As to the charge that Armey used a gun to intimidate the FreedomWorks staffers, he reiterated the explanation he shared with Mother Jones’ David Corn in the day following the Post story.
“Actually, David Corn got it right in Mother Jones,” Armey said. “There is a guy named Beau Singleton — he was on my Capitol Police detail. He’s retired from the Capitol Police today. He’s still licensed to provide personal security and on many occasions when I’m in Washington, he does that for me as a courtesy.”
Armey said Singleton’s gun was hidden from view under his jacket and that “Adam Brandon, Matt Kibbe and Dean Clancy” — FreedomWorks executives all — “would have known exactly who he was.”
Armey said concerns about Singleton’s carrying a gun only surfaced as a political attack following the tragic December 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut. And Singleton did not escort FreedomWorks employees from the building, Armey said. Singleton told Corn the same thing.
“I was just kind of there,” Singleton told Mother Jones. “I can’t see why they would act like I was menacing.”
None of the staffers who described the gun story were quoted on the record by the Post.
“I understand these guys try to put a spin on that and make me look bad, because that’s what they do,” Armey went on. “If you look at the left-wing press, it celebrates Dick Armey as a mad gunman.”
As to conveying that message of media malpractice to Media Matters, Armey said he was too “chatty” and didn’t realize the direction Strupp was taking the conversation, aiming for attacks on Limbaugh and Beck.
As to FreedomWorks’ activities, Armey explained that his point to Media Matters was that he wanted to see the tea party group refocus its spending on conservative activism and away from advertising. “We were always proud that we got so much done with so little money.”
Asked about a recent Rasmussen poll that showed just 8 percent of Americans now identify as “tea party members,” Armey lamented that FreedomWorks had some role in not slowing that attrition as it moved away from activism. “They had a stronger identification when we were seen as an activist group working within the tea party movement,” he said.
“When you look back at who FreedomWorks was in ’09 and ’10, and what we did with respect — I’ve always said it this way: We did not create the tea party movement, we never managed the tea party movement,” Armey said, “but we facilitated it so much, that there would not have been a movement without us.”