Entries in Tea Party (6)


Protesters Collide over Health Care Outside Supreme Court

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The space just outside the Supreme Court morphed into a figurative battlefield Tuesday afternoon as Tea Party forces rallied and confronted Obamacare supporters with screams, personal attacks and provocative signs.

The argument erupted in the middle of the de facto no-man’s land that had formed between Tea Partiers and a group of Obama supporters, far fewer than had been present at organized demonstrations Tuesday morning.

Tea Partiers and Obamacare supporters chanted and yelled at one another, making it impossible to hear anyone more than three feet away. The scene was drastically different from that of the morning, when Obamacare supporters sang in an orderly march, drowning out their conservative counterparts.

This time the attacks were personal -- on both sides.

One man and woman (who didn’t give their names) were arguing over the principles of patriotism and constitutionality. “He’s got a big mouth and he’s not qualified for the job,” the man said of Obama before spotting this reporter and asking: “What are you writing? Walk away.”

“We’re not trying to start a fight,” the woman replied. “We’re trying to start a conversation.”

Behind them, a young woman grabbed a megaphone being used by an anti-abortion activist to scream into it, “It’s a law against ugly women!”

Fifteen feet to the right, a half-dozen pro-Obama demonstrators directed signs in support of the president at Tea Party protesters who were standing a few yards away. A male protester hurled a comment about birth control at the Obama supporters.

“Unless you actually have a vagina, don’t go there, OK?” 30-year-old Fatma Hocaoglu screamed back.

Another man who refused to be identified joined the fray. “I don’t want to pay for her abortion!” he blared. “With Obamacare, we do. Yes, we do.”

A few minutes later, an Obamacare supporter and foe who were screaming at each other about their medical conditions broke the ranks to show each other their insurance cards.

The supporter, Barbara Stakes, a retiree from Pennsylvania with a seizure disorder classified as a “pre-existing condition,” explained that she had been turned down for health coverage.

“I pay for this,” she said. “I was rejected.”

Danny Mullaney, a former home-improvement contractor from Baltimore, replied by saying that he has cancer and won’t be able to get it treated under Obamacare.

“They’re going to kick me off,” he insisted. “They’re going to ration.”

Not that there weren’t scenes of harmony. As an organized Tea Party rally began to start, the animated activists stopped yelling and sang the national anthem.

So was Conner Beagle, a 10-year-old from Indiana whose mom brought him to Washington to witness the health care debate.

“In 20 years, I’ll remember this,” Conner said as his mom, Gina Lemasters, who works for the anti-Obamacare National Federation of Independent Business in Rep. Mike Pence’s district, shot video of him on her phone. “The health bill -- it’s history.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NPR CEO Resigns After Hidden Camera Sting Snares Top Fundraiser

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The embattled CEO of National Public Radio resigned Wednesday after the top fundraiser for NPR said offensive things about Republicans and the Tea Party during an undercover sting orchestrated by conservative "citizen-journalist" James O'Keefe.

Vivian Schiller, the ousted CEO, had also been criticized for NPR's firing of commentator Juan Williams last October.  But the controversial comments of Ron Schiller, NPR's top fundraiser, came during what he thought was a lunch with potential donors from a Muslim-affiliated trust.

"The Board accepted Vivian's resignation with understanding, genuine regret and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years," said NPR Board Chairman Dave Edwards in a written statement.  NPR broke into its Morning Edition program so that its media correspondent David Folkenflik could report the news.

The sting was a secretly recorded lunch at a Georgetown restaurant.  In edited video released by O'Keefe on his Project Veritas website, Schiller is seen calling the Tea Party the "xenophobic," "seriously racist people," who are "fanatically involved in people's personal lives." He also claimed liberals are more educated than their conservative counterparts -- and potentially most damaging -- that NPR would be "better off" without federal funding.

The controversy comes at a delicate time for public broadcasting, including PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which got a nearly $450 million in federal funding last year.  President Obama proposed raising that amount to $451 million.  But with the federal government facing severe budget deficits, Tea Party groups and some Republicans on Capitol Hill seized upon Mr. Schiller's comments as an opportunity to advocate for cutting all federal funding to NPR.

NPR's Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs, Joyce Slocum, will take over as interim CEO.

Ron Schiller, who was already scheduled to leave NPR in May, instead left Tuesday.  He apologized for the comments he made blasting Republicans and the Tea Party.

"While the meeting I participated in turned out to be a ruse, I made statements during the course of the meeting that are counter to NPR's values and also not reflective of my own beliefs," he said in a statement Tuesday. "I offer my sincere apology to those I offended."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama's High-Speed Rail Plan Derailed in Florida

Thinkstock Images(TAMPA, Fla.) -- President Obama's vision for a national high-speed rail network was dealt a significant blow Friday when the Florida Supreme Court upheld Gov. Rick Scott's authority to unilaterally kill a cornerstone of the plan.

Scott last month rejected $2.4 billion in federal stimulus money to fund new express train service between Orlando and Tampa that had been under consideration for decades.

The move was hailed by Scott's Tea Party supporters, but it was challenged by a bipartisan group of state lawmakers who said the governor had exceeded his constitutional authority.

The court ruled that Scott acted legitimately, effectively ending prospects for completion of the rail project.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood had set a deadline of Friday for Florida to accept the cash, which would have covered nearly all the costs, before offering it to one of 13 similar projects in 31 states.

Obama, who was to appear in Florida on Friday with former Gov. Jeb Bush to talk about education reform, had touted the Florida high-speed rail line as a positive example of how to improve the country's infrastructure.

But Scott repeatedly voiced concerns about the potential of cost-overruns and long-term operating costs that could hit Florida taxpayers.

The state of Florida faces a $3.6 billion budget deficit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Thousands March in NAACP Rally Against 'Neighborhood Schools'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News/WTVD Raleigh(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- Thousands of demonstrators hit the streets of Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday in a march for student diversity.

Activists from the NAACP, along with members from over 90 other organizations joined in the march to the North Carolina State Legislature Building as part of the annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) event.

The NAACP says the demonstration serves as a protest against a decision by the Wake County School Board to implement 'neighborhood schools.' Those against the idea say such a move will create resegregation in schools.

“People here want one county, they want one state, they want one country,” said NAACP President Benjamin Jealous. “We intend to fight with them until we get that.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Arizona Shooting Victim Arrested After Tea Party Member Threatened

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Police arrested one of the victims of the Arizona shooting after he reportedly threatened a tea party leader at an ABC News town hall event in Tucson on Saturday.

James Eric Fuller, 63, was arrested and ultimately taken for a psychiatric evaluation after the incident in which he threatened Tucson tea party co-founder Trent Humphries at a special edition of ABC's This Week with Christiane Amanpour.

Fuller, who apparently objected to something Humphries said during the taped forum, used a cell phone to take a picture of him and allegedly shouted "You're dead," according to the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

KGUN-TV in Tucson reported that Fuller was in the front row at the event, and that he apparently became upset when Humphries suggested that conversations about gun control should be delayed until all the dead were buried.

Fifteen seconds after the conclusion of the town hall event, law enforcement officials approached Fuller and led him to a side entrance.  A moment later, Fuller was heard yelling, "What's the matter -- with you -- whores!"

According to Pima County sheriff's spokesman Jason Ogan, Fuller was arrested on misdemeanor disorderly conduct and threat charges.  Authorities decided that Fuller was in need of a mental evaluation as they escorted him off of the premises, and he was taken to a local hospital.  The hospital will determine when he will be released, Ogan said.

Fuller, a naval air veteran, was one of 19 people shot at a Tucson, Arizona Safeway grocery store at the "Congress on Your Corner" event with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NAACP Report Claims Tea Party Gives Platform to Racists, Bigots 

Photo Courtesy - National Association for the Advancement of Colored People(BALTIMORE) -- A controversial new report about the Tea Party alleges that white power groups and militias have tried to infiltrate the movement in order to “push these protesters toward a more self-conscious and ideological white supremacy.”

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People released the findings of the study called “Tea Party Nationalism,” funded in part by the liberal-backed Firedoll Foundation and written by white nationalism experts Devin Burghart and Leonard Zeskind.

According to Judson Phillips, founder of the Tea Party Nation, the report is nothing more than a “liberal smear,” given that the more organized facets of the movement have repudiated racism.  There are also questions about the timing of the report’s release, with the midterm elections less than two weeks away.

Burghart and Zeskind focused more on fringe Tea Party groups online and low-level county chapters, where allegations of racism have cropped up.  They also cited five members in particular, including one former Tea Party official with ties to anti-Semitic or white nationalist groups.

NAACP President Ben Jealous said that his group’s support of the findings was not meant to attack the Tea Party as a whole but to simply repudiate any racists who may try to associate themselves with the movement.  Jealous called most Tea Party supporters “sincere, principled people of good will.”

"Tea Party Nationalism" also claims that a large number of Tea Party backers are 'birthers,' who believe that President Obama was born outside the U.S., and therefore wasn't eligible to run for the White House.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio