In an interview on the NBC Today Show March 29, 2010 on the subject of political divisiveness, Barack Obama answered questions, including one about the “Tea Party” movement and those who question his legitimacy as President.
…[The tea party] is still a loose amalgam of forces. There’s a part of the tea party movement that did exist before I was elected. We saw some of it leading up to my election. There were just some folks who just weren’t sure that I was born in the United States, whether I was a socialist. … So there’s that segment of it which I think is just dug in ideologically and that strain has existed in American politics for a long time. Then I think that there is a broader circle around that core group who are legitimately concerned about the deficit or are legitimately concerned that the federal government may be taking on too much; and last year a number of the emergency measures we had to take in terms of dealing with the bank crisis, bailing out the auto industry, fed that sense that things were out of control. I think those are folks who have legitimate concerns and so I wouldn’t paint in broad brush and say that everybody who is involved or who has gone to a Tea Party rally are on the fringe. Some of them, I think, have mainstream legitimate concerns and my hope is that as we move forward and are tackling things like the deficit, imposing a freeze on domestic spending, taking steps that show that we’re sincere about working on our long-term problems. Some of that group will dissipate. There’s still gonna be a group, at their core, that question my legitimacy or question the Democratic party generally, or question people who they consider to be against them in some way, and that group we’re probably not gonna convince.