The Tea Party’s Uni-Tea rally in Philadelphia today marked Andrew Breitbart’s first public speech since Shirley Sherrod’s firing from the USDA, but Breitbart ducked TPM’s questions about the incident, and didn’t bring it up at all in his 20-minute long speech.
Before he spoke, TPM asked Breitbart whether he would address Sherrod’s ousting in his speech. “We’ll see,” he replied.
His speech did not address the incident, but mostly laid out specific incidents Breitbart says prove the Tea Partiers are not racists, and prove “collusion by the political class and the media class.”
As proof of the “media bully cabal,” Breitbart brought up Journolist, which he described as “an inner cabal that the mainstream media will not play up.”
And he mentioned Cedra Crenshaw, a female black Republican candidate for Congress in Illinois, who the “Democratic machine” is trying to get “off the stage because it doesn’t want black America to see that there’s another way.”
Breitbart talked about Kenneth Gladney, who claimed he was beaten up at a town hall for Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) because he was handing out “Don’t Tread On Me” signs. Breitbart bragged that he helped bring about charges for the alleged attackers: “That was us. That was fighting for a black man who was beaten for handing out ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ flags. The media won’t tell you that narrative.”
And then there was when Tea Partiers and other anti-health care activists shouted racial epithets at black Congressmen during the health care debate. “Something really rotten happened” Breitbart said about the incident. “They made it up.”
The Democrats had to “find a way to put the Tea Party in its place because it could be an unstoppable juggernaut,” he said. “We are armed with cameras, and we are on the lookout for their lies.”
“We are a unified America,” said Breitbart. “Blacks, whites, hispanics and all the rainbow people all around the world.”
TPM asked Breitbart for an interview after his speech, but he told us he “already spoke.”
He also ignored further inquiries by TPM about Sherrod, until someone who appeared to be his bodyguard brushed us off.
Breitbart has previously spoken about the Sherrod video with TPM, saying that he “did not edit this thing.”
A spokesperson for the event, former New Jersey State Senator Richard LaRossa (R), expressed some regret at Breitbart’s association with the Sherrod incident, and TPM asked if Breitbart’s presence would detract from the event’s success in reaching out to black conservatives. “Possibly,” he said. “His message is an anti-racist message. But unfortunately he stepped on his own rhetoric a little.”
Other organizers were also quick to distance themselves from the Sherrod video, mildly criticizing Breitbart for his role in the incident.
Event organizer Jeffrey Weingarten said that “he’s not a racist,” but “I might have done things differently, and so might you have. But I’m not going to hold him to a higher or different standard than the USDA or the President. He did not fire anybody.”