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Sal Russo

CNN On Tea Party Infighting (VIDEO)

TPM Muckraker

Zachary Roth | February 3, 2010, 5:52PM

CNN has a lengthy (for TV) report on the infighting that, as we’ve detailed, is besetting the Tea Party movement.

The high-note comes when CNN gets on camera the GOP consultants who run the Tea Party Express to answer charges that their “grassroots” Tea Party group is little more than a front for the Republican Party.

Says Joe Wierzbicki of Russo, Marsh:

I think what you’ll find is, at Tea Party rallies, a lot of the people who are mad at the Republican Party, many of them are Republicans themselves.

We’d asked similar questions of Russo, Marsh, which is run by California Republican political operative Sal Russo, but never gotten a response.

The whole CNN report is worth watching:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Over the weekend, Tea Party Express sent out an email designed to push back against what it called “false and malicious attacks” by TPMmuckraker and others.

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Lloyd Marcus

In Damage Control Mode, Tea Party Express Slams ‘Smears’

TPM Muckraker

Zachary Roth | February 1, 2010, 9:52AM

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:

MORE HERE

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