Though Bachmann made it clear that her remarks were not intended to “compete with the official Republican remarks,” just the fact that there were even two speeches seemed to signify an underlying riff between the two parties.
Many Republicans were angered at the Tea Party’s insistence that there be two responses, especially considering their difficulties as the new majority in such a rocky political and economic climate.
So why the third response from the Tea Party? Sal Russo, a Tea Party Express founder, wrote this an e-mail to Slate’s David Weige:
“The Republicans couldn’t pick a better person to make their response. But we thought the Tea Party should have their own, and Bachmann is a perfect match for that. We are going to do our response after Ryan so we don’t step on his remarks. I am sure they will be hitting similar themes because Ryan has views that are closely aligned with the Tea Party.”
Paul Ryan, nominated by Speaker John Boehner to give the Republican response, highlighted the debt facing the United States. “The debt will soon eclipse our entire economy, and grow to catastrophic levels in the years ahead,” said Ryan. He also said that the United States was at a “tipping point” with the size of government and if it was not reduced, “America’s best century will be considered our past century.”
He criticized Obama’s handling of the economy and said that his administration was to blame for the increasing debt and stagnant unemployment rate. He called the moves of the Obama administration moves of a “government that controls too much; taxes too much; and spends too much in order to do too much.”
Ryan said that the Republican party would dedicate itself to undoing the harmful spending and inflated government of the current administration, saying that “We need to reclaim our American system of limited government, low taxes, reasonable regulations, and sound money, which has blessed us with unprecedented prosperity.”
Ryan’s location was as much of a message to the administration as anything in his speech. He spoke from the House Budget Committee room, which he currently resides over as Chairman. This mirrored the budget talk in his speech quite nicely.
In contrast to Ryan’s clean speech, Bachman’s speech was delayed for several minutes, and then during her speech she glanced offstage several times and referred awkwardly to charts used to illustrate her points on the failures of the Obama administration.
Initially, the speech was only carried by the Tea Party Express, but when CNN decided to broadcast it, it garnered a wider range of attention.
With the help of the first of two charts Bachman would use, she called out the Obama administration for an “unprecedented explosion of government spending and debt, unlike anything we have seen in the history of our country.” She placed the blame wholly on the Obama for the 9.4 percent unemployment administration and called the stimulus package a “failure.”
The second chart Bachman used showed unemployment rates over 10 years. She said, “For two years President Obama made promises just like the ones we heard him make tonight. Yet still we have high unemployment, devalued housing prices and the cost of gasoline is skyrocketing.”
To demonstrate the growing government she spoke of, she said that there were 16,500 IRS agents overseeing “Obamacare.” This number has been largely debunked. Factcheck.org says it “stems from a partisan analysis based on guesswork and false assumptions, and compounded by outright misrepresentation.”
Bachman’s solutions were as follows: Stop the EPA from imposing a “job-destroying cap and trade system”; increase American energy production; support a Balanced Budget Amendment and overturn many of the regulations put in place during the first two years of the Obama administration.
Bachmann offered Obama some policy suggestions: stop the EPA from “imposing a job-destroying cap-and-trade system”; support a Balanced Budget Amendment; increase American “energy production”; and overturn some of regulations put in place in the last two years.
While Ryan had his speech approved by Republican leaders, Bachmann sought no such approval, saying that she was there only to represent the Tea Party Express.
Video of the two speeches are below.