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. normajean @ verizon ,com

    WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG???????? This woman was a loser from her first incorrect, ill advised statement. I don't think she spent all these months lying, I think she just didn't know the truth when she heard it. She was off to a bad start months ago anyway from wanting Congress investigated for being possibly unamerican.

    October 28, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  2. WhereIsPalin

    Hey Paul supporters.......Here's your candidate's chance to dominate the whack wing of the GOP vacuum.

    October 28, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. Frank A NYC

    ""I think it's pretty obvious that Michele Bachmann is about Michele Bachmann," American Majority Executive Director Matt Robbins said."

    Ouch, talk about kicking someone to the curb. I'm no Bachmann fan, but it's obvious they loved her until they found someone else who they think can win. TP folks are all about their own issues and will run over anyone they think is in their way.

    October 28, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. chuck

    What amazes me is how fast the teabaggers bit the dust. We all knew it was coming but Americans caught on FAST.!!!! Cain is next, just like perry, bachmann, crash and burn..just keep talkin cain you know your are "pro-life but believe women have the right to choose-"ok sure",Peataggers wll dump him like a hot potatoe. Hey Fox staffbrace yourself for OBAMA 2012-Hannity will FREAK OUT, can't wait.

    October 28, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. Sandeelou

    Billy...at "100% smarter than Palin" SHE'S STILL STUPID.....

    October 28, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. Roger

    I hope she gets the nominaton. That would mean another victory for Mr "O" in 2012!

    October 28, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. Little Tin God

    The Tea Party is running out of idiots to run. They're dropping like flies.

    October 28, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. Scott, Philadelphia, PA

    Michelle is all about Michelle. Sara Palin is all about Sara. Herman Cain is all about Cain. Trump was and always is about Trump. Gingrich is about Gingrish except when he becomes sooo overwgelmed with patriotism that he can't help but cheat on his wife. They are all out to sell books and rake in the media cash. I don't think any of them really want the presidency. They just want the spotlight so they can make money the in the free-market they tout so highly. The dollar reigns supreme in all of their political playbooks. Why would any of this be a surprise?

    October 28, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. Stormy One

    Did she ever get started?

    October 28, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  10. Steve

    What is a "back-bencher"?

    October 28, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Expat American

    So the two most influential voices representing the TEA Party ended up being bumbling loons. This is good news. By 2012 the Tea Party will be gone from the national spotlight and back in cross burnin’ red state trailer parks where it belongs.

    October 28, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |

    Me thinks that Bachmann is just too dumb to be representing the Tea Baggers, not that the Tea Baggers are any smarter, in fact they're not. The problem is that the so-called heads of the Tea Baggers understand that the real majority of Americans have more brains than the Tea Baggers and see right through Bachmanns talking points and see her for the idiot she is. these so-called heads also know that the Tea Baggers do not have that same brain power and hang on her every word, also showing the rest of America just how stupid they are, thus explaining why the Tea Baggers represent less than 20% of America, As the Tea Baggers drag the GOP farther and farther to right, they insure that the candidate will be unelectable in the general election. Bacjmann is just too much of a Tea Bagger and will drag the GOP over the cliff with her in the lead. Bachmann herself doesn't understand that you have to be FOR something, being against something (or in her case everything) has never won an election.

    October 28, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  13. sara

    This "tparty" group is named WHAT? Yeah right. But anyway...Michele Crazy...you loss...America WINS. LMAO

    October 28, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. Hairball

    C'mon Michelle, hang in there Baby!! The race would be so boring without your unintentional comedy!

    October 28, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. runRonnie

    RON PAUL 2012!!!!!!!!!!

    October 28, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    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...
    She's planning on doing really big things with KochCain. Winky, winky!!

    October 28, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. evolutionisfact

    The only REAL and TRUE republican candidate Fred Karger, was COMPLETELY snubbed by faux news network and wasn't even given the chance to offer his views when the "debate" came around. Pity. If elected he probably could've actually maneuvered the GOP into a nationally accepted MODERATELY conservative position. A TRUE Libertarian.

    October 28, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. Bill

    I guess CNN got tired of their weekly "Bad news for Palin" teasers. Now it's "Bad news for Bachmann." I'm still waiting for "Bad news for Obama", but that won't happen at the Communist News Network.

    October 28, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Now that Batgirl is dropping off maybe they'll bring in Pat Buchanan.
    Wouldn't that be just precious?

    October 28, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. Scott, Philadelphia, PA

    I think only one of the republican candidates really, really deep down wants to be POTUS for personal reasons and knows how to run. The rest are either running because others told them to run, or they are just running for the free advertising. I think Cain will quit the race in the not too distant future and leave the field in a bit of a rage. Perry wont want to quit but I think he will run out of gas and he seems already to be running on fumes even though he has significant financial backing. Romney wont go away but they don't want Romney. Someone else will attempt to enter the picture to save the day if Perry's decline continues. Some say it is too late but the core of the base will declare an emergency and make it possible. We'll see.

    October 28, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. Cat

    What a truly great idea!!!!!! I would support, her quitting. But we might miss having a clown running. Oops, there are still 5 more clowns, so I guess we will be ok.

    October 28, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. closetiguana

    Wait until your coffers are empty then leave. Same with you Perry.

    October 28, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. charles

    GSMITH YOU ARE A MORON. This is between the TEA PARTY and Bachman. This means you people cannot win on subsatnce be spread hatred. Go to school and learn a trade moron!!!!

    October 28, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  24. Just my opinion

    She had about as much of a chance as Palin......NONE!!!

    October 28, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. Just my opinion

    She had as much of a chance as Palin.......NONE !!!

    October 28, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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