Rove blatantly misrepresents Obama's comments about tea party participants

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

In his Wall Street Journal column, Karl Rove claimed that President Obama "dismisses" tea party participants "as an extremist 'strain [that] has existed in politics for a long time.' " In fact, in the interview Rove quoted, Obama explicitly said that tea party participants are not "on the fringe," and the movement includes people with "legitimate concerns."

Rove: Obama "dismisses" tea party as "an extremist 'strain [that] has existed in politics for a long time' "

Asserting that "Democrats are taking aim at the tea party movement," Rove wrote, "Democratic leaders routinely denigrate tea party participants and President Barack Obama dismisses them as an extremist 'strain [that] has existed in politics for a long time.'" [The Wall Street Journal, 4/1/10]

Obama explicitly rejected notion that all tea partiers are "on the fringe"

Obama said there are "folks who have legitimate concerns" within tea party. Asked about the tea party during an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's Today, Obama stated, "I think that it is a still loose amalgam of forces," and "[t]here are some folks who just weren't sure whether I was born in the United States, whether I was a socialist, right? So there's that segment of it which I think is just dug in ideologically, and that strain has existed in American politics for a long time." Obama added, "Then I think that there's a broader circle around that core group of people who are legitimately concerned about the deficit, who are legitimately concerned that the federal government may be taking on too much." He further stated: "I think those are folks who have legitimate concerns. And so I wouldn't paint in broad brush and say that, you know, everybody who's involved or have gone to a tea party rally or a meeting are somehow on the fringe. Some of them, I think, have some mainstream, legitimate concerns."

From the March 30 edition of NBC's Today:

LAUER: Let me ask you about the tea party. This is a -- this is a movement, this is an organization that didn't exist before you were president, and now they're in the headlines almost every day. Some say they are a legitimate movement, others think they're a fringe group. Where do you fall?

OBAMA: You know, I think that it is a still loose amalgam of forces. There's a part of the tea party movement that actually did exist before I was elected. We saw some of it leading up to my election. There are some folks who just weren't sure whether I was born in the United States, whether I was a socialist, right? So there's that segment of it which I think is just dug in ideologically, and that strain has existed in American politics for a long time. Then I think that there's a broader circle around that core group of people who are legitimately concerned about the deficit, who are legitimately concerned that the federal government may be taking on too much.

And last year a bunch of the emergency measures we had to take in terms of dealing with the bank crisis, you know, bailing out the auto industry, fed that sense that things are out of control. And I think those are folks who have legitimate concerns. And so I wouldn't paint in broad brush and say that, you know, everybody who's involved or have gone to a tea party rally or a meeting are somehow on the fringe. Some of them, I think, have some mainstream, legitimate concerns. And, you know, my hope is, is that as we move forward and we're tackling things like the deficit and imposing a freeze on domestic spending and taking steps that show we're sincere about dealing with our long-term problems, that some of that group will dissipate.

There's still going to be a group at their core that question my legitimacy or question the Democratic Party generally or question people who they consider to be against them in some way, and that group we're probably not going to convince.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
Wall Street Journal
Person
Karl Rove
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.