Fox News falsely claimed Clinton compared tea partiers to domestic terrorists

››› ››› DIANNA PARKER

On Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy and Fox News contributor Dana Perino falsely claimed that President Clinton compared the entire tea party movement to the domestic terrorists who carried out the Oklahoma City bombing. In fact, Clinton said protests are "part of the lifeblood of liberty," adding that "most" tea partiers are "well within bounds" in their criticism, and he specifically limited his criticism to secessionists and militia groups.

Doocy and Perino: Clinton compared tea party to Oklahoma City "domestic terrorists"

Doocy: "We've got Bill Clinton talking about the tea party protesters and comparing them to what happened down in Oklahoma City." On the April 19 edition of Fox & Friends, Doocy said Clinton was, "talking about the tea party protesters and comparing them to what happened down in Oklahoma City," when he said: "The 15th anniversary of Oklahoma City -- I'm not trying to draw total parallels -- I'm just saying we should be aware of this. This is a vast echo chamber, this Internet. And there's lots of folks listening, and, as I said, some are serious. Some are delirious. Some are connected. Some are unhinged."

Perino: Clinton said "the tea party movement is aligned with domestic terrorists." Responding to Clinton's remarks, Perino claimed Clinton said "the tea party movement is aligned with domestic terrorists."

Clinton limited his criticism to "secessionists" and "militia groups"

Clinton: "[M]ost" tea partiers "have been well within bounds in their" criticism and are "not advocating violence." In an interview on CNN's The Situation Room, Clinton stressed the importance of "be[ing] able to criticize your government and criticize elected officials," which he described as "the lifeblood of liberty." He said "most" of the tea partiers "are explicitly political," and that "most of them have been well within bounds in their harsh, but limited criticism -- that is, they're not advocating violence or encouraging other people to do it." Clinton then specifically cited "secessionists" and "militia groups'" rhetoric as being similar to those who "influenced' McVeigh, and later said: "The 15th anniversary of Oklahoma City -- I'm not trying to draw total parallels -- I'm just saying we should be aware of this. This is a vast echo chamber, this Internet. And there's lots of folks listening, and, as I said, some are serious. Some are delirious. Some are connected. Some are unhinged."

From the April 16 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

WOLF BLITZER [host]: I guess the question is, is the rhetoric that we're hearing today -- I don't know if you want to get into the Tea Party, or some of the expressions you're hearing there...

CLINTON: Yes.

BLITZER: ... or what we're generally hearing from a small, but very, very vocal group -- is that potentially dangerous?

CLINTON: Yes.

Most of the Tea Party people, though, are explicitly political. You got to give them that. Now, forget about whether we disagree with them or not. It's really important to be able to criticize your government and criticize elected officials. That never bothered me.

Nobody's right all the time, and it's part of the lifeblood of liberty. The freedom of speech means the freedom to criticize in part. And so most of them have been understanding that they are not like the Boston Tea Party, when there was no law, there was no representation.

They just have representation they didn't vote for and don't agree with. But they -- most of them have been well within bounds in their harsh, but limited criticism -- that is, they're not advocating violence or encouraging other people to do it.

But some of the things that the secessionists have said, the Idaho militia says that, if they want to secede in Idaho, they will support them military. Some of the things these Three Percenters have said, some of the things these Oath Keepers have said, that's more like the extremist and the militia groups or what David Koresh did or some of the other people, that -- that -- all of which influenced Timothy McVeigh.

I think it's important not to draw too tight a historical analogy. The Toyota thing I want to say is, I'm not interested in gagging anybody. I actually love this political debate. I would like to be a part of it. I was a tiny part of it when the president asked Hillary and me to make some calls on the health care thing, and then for me to go out and speak to the Senate and others on it.

But I just think that we have to be careful. We have been down this road on more than one occasion before. We don't want to go down it again.

BLITZER: The other difference -- yes, the Internet has exploded over these 15 years. There's a Democratic president now. You were a Democratic president then. But the other big difference is, there's an African-American president.

[...]

CLINTON: But, by and large, in the last 50 years -- or, well, at least since the early '70s, when we still had some left-wing problems, by and large, these have been systematically coming out of the far right.

And, again, I think that all those folks have a place in our political debate. We just have to know where to draw the line. And I -- and we have enough threats against the president, enough threats against the Congress that we should be sensitive to it.

The 15th anniversary of Oklahoma City -- I'm not trying to draw total parallels -- I'm just saying we should be aware of this. This is a vast echo chamber, this Internet. And there's lots of folks listening, and, as I said, some are serious. Some are delirious. Some are connected. Some are unhinged.

And we, all of us who have any responsibility, have to exercise that responsibility, so that we're intellectually honest about our political positions, but we're also intellectually honest about what certain words might do to people who are less stable.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Steve Doocy, Dana Perino
Show/Publication
FOX & Friends
Stories/Interests
Tea Party
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