McConnell, Pence, Cantor, Praise Tea Party Protests

It’s hardly a surprise now when Republican leaders align themselves with the Tea Party movement, and the Value Voters Summit has been full of it. Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) got closest to the spirit of the crowd — which had heard wildly diverging estimates of the 9/12 march on Washington all day.

“If the national media covers this like it covered the events last weekend,” said Pence, “the headline will be: ‘Dozens attend Value Voters Summit!’”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) heaped the most fulsome praise on the Tea Party movement, bashing the media for the way it had covered the protests.

“You know who these protesters were,” said McConnell, “because you were the people at these town halls … you were the men and women who filled the Mall here in the District to overflowing last Saturday, surprising even the strongest supporters of the event.

“You’re the people who prove the politicians wrong when they say that all this activism and unrest was crafted, somehow, in a boardroom, down on K Street. The grassroots movement isn’t astroturf, as they like to put it. It’s something that started at your kitchen tables.”

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) praised the protesters from the stage for “fighting on the fighting lines of what we know is a battle for our democracy.” After his speech, he told TWI that the protests represented an “awakening in America.”

“People are beginning to wake up and see a country they don’t really recognize,” said Cantor.