WASHINGTON — Rep. Michele Bachmann says she founded the Tea Party Caucus so it could be a "receptacle" for the views of average citizens — not to push an agenda.
“We are not the mouthpiece of the Tea Party. We are not taking the Tea Party and controlling it from Washington, D.C.,” Bachmann said at a press conference at the Capitol following the meeting.
“I am not the head of the Tea Party,” said the conservative Minnesotan, noting that none of the other lawmakers are either.
She says Congress is not listening to the Tea Party movement and her caucus is designed to clear the way so that members can. Bachmann says the just-formed caucus has 24 members, including the third-ranking GOP member of the House, Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana. She says she also hopes Democrats will join the caucus, according to the Associated Press, and has invited House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio has declined to join the caucus.
Katrina Pierson, a Tea Party activist from Dallas said point blank that the movement is not about racism nor will it ever be about racism, according to The Hill.
Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., added his voice to the mix.
“The Tea Party Movement is all across this country, there’s all races involved, all ethnic groups and they speak for America," Burton proclaimed gesturing to the diverse faces in the crowd of "regular people" intermixed with lawmakers.
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