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. G.W.Bush

    We need her!

    October 28, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. Jim Billy

    Wow. The Tea Partiers are starting to eat their own. Way cool.

    October 28, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. LOL

    do the majority of americans even CARE what the tea party wants/thinks anymore?

    October 28, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  4. Paul

    Dang. She's got a brain the size of a pea, but she's really hot! Maybe she and Palin could run on the same ticket! Heck, I'd vote for them in the primaries, just to keep their photo's up and running until they got crushed in the general election! I can't wait until Bachmann's husband comes out. It's going to be quite a media feeding frenzy! (Pray THAT one away, bucko!!) 🙂

    October 28, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. Guitar

    One question never brought up to the 'campaigners' is, if their jobs back at home, (Governors, Senators, Reps, etc) are so important, pressing, and time consuming when they are at those positions, then how are they able to spend so much time away, (over a year) from those jobs while on the campaign trail? Yes, yes, we'll hear, "I am kept constantly abreast of all matters in my state"....blah, blah, blah. It's my contention, that is they're able to run those jobs 'part time' while out away and far from their respective states campaigning, then they should be paid accordingly: with PART-TIME Compensation from their respective states – if at all. Isn’t it vital they are at the office IN their Capitols DAILY for votes, legislation, important matters of state? Guess not!!

    October 28, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  6. Mikey

    Bachmann=Tea Party....shows you where they're at.

    October 28, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  7. John Ellis

    Yes, but it's time for the Tea Party to go as well. And the GOP. An entirely destructive force now, keeping a lid on any attempt to help the economy grow and for the purpose of their own grabbing of power and the greed of their corporate supporters. I suspect that they will be wiped out next year completely, and it won't be because Obama deserves a landslide. It will be because they have destroyed themselves.

    October 28, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. one voice

    At least She didn't write on Her hand.

    October 28, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  9. :(

    She should've stayed and taken votes away from the republican candidates.

    October 28, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  10. Mikey

    I can't believe that a lot of the comments are saying things as if she's a credible candidate. She's an idiot who says the stupidest things and is wrong 90% of the time with her facts. Quit and go home to your gay husband and keep pretending that you have a wonderful life...and read some good books!

    October 28, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  11. SmartManinSC

    lol i said it from the beginning she would quit. By the way President Obama is still gonna win by a cakewalk.

    October 28, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  12. Truth hurts

    Every Republican candidate is just a cartoon character this year – polarized, dogmatic, funded by whacky lobbies, theocratic and so far away from the average American that is just become a joke. I would vote for – and campaign for – a viable, honest GOP candidate but I would prefer Obama to any of these clowns.

    October 28, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  13. carly

    I am so depressed about this. NOT. It is funny how the tea party is kicking out its prime "pusher" in Congress. Sign of things to come. The tea party will be road kill in the rear view mirror soon.

    October 28, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  14. FM

    I love this one. What has happened to the cheer leader of "one term president"? Adios one time flavor contender and now being shown a red card to disappear!

    October 28, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    Lets face it: all of the GOP candidates are more concerned with book sales than offering serious ideas that have a prayer of winning over a majority of voters. This is about ideology, not solving problems. The people who claim to revere the Constitution have offered more amendments to it in recent years than I can keep track of. Bachmann is a disgrace as a legislator: when she completes her term, the American people will have paid her over a million dollars in salary without her having sponsored or introduced one single peice of legislation. Her job is to make or change laws, and she is a perfect example of leading from behind. Nothing but a Right-wing ambulance chaser.

    October 28, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. G D

    Too irrelevant even for the Tea Party. Wow!!

    October 28, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  17. Democrat Party - leftist "progressive" socialist communist losers hellbent on destroying the USA

    Since there are so many other conservative candidates out there, she not getting that much support. ANybody with single digit poll numbers at this point in time should be dropping out.

    October 28, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. RINO Bil

    Maybe after her politcal career is over (read: after she gets booted out of office in the next election) and her finances go down the toilet because no one in the Tea Party will pay attention to her, Bachmann can follow in Lindsay Lohan's footsteps and pose for Playboy. But Michele better do it soon, her looks aren't going to last much longer.

    October 28, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. M

    What the Republicans and tea party folks are afraid of is that, as candidates desperately try to claw their way to the top of the heap, they'll tear each other apart, making whoever finally does get the nomination too weak to ever hope to win a general election. And they're absolutely right. And, at this point, Bachmann can only act as a spoiler. Whether she can get the nomination is irrelevant–she can't hope to win a general election. All she can do is beat up on the other candidates, something she seems willing to do.

    And this is a perfect example of why a no-compromise approach to politics is a bad idea. If everyone takes the approach of, "The only way I can win is to destroy you," then no one wins.

    October 28, 2011 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  20. GI Joe

    Maybe, just maybe, she's had enough exposure now that the folks in her district will finally see how ignorant she is and will vote her out of the House of Delegates.

    I can dream.

    October 28, 2011 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. Terry

    Should she quit????? If the GOP had half a brain they would have never allowed her to run!!! She is a cartoon character somewhat like a bobble head doll and every time she opens her mouth she confirms it!! I can't believe this is what the GOP thinks is the cream of the crop as far as their candidates are concerned.

    OBAMA 2012, he is our best hope

    October 28, 2011 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. GSMITH

    Bad News for Barack Obama. He is a one term President. He will lose in November 2012. Mitt Romney will be our nexr President. You can take that to the bank.

    October 28, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  23. Deathstalker

    She said she would give us 2 dollar gas again thats about the only thing I liked about her. Doesnt matter GOP still doesnt have anyone worth talking about I wish they could come up with someone that wasnt a complete flop.

    October 28, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. dennis freeman

    Please don't quit and take the fun away. I need a good laugh every day and you have come through with flying colors.

    October 28, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  25. Oliver Q. Whipsnade

    But – but
    Those sweet checks from all those dear grannies!
    One more fundraiser...PLEASE!!!

    October 28, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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