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GOP candidate, tea party scrap Rep. Steve King appearances following Obama comment

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) makes a headline every 24 hours or so for saying, bluntly, what a lot of Republicans are thinking about the Obama administration, gays in the military, immigration -- really, pick your issue. His critics are typically limited to the chorus of liberal blogs and TV hosts. He goes overboard, they follow him overboard. We move on.

But Monday, King told G. Gordon Liddy on Liddy's radio show that President Obama "has a default mechanism in him that breaks down the side of race, on the side that favors the black person." That is not far from what some conservatives have argued about, for example, the administration's handling of the New Black Panther Party case. But it was inartful enough to get Cory Gardner, one of the GOP's best prospects for a House race pick-up in Colorado, to cancel on him.

[Gardner campaign manager Chris] Hansen wouldn't elaborate on the reasons, but he informed the Coloradoan of the cancellation after the paper inquired about King's remarks. The campaign had sent an e-mail to supporters Friday promoting the fundraiser.

After this news broke, I contacted the Northern Colorado Tea Party to determine whether King would remain on the bill for a June 19 event with Gardner and surging U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck. The tea party group has scrapped that appearance, too, with a spokeswoman saying King's comment "doesn't fit in with tea party values."

King's team is taken aback by this. When I asked about it earlier Tuesday, I was met with confusion about what the issue was; a King spokesman explains to the Des Moines Register that he's being misinterpreted without explaining what the misinterpretation is, exactly.

The NoCo Tea Party statement:

LOVELAND, Col. – Northern Colorado Tea Party director, Lesley Hollywood, issued the following statement regarding the cancellation of Iowa Congressman Steve King's appearance at an upcoming Tea Party event.

Due to the remarks made Monday by Iowa Congressman Steve King on a radio talk show regarding President Obama and favoritism in regards to race, the Northern Colorado Tea Party has made the decision to cancel his appearance at their upcoming "Remember in November" Tea Party rally. This rally, which is scheduled for 6:00 pm on Saturday June 19th at the Hammond Amphitheater in Loveland, is meant to mobilize and motivate community members to get involved in the electoral process.

Lesley Hollywood, director of the Northern Colorado Tea Party said the following: "Although the Tea Party does respect free speech for all Americans, including Congressman Steve King, we do not feel his remarks align with the mission and vision of the Northern Colorado Tea Party, which focuses on promoting fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free enterprise according to Constitutional principles. The race debate does not have a place in the Tea Party movement or in politics today."

A full list of speakers and further details regarding Saturday's event can be found at

By David Weigel  |  June 15, 2010; 5:20 PM ET
Categories:  Tea Party  
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