The leaders of several Tea Party groups have risen to Rep. Michele Bachmann’s defense after American Majority president Ned Ryun called for her to drop out of the presidential race.
Two days ago, Ryun authored a post on the American Majority blog that criticized Bachmann for riding her Tea Party credentials from obscurity to a national platform “like no other,” for focusing too intensely on social issues and for purporting to speak for a grassroots movement that “has no spokesperson.” Ryun wrote:
It’s time for Michele Bachmann to go. …
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. It’s not about tea party values or championing real plans to solve real problems. 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.
Every day the campaign flounders, it risks hurting the credibility of the movement. If she really is about the tea party, and making it successful, it’s time for the Congresswoman to move on. The Tea Party doesn’t have a spokesperson, and it’s certainly not Michele Bachmann.
But leaders of FreedomWorks, the Tea Party Express, Tea Party Patriots and the Tea Party Nation told The Daily Caller they disagree with Ryun:
- FreedomWorks’ Brendan Steinhauser said: “I think people want them to compete to see who emerges. I don’t think it’s helpful to ask any of these guys to drop out. At least let them compete in Iowa,” after which point, he noted, the field would likely narrow itself.”
- Tea Party Express’ Sal Russo echoed Steinhauser: “Voters are still moving around — they’re not locked in yet, so I don’t think we’re at a point yet where we have to narrow the field.”
- Tea Party Patriots’ Mark Meckler focused on American Majority itself: “I find it odd that a group that claims to be a ‘training institute’ would call for such a thing. It doesn’t seem to be within their mission as stated on their website, and it certainly isn’t anything I’m hearing regularly from the ‘grassroots’ whom they claim to serve.”
- And Tea Party Nation’s Judson Phillips had kind words for Bachmann: “Michele Bachmann is a passionate, articulate and graceful voice in this movement. It is not up to a Washington insider to tell her when she should or should not leave the race. Nor is it their place to pronounce that she is harming this movement.”