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. John

    Both should quit

    Both Bachmann and the tea party should quit. They are both going nowhere. They are both ridiculous entities. They are both right wing bigots. Both are exposed to Americans and their agenda together is an agenda of doom. It's a good call from the tea party asking Bachmann to quit. It is , however, it's a beeter call from the American people asking the tea party to quit holding congress and the American people hostage.

    Both the tea party and Bachmann MUST quit and quit now! Both calls are excellent calls.

    October 27, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  2. texan

    Hang in there Bachman ; Don`t give up, we (Democrats) need you.............

    October 27, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  3. mark moore

    Hahaha ... that's like your own mother telling you you're ugly! bye bye Michele

    October 27, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  4. Squigman

    Her ego, will not allow this. Get used to it, she's your creation, so get used to it.

    October 27, 2011 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  5. Joe

    It is clear that she's not ready. She's doomed!! hahahaaaaaa!!!!

    October 27, 2011 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  6. Grand Oil (and Tea) Partiers

    Michele Bachmann: leading from behind. Bye now!

    October 27, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  7. Reality Check

    She has NO chance for many reasons. MITT for POTUS!

    October 27, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  8. Jeff

    This branch of the Tea Party are really just a bunch of Nazi Socialists. No-one else is right wing enough.
    Bachmann 2012!

    October 27, 2011 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  9. Adam9

    His group "trains thousands of tea party supporters." How do you train someone to support a cause? How do you train someone to believe in something? This sounds like the astroturf claims that dog the tea party have good merit.

    October 27, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  10. CaliMafia

    AHHHHHHHHHHHhhhh, that's nice. They're starting to eat their own. Perry's next!

    October 27, 2011 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  11. Jake

    amazing! if the Tea Party doesn't want you...that only leaves some of the Evangelicals that are brainwashed with the same crap you are!

    October 27, 2011 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  12. Voice of Reason

    When the Tea Party tells Bachmann to quit – Isnt that one of the signs of the end of the world?
    When Michelle Bachmann no longer fills up the TP's 'Crazy Quota' – you know you have problems.
    The TP are a bunch of Johnny-come-latelys, we've been telling her to quit for months.
    Oh, She's still running?
    Oh, The TP's opinons still matters?

    I could go on and on – it's just so easy....By the way, the quote, "...I think it's too early to call for anybody to drop out..." made me fall out of my chair laughing.

    The GOP are a bunch of Rubes that have used up all their best lines and all their 'respectibility capital' falling over themselves to get to be the person who runs against Obama – and now Every one of them is tainted, and NONE of these clowns can beat him. What's more the Dems are going to take the house back, too.

    October 27, 2011 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  13. Grow up already...

    Oh please Michele... Stay in the race!! It's much more funny that way!!!

    October 27, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  14. Reggie from LA

    "His group operates in seven states, trains thousands of tea party supporters..." Uhm, I thought they were like, grassroots or somethin". Uhm, they don't know how to think or express themselves, being grassroots and all? someone has to TRAIN THEM to behave the way they do? Jumpin Geezis!! they're automatons, being programmed by whom? Hmm, whom? Kochs? "Rench Previous" or Frank "Lunks" or somebody like that? The far right GOP has contrived a way to get people to do their dirty work and have separated themselves from their creation that they call a "Tea Party" (who believe themselves viable by the way). Well done GOP! Train them...damm that's sad, but now our reality. Thanks a lot.

    October 27, 2011 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  15. GaryB

    I find it funny how a group that only operates in seven states and has approximately one tenth of one percent of the U.S. population as its followers (assuming everyone who liked it on Facebook is truly a follower) can call itself The American Majority. Reminds me of the old Moral Majority (which, as the old joke goes, was neither).

    October 27, 2011 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  16. John Locke

    The Tea Party has become a neocon infested arm of the GOP. It may have been pure at one point, but you have too many social conservatives who won't leave people alone to live their lives, Patriot Act supporters who claim to be constitutionalists while trampling every Americans 4th Amendment rights (dems too!), and supporters of illegal unconstitutional undeclared wars. As a classical liberal I support Ron Paul because he will bring about change by ending these wars and working to restore our civil liberties. I will not vote for a corporatist neocon to replace the one currently in office!

    October 27, 2011 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  17. clarke

    She is not a stong leader at all. I think it is good advice.

    October 27, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  18. ST

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

    OK fine. Let Bachmann continue to stay until the last whistle is blown signalling "Game
    Over", while she has burnt a lot of money and energy for nothing.

    October 27, 2011 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  19. Larry M

    "I think it's pretty obvious that Michele Bachmann is about Michele Bachmann," American Majority Executive Director Matt Robbins said. – Took them long enought to figure that out.

    October 27, 2011 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  20. DT

    Robbins: "...And we don't care which one of the personalities wins, as long as they're conservative."

    This, I fear, is the problem with America these days - voting for a party/ideology rather than an actual suitable candidate. Here's news for you, Mr. Robbins, and those who think like you: anyone can give lip service to the "values" you think you're voting for while they're chipping away at your rights, your wallet, and your human dignity - smiling, making promises, and using those keywords that get you all riled up the whole time.

    October 27, 2011 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  21. J.V.Hodgson

    I agree her platform has largely been the social issues not economic. She has yet to come out with any real economic plans, add in her strong religious beliefs and its adverse effect on international politics of which she has zero experience knowledge she would only infuriate Muslims.
    A significant portion of the rest of the world would also not want American style religious belief brought into thier political arena, which she would push.
    No thanks bow out in style please, if you do no better than 3rd 4th in Iowa.

    October 27, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  22. CBR

    Ms. Bachmann has run a campaign based on the ideas of the TEA party. She is very supportive of their cause and has run on that message. She should decided when and if she quits the race. There is time before anyone has to quit. The nominating convention is 8 or 9 months away.

    October 27, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  23. TeaPartyIsForLittleGirls

    oh man. I was hoping she will win the primaries, making 2012 a cakewalk for Dems, and Daily show a constant source of entertainment for next year.

    October 28, 2011 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  24. HunterPSU

    thank you. She is registering near zero on the national polls. Please do the country a favor and drop her from the remaining debates. The only good thing she did was help to convince Palin not to run. For that the country owes her our gratitude.

    October 28, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  25. d

    Wow not surprised by this...the gop are all the same...they have loyality only up to a point. i think they would feed people to the lions when they are done using them...not a fan of bachman at all...but really?

    October 28, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
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