Michel Martin interviewed Congresswoman Diane Watson on her show on February 19, 2010. Arguments we not made for the causes of the Obama administration, they were made against those opposed to the Obama programs. Those opposed were associated with Klan members.

“I’ve seen the rise of the Tea Party and their Klan activities. And I think we see the haters coming forth.” –Congresswoman Diane Watson – from Michel Martin’s “Tell Me More” Show on NPR

The Interview

Here is a portion of an interview Michel Martin had with Congresswoman Diane Watson, from the 33rd district in California. The full interview is posted at:


MARTIN: You are one of 32 members of the House who have decided not to seek re-election. There’s 11 members of the Senate who’ve also made that decision. One of the ones that’s gotten a lot of attention of late is Evan Bayh of Indiana, also a Democrat. He says – in part, he’s leaving because of the hyper-partisanship. He just says that just not enough is getting done. And I know that you said that you’re retiring for personal reasons, but do you share that view?

Rep. WATSON: Partially. The atmosphere is so toxic that one evaluates whether they can be effective, and let me kind of give that some foundation. I have never seen such resistance to the presidential priorities as I have this year. And I kind of connect it to the phenomena of Barack Obama being elected as president. And I see things happening around this country that indicate to me that there are people out there that rather not have an African-American. I’m just going to put it where I think it is. I’ve seen the rise of the Tea Party and their Klan activities. And I think we see the haters coming forth.


Rep. WATSON: You know, I’m going to tell you something. When I came in, of course, I came in to fill an unexpired term of Julian Dixon. And I took his office. And the people across the hall – a Republican member – his staff was so kind and accommodating to me. And nine months later, the member died. And I went across to thank the member’s staff, and to ask where the chief of staff would be going. And he pointed to my office and he says, I’m leaving the Hill because the last four people in your office have died in office as well.

And moving in to his office was Joe Wilson. Joe was the one that during the joint session, yelled out: You lie. Now, I never detected that in him. And it was not only disrespectful, but it was the first time its ever happened in a joint session. For him to do something like that, I knew it was programmed.

MARTIN: But you think it was race, you think it’s generational? Or do you think it’s partisan – or some combination of the three?

Rep. WATSON: All of the above. And I said, why this president? This president -and think about this, listeners – the blood that runs through my veins runs through his, and the blood that runs through his veins runs through theirs, for hes Kenya and Kansas. The Rush Limbaughs of the world: I hope he fails. When the president fails, the country fails. Its the presidency, and I’m saying what is motivating this? Why the Tea Party?

What are they angry about when we talk about health care? And I just put it where I think it really is. President Carter said its emanating out of hate. But as I travel the globe, and I’m on international relations, I am told by people of color – two-thirds of the worlds population is of color – that we are so proud to see someone who looks like us rather than and with all due respect rather than an old, white-haired, white man. So that’s whats happening out there.

MARTIN: If you’re just joining us, you’re listening to TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I’m speaking with congresswoman Diane Watson of California. Shes a Democrat. Were talking about her distinguished career in public service, and also about her decision to retire at the conclusion of this term. I did want to mention one other thing that’s been in the news, which was that there was a big story in the New York Times earlier this week about some of the fundraising of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

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