Sarah Palin lashed out at Teamster President James Hoffa’s “thuggery” in maligning tea partyers as “sons of bitches” as he introduced President Barack Obama at a Labor Day rally in Detroit.
Hoffa called members of the conservative grouping “sons of bitches” during his intro to the president at the Motor City event.
“President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march,” Hoffa said.
“Let's take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong,” he said, referring to the tea party.
Palin is the first major politician to respond to Hoffa’s incendiary comment. “Please don’t be taken in by union bosses’ thuggery like Jim Hoffa represented yesterday,” the 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate wrote on Facebook today.
“Union bosses like this do not have your best interests at heart, What they care about is their own power and re-electing their friend Barack Obama so he will take care of them to the detriment of everyone else.”
During his speech, Hoffa, son of legendary Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared in 1975, said the tea party is engaged in a “war on workers.”
“The one thing about working people is we like a good fight and you know what, they’ve got a war with us, and there is only going to be one winner and it’s going to be the workers of Michigan and America. We’re going to win that war,” Hoffa said.
Obama did not reference the comments during his speech, and the White House has not commented on them.
Palin’s response came after tea party leaders insisted that Obama should distance himself from Hoffa’s comments. Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer called them “dangerous” and said the president should “condemn this inappropriate and uncivil rhetoric.”
In a statement, Kremer said, “Jimmy Hoffa’s remarks are inexcusable and amount to a call for violence on peaceful tea party members, which include many Teamster members.
"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 said.
Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips echoed the outrage. "We need to call them out on this. There is a myth that the Tea Party is the source of the heated rhetoric," he wrote on the group's website. “That is not the case.”
Hoffa himself refused to back down, telling Talking Points Memo, “They declared war on us. We're fighting back."
The first leading Democrat to have a chance to condemn Hoffa’s statement punted. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was asked about the comment during “Fox and Friends” this morning.
“I know you'd like to focus on language ― that's not what the American people are focused on," Wasserman Schultz said.
Wasserman Schultz and Obama both called for all sides to watch their words after Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was seriously injured in an attack that killed six in January.
But when “Fox and Friends” host Gretchen Carlson asked Wasserman Schultz to condemn Hoffa’s comments, the Florida Democrat turned on the tea party movement, claiming that talk at tea party rallies is often just as bad.
"How many times have you called out coarse language at tea party rallies on this network?" she said. "Almost never.”
Then Wasserman Schultz said her official response to the question about Hoffa is: "The American people, like President Obama understands, want us to focus on working together. When I went home, my constituents asked me to come back to Washington and help continue to get this economy turned
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