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. Jake

    this makes my day! For any politician that stands up and so blatantly excludes people from the human race (Palin did it, Santorum does it) they have no place in public offfice! to the curb!

    October 28, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. Olaf Big

    Come on! It's almost Halloween. All the creepy and unnatural things are out and having a field day! How can it be a bad time for Michelle Bachmann?

    October 28, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. obandon

    She is too hung on herself to quit even though she has absolutely no chance to even come close to winning the GOP ticket and then the White House. She is too far right and believes that everyone must believe like she does. She always talks down to everyone, like she is scolding a bad child. I detest people who do that. She won't win, so why is she spending all that money? Because she is so narcissistic. Between her an Palin they give women a bad rap. I'd like nothing more than to see a woman in the White House, but a woman with class and brains that can meet eye to eye with the leaders of the world and not make us look rediculous!

    October 28, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. ART

    As much as I think she is not ready for prime time at least she has more staying power than the wicked witch of Wasila

    October 28, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  5. GrogInOhio

    Hmm... the Teapublicans sound just a tad fickle.

    October 28, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. Sandeelou

    A fine example of the tea party "eating one of their own"....

    October 28, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. Marie MD

    This is precious, just like her big boy Marcus. He has disappeared just like the special needs child disappeared when he became a liability.
    Individual positions as long as you are mentally incapable of not following limbaugh and the koch brothers!
    the flake only enjoys, and maybe not really that much, strong support across party lines. the teabaggers have really taken over, haven't they?

    October 28, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. Malory Archer

    "....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."

    "Trains" them to do what exactly?

    October 28, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. Taioseach

    Off topic, but speaking of crazy, where in the world is Sara Palin? Not that I care either way, but she's been laying kind of low lateley...

    October 28, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. Sam.DCS

    It's about time for her to go. She's as fake as the come in reference to her faith. Bragging about raising 5 children of her own and 23 foster children as if she's not been paid for the 23 foster children, please! The same government she demonizes pays her hubby over $275,000 for training employee-excessive and pays her for those foster children and yet has the gut to complain.
    Has she forgotten she IS the government and now running for the highest GOVERNMENT office! If she's clueless about her responsibilities, I guess it will be befitting for to just GO!!

    October 28, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Jay in MN

    Michele, I'm sorry, I didn't see you there. You may go now.

    October 28, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. Malory Archer

    midwestmoderate, I read the article, then skipped to the bottom of the message thread so I could post a message prior to CNN shutting down the message board because the majority of the comments being posted are favorable to President Obama. Then, lo & behold, I started reading the comments, and your comment – the second posted – is nearly identical to mine. Guess it's true – great minds think alike!

    October 28, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. Kevin

    What about ron paul?! Does NO ONE find this strange that he is never at all mentioned in anything, even though he beat Bachmann in several straw polls? This is getting kind of ridiculous at this point...

    October 28, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. billy

    Just like Palin she never had a chance from the beginning. Big difference is that she is 100 % smarter than Palin !

    October 28, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. Mark1

    First intelligent thing to ever come out of the tea party.

    October 28, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. Mark D

    I bet he's not training anyone in 'Critical Thinking'.

    October 28, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. Expat American

    Why is the Tea Party telling Bachmann to quit? Did she shake hands with a non-white person and forget to wear her GOP-issued gloves?

    October 28, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. Sam.DCS

    @Pepinium...How come you can see this and many of these Teaparty refused. None of the President's policies that could save this economy tremendously were filibuster simply because he refused to add any Repubs crazy provisions. He added about 80% or 90% of Repubs provisions and look at how they criticize and ridicule the Health Care Reform that was geared towards THEIR provisions.
    I guess they meant what they say back in 2009 by Senate Minority Leader "My main purpose is to make President Obama a 1 term President" I'll add this- regardless how many millions of Americans suffers. People are hurting and the GOP refused to pass any kind of relief. SC Senator said "We need to stop any policy that will help the President" also "Let's break the President" Do you wonder why many people said it was because of the President's race? "Let's break him" was term used by then slave owners to break the spirit of their slaves. OBAMA 2012!!!

    October 28, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. Kikaha

    American Majority? Ha ha ha ha ha. No the Teaparty are not the American Majority. Maybe the American Loudmouth Bigot Majority.

    October 28, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  20. Keith in Austin

    With all the hatred being spewed by the Liberal ilk on this blog, let me assure you that Bachmann would be a HUGE improvement vs Barry the great divider and Spender-in-Chief!

    October 28, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  21. ClydeTheSlyde

    Reading between the lines, Michelle is siphoning off votes from their darling Perry. The tea party will sacrifice their own to annoint an "anybody but Romney" candidate.

    October 28, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  22. Nodack

    I guess it is true, Republicans hate everybody, even themselves. It's no wonder the queen of hate was their leader until they turned on hero after she turned on everybody else.

    Like they say, there is no honor among thieves.

    October 28, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. James Ruston

    Earlier, Thomas proposed a Perry/Palin candidacy. Oh please make it happen. Please, please, please.

    Signed, a Democrat

    October 28, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  24. No Tea For ME

    No! We need her to stay in the race! We need her crazy eyes and her batsh-t loony ideas! We need her to continue to demonstrate just how irrelevant she and the Teavangelists/GOP really are.

    October 28, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |

    It was bad news when this stupid woman announced that she was running for POTUS, knowing damn well she could never win. Good riddance. The sooner the better. She should use that energy by helping President Obama pass that Job Bill to put all these out-of-work people back to work and rebuild this country that she say she love so much. She need to stop pretending that she is a good Christian, when her words and action speaks evil. I want her to know that God is not pleased with that crash she dishing out. What's goes around, will surely come back around, and it want be pretty.

    October 28, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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