Cokie Roberts: Some Tea Party Anger Is Racist; Also Compares Movement to Iranian Hardliners

Veteran journalist Cokie Roberts repeated a tired liberal media critique of the Tea Party on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday. While discussing Hillary Clinton’s presidential chances in 2016, Roberts declared, “But I also think and, you know, just calling it, that some of this Tea Party anger is racist and that having a non-black person on the ticket will diffuse it to some degree.

Host Joe Scarborough immediately disagreed, saying that he and his fellow congressional Republicans in 1993 and 1994 said similar, if not worse, things about then-President Bill Clinton. Scarborough declared, “And there is nothing I have heard said about Barack Obama that we didn't take about 10 degrees further.”


Roberts is clearly no fan of the Tea Party. Minutes earlier, she had compared the Tea Party to Iranian extremists. Referring to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, she said, “Look, he's got his own Tea Party to worry about at home. He's got hardliners in Iran who consider the United States the great Satan.

Below is a transcript of the comments:

MSNBC Morning Joe
09/25/13
6:12 a.m.

COKIE ROBERTS: They don't meet. The Iranian president didn't go to the lunch. Now wine was being served. So that was apparently one of the excuses given. Look, he's got his own Tea Party to worry about at home. He's got hardliners in Iran who consider the United States the great Satan.

***

6:18 a.m.

JEREMY PETERS: A lot of the energy that you’ve seen behind this push to repeal Obamacare and part of the reason why Ted Cruz has made so many headlines and headway is that there is a real dislike for the president out there in certain circles. So does that Tea Party energy carry over if Hillary Clinton is president? Is she the same type of villain that Barack Obama has been?

AL HUNT: You mean as president or as a candidate?

PETERS: Both.

HUNT: Well as president, probably yes. As a candidate, don't forget, she’s running against someone. So the whole dynamic changes then. I think the interesting story, there’s really – there is trouble in Clintonland. I mean, there has been a whole series of stories –  there’s Bill, there’s Hillary, and now there’s Chelsea. Clearly there’s divisions going on up there in the foundation and in their political calculations. The president said that he really hasn't talked to her much about running for president. Which means she doesn't want to talk to him about it because you know he wants to talk about it.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: You know, it’s just not a slam dunk. Everybody said it was a slam dunk back before you guys’ time, back in 2006-2007. Then there was this – the New York Magazine article that shows Hillary with her head thrown back laughing and there’s something that happens between that stage where Hillary Clinton is Hillary Clinton, not running for president, is very likable, and the second she starts to take that step over, she looks calculated, looks stiff, looks Machiavellian. It’s just like a light switch goes on and judging by that cov – and you know, I'm a big admirer of Hillary.

ROBERTS: It's a light switch in the voters’ minds too, it’s not just the candidate. And I think, to Jeremy's point, that yes, that same kind of energy would be there, which is why the Democrats might be better off with a whole new slate of candidates, the way the Republicans will be. But I also think and, you know, just calling it, that some of this Tea Party anger is racist and that having a non-black person on the ticket will diffuse it to some degree.



SCARBOROUGH: And I disagree with that completely because I was there in '93 and '94 when I was saying awful things about Bill Clinton and we were all saying awful things about Bill Clinton and you had televangelists saying Bill Clinton murdered seven people. And they passed around the Clinton chronicles. And there is nothing I have heard said about Barack Obama that we didn't take about 10 degrees further. For these kids that weren't around back then, I understand.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.