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Warner walks back Tea Party, Moveon.org comparison

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Senator Mark Warner always chooses his words very carefully, but in an interview today on NBC12,  the Democrat qualified comments he made comparing the Tea Party movement to the followers of the liberal web site Moveon.org.

Warner, who often describes himself as a “radical moderate”, was making the case that extreme elements on both sides of the political spectrum are dominating the discussion.  In an effort to show that both conservatives and liberals are to blame Warner told reporters that  “A new sense of cooperation will have to take place in the political center, between Tea Party “extremists” on the right and the “moveon.org” activists on the extreme left.”

At face value, the comments didn’t seem all that controversial, unless of course you identify with one of those groups.  Warner who claimed that he was done “biting his tongue“, quickly faced a storm of criticism from the operators of Moveon.org and liberal Virginia bloggers who took offense to be group in the same category as the Tea Party.

In a fiery response to Huffington Post, the group’s Executive Director Justin Ruben called the comparison unfair and described the Tea Party as “the racist and xenophobic far-right wing of the Republican Party.”

Wednesday on First at 4, Warner said said his comments were “in-artful”.

“If we’re going to get things done in the United States Senate where I work,” said Warner.  “We’re going to need to form kind of the, let’s get stuff done caucus, and that’s going to be willingness on both democrats and republicans to step up and find common solutions to our deficit.”

Warner also said that there are big differences between the Tea Party and Moveon.org and conceded that they both have positive aspects.

“I think they’re different organizations,” he said. “I think in both organizations who are activists who care deeply and are passionate and my personal belief is neither political party has all the answers.”

The Senator said that with the problems facing Washington, now is not the time for name calling. In his mind consensus must be built or nothing will get done.

“I think the only way we make those choices is if we can find Democrats and Republicans who are willing to put aside partisanship and find that common ground,” Warner said.

The full interview with Senator Mark Warner can be seen below. The full transcript can be found on NBC12.com.

Written by Ryan Nobles

November 10, 2010 at 7:21 pm

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