Leaders of the Tea Party Patriots today demanded an apology from Vice President Joe Biden for calling members of Congress who support a limited government and a philosophy of “don’t-spend-what-you-don’t-have” “terrorists.”
“It is offensive, false and shocking that the person one step away from the presidency calls members of Congress, who were elected on tea party principles, a term used for the attackers on 9/11,” said Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator for the organization.
“Millions of Americans across the country agree with the freshmen who listened to their constituents and opposed raising the debt ceiling throughout the debate.”
The organization, which describes itself as the nation’s largest tea party organization, cited Biden’s statement that tea party members of Congress “acted like terrorists” while opposing President Obama’s demand to raise the borrowing limit so he can borrow and spend more money.
“To call these elected officials ‘terrorists’ is unacceptable and on behalf of the members of Congress, the millions of Tea Party Patriots and the rest of the country, we demand a full and unequivocal apology,” Martin said.
Staffers in Biden’s media office, contacted by WND for comment, took a reporter’s contact number and then hung up. There was no return call.
“For someone who’s known for his gaffes, this one shows Joe Biden has a gross favoritism toward one group of people,” added Mark Meckler, national coordinator for the patriot organization. “Vice President Biden, along with the president, was elected to serve all of the people in the United States, not just his liberal friends in Washington.
“Those who stood firm for fiscal discipline deserve to be praised, not smeared. They showed that our country’s future, not the Washington elite, is what is important to them. Biden’s cavalier and disrespectful attitude to those chosen to represent their constituents is improper, and he should say so.”
The organization has more than 3,300 locally organized groups and more than 15 million supporters nationwide. It is the philosophy of the tea party members that carried the day during the 2010 elections, electing to the U.S. House of Representatives enough of their own members to give the GOP a majority.
There was an outpouring of rage against Biden over the comments, and a few brushed off the slam as Biden just being Biden.
It originally was reported in Politico that it was Rep. Mike Doyle, a Pennsylvania Democrat, who burst out at a closed-door meeting of the Democratic caucus that “we” had to negotiate with “terrorists” in the debt ceiling battle.
“This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money,” he complained.
Biden responded, “They have acted like terrorists.”
Biden’s office also initially refused to talk to Politico, but after the comments appeared online, Biden spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff told the news organization, “The word was used by several members of Congress. The vice president does not believe it’s an appropriate term in political discourse.”
Former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin told Fox News, “What we’re feeling is that growing more debt isn’t going to get us out of debt, and raising taxes in a down economy is a bad idea, and we’re taking a stand in light of those. And so to be called a terrorist because of our beliefs from the vice president, it’s quite appalling. It’s quite vile.”
On a Politico blog, one commenter explained that the name-calling may have been intentional: “‘Racist’ didn’t stick after so many African Americans were endorsed by the tea party and ‘extremists’ didn’t stick because the tea party merely wants politicians to follow constitutional law. … So now ‘terrorist’ has become the pejorative of the day.”
Another contributor to the same forum, “Hard Thought,” said: “Calling people ‘terrorists’ because they wish to instill a small whiff of fiscal sanity into the never ending spiral of federal spending is grasping at straws, reaching for the bottom of the pit and plain wrong.”
On Politico’s “Arena” debate, Democratic strategist Karen Finney wrote, “The truth is that when you hold hostages with threats of destruction – in this case the American economy – you’re like to be described as a terrorist.”
State. Del. Sam Rosenberg of Maryland wrote, “The tea party Republicans were willing to do major damage to the country in pursuit of their ideology. That’s what terrorists do.”
Democratic consultant Garry South wrote, “It was an apt, if impolitic, description for a bunch of members of Congress who threatened to destroy the full faith and credit of the United States, and possibly also the U.S. and world economies, if they didn’t get their way.”
Rory Cooper of the Heritage Foundation noted a civil society should be the goal, and those who were in Washington, New York or Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001, know the meaning of terrorism.
“Biden holds a higher office that comes with greater responsibility, and he should take responsibility for these intolerable words,” he said.
Ken Feltman of the International Association of Political Consultants noted that’s what the nation gets with Joe Biden.
“He can be the best negotiator in the room … or he can be a dolt.”
The issue also arose at today’s daily White House news briefing with spokesman Jay Carney.
“Does the president think that’s appropriate discourse?” asked a reporter.
“He doesn’t, and neither does the vice president,” Carney said. “And I think the vice president spoke to this and made clear that he didn’t say those words, and I think the congressman in question has said that he regrets using them. A number – I think it was a product of an emotional discussion, very passionately held positions in this debate. But that does not mean that it’s appropriate, and it’s not – the vice president doesn’t think so; the president doesn’t think so. Any kind of comments like that are simply not conducive to the kind of political discourse that we hope to have.”
The answer didn’t satisfy, as it came up again a few minutes later.
“I guess I don’t understand the difference – I’m not saying either is inappropriate, but why is ‘terrorists’ inappropriate but ‘hostage-taker’ is not inappropriate?” asked a reporter.
Carney said, “I’m just not going to even engage in – I think that, in general, what’s important is that, even in the midst of debates that we all feel very passionate about because the issues are so important, that it is not helpful to the kind of productive political discourse that we need to achieve compromise, to use those kind of analogies, even if they’re. …”
“I mean, even if they’re understandable and descriptive. So – but I’m not going to – this is not the seven words that you have to ban, like these words are OK and these aren’t. I just think lowering the temperature in general is a good thing,” Carney said.
“Don’t you think ‘hostage-taker’ was. …”
“I think I’ve said everything I can about that,” Carney said.
The Los Angeles Times reported members of the GOP weren’t happy, with RNC chairman Reince Priebus demanding an apology and the office of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a tea party favorite, offering an alternative: “With the president holding the American economy hostage, I would prefer to think of myself as a freedom fighter.”