Still Bitter: White House Goes After Santelli Again, but Santelli Fires Back

September 4th, 2009 4:52 PM

It's been nearly seven months since CNBC reporter Rick Santelli took a stand against the Obama administration, which inspired the tea party movement - and the White House hasn't forgotten.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked by CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood why the administration decided to go after Santelli after his Feb. 19 call for a metaphorical revolt over President Barack Obama's economic policies.

"Truthfully, one primary reason," Gibbs said in comments aired on CNBC's Sept. 4 "Squawk on the Street." "And that was - I thought the argument that he was making was both disingenuous and not based on the facts. It was clear that Rick was very passionate about the issue. And look, we have differing opinions from both sides of the political aisle. It was clear to me that the argument that he was making wasn't based on him having actually read our plan."

Gibbs had previously invited Santelli to the White House for coffee to discuss the plan, but Gibbs said the Secret Service probably wouldn't have allowed Santelli now.

"You know what, almost seven months have passed since Feb. 19 and a couple of things," Santelli said in response to Gibbs comments on CNBC's Sept. 4 "Power Lunch." "You know what - I will come if they invite me for a cup of coffee. I was a little surprised that he said the Secret Service wouldn't allow it. I don't understand that."

However, Santelli also explained Gibbs himself wasn't grounded in the facts, which he accused Santelli of not being. Santelli told viewers he had read Obama's so-called housing plan. But the Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor reporter said that regardless of Gibbs' disposition on Santelli's remarks, the fact that a movement was inspired was something praiseworthy.

"But there's two points that I want to clarify," Santelli continued. "He once again continues, Mr. Gibbs, to say that I was disingenuous and didn't read the home modification plan. Just for the record, not that it really matters - I did. But what's even more important is the part of the conversation with John Harwood and Mr. Gibbs that was missing and that is something magical and uniquely American happened on the 19th and 20th of February."

Although many of the lefty media outlets had gone out of their way to disparage what his remarks inspired, Santelli said he was still glad people were taking up the cause, as he did on Tea Party Day, April 15.

"The American people want to be heard," Santelli said. "And unlike many countries, if you don't agree with your government, it's OK in this country - to get together, to have tea parties, to have bus rides of tea parties and to challenge in town hall meetings."

He added that was one of the more redeeming outcomes of his remarks, regardless whether the White House approved or not.

"I think we should all be proud that we are living in a country where we can question those we put in power because at the end of the day they work for every citizen," Santelli said. "And I think that is a great aspect that came out and I think that it needed to be said."