September 5, 2011

Hoffa Before Obama at Detroit Labor Day Rally: ‘Let’s Take These Son of a B*tches Out!’ (See Updates)

TOPSIDE UPDATE 3, 11:55 P.M.: I wish I wasn’t too tired to listen to 700 AM WLW’s overnight show with truckers. Anyone who listens will hear plenty — and I don’t think Mr. Hoffa or Mr. Obama will like what’s said. Anyone who happens to listen in, let me know, either in the comments or via e-mail (biz at

TOPSIDE UPDATE 2, 11:45 P.M.: At the Daily Caller, (Rockford, Illinois) “Tea party group to Hoffa: Resign!”

“Calls to violence can never be acceptable in this civil society,” the Rockford, Illinois tea party group said in a statement. “Hoffa’s remarks were made in an introduction to Obama speaking to Auto Workers and Unions in Detroit and this sort of angry, hateful, call to violence should be repudiated by the President with a call from the President to ask Hoffa to resign his very public position of influence.”

TOPSIDE UPDATE, 8 P.M.: The Associated Press is covering the story as follows (7:12 p.m. time stamp, unbylined; saved here in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes):

Tea party calls on Obama to rebuke union chief

A tea party group called on President Barack Obama to rebuke Teamsters President Jim Hoffa for urging him to use supporters at a Labor Day rally as an army to march and “take out” tea partyers, describing the remarks as “a call for violence.”

Obama was not on stage at the Detroit rally when Hoffa made the remarks Monday. The White House declined to comment on the flap.

… “Jimmy Hoffa’s remarks are inexcusable and amount to a call for violence on peaceful tea party members, which include many Teamster members,” (Tea Party Express chairwoman Amy) Kremer said. “We have called on President Obama to condemn this inappropriate and uncivil rhetoric, which has no place in the public forum.”

Teamsters spokeswoman Leigh Strope said in a statement: “Workers didn’t start this war – the right-wing tea party zealots did. Jim Hoffa’s comments today reflect the anger of workers under attack in this country. Instead of focusing on the economy as a top priority after taking office, corporate-funded conservatives attempted to gut the middle class.”

This isn’t about a “flap,” AP. It’s about a public “threat.”

The “workers under attack in this country,” Ms. Strope, are those who can’t find work because of the Obama administration’s Fear-Based Economy. It’s completely on him, his administration, his party, and his party’s financial supporters — and no one else.


HoffaJrOnLaborDay090511That civility thing which Democrats and the Left thought to be all-important earlier this year is sooooo January. Unless it changes its stripes overnight, the incivility and hostility on display today in Detroit, which hasn’t been seen much in establishment press reports to this point, won’t appear on the Big 3 Networks’ morning shows tomorrow. The American people really need to see what has become of the labor movement, and the type of behavior its head cheerleader in the White House condones.

Before President Obama spoke in the parking lot of a General/Government Motors plant in Detroit this afternoon, Teamsters President James Hoffa Jr. warmed up the crowd, as transcribed below (video at Right Scoop; HT Temple of Mut via Instapundit):

Hoffa: We’ve got to keep an eye on the battle that we face, a war on workers. And you see it everywhere. It is the Tea Party. And y’know there’s only one way to beat and win that war.

The one thing about working people is, we like a good fight. And you know what? They got a war, they got a war with us, and there’s only gonna be one winner, it’s going to be the workers of uh Michigan and America! We’re gonna win that war!

– (snip) –

President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let’s take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong. Thank you very much. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

As of 6:30 p.m., mentions in the establishment press of Hoffa’s hostility are light.

Associated Press coverage by Darlene Superville (AP headline, “Obama says GOP must back US first, create jobs”; as carried at the New York Times, “Obama Challenges Congress in Labor Day Speech”) doesn’t mention Obama’s warm-up acts. A search on Hoffa’s last name at the AP’s main site returns an early-a.m. story with this Sunday quote from Hoffa:

“I think the president should challenge the patriotism of these American corporations that are sitting on the sidelines,” Hoffa said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

He added, “We’ve got to turn this around and say, ‘Hey, we are an American company. We owe an obligation to America. Let’s put America back to work.’”

The Times has no separate story of its own

The Washington Post’s David Nakamura quoted Hoffa, but “somehow” missed the declaration of war:

Obama will need a strong turnout from labor supporters to help him win reelection in 2012, and Teamsters President James P. Hoffa urged the crowd to turn out at the polls in force.

“There is a war on workers and you see it everywhere,” Hoffa said. “You see it in unemployment, you see it in the tea party, in people who fight what we believe in. President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march and, President Obama, we want one thing: jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.”’s coverage of the event doesn’t mention Hoffa.

In Detroit, a search on Hoffa’s last name at (the Detroit Free Press) returns nothing relating to the event. A review of the paper’s story on Obama’s speech has no mention of what Hoffa said. At the Detroit News, Hoffa’s name is not in its event story, and a search on Hoffa’s last name for event-relevant info returns only a couple of Readers’ Forum posts.

There was mention of Hoffa’s statement in a CNN wire story (the network cut ties with AP in June 2010). But the story made Hoffa’s remarks about Republicans and not the Tea Party:

Before Obama spoke, James Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, blasted congressional Republicans and urged the crowd to mobilize and help defeat the GOP at the polls in 2012.

“Everybody here has a vote,” Hoffa said. “Keep the eye on the prize. Let’s take these sons of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong.”

Generalizing Hoffa’s remarks to the GOP alone as CNN did may be erroneous, depending on whether he kept his criticism to the Tea Party or moved on to Republicans in between the segments of the video transcribed above. A 2010 poll showed that “The national breakdown of the Tea Party composition is 57 percent Republican, 28 percent Independent and 13 percent Democratic.” That’s a 40%-plus non-Republican plurality.

At the Los Angeles Times, Christi Parsons did flag Hoffa’s comment, but made sure readers knew that Obama couldn’t pooooooossibly know what was said:

The assembly also cheered wildly when Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa Jr., during a pre-Obama warm-up act, urged activists to oppose Obama’s critics by taking “these sons of bitches out.” Obama was not present for that comment.

More generally, a Google News search on “Hoffa bitches” (not in quotes) returns 16 items (it appears to be 38, but it’s really 16). Only items at an ABC News blog and a CNN blog can be considered American-based “mainstream media” outlets.

In an overseas item at the UK Daily Mail, Toby Harnden headlines a particularly pertinent question: “Will Barack Obama condemn Joe Biden and Jimmy Hoffa for calling Republicans ‘barbarians’ and ‘son of a bitches’?” I’d suggest not staying by the computer waiting for it, because first, someone in the press has to be willing to ask.



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