Tea party, right blast Teamster president Hoffa’s remarks; Bachmann fundraises

Rachel Rose Hartman
The Ticket

Tea party leaders and conservative critics are calling on the White House to denounce remarks made yesterday by International Brotherhood of Teamsters president James Hoffa. Hoffa's detractors contend that his comments called for violence against tea party members

During Hoffa's introduction Monday of President Obama at a Detroit, Mich., Labor Day rally, Hoffa likened union fights to a "war" and a "battle" between union workers and tea partiers, and described union supporters as Obama's "army."

"Everybody here has got a vote," Hoffa said. "If we go back and we keep the eye on the prize. Let's take these son-of-a-bitches out and give America back to America where we belong."

As evidence of how quickly outrage over Hoffa's comments had spread, presidential candidate Michele Bachmann began using them in a fundraising pitch just hours after Hoffa's speech had concluded.

You can watch clips of Hoffa's remarks below via ABC News:

Bachmann on Monday at 4 p.m. EST emailed supporters, hoping to benefit from anger over Hoffa.

"Hoffa and his well-funded liberal allies are scared of our momentum, and will do anything to try and silence our voices. But, we won't go quietly into the night," she wrote. "Will you follow this link and make a donation to help me defend myself against their profane and vicious attacks?"

While Bachmann fundraised off the furor, tea party leaders, conservatives and others demanded that Obama and the Democratic Party denounce Hoffa's remarks. Some conservatives suggested that Hoffa's call to "take out" tea partiers encouraged violent behavior.

"Jimmy Hoffa's remarks are inexcusable and amount to a call for violence on peaceful tea party members, which include many Teamster members," Tea Party Express chairman Amy Kremer said in a statement calling for Hoffa to apologize and for the White House to denounce his comments.

"Lying attacks on the tea party movement have disturbingly increased in recent days. It is high time that elected leaders like President Obama were held accountable when their key supporters engage in harmful and divisive rhetoric."

Kremer made reference to Democratic Reps. André Carson and Maxine Waters, who each made inflammatory statements about the tea party in recent weeks: Carson suggested tea party members of Congress support lynching; Waters told the tea party to "go straight to hell."

Meanwhile, national and local tea party groups have called on Democrats to denounce the comments, requested apologies, and some have called for Hoffa's resignation as news of the comments spread via conservative news sites, blogs, among pundits, on Twitter and cable news shows over the past day.

Several critics have compared Hoffa's comments to the type of violent rhetoric President Obama called on both parties to denounce in the wake of the deadly shooting attack at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Tucson, Ariz. town hall event in January.

But progressive site MediaMatters and others argue that much of the outrage over Hoffa's comments this week has been unfairly based on excerpts of Hoffa's remark which did not include Hoffa's statement about using the ballot box to "take out" tea partiers. MediaMatters claims the edited version of Hoffa's remarks, promoted by Fox News, were misleading and more incendiary.

Hoffa on Tuesday defended his comments in an interview with Talking Points Memo, saying he has no regrets about his choice of words.

"How is that different than Mitch McConnell saying he wants to take out Barack Obama?" Hoffa asked.

Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz refused to denounce the comments during an interview on Fox News Tuesday, accusing the network of failing to express outrage over incendiary remarks made at tea party rallies.

Obama made no direct reference to Hoffa's speech during his own remarks Monday and the White House had not issued comment on the speech as of early Tuesday afternoon.

Chris Moody contributed to this report.