Kaine suggests Tea Partiers could intimidate voters at the polls

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine suggested Thursday that there’s concern that Tea Party activists will intimidate Democrats at the polls in November.

“We’re always concerned about intimidation, misinformation,” Kaine said, when asked by a reporter whether he thinks the conservative activists will “challenge” voters on Election Day.

He noted the DNC has a “robust voter protection effort,” which will give the tools they need to combat voter “misinformation or confusion.”

During a breakfast in Washington, Kaine also sought to downplay the notion that the Democrats’ election strategy amounts to solely running against former President George W. Bush.

“It’s not a referendum on Bush,” he said. He did, however, go on to say that the solutions offered by Republican candidates this year are the same as the ones emanating from the Bush years.

Other highlights:

—In light of Obama attacking conservative groups over the disclosure of donors, Kaine said it could be the biggest scandal since Watergate. “I think what you’re going to see on the Republican side is the non-reportable spending is going to dwarf the reportable spending, effectively hiding from scrutiny the identities of those who are funding these campaigns.”

—Kaine says the Tea Party has the “upper hand” in the Republican Party. “We think that has significance…we’re going to win seats that we were going to lose six months ago because of the Tea Party.” But the chairman also acknowledged that, “there’s energy there that we have to counter.”

—Noting how he knows Obama well, he dismissed recent media stories reporting that Hillary Clinton could replace Joe Biden as Vice President in 2012.

—Kaine downplayed the suggestion that rallies held in Washington D.C. by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert the weekend before the election will take liberals away from Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts. It might lead to less people dialing at a Democratic phone bank, he said, but still, it’s good for them that Colbert and Stewart are “creating energy around young people” at election time.

UPDATE: Jenny Beth Martin, a national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, responded to Kaine’s suggestion about voter intimidation by saying, “The DNC chairman is continuing his party’s attempt to malign the Tea Party…if he feels intimidated, it’s because millions, tens of millions of Americans, are in the process of telling him that his party’s platform is wrong.”