Barack Obama calls tea party movement “tea-baggers” in interview

Unbelievable. Story here at Americans for Tax Reform. (H/T ECM)


President Barack Obama, known for his lectures to others on civility, saw fit to use the obscene and derogatory term “tea-baggers” in a book interview with author Jonathan Alter.

Below is an excerpt from Alter’s new book The Promise: President Obama, Year One, to be released May 18:

Obama said that the unanimous House vote against the Recovery Act ‘set the tenor for the whole year’: ‘That helped to create the tea-baggers and empowered that whole wing of the Republican Party to where it now controls the agenda for the Republicans.’  For Obama this was the greatest surprise of 2009.

And the post also contains some selected statements by Obama on civility.

“We’ve got politicians calling each other all sorts of unflattering names.”

“Now, the second way to keep our democracy healthy is to maintain a basic level of civility in our public debate.”

“We can’t expect to solve our problems if all we do is tear each other down.  You can disagree with a certain policy without demonizing the person who espouses it.”

“So what do we do? As I found out after a year in the White House, changing this type of politics is not easy. And part of what civility requires is that we recall the simple lesson most of us learned from our parents: Treat others as you would like to be treated, with courtesy and respect.”

It’s like having Michael Moore as president. No one takes a hate-filled, narrow-minded ideologue seriously. But this man is the president of the United States. We have a teenage clown as our president.

44 thoughts on “Barack Obama calls tea party movement “tea-baggers” in interview”

  1. The guy is the epitome of a hypocrite. It is okay for him to sit back and make $5 million dollars in 2009, but if a CEO makes that much then he has a conniption.


  2. Didn’t the tea partiers originally call themselves tea baggers? Seriously, I’ve found myself calling them this, and not intentionally. It just comes so easily to mind.


    1. I’m sorry MCS, but this is actually a sexual slur. It was first employed on the extreme left who are antagonistic to the Constitution, the rule of law, private property, free markets, strict interpretation of law, individual rights, limited government, federalism, free speech, liberty, prosperity, national security, and grass-roots democracy.


      1. I live in the Village in NYC, WIntery. I’ve known that for a couple of years! Which is why when the the newly renamed “tea partiers” adopted the name “teabaggers” for themselves back around the time the town halls on health care reform got underway, and referred to their activities as “tea bagging” I distinctly remember thinking, “well obviously they don’t know that it’s a sexual practice performed by gays and some straights.”

        It wasn’t until Jon Stewart started making fun of them on the Daily Show that they changed their name to “tea partiers.” So your claim that it is originally used by extreme leftists antagonistic to the Constitution? Umm. That’s doesn’t quite square with the events–unless they were homosexuals! And then it wasn’t a slur. It was just a description of…well, you know.

        Anyway, the Washington Post is correct. You can trust it on that front.


        1. Yeah the only problem with this is that it never happened. The “tea-bagger” monicker was invented by left-wing “journalists” on channels like MSNBC who know about these things. (Actually MSNBC was the origin of the tea-bagging monicker in APRIL 2009). I’m actually alarmed by your comments as if you had told me that the earth was flat. There is no evidence for anything that you are saying, and I produced evidence that the tea party started out being called “tea party” in the Rick Santelli video in FEBRUARY 2009, which is the absolute beginning of the tea party movement. I know that in NYC a lot of myths are promulgated, so do you have any evidence for your assertions? Something to cancel out my evidence?

          Here’s an MSNBC journalist as an example, FYI.

          It’s just insane people ranting. Not news. People like this made up the term tea-bagger. But you can believe whatever you feel that you need to. The universe doesn’t change – everyone has to decide whether they want to form their view on hate or truth. People on your side are willing to believe anything so long as it confirms their raw hatred of the other. We don’t use the words you use. You have Joy Behar, we have Michele Bachmann. You have Bill Maher, we have Paul Ryan. See the difference?

          Sorry if I was mean, but I am insulted. Anger hath a privilege, as Kent says in King Lear.

          I hope you will abandon your beliefs in light of the evidence.


          1. What never happened? A group of people calling themselves “tea baggers” in the news media until they were informed that “tea baggers” was a euphemism for a gay sexual practice and then changing their names to “tea partiers”?

            Or the fact that people like myself heard them calling themselves teabaggers a year ago when they first started raising their voices and thought, Geez, this is going to be very embarrassing for them when they find out?


          2. A Naperville, IL web site is not a national movement. Tea is kept in bags, and that is easier to send to a politician. But the gathering itself is called a tea party, as in “the Boston Tea Party”. Santelli’s rant pre-dates the web site’s creation and received national exposure, including 1.2 million hits on youtube. Santelli is more authoritative than a Naperville, IL web site.


          3. Wintery, you simply refuse to accept the fact that the people calling themselves teabaggers got lots of coverage in the main news media, which initially simply covered their activities without making reference to “teabagging” being a euphemism for a sexual act. Other media outlets started having a field day with them over it, however, and that’s when they changed their name. Here’s a piece on it in the Huffington Post in which the writer refers to CNBC host Rachel Madow trying not to laugh when discussing “teabagging party” practice of sending a tea bag to Washington (as the website I provided above encourages) as a form of protest.

            If you don’t want to accept that the teapartiers were innocent of the meaning, go ahead. But it was all over the airwaves. Don’t mean to be snarky, but just because you didn’t see it when it happened doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

            Here’s the link. And I’m not arguing this one any more.



          4. Duh. Cooper ridiculed them for not knowing what “tea bagging” meant when they decided to call themselves “tea baggers.” And if you are so sure of this, then tell me who named “the tea bag party” except those protesting taxes by sending tea bags to members of Congress, as their website, shows?


          5. Yeah right. The tea partiers never called themselves “teabaggers” just the way John McCain never called himself a “maverick.”


          6. McSpinster,

            Here is yet ANOTHER article where the tea partiers say to not call them teabaggers:


            And what is your opinion on Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper using double entendres and tittering as they cover the tea party protests? Is that professional, unbiased journalism?

            Do you think they would cover the illegal alien protests the same way? Why or why not?



    2. lol, oh man, I love how the left keeps trying to promulgate this noxious, idiotic, canard that Tea Partiers were naming themselves after a notorious, homosexual, sex act.

      (And it only comes ‘so easily to mind’ because you don’t use yours.)


    3. No, the term ‘tea bagger’ was applied by the liberal loonie left media as a smear.

      Aren’t you going to lecture me on calling someone loonie left?


  3. I’m really glad u said that because the Washington Post is saying the tea party people called themselves “teab___ers” at the start. I’ll know now not to trust what I read there.


    1. Did the Washington Post also say that the Boston Tea Party protesters called themselves tea-baggers at the start? Just wondering… since the Boston Tea Party is the inspiration for the modern Tea Party Movement.

      Here’s the origin of the tea party movement, by the way. This is what started it. That’s from the Chicago Tribune.

      The actual rant heard round the whole is here:

      But you’re right about WaPo. It’s fishwrap of a slightly higher quality than the New York Times.


  4. Here’s Keith Olbermann taking credit for the slur: “And the Oxford University Press has meted out its choices for top new word of the year. Number one was unfriend. Number two: teabagger? I feel like a proud parent.”


  5. Olbermann is no more the inventor of that phrase than he is “unfriend.” Further, the teabaggers would never use a term coined by an arch media enemy like Olbermann to brand their resistance movement. Further, you keep calling it a slur. Why wasn’t it a slur when the teabaggers were using it to refer to themselves? Or when Rachel Madow used it to refer to their self-described movement?

    No wait. You’re going to tell me she made it up. Right? Because those darned tea partiers were too sophisticated to ever make up a name as unsuitable to their cause (even though they have a website called as “the tea bag party.”


  6. Of course, Olbermann is not responsible for the terminology itself, only quite rightly the muckraking smear against the tea party movement.

    I think you’re confusing the original juvenile double entendres on MSNBC with what the movement was about, namely the Spirit of Boston. It was a smear when Rachel Maddow was using it; that’s precisely why she was using it.

    If tea bags were mentioned and the protesters were encouraged to send tea, well that’s because actual tea today by and large comes in tea bags. So the website you mention would be a tribute to that specific challenge.

    Though, I notice you ignore or for a website that looks like it was set up in an hour.

    Wintery already gave you the origin of the protest on CNBC, which would be impossible on your part to predate.

    You might even find some who’ve bought into that slur since this vulgarity has become so common it’s even accepted by the President himself. Similar to how Tina Fey’s joke is often quoted to Sarah Palin herself, ‘I can see Russia from my house.’ or tangentially how Christianity adopted Christian because they were referenced as such in Antioch.


    1. The Tea Party movement isn’t called “teabagging”. Even if what you say is correct, they corrected that mistake some time ago and the term is now only used as a (rather vile) insult.

      And the president used it.


    2. McSpinster,

      In my reply to you above, I copied an article from April 15th of LAST YEAR entitled “April 15 Tax Protesters: Don’t Call Us ’Tea Baggers’!”

      CLEARLY you are oblivious and blind to the juvenile and crass tactics that the mainstream media has used to ridicule and disparage the protesters from the beginning. Maddow and Cooper clearly knew what they were doing when they hurled their double entendres around on national news networks.

      Why do you think Anderson Cooper apologized for his behavior, if his remarks are so benign and accommodating for the term that you say the tea partiers referred to themselves as?

      The fact of the matter is that secular leftists have a long history of juvenile antics, name calling, insulting behavior because they have no real substance of truth to back up their destructive ideology.

      This year the new theme is pound the “white racist” label to the tea partiers. I take all of this in stride, because the more the left screams and call names, the more I know they are in huge trouble and are acting out of desperation.

      And yes I’ll be tuning in to watch Maddow, Olbermann and Anderson Cooper cover the election results this November. We’ll just see who has the last laugh on that score.



      1. Sorry you missed hearing some tea partiers calling themselves “tea baggers” in the early days of their campaign to have outraged citizens send tea bags to Congress. I watch a lot of mainstream news, read newspapers. I even used to tune into Glenn Beck.

        Had you seen what I saw on TV coming directly from the tea partiers themselves, you might not be arguing.

        Now I’m not going to press that point. I saw one thing, you saw another. Let’s move on.


  7. And the president used it, after calling for “a basic level of civility in our public debate”.

    Sort of like in the stem cell situation, when he told us we didn’t need to choose between ethics and science, then tossed both out the window.

    Oh, and it’s off topic completely but why does no one care that a Chinese gymnast (now living here in NZ) was stropped of her medal for being under age?

    I’d have thought the story would be a major in the US, but clearly not.


  8. I found this year-old article that digs back further than the Santelli rant as to the origins of the tea-party movement, if you are interested. (Ignore the title.)

    In the Middle of April, 2009, in the lines of discussion on the Facebook page created on Feb. 20, 2009 (on day after Santelli’s rant,) is a person advocating the listed by McSpinster.

    Is anyone else fascinated with how we have to dig a bit with all our internet resources available to determine the etymology of a word only in existence for one (1) year, yet so many Christian apologists speak with such certainty as to the meaning and existence of words used in dead languages 2000 years ago? (O.K. THAT was a cheap shot, unwarranted, utterly and completely off-topic. And as such is deserving of mockery, ridicule and punishment as deemed appropriate. *grin*)


  9. Alas, the plot thickens. It would appear some tea-partiers are embracing the term “tea-bagger.” They have buttons that say “Proud to be a Teabagger” and shirts and a video. See also some conservative radio show.

    Is it still a slur if some embrace it while others deplore it? Is it something only tea-partiers can call themselves?

    Of course, the question I cannot find the answer is this—who used the term first? A non-tea-partier against a tea-partier? A tea-partier about themselves unwittingly?


    1. Keep in mind that the left is showing up at these rallies with inflammatory signs and is very interested in undermining the party movement. I think enough evidence has been posted to show that the slur comes from the radical left, which is why the President should not repeat their sexual slurs. It shows how sincere he is about dialog, which is why no Republicans vote for his initiatives. He’s the equivalent of a drunk with Tourrette’s syndrome. Not presidential – fit for a mad house or a half-way house, at least.


    2. It’s pretty much accepted, and can be looked up pretty easily on the internet, that Anderson Cooper started the “Teabagger” slur, and was quickly picked up by MSNBC and CNN, then the slur grew.

      Some Tea Partiers are of the opinion that the slur cannot be stopped, so they’ve decided to fight fire with fire, so to speak. Please forgive the crassness the following.

      It has occurred to them, and obviously has not occurred to the left, that being the teabagg-er is better then being the teabagg-ee. It can be equated with being the one whose posterior is kissed, rather then being the one who kisses it. In this case, the Tea Partiers could be posited as the ones who get the better end of the deal, and the left, errrr, not so much.

      I could explain more, but I don’t think I need to.

      Oh, and if you honestly believe that Obama didn’t know what it meant, I have some land in Florida I’d like to sell you.


      1. Oh, and I was of the impression that the critic’s point was that the President of the United States, who is the “leader of the free world”, jettisoned the gravitas and dignity of the position he holds and has lowered it to commonality and crassness. No matter what the term is or it’s evolution, Obama is running the dignity of the position of the President of the United States into the gutter by using this term.


    3. Using that logic, since some black people use the N word, does that mean it’s okay for white people to use it? If a gay person uses the F word, can straight people refer to them with it? Of course not. Likewise, the Tea Partiers who use this derogatory word to describe themselves are also doing so as a way to A. weaken the power of the slur, and B. further unite together against the hatred.


  10. I’d say McSpinster is missing the point, but I’m pretty sure she’s just trying to obfuscate the issue.

    The bottom line is that even if some tea partiers initially used the term “teabagging” without knowledge of it’s sexual connotation, it was quickly jettisoned as soon as it’s meaning was clear.

    Over a year later, anyone who uses it – especially the president – is fully aware of it’s double meaning, and for the president to do so is reprehensible.


    1. McSpinster, you are correct and awesome. I heard the “Tea-Party” refer to themselves as “tea-baggers” dozens of times last summer, up until that hilarious piece on the Rachel Maddow show.Thank you for your determination in proving these people wrong, and exposing yet another, allbeit trivial, blatant lie.


      1. Yeah here’s another post from last week in National Review on the true origins of tea party movement: Rick Santelli’s rant on CNBC. The rant heard round the world. The title of the post is “The Transformative Power of Rick Santelli’s Rant “.

        How to explain something contrary to the New Deal historians’ teaching that economic distress increases support for big government? Clues can be obtained, I think, by examining what amounts to the founding document of the tea-party movement, Rick Santelli’s “rant” on the CME trading floor in Chicago, telecast live by CNBC on Feb. 19, 2009.

        That’s Michael Barone writing, by the way.


  11. 1redthread: … Obama is running the dignity of the position of the President of the United States into the gutter by using this term.
    Ha ha ha ha….as compared to saying, “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again”


    Getting a hummer in the Oval Office


    Saying “Read my lips; no new taxes” and then raising taxes


    Having a wife consult astrology charts.

    Look, the simple matter is that the President of the United State is human. Depending on one’s preference for/against the then-current President impacts one’s perception as to the extent of their minor human gaffs. If you like him—the errors are overlooked; if you do not—the errors are trumpeted and (frankly) overblown. Regardless of what President we are talking about.

    Wintery Knight’s implication of hypocrisy in President Obama in calling for civility and then using the term “tea-bagger” is correct. [Albeit demonstrating a politician is a hypocrite is about as surprising as showing cereal gets soggy in milk.]

    This thread has been far more intriguing in the comments regarding the etymology of the term “tea-bagger.” Enjoy it for what we’ve learned.


    1. The Tennessee one is lost on me. The hummer in the Oval Office was a Democrat – actually, both were Democrats, and I object to that behavior from them because even though the POTUS is human, it shows that he has no self control to keep it where its supposed to be. Read my lips was a political move and has nothing to do with this. Having a wife consult astrology – its his wife, not him. Men humor their wives.

      Yes, the POTUS is a human being, and yes, humans do stupid things. However, I would expect that someone who has risen to that position has the dignity to not respond to a question like “What kind of underwear do you wear?” on national television or not call citizens, your bosses, nasty slurs in a public speech. Do you think these things help or hinder international perspective on our country? They already think of us as uneducated Jerry Springer idiots, and it doesn’t help when Arafat knows Clinton prefers boxers or that Obama has such a low opinion of the citizens of the United States that he can use a nasty slur to refer to them.


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