In an aggressive damage control effort launched in the wake of a barrage of negative publicity, a leading Tea Party group created by a Republican consulting firm is pushing back against what it calls “false and malicious attacks.”
The Tea Party Express (TPE) yesterday sent an email to supporters slamming “attack hit pieces” by TPMmuckraker and other outlets. The recent stories, writes TPE’s Lloyd Marcus under the TPE banner, amount to “a range of rumors, accusations, allegations, smears and mischaracterizations of what we at the Tea Party Express are supposedly about.” Marcus, the African-American country singer who has become a prominent TPE spokesman, promises another email soon that will “debunk” the “smears.”
In fact, much of the recent criticism of TPE, which was launched by Russo, Marsh, a well-connected Republican consulting firm, has come from other members of the Tea Party movement. The Tea Party Patriots have accused TPE of being a GOP front group at odds with the grassroots Tea Party ethos, and have suggested that Russo, Marsh intends to profit financially from the venture. TPMmuckraker reported in December that the majority of spending by the PAC that controls TPE went to Russo, Marsh, which is led by the veteran California Republican operative Sal Russo.
Before withdrawing last week citing scheduling issues, TPE had planned to attend the upcoming National Tea Party Convention, which itself has suffered a barrage of attacks by grassroots Tea Partiers who see it as an effort to hijack the movement for profit.
In yesterday’s email — oddly titled, “I have some juicy dirt about Tea Party Express” — Marcus writes that he sees the criticism as evidence of success. “You know [Tea Party Express] has become a powerful force when people take shots at you,” he writes.
Marcus includes video footage from TPE rallies across the country. “This is our record of who we are, and we’re proud of it,” he writes, “and I can tell you that I won’t let anyone even try to rewrite this history!”
An excerpt from the email follows:
The other day I received an email from a friend who had heard some false and malicious attacks against the Tea Party Express. He was concerned and wrote me to ask about it because I’ve been a part of the Tea Party Express since its inception last year.
When I was talking to the rest of our team about this email I found out that most everyone else had been approached by someone asking them similar questions about a whole range of rumors, accusations, allegations, smears and mischaracterizations of what we at the Tea Party Express are supposedly about.
Seems our friends in the liberal blogs and media outlets (including MSNBC, Media Matters, Huffington Post, TPM Muckracker, Mother Jones, and others) have been doing all sorts of attack hit pieces criticizing the tea party movement as a whole and the Tea Party Express in particular.
And the odd part is, these attacks against the Tea Party Express have made me smile. You see, I realized that if the left wing bloggers and activists who like what Obama, Pelosi & Reid are doing weren’t worried about us in the tea party movement, they’d just ignore us. The fact that the attacks have been stepped up against this movement as a whole the past several weeks shows me the impact we are making.
Here’s what I wrote to my team members at Tea Party Express in response to the attacks:
“You know TPX has become a powerful force when people take shots at you. GREAT WORK! (smile) All the best, Lloyd”
So I tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to send you an email in the next few days that will debunk all of the crazy attacks and smears being launched against us.
But first, instead of allowing our critics to define us, I thought I should start by showing you what we at the Tea Party Express are really all about. We have a record upon which our promises and pledges to you, our supporters, can be evaluated.
I hope you will also please - FORWARD THIS TO YOUR FRIENDS.
I believe actions our speak louder than words of our critics. Here are just a few of the actions that we at the Tea Party Express have undertaken thanks to your help and support. This is our record of who we are, and we’re proud of it, and I can tell you that I won’t let anyone even try to rewrite this history! Please share these videos with your friends, so they too can learn what the Tea Party Express is all about…