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. Pan3

    Wow, they're mean even to each other!

    October 28, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. Lee

    The "tea party" movement is like the occupy movement. It started as something but is being co-opted into something else. Tea Party started as a small government, libertarian leaning movement. Bachmann is anything but. She has repeatedly voted for big government initiatives like the Patriot Act. The mainstream media for whatever reason libertarianism and as such has painted the tea party movement as some kind of evangelical right thing, which is big government. Bachmann may say she represents the "tea party" movement but it is a charade.

    October 28, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. BeStill

    Her favorite quote “to make President Obama a one term president” and now they are making her a non-starter for president. Ouch!

    October 28, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    It just ain't right how they are kicking Batman to the curb after she exposed her complete lunacy to the entire Congress by become their Congressional mentor and spokesperson.
    Where is their sense of honor I ask you?
    Where's their loyalty to one of their own?
    It just ain't riiiiiight I tell ya'!
    Cain...you're up next.

    October 28, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. Democrat Party - leftist "progressive" socialist communist losers hellbent on destroying the USA

    While she should drop out, it should be said that she would be 1000 times better than the dolt we have in the Whitehouse now.

    October 28, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. HDG

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

    Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa...Lois, this is not my Batman glass....Bachmann ONLY has support from a tiny portion of a small section of a single party

    October 28, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. GI Joe

    Romney will be selected; Obama will be elected.

    2012 can't get here fast enough. Lots of those nutjobs have been exposed and will be gone.

    October 28, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    Apparently God changed His mind, eh, Michele?

    October 28, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. That's What I'm Talking About

    I see the Tea Party spell checkers are hard at work. Someone above asked who will be the next TP poster girl. Put Perry in a skirt. I hear he has nice legs. Isn't that what most of the "male" Republicans are after anyway?

    October 28, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  10. jon

    Actually NONE of these Republicans have a chance in hell of unseating President Obama. Why are they just wasting all their money for nothing? Probably only Romney will emerge as the Repub's choice, with some obscure person as their vice-presidential candidate as usual. And the Republicans really don't want Romney either. He is just another multimillionaire who looks good. They are just screwed this time. I suggest they better just sit back until at least 2016 (or longer.) However, the "debates" they are having are certainly good for a laugh.

    October 28, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. Concerned Tea Party

    pls go away Michele and drop out. U r splitting the vote and allowing the flip-floppier in Chief Romney to steal de race. Plsss drop out now!

    October 28, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. vernelle burkins

    They are being voted off the island good! perry are u ready?

    October 28, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |

    @Democrat Party – leftist "progressive" socialist communist losers hellbent on destroying the USA
    While she should drop out, it should be said that she would be 1000 times better than the dolt we have in the Whitehouse now.
    You are so spot on. Except the dolt in the White House you reference was president from 2000 to 2008. Have a nice day. 🙂

    October 28, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. Vince

    Don't you listen to them Michele! You keep running! We need a voice like yours in the battle to take our country back! You keep getting your message out there! We need you and Ron Paul to continue to show up at debates and let your views be heard!

    October 28, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. George

    I want her so bad. Michele, please don't listen to them , keep running, running, running. You are our greatest and only hope.

    October 28, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. George

    Don't do it Michele !!

    October 28, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |

    But, but, she's obviously smarter than Perry. Why does she have to quit and Perry doesn't?

    October 28, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  18. richard

    Is there really anyone out there who seriously believes that absent widespread indications of an impending economic turnaround before the next Fall that the next President will not be a Republican? Secondly, any Republican who makes it to the White House in 2012 will not do so without sizeable "tea party" support. If you don't think so I think you are suffering from some serious denial. Follow the polls. I think Obama CAN still stage a comeback but he better hope for some very positive news on the economic front soon or he is toast. Next November the electorate won't care a hoot about the "blame-game". They will vote for change once again and for good reason.

    October 28, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  19. Jerry

    Ron Paul IS THE TEA PARTY. This Bachman chick should never have been in it to begin with. She's got absolutely no credibility. Ron was talking about smaller government and less taxation for the past 30 years!! If he doesn't get elected we're all up **** creek without a paddle.

    October 28, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  20. markus

    how does one "train" a Tea Party supporter?

    is there a boot camp where they wipe your conscience, tolerance and better judgment clean?

    October 28, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. Madtown

    Dear Michelle, for the sake of comedy, please don't listen to them!! Stay in the race. Not because you have any opportunity to actually be nominated, but only because you're providing a valuable service to your country: giving us something(someone) to laugh at!!

    October 28, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. Brian

    America to the Tea Party group: She's not the only one that should quit

    October 28, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  23. GeorgeBos95

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

    She does? Ummm...someone's not looking at the polls. She melted down weeks ago, and faded into the past.

    As predicted.

    October 28, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. Nadine

    Very unfortunate , I really like her a lot but I guess she doesn't have what it takes. She falls in the same category as Sarah Palin. Both are loveable creatures with a lot of enthusiasm and patriotism but not enough intellectual substance to sound convincing enough and qualified enough for the job. I wish her good luck in other endeavors.

    October 28, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. colowest

    Nnnoooooooo!!!!!! She can't quit! She's one of the Three Stooges, Perry and Cain being the others, you can't break up the greatest comedy team in political history! Although I guess in a pinch Santorum or even Gingrich could fill in.....

    October 28, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
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