James Hoffa Is Not a Fan of the Tea Party

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DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 05:  Teansters Union President James Hoffa addresses the crowd before President Obama delivers a speech at a Labor Day event sponsored by the Metro Detroit Central Labor Council on September 5, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The president discussed his efforts to create jobs and strengthen the economy. Also at the event were Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, singer Aretha Franklin, and leaders from various labor unions. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 05: Teansters Union President James Hoffa addresses the crowd before President Obama delivers a speech at a Labor Day event sponsored by the Metro Detroit Central Labor Council on September 5, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The president discussed his efforts to create jobs and strengthen the economy. Also at the event were Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, singer Aretha Franklin, and leaders from various labor unions. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images) Photo: Bill Pugliano/2011 Getty Images

To say the least. It seems the Teamsters president (and son of the more notorious Teamsters leader) wanted to remind his rank and file that all the economic frustration in the country need not be expressed only on the right, and that the tea party's elected officials are acting against their interests. Hoffa introduced President Obama at a Labor Day rally with what many in the right-wing blogosphere and Tea Party leadership interpreted as a violent threat. The speech certainly wasn't gentle:

“We’ve got to keep an eye on the battle that we face — a war on workers,” he said. “You see it everywhere. It is the tea party.” And he mentioned that “one thing about working people is, we like a good fight.”

To Mr. Obama, Mr. Hoffa said: “President Obama, this is your army, and we are ready to march.”

Later in the speech, Hoffa added "let’s take these son-of-a-bitches out," which, coming from a Teamster's mouth in a slightly different context, would have just been an affectionate invitation.

Hoffa wasn't the only Democrat who yesterday called on labor groups to fight back against anti-union Republican policies. Joe Biden struck a similar note at an AFL–CIO event in Ohio.


“Vote, vote, vote your values,” he urged the crowd in the crucial presidential swing state. “It's time we stand up and say we have had enough of their policies.”

Biden said that in the upcoming presidential campaign he will be fighting for nothing less than the survival of the American working class.

“I am about to be let loose,” he said.

Biden unchained! Forget the Teamsters: Why isn't anyone more scared about that?

Hoffa: Fired Up, Ready to … Vote? [Washington Wire/WSJ]
Fiery Biden riles up union members [Hill]