commentary, but true," Ryun wrote. "While other campaigns are diving into the substance, the supposed tea party candidate Bachmann is sticking to thin talking points and hanging on for dear life."

When contacted about the statement, some other tea party groups remain largely positive about the Bachmann candidacy.

Jenny Beth Martin is co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, the nation's largest tea party group.

"I haven't heard of any local tea party groups calling for Michele Bachmann to bow out," Martin said. "Michele Bachmann has fought and championed the tea party core values - the fiscal responsibility, the constitutional and limited government and free markets on Capitol Hill – oftentimes when very few others were willing to take up the mantle. And tea party supporters appreciate her for championing their cause repeatedly and consistently."

As for criticism of Bachmann's focus on social issues, Martin said, "When you're running for president, you're appealing to more than just tea party people. And you have to answer questions on other issues as well. So I'm not surprised when any of the candidates are talking about the other issues because those are things that come up in presidential campaigns."

Levi Russell, director of public affairs for Americans for Prosperity, said, "The conservative movement across the country has not made up its mind about any one particular candidate.

"I think it's too early to call for anybody to drop out," Russell added.

Filed under: 2012 • Michele Bachmann • Tea Party
soundoff (238 Responses)
  1. ted

    Back to your real job as whatever you are Michelle. Park the bus. Your 15 minutes of fame are over. Good bye.

    October 27, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. MTATL67

    Now there is loyalty for you. Extremists tell Ms. Gossip time to go home. Ned Ryun what a Nazi. The extremist group called the Tea party is inconsistent with their message of fiscal responsibility and the fact that they hold up the American ideals (Florida disproves that). This group has lost its bite because Americans have never liked extremists. Mrs. Bachmann should be a lesson to all do not attach your wagon to an ass going over a cliff.

    October 27, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  3. cisco4

    Since Fraulein Bachmann has NO heath Inurance...she can just go to the Emergency room for care just like she advises all of us Ordinary people in the USA who have NO health insurance.. And she has no presidential canadiate insurance either..So Mrs. Bachmann.What you gonna do?

    October 27, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  4. Adrienne CAOS SIncalir

    Michelle should leave with dignity for the good of the USA and the tea party you have to remember that Herman Cain was a head and speaker of the Tea Party back in 1994. I was there in Atlanta when it was not the thing to do. So yes she is becoming a distraction, As i lived in California and being in a Military competed family. We have meeting every week, We are organized and are pro Cain supporters , We left California and were there for the Glenn Beck and MLk Tea Party in D.C. we have natioel issues and our country and Military are at war in Afghanistan and Libyan crisis, I cringe we she back stabs the Conservative base which I am a part. yes it is time for her to go back to work . Let us get to electing the man who is working with a large base in 50 states , yesterday many of the Romney staff and Perry have come to Herman Cain, the reason they said including Baker the mayor and etc is he has the heart of the voters , Romney has been running here for 5 years, but we know Mr Cain can win the nomination,. there is one good reason and I had the last word! he can beat Obama he is a Reagan Conservative and even better since he has 12 honorary Doctoral. We have to move on and her distraction is frustrating .Someone now should face her with the facts she is hurting hard efforts by her talking points enough please!.

    October 27, 2011 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  5. CA Dream USA

    Wow...How's that hate Obama working for YA ?

    October 27, 2011 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  6. Tim

    i hope she stays!!!

    October 27, 2011 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. Former Republican, now an Independent

    It seems these snakes have rendered a near fatal bite to one of their most loyal supporters. None of these modern day extremists have any loyalty, and would cut their own mother's throat in order to win an election.

    October 27, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  8. michaelam

    “Michele Bachmann enjoys strong support from Americans across party lines…”
    No, Michele, you do not have “strong support” from people across party lines, at least NOT in the way you would like. We, hard core, “lefties” laugh at you….hysterically. Some of us would love, actually, to see you secure the Teahadist nomination because….it would guarantee President Obama another four years!

    Bye, Bye….Michele. And drop out of Congress as well!

    October 27, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  9. Woman In California

    Going, going, G O N E.

    She doesn't have a prayer and she knows it.

    October 27, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  10. Wayne

    Wow, this is like excommunication in the Catholic Church! Love it.

    October 27, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  11. Consistency is a virtue

    Bachmann is only out for Bachmann – therefore she perfectly represents what the Tea Party stands for: "me, me, me, to hell with everyonyone else"

    October 27, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  12. professorjoe

    Anyone who's really "deeply pro life" as the man says would be supporting Ron Paul who not only supports the unborn but the born by ending this ridiculous foreign policy of perpetual warfare.He started the "Tea Party" but now seems to be persona non grata as they have morphed into a cabal of evangelical neo con war mongers.

    October 27, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  13. Emery

    THANK GOODNESS I'm not the only one who thinks she should quit! This is the ONLY sensible thing that's EVER come out of the Tea Party!

    October 27, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |

    i thank she go she so far behind juet wast time and money

    October 27, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  15. Randy, San Francisco

    Wow! Tea Party zealots are a pretty demanding bunch. Amazing that Bachmann cannot pass the Tea Party purity test.

    October 27, 2011 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  16. Dannytelevision

    Tea Party was founded in a angry, hateful environment...it will end in such...

    October 27, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  17. vic , nashville ,tn

    Tea party can’t tell her what to do what happened tea party

    October 27, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  18. thomas

    Michele Bachmann has fought and championed the tea party core values – the fiscal responsibility, the constitutional and limited government and free markets on Capitol Hil , and reintroduced the "Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act,"

    We thank you .
    Now it's time to bow out of the race and help Rick Perry to achieve what you started . A Perry / Palin ticket would not only win the oval office , it would make America the greatest planet in the universe ! I know you would make a great Secretary of State .

    October 27, 2011 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  19. Steve

    "Michele Bachmann enjoys strong support from Americans across party lines and that certainly includes the Tea Party. "

    Does he really believe that?

    October 27, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  20. thomas

    Don't bow out , we love you in the City of Coalinga !

    October 27, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  21. Switters

    How about telling Rick Santorum to get out, too – I mean he's never polled over 2%

    October 27, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  22. AB

    Eventually, Michelle Bachmann will drop out of the race for the GOP Presidential nomination once she realizes that she does not have a ghost of a chance of getting the nomination. This woman has made many mistakes in her campaign and is not a viable candidate; of course, she never was. Even Ed Rollins, her campaign manager/advisor quit on her along with scores of other staffers. No matter what Bachmann does from this point forward, her campaign is over!!

    October 27, 2011 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    "American Majority"? They don't represent me – and they certainly don't represent the 66,882,230 voters who chose President Obama over McCain in 2008 (10 million more voters than McCain, to be precise).

    This group is vocal, but their agenda is as nonsensical and misleading as their name.

    October 27, 2011 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Once Perry was rumored to be getting into the race, she lost the support of a lot of tea people. I don't think she really had the organization and understanding to be a real presidential contender. She has made many mistakes and "foot-in-mouth" statements which hurt a campaign.

    October 27, 2011 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  25. Gregg

    Why the heck do they use the term liberal and conservative anyway. Neither "label" fits either party, at all. Not even remotely.


    October 27, 2011 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
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