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'Glenn Beck': Conservative Grassroots Activits Unite for America

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," July 30, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: Let me introduce the guests.

Mark Skoda, he is the cofounder of the National Tea Party Federation.

Jenny Beth Martin is the cofounder of Tea Party Patriots. She's also one of the 100 most influential people in the world according to Time magazine. And also, she's a national coordinator.

Matt Kibbe is the president of FreedomWorks.

Yvonne Donnelly is the national chair of the 9.12 Project.

We will also talk to a representative of Tea Party Express a little later on in the program.

You guys were all invited because you four here and the one on the telephone are the five biggest groups in America — and does everybody agree with the concept that we are at a crucial point?

PANEL: Absolutely.

BECK: Are the headlines true? That there's infighting, that everybody is coming apart and —

MARK SKODA, NAT'L TEA PARTY FEDERATION CO-FOUNDER: No, I think, actually, just opposite is happening. I think, with this election cycle, Glenn, what we're seeing extraordinary animation of activism. People are getting out there, putting fliers out there, working together.

You know, our state of Tennessee has 60 over Tea Party leaders who have endorsed a single gubernatorial candidate through a caucus and we're now promoting that candidate. We're working together to elect that candidate.

I think people are really focused right now about getting the job done. And, certainly, even across our region, in Mississippi and Arkansas, we've worked with other Tea Party leaders. And these groups, of course, I think, provide and lend a sensibility.

BECK: I want to get into — I want to get into a little later some of the negatives, because there are negatives and there are cries of racism from the other side, and even within the Tea Party saying, "Wait a minute, wait a minute, racism is happening here and you're rejecting it." You, in particular, are on the leading —

JENNY BETH MARTIN, TEA PARTY PATRIOTS CO-FOUNDER: Tea Party Patriots won't put up with racism anywhere.

BECK: OK. So — and that's great and — nor should we. There is a great danger.

So, I want to first — before we go to the things that you can unite on to stand against, what are the things you can unite on to stand for? What are the — for instance, is it fair to say, education, getting people to the polls, what? What are some of the goals?

MARTIN: I think you need to sit back a little bit further from that. The things that brought these people together in February and April and September of last year and again in March and April of this year, were three core values: fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets. We agree, I think everyone of us at this table agrees on that.

And then, at the local level, we, in our organization, Tea Party Patriots, we encourage local groups to do what works best for them. So, they might expand further, but we all agree on those three principles. And —

BECK: OK. There is — there is also — there is also something else that I know because I start the 9.12 Project, but, Yvonne, you have taken that and I don't have anything really with the 9.12 Project anymore there — but there's also a sense that, I think, from people, that it's not about politics and the left keeps trying to make this about Republicans and everything else.

Now, you're endorsing —

SKODA: Our lieutenant governor, our tea parties in Tennessee have endorsed Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey, out of three gubernatorial candidates that are on the conservative side.

BECK: And I know, FreedomWorks, you guys were instrumental with getting Mike Lee and a Republican ejected.

MATT KIBBE, FREEDOMWORKS PRESIDENT: Yes. We've gotten very involved in some Republican primaries replacing what I consider establishment goal along troublesome politicians with a new generation.

BECK: And would you say, Yvonne, that it's — what is the attitude toward parties?

YVONNE DONNELLY, 9.12 PROJECT NATIONAL CHAIR: Well, we have a lot of groups locally, and you and I have discussed this, that are getting in bed with some parties, but as a whole, we consider ourselves a nonpartisan organization. With that said, we have groups across the country that are doing many great things, working for Republican candidates to get them and endorsing which is another thing that you and I have discussed is that, as a whole — on a local, on a national front, rather, we're not saying that we are endorsing candidates, but local groups are.

BECK: Right.

DONNELLY: So —

BECK: Go ahead.

MARTIN: And Tea Party Patriots, our local coordinators were bottom up, grassroots organization.

BECK: Right.

MARTIN: They decided 97 percent that we will not to endorse candidates nationally. And so —

BECK: And what is the percentage for you, guys? Because that's pretty much that I think every — is there everybody here is a bottom up, right? You're going to have a local chapter that might do something you're like — that's insane, right?

MARTIN: We don't take any stand without running it by the local coordinators.

BECK: Right.

MARTIN: So, we really — we meet once a week, every single week, and sometimes, more.

BECK: How does FreedomWorks work?

KIBBE: Well, we started work on the trader principle because we have volunteers all across the country and, by the way, some of them are Tea Party Patriots, some of them are with you, some are 9.12ers and they're in multiple groups. And the way to think about how organizations like mine and frankly all of these organizations, we have to be of service to these activists. We have to figure out what they want and help them do that, otherwise we're not adding value. And I think all of these relationships and this decentralized movement that we call the Tea Party, you're talking about thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of leaders across the country.

And we come together on the trader principle. Are we both adding value? Are we both helping each other get more done than we could have done by ourselves?

BECK: Sure.

KIBBE: And that's a volunteer relationship. And you have to respect that. And you have to — and one of the rules for the Tea Party Movement, I think, is so important, is you stick to your values, even when it's inconvenient, you do your work — whatever you think your best at, whatever value you think you can add — and then you don't take credit for other people's works.

And that's why this thing has gotten so big and so powerful. And why it so frustrates the left. This is a big, massive, decentralized — I call it "beautiful chaos." And that's not a problem, that's power.

BECK: Well, it is the free market.

DONNELLY: Absolutely. Absolutely.

BECK: It is the free market.

DONNELLY: Yes.

BECK: And once people start to — once you start taking credit for somebody else or you start trying to micromanage and not — and not just reaching out to the other and saying, hey, you know what, you guys are really good at that and we'll support you, you support us, and you're doing the same thing we're doing, but that's great and we can all be together, and whatever — once you lose that, then you don't have the free market anymore.

DONNELLY: Exactly. And one thing Matt and I were discussing was some of these are like really great problems to have, as far as they're growing pains. You know, we're building, the 9.12 — and you had my on at the March anniversary show, and that was the one year anniversary.

When you think of it — one year. So, a year and a half later, you know, we have — we have some issues, but it's just growing pains.

BECK: I was thinking — I was thinking this morning that the 9.12 Project, the Tea Party Movement came from what — Santelli at CNBC, with Santelli at CNBC.

DONNELLY: Right.

BECK: But he doesn't have anything to do with it. I started the 9.12 Project and I don't have anything to do with it, and what's great is, the 9.12 project, you picked 9.12 to do the big rally in Washington, D.C., which is — you know, which is probably the iconic moment.

I get blamed for it. I didn't have anything to do with it. Even the
9.12 Project didn't have anything to do with it.

You guys were the ones that organized it, but everybody came.

DONNELLY: Right.

KIBBE: It was a 9.12 volunteer that suggested to us, we said we wanted to do in September, he said, hey, let's do 9.12.

MARTIN: And I volunteered to help out and organize, it's some kind of weird, I like to organize, you can convince, I am an organizer.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: They allowed — we worked out where I was a co-coordinator for the entire event even though I was from a different organization, and the 9.12 Project was one of the sponsors of the event.

KIBBE: We can talk about that as a model of how to tap into the power without stepping on people's toes and sort of respecting their right to do what they are most comfortable with. We organized this event and FreedomWorks had a part, and we built this massive coalition of groups that I can name. And, by the way, there's about 1,000 groups that I can't name that made it work that day.

And we thought we'd get 100,000 people. We're very optimistic about that, and we thought it was almost an arrogant assumption that we can get that many. And we got over a million and we didn't have the facilities. We didn't have the port-a-potties. We didn't have the sound for people to hear and, yet, it was beautiful. It was a beautiful crowd of people.

MARTIN: And they created their own tea parties in that crowd.

BECK: Yes.

Let me — when we come back, I have to take a quick break, but when we come back, I want to ask you this, because I heard from somebody when I was out on the road here a couple of weeks, one of my staff members happened to talk to a 9.12 party member and they said Glenn has to got to get involved. He has got to get — he's got to, you know, lead and my staff member said, "Well, Glenn is not taking a leadership role, it's not what he's doing." And they said, "But we don't know what we are doing."

When we come back, I just want to know, do any of you know what you're doing because I think this is kind of — we all come from, we're just citizens, we're not — I don't think anybody in America except the left are real activists.

We'll be back in just a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BECK: Back with now with: Mark Skoda, cofounder of the National Tea Party Federation.

Jenny Beth Martin, she is cofounder of Tea Party Patriots and its national coordinator.

Matt Kibbe is the president of FreedomWorks. He's also the co-author of "Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto." Oh, that's a spooky word.

And, Yvonne Donnelly, who is the national chair of the 9.12 Project.

OK, when I went to break and I told the story of how — somebody came to a staff member of mine a couple weeks ago when I was on the road and they said, "Glenn's got to get involved in 9.12. We're not leaders; we don't know what we're doing, blah, blah." And I actually because I was a little stressed out at a time, I said to my staff member, call them up and just say, "Do they think I know what I'm doing?"

I mean, we're all kind of — what were you before? Where did — where did your expertise come from?

KIBBE: I'm an economist by training.

BECK: OK.

KIBBE: So I shouldn't know anything about grassroots organization.

BECK: We shouldn't know anything about anything.

(CROSSTALK)

KIBBE: We learn it by doing.

BECK: Right.

What is your training?

MARTIN: I'm a computer programmer. And I've been active if Republican Party in the past. Not anymore.

BECK: Right.

MARTIN: I used to be.

SKODA: And I've been running a company for the last 10 years, although I did start out as a Teamster in 407 in Cleveland, Ohio. So, I understand the union mentality, too.

BECK: You understand that kin of organization.

And, Yvonne?

DONNELLY: Well, I've done 25 years in the not-for-profits, but professionally I do coordinate volunteers and programming and —

BECK: For a well-respected that shall remain nameless.

DONNELLY: Exactly.

(CROSSTALK)

BECK: All right. But — OK.

So, what are the challenges? Are you — do you relate at all that people are sensing that — cap-and-trade really doesn't need to be passed? You've got the financial regulation, health care regulation, they would say that Tea Party is meaningless. The president who said, "I'm going to listen to all points of view," has never — has he met with any of you?

MARTIN: No.

SKODA: Not recently. No.

BECK: Yes. OK. So, this table probably represents 50 million people, maybe?

DONNELLY: Probably more than that.

BECK: Probably more than that?

MARTIN: Yes.

BECK: At least like-minded people, never — have you ever gotten a call from anyone in the White House?

KIBBE: No.

DONNELLY: No.

BECK: OK. So, do you hear people saying — I mean, what's the point?

KIBBE: I' m looking at your — at your map matrix.

BECK: Yes.

KIBBE: And I think I'm getting some of *I’m that worried that health care passed, they didn't listen to us. They didn't listen to the public.*

But I would argue the opposite, that the Tea Party Movement has had a tremendous impact far beyond any of us had a right to hope for. And it's not just the organizations, it's not just that you can get a million people on the Mall, but we're driving public opinion.

And if you look at the values that Jenny Beth laid out, the American people agree with us, and they understand that this government is headed in the wrong direction. So, I think we're past the point of feeling helpless.

BECK: Right.

KIBBE: The folks I talk to feel energized.

MARTIN: And I would say that in November of last year, that's when people felt helpless and hopeless and Matt, and Matt and I and my cofounder, Mark Meckler, we had lots of conversations about that and we've made sure that we've provided positive productive action for people to take.

DONNELLY: I would say that it's not a question of hopeless — we're tired. We've been doing this and I have a full-time job, and many of us do. And 9.12ers across the board, again, a volunteer-based organization, we do this on our — on our free time, if you will. So, I wouldn't say hopeless, Glenn.

I would say that we do get tired, but then, something just pour (ph) some gasoline on that fire that keeps us going. So —

BECK: Right. Mark?

SKODA: Yes. I think, I truly believe that as I look to the folks that I'm associated with, there's an extreme energy about these elections. I think that's what's really happening right now. In a year and a half, we went from what I call the visceral, emotional elements of Tea Party rallies and signs to now, we're actually making a difference. We're recruiting candidates.

In fact, I got a woman running against the district nine incumbent Democrat that Nancy Pelosi stamped. Her name is Charlotte Bergman (ph).

BECK: But you are also — you are also running against the Republicans. I mean —

SKODA: That's right.

BECK: — I found it amazing.

(CROSSTALK)

What Trent Lott said: The last thing we need is any of these Tea Party people in here. We don't need another Jim DeMint. If we come, we have to get — if they come in, we have to co-opt them immediately.

I mean, the Republican Party is against you, guys.

DONNELLY: Right. They still don't get it.

BECK: They don't.

KIBBE: There are three steps here. We're going to beat the Republicans. And then we're going to beat the Democrats. But more important than November 2nd is November 3rd and whether or not this community can stay cohesive and stay vigilant — you know, you talk about the Founders, they said you got to do that.

BECK: May I ask — may I ask a question? I think the most important thing and the most, probably — probably the most amazing thing I have seen in my lifetime in America, I have never seen more Americans talk about the Constitution –-

KIBBE: Right.

BECK: — talk about the Founding Fathers.

MARTIN: Right.

BECK: There is — if you look at the best selling backs on Amazon.com, you look at the books that have sold more than anything else, it's phenomenal the wake up that is happening. We are reawakening the American people to — you're not going to go back to the old system that you were in.

SKODA: We are off the couches and we're not going to sit down again.

MARTIN: Well, you know what? You said it, look what we've done in a year and a half. Look at what we've done — Americans across the board voted for change in `08. And they got change but they really didn't, they just got the same thing that was happening on speed.

The same stuff was happening before President Obama was elected.

BECK: Right.

MARTIN: And so, now, they are saying we do want change, but our change needs to be restoring our founding principles.

BECK: OK. Let me take a break and I want to come back and I want to spend some time on a couple of things. They say that the Tea Party is dangerous. Today, I was called, I don't remember what it was, but I was called a terrorist today. And we've all been called racists at this table.

And when you have a — from the bottom-up kind of thing, there will be people. I mean, NAACP, are you telling me there's not one single racist in any chapter of the NAACP? I find that hard to believe. Are you super- human? How does that happen?

There is going to be a racist or two. The question is: do you purge yourself of them as much as you can? And the moment of danger that this map talks about, that fifth step, where we are — is there a danger you perceive? And what do you do?

We'll do that — next

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANEANE GAROFALO, ACTRESS: They have no idea what the Boston Tea Party was about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

GAROFALO: They don't know the history. This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up. It is nothing but a bunch of tea-bagging red necks.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: A lot of the things that had been said — they create a climate in which people, who are vulnerable to violence because they are disoriented, like Timothy McVeigh was, are more likely to act.

REP. JOHN CONYERS, D — MICH: We are here now to understand the frustration of the tea-baggers and the people that are angry because many times when you are angry, your rational abilities are compromised.

REP. JOHN DINGELL, D — MICH: The last time I heard, to contrive something like this was when I voted against the Civil Rights Bill. My opponent voted against it. At that time, we had a lot of Ku Klux Klan folks and white supremacists, and folks in white sheets and other things running around and causing trouble.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BECK: I just would like to tell John Conyers that sometimes, when you are in Congress for 400 years, your rational thinking also goes a little off the tracks. Talking about tea parties tonight, the
9/12 movement and much more.

Mark Skoda, Jenny Beth Martin, Matt Kibbe, and Yvonne Donnelly are here from their groups. I want to go to that. I want to start there. Racism.

MARTIN: Racism. We don't put up with it in Tea Party Patriots at all. We don't want it in the NAACP. We don't want it in our movement.

And if somebody comes to one of our events, we're going to tell them to leave. And we have stood up against Tea Party Express because they had a racist spokesman who they stood by. And they have a history of standing by people who make racists comment. We're not going to stand with racists.

BECK: OK. We'll get their side of the story on that in just a second. I agree with you. Any racism must be rejected. They will destroy us. They will destroy us.

SKODA: We formed the federation — National Tea Party Federation as a result of the N-word epithet that was supposedly, allegedly shouted.

BECK: Yes.

SKODA: It came out of that to push back on this narrative. And in fact, on the founding of the federation, which is not speaking for the tea party — it is not a representative entity other than a group of like-minded people, about 400,000 to 500,000 members who actually reject violence, bigotry, racism, and specifically formed it in that context.

I would say that I think it's very, very clear it is messy when you work with federations and groups as Jenny Beth knows with 2,500 groups in the Tea Party Patriots.

There are always going to be people who, as you said, are the nut jobs. But we work very, very hard. And certainly, in the federation, we work to denounce that and to renounce those people.

DONNELLY: And we're standing together as Americans.

BECK: Amen.

DONNELLY: And this is what was — this is what was inspired by you. On 9/12, we stood shoulder-to-shoulder as Americans. It wasn't about color. It wasn't about religion. And that's what we're working towards — is standing together as Americans.

BECK: Matt?

KIBBE: This is a color-blind movement. We judge people based on their values, the content of their character -

(CROSS TALK)

BECK: No. Are you hijacking the MLK movement?

KIBBE: I might -

MARTIN: You know, we are not hijacking it. We're living what he taught us.

BECK: You know what? Thank you. Somebody said about me the other day, because I'm doing this event on 8/28 and it's the anniversary of Martin Luther King, "And Glenn Beck is hijacking that movement. Who does he think he is, the replacement for Martin Luther King?"

First of all, no. Second of all, yes. Everyone is. You are all supposed to do it. And just a note to America and any of the lefties, if you would like to preach about the content of character, you can take it, too. You should. We all should.

The next thing is, is that they are painting people into terrorists, painting people into dangers. You know, we had a sniper in Oakland, California, trying to kill police.

At the same time, we have another guy who appears to be against the Tides Foundation. And he goes down and he is going to try to kill people at Tides Foundation. I am tied to the Tides Foundation in this story because — quote, how scary is this, "We've searched all of the television records and Glenn Beck is the only host that spoke about the Tides Foundation in the last year."

That's terrifying. But I'm tied to that. But nobody is even talking about the sniper from the left trying to shoot the police officers.

DONNELLY: Of course.

BECK: So where to you stand on violence?

KIBBE: Well, you've got to call these guys out. And what we're doing on April 15th and we were dealing with this problem. Our events are open to the public. We invite everybody that wants to be non-violent and wants to share these values.

And what we have is the left threatening to crash our party. They call themselves tea party crashers. And all we could think to do was to say from the stage, again and again and again, we won't tolerate racists. We won't tolerate haters.

If you have a sign that we find offensive I'm asking the community around you to politely ask you to leave. If you won't leave, I'm asking them to take a picture of you. We're going to post it on our Web site. You can explain to your mother why you were holding that sign.

BECK: That's right.

KIBBE: And you know what? We didn't have any problems. And that is what is beautiful about this community. Again, the left is trying to smear these good people because that's all they have left. They are not violent. They are not any of these things that they are saying.

MARTIN: We're not violent. You know where the violence is coming from? We were in the office on 9/11 at FreedomWorks getting ready for the
9/12 March. And we had to go out and evacuate because of a bomb threat that the mainstream media did not cover.

BECK: I think we did. I think I did.

MARTIN: In St. Louis, Kenneth Gladney has been attacked by unions. In Florida, tea party people have been attacked by the opposition, and the same thing in North Carolina. It's not happening on our side. It's happening from the other side.

SKODA: And we all get the hate mail. We all get the phone calls. You know, it's just part and parcel — you know, I was amused, I have to say, that they couldn't get the violence to stick. They couldn't get the racism to stick. Now, they're calling us Republicans.

(CROSS TALK)

And maybe that will stick.

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