Tea Party demonstrators participate in a rally near the Washington Monument on the National Mall on tax day in Washington on April 15, 2010. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo
WASHINGTON, April 16 (UPI) -- Democrats are downplaying the effect of the Tea Party movement on U.S. elections in November while Republicans openly court the disgruntled voters.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California dismissed the movement's impact on Democrats Tea Party activists targeted for defeat in the midterm elections, arguing the grassroots movement could hurt Republicans, CNN reported Friday.
"I think it's going to have an impact on Republicans in November," Pelosi said Thursday. "We always just keep our eye on the ball as to what our own races are and keep going in a forward direction."
Republicans could be hurt at the polls, Pelosi said, because Tea Party activists were mounting conservative challengers to GOP candidates in their primaries.
The Tea Party Express concluded its cross-country, 34-city tour in Washington Thursday, Tax Day.
House Republican leader John Boehner, who spoke at an Orlando, Fla., Tea Party event this week, said Thursday Republicans were working to earn the support of the Tea Party followers, CNN said.
"We are going to talk with them and listen to them and we are going to walk amongst them and ... earn their support this November," the Ohio Republican said.
Boehner said Democrats weren't listening to the movement's concerns, noting Tea Party events represent only a fraction of Americans frustrated with the current leadership in Washington.
Two Ohio Democratic congressman took exception to some of the Tea Party's criticism of the U.S. government, saying the activists were misrepresenting the facts and fear-mongering, CNN said.