President Obama hears the Tea Party
Tea Partyers might not know it -- and some of them might not even care -- but President Obama hears them. In an interview this morning with Matt Lauer of the Today Show, Obama talked about the agitated movement and what he is doing to address their legitimate concerns. (Start the video at 5:30.) He talks about the political divide and working with Republicans, too, which I'll tackle later.
Echoing some of the commentariat, Obama said, “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 were some folks who just weren’t sure whether I was born in the United States, whether I was a socialist." Then he gave voice to the real concerns of the sane elements of the Tea Party.
"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," Obama said. "And last year, a bunch of the emergency measures we had to take, in terms of dealing with the bank crisis, bailing out the auto industry, fed that sense that things were 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 everybody who is involved or have gone to a Tea Party rally or meeting are somehow on the fringe," said Obama, who displayed an understanding of the broader movement that many on the left can't or refuse to acknowledge. "Some of them, I think, have some legitimate, mainstream concerns, and my hope is that as we move forward and we’re tackling things like the deficit, imposing a freeze on domestic spending, taking steps that show we are sincere about dealing with our long-term problems, that some of that group will dissipate.” One can only hope.
| March 30, 2010; 12:02 PM ET
Categories: Capehart | Tags: Jonathan Capehart
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