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James Hoffa: Tea Party 'Declared War on Us'

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Teamsters President James Hoffa makes no apology for taking on the Tea Party during a union labor celebration, claiming, “They declared war on us.”

In Detroit, before President Obama arrived for a Labor Day speech, Hoffa rallied the crowd, “We got to keep an eye on the battle that we face: The war on workers.  And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party.”

“President Obama, this is your army,” Hoffa concluded to applause, his voice raising to a shout.  “We are ready to march.  Let’s take these sons of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong,” he said, stepping back from the lectern where President Obama would speak less than an hour later.

“There’s a war on working Americans and we are getting sick and tired of it,” Hoffa told ABC News Tuesday morning.  “It’s absolutely a war.  They declared war on us.  We didn’t declare war on them.  They’re the ones that introduced right to work in 14 states, and went after public employee bargaining rights in both Wisconsin and Ohio.  We’re fighting them across the board.  They want to roll the clock back to about 1900.”

Hoffa said the war will be fought at the ballot box in 2012.

Tea Party Express chairwoman Amy Kremer issued a statement saying President Obama should reject the remarks, calling on him to “condemn this inappropriate and uncivil rhetoric, which has no place in the public forum.”

Union labor leaders have been critical of President Obama themselves for not being tougher with Republicans in Congress.  Hoffa told ABC News that unions will look at individual races, state by state, to decide which candidates to support.

As for President’s Obama’s own re-election, can he count on unions?  Hoffa was careful with his answer, and did not mention the president by name.

“The way this is shaping up, we could have Sarah Palin running.  We could have Michele Bachmann.  Those people are anti-worker, anti-middle class.  And that’s going to make the decision easy.  We’re going to have to see what happens here but it certainly looks like we’re going to be backing the Democratic candidate if we get an extremely right wing candidate which I think we will,“ he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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