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. Malory Archer

    richard wote: "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?"

    Lots of Americans. President Obama's numbers are considerably higher than any of the rethugliban/teabagger candidates according to the latest polls, and they're only going to get better as more and more Americans listen to the rethugliban/teabaggers show their support ONLY for the top 1%.

    October 28, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. Gerry

    Don't you love it? Tea Partiers feeding on their own species? In this case the spawn are eating the host alive.
    Gonna' miss you Tea Party Pooper. Psych.

    October 28, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. dxlh

    The Tea Party has gotten too big for its britches. It's not their business to tell anyone when they should get out. I'm also turned off at how some of the Tea Party factions treat Romney. Early on I used to say I identified with them, that's no longer true. Republicans should support Republicans, and then the eventual nominee. The Tea Party has become divisive.

    October 28, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. Portland tony

    Tea party leader could be an anonymous source, tribal spokesperson, governmental sources, unnamed informants, party leaders, undisclosed ...yada ...yada..etc! The T party doesn't have a leader!

    October 28, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. Recovering Republican


    Please quit, pretty please, with sugar on top.
    The Tea Party, The GOP, America, Canada, Mexico, The Taliban, All of Humanity

    October 28, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  6. FedUpWithLife

    Leave her in there Tea Baggers, we already know you are all crazy. Shutting her up won't help you one bit!

    October 28, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. Corporations R. People II

    Darn. I was looking forward to that $2.00 gasoline she promised us. C'mon Michele pray your way into the hearts of the Tealiban leaders.

    October 28, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. Recovering Republican

    First Jesse Ventura, and now Bachmann. If Minnesota does this again, I think we should trade them to Canada in exchage for some oil.

    October 28, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. nathan

    "Let's face it: she's a back-bencher and has been a back bencher congressperson for years"...not to mention shes batshyt crazy.

    October 28, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. Mike

    Ouch! That's gotta hurt Michelle. Given your standing in the polls, they want you to stop wasting their money. With the Tea Party, money is all that matters. People can get sick and die, but for God's sake, save the money!

    October 28, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. nathan

    Let's face it: she's a back-bencher and has been a back bencher congressperson for years"...not to mention shes batshoot crazy.

    October 28, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. QS

    As much as I agree that she should drop out, she won't.

    It is because of the money, yes...but why it's because of the money is what is interesting to me – I think she'll stay in as long as possible to try to bring in as much money as possible due to the simple fact that she has to realize by now that not only will she never be President, but soon she won't even be a Congresswoman.

    October 28, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  13. Lolo

    Another one bites the dust.

    October 28, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  14. Malory Archer

    Keith in Austin wrote "Barry the great divider". Hmmmm, I wonder which reichwing radio bloviator came up with this latest teabagger/rethugliban talking point? Additionally, which teabagger/rethugliban came up with the one about OWS demonstrators becoming violent and "deficating" in public? I keep reading that same comment all over the internet, but except for a photo of an obviously homeless guy going on the street (and w the rethugliban could have bought him off with a pack of smokes), there is no proof of the demonstrators becoming violent. Some have been arrested, but 99% of them have had the charges against them dropped after other demostrators come forward with photos & video absolving them of their "crimes".

    October 28, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  15. gg

    she,s the biggest attraction at the circus

    October 28, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  16. JohnRJohnson

    Bad news for Bachmann... Great news for the United States of America.

    October 28, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  17. Hunter

    Michele was OK on the first date, but then over time when you actually listen to her, well, you just know it's not going to be a long-term relationship. Yep , she's destined to be remembered as a one-nighter that was fun initially, but the magic faded too quick. I wish her well..... Who's next ??????

    October 28, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. RickD

    Bachmann = Palin = Perry = Cain: all totally crazy; all a flash in the pan – nothing more!

    October 28, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  19. JiminNM

    Read the Congressional record for speeches by Representative Louis McFadden in the 1930s to understand that we have been sold to the Federal Reserve stockholders as collateral for the United States Corporation's debt after the Democratic Republic of the United States was dissolved in 1933 when it was bankrupted by the Federal Reserve. There is a remedy put in place so the perpetrators could avoid trial for treason but the remedy is well hidden and laborious. If you want to redeem your birth certificate from the clutches of the Federal Reserve and regain your individual sovereignty, study and apply the remedy.

    October 28, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. westward

    Too late Tea Party. We already know that Bachmann IS the Tea Party. And so is Rick Perry. Looks like you are going down in 2012.

    October 28, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. West

    Let's see, a hair over 1% of the US population "likes" them on facebook and they call themselves the "American Majority." Time to retake to middle school math, tea-bagging losers.......

    October 28, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. Dan

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

    So they are finally throwing in the towel on the "we are bipartisan" thing. That's a start. Now we just have to get to the "grassroots" thing

    October 28, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  23. Corporations R. People II

    Keith in Austin: how dare President Obama be a "divider" by demanding that the top 1% whose wealth has gone up over 250% go back to the Clinto era tax rates? I mean really, those 1% need all kinds of financial breaks to create those jobs....any day now, they'll create them - you can even hold your breath while you wait.
    Wow, Keith, just wow. Have some more Paul Ryan kool-aid buddy, it's like a mind-eraser.

    October 28, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. Truman Guy

    BYE BYE. As a parting gift please take this Godfathers Black Olive and Bologna Pizza with our best wishes.Please give Tim Pawlenty our regards.

    October 28, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. MissouriBoy

    Don't worry Bachmann lovers, she will have a gig on Fox News very soon.

    Bachmann == Palin == Politicians who want to be rich, be famous, and influence politics, and have figured out how to get money from rabid supporters, without a real plan to run for POTUS

    October 28, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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