April 15th, 2009
05:31 PM ET

Tea Bag Toss Ends White House Protest

Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

Secret Service officers were scurrying to close the North Lawn of the White House Wednesday afternoon because of a suspicious package and it appeared that trouble was brewing.

But it turned out that nothing more was brewing than an innocent little box of, yes, tea bags.

The security alert started around 2 p.m. ET, when an unidentified person tossed the box over the gate of the White House and it landed on President Obama's lawn with a thud.

Journalists were quickly banned from moving outside of the press briefing room, and hundreds of protesters gathered for a "Tax Day Tea Party" were quickly shooed out of Lafayette Park as a security robot inspected the package closely.

After about a half hour of high alert, a Secret Service official told CNN the "suspicious package" was merely some tea bags. So the threat was over, and so was the anti-Obama protest.

Filed under: Economy • Ed Henry • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Ginny D.

    The protestors are "working for" the rich who are ticked off at the tax increases that are necessary to pay for the war, etc. I am pleased at the piorities of the new administration;energy, education, health care reform. Money well spent, hopefully not wasted.

    April 17, 2009 at 9:23 pm |
  2. Pam

    Ok so tea parties may not be a good idea, but its the only way that some people have to say (1st amendment) what they feel about the way congress is spending money, after all they are asking us to be aware of how and what we do with our money, why dont they have to be the same way, why dont they start by taking a pay cut, that would be nice, and as for voting for change, yes i voted for change but not throwing away my grandchilderns future which it now looks like is going to happen. None of what they (congress) is doing will catch up till 2011, i went to a local tea party to see the hub bub about it and it made since to me, and by the way your reporter at the chicago party was rude, mean and should not be allowed on the air again. and anderson if you make fun of the people who watch you, like me ( i was suprised at the way you spoke about the tea party) its not like you to be mean. anyway it wasnt about dem or repub it was about accountabilty for our YES OUR money that they are spending please dont chase away the people who watch you by offending them.

    April 17, 2009 at 8:45 pm |
  3. Awka man in Houston

    i bet you, half of the people in that [T E A Party] dont even know what they are talking about,and was there just for the fact the dont like a blackman as the president of the united states

    April 17, 2009 at 8:45 pm |

    Common guys,what happen with the confederate flag, that was the only one thing missing at the rally,Sean kkk Hannity was there, your hoods,Beck was there, mr Orally was there,Mr Rush was also there.i just even find out that even Newt Gingrich, was also a [kkk]also.

    April 17, 2009 at 8:27 pm |
  5. Melvin Plimpton

    This had nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats. Its about Americans being fed up with their country being stolen by the banksters and the crippling debt that we and future generations will be on the hook for. I think its unfair to label the tea party people as right wing extremists or kook Republicans, there are people of all brands involved in these protests. The mainstream media coverage of the protests was pretty skewed IMO. We all need to wake up.

    April 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  6. Linda Stinson

    This was a legal protest about taxes. I am so tired of hearing the liberals put a spin on anything that resembles distaste with the Obama administration. As the CNN reporter was yelling at the man with the 2 year old, (your getting a $400.00 tax break now) was she there to report a story or to win over the listeners to her way of thinking. After all Obama has planned to put a tax on all carbon energy and that will make it impossible for us woirking people to pay our heating and cooling bills and buy gas to get to work. And since everything has to have energy to be processed, we will see everything we buy cost more to cover the cost to the producer. If this administration continues we will all be in foreclosure and begging for food. But that is how power hungry politicans want us to be, at their mercy.
    As far as the coverage of tea parties by CNN, MSNBC, they are liberal news media and they have no trouble showing it. They are just mad because FOX has a greater audiance than they have. Maybe that should tell them something about how the majority of Americans veiw their coverage. Maybe they will get the message before they are out of business and standing in the bailout line...
    I am an American and will stay true to the values that America was established on and that is the BIBLE.

    April 17, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  7. Aynes

    hmmm another one of my comments awaiting moderation...What's up CNN??? Thought you were fair and balanced???

    April 16, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  8. Rex

    I agree with Breathing Again. When I do the math, my taxes are going down now. They never went down in the past 8 years. I don't understand why people are complaining about taxes going up?? Unless you make more that $500,000.00 a year you are getting a tax cut.

    Yes, there is too much spending in Washington and I hope that once the economy gets stronger, this problem will be addresses. I fear what the country would be like if the stimulus (I didn't like it either) had not passes and more companies closed. That would have been more unemployment, and less income tax to get period.

    April 16, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  9. cman

    Melissa: This kind of behavior is childish on the part of the Republicans. I’ve never seen the Democrats behave like the spoilt brats the Republicans are. The Republicans should be ashamed.
    So, standing up for what you honestly believe in is childish. Well damn
    Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Samuel Adams, to name a few, for standing up for what they believe in. Isn't that what this country is about. If you don't believe things are going the right way, do something about it. you may disagree, but it is absolutely "Childish" to call a protest childish!

    April 16, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  10. cman

    The problem with all of you commenting is you are so filled with hatred of republicans that you are not listening. If any of you were to actually watch the protest you would have heard everyone saying that they are tired of congress not listening and spending money that we don't have. Beck, Hannity, and all the others were saying the Clinton, Bush and now Obama admins have done the same thing. Spend! Spend! Spend! They were also calling for term limits for congress. What the hell is wrong with some accountability. It was not an anti-obama rally. You guys always say that republicans must all be rich. Fact: Democrats make 6% more than republicans. Fact: Republicans give 30% more than democrats to charity.

    April 16, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  11. Gilby-HI

    I just signed the largest tax payment check that I have ever signed. I would bet that I am paying at least a few of the blogers on this pages mortgage payment, the ones that are not living in grannies basement.
    That is ok, I have alway worked harder and longer hours then many of my fellow office lizards.
    This is just the start of the last days of Obama.

    April 15, 2009 at 9:23 pm |
  12. Ivan Posey,

    I just want to know if those individuals who are throwing the tea parties, were going to use their own identity? If you recall, when the Boston Tea Party happened, they dressed up like Native Americans and I guess tried to put the blame on the Indians? We Indians get blamed for enough without having others dress up and try to act like us?

    April 15, 2009 at 8:49 pm |
  13. Deborah Alfano

    The Tea Parties serve as an opportunity for Americans who are very concerned about the way their Government is wildly spending our tax dollars. In a few short months the Government has spent trillions of dollars and the Government wants to spend even more trillions of our dollars. There are Democrats, Republicans, and Independents at the Tea Parties. The more the media ignores serious American dissent or makes fun of those who express their opinions the stronger the movement will grow. At least be respectful to those who do not agree with the liberal need to spend money even when they do not have the money.

    April 15, 2009 at 8:30 pm |
  14. Jeremy

    It's not republicans its everyone fed up with the over reach of the goverment. Hello its not that hard read the costitution for god sakes. Left wing Idoits, Rights wing biggots whats left but the road to ruin????

    April 15, 2009 at 8:22 pm |
  15. Kristen - University Park, PA

    Where were these tea bag protestors last April? They had no problem while Bush cut taxes for the rich and left everyone else to fend for themselves.

    April 15, 2009 at 8:10 pm |
  16. Caitlin

    And it has nothing to do with just Republicans....who actualy likes giving away a huge chunk of their money? Fair tax anyone?

    April 15, 2009 at 8:07 pm |
  17. Caitlin

    hahaha get a sense of humor...that's just funny

    April 15, 2009 at 8:04 pm |
  18. Alice Hill

    Way to go Tea Party people you are helping the economy by buying tea bags and tea drink, way to go!

    April 15, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  19. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Amazing how a legitimate excercise of First Amendment rights is so bad when it's Republicans doing it.

    April 15, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  20. Susan

    Oops...or Republicans

    April 15, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  21. Susan

    This was not about O people. It's about the taxes. And it certainly isn't all Dems.

    April 15, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  22. Bunmi in California

    Because the Republicans have it as bad as the New England Settlers did?

    April 15, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  23. Adam B.

    The funny thing is, the original tea party wasn't so much anti-tax as it was a protest over England waiving the East India Company's tax. Big business is usually supported by Republicans, isn't it? Someone should re-examine their metaphorical protests so the next one actually makes historical sense!

    April 15, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  24. pat griffin

    It's not an anti-Obama rally, it's a demonstration against the the uncontrolled spending of Congress. I wish the mainstream media would at least get their facts straight before reporting events.

    April 15, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  25. Jasmine-Spokane, WA

    Love how our country for once is turning to history. But sadly the history geeks such as myself are smart enough to actually KNOW the history and not go through with these so-called tea parties.

    April 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  26. Eric

    Boston Tea Party?
    After 8 years of fun in the sun; big fat 401k/Retirement plan and investments; overseas tax shelters and God only knows what other get overs Americans enjoyed (you know-the majority).

    You got fat during the Bush/Cheney years and while you were doing so for the shutout minority in America, it was life as usual, you know: food stamps, soup kitchens, welfare. Oh yeah, the people you didn't want to get a thing; "Not my hard earned tax dollars".

    Well, now that you're in our world you want to screen and blame the new President. No, No, No, don't blame him, blame the guy of whom paved the path for dirty, selfish gain in this country and get behind the guy who has to clean it up.

    Welcome to my world.

    April 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  27. janette

    As long as there is Rush ,Hannity, Beck ,Bill'O and the like
    you will see this foolishness .Rush and his THUGS are doing
    all they can to detract from what our President is trying to do
    in hopes that they can bring him down in essence make him
    fail as directed by BUM RUSH.The rest of the world is watching
    them act the fool.

    April 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  28. Breathing Again

    Seems to me the republicans are whining and moaning just like all the wall street types who got their hands caught in the cookie jar – and they are all like every criminal who whines and moans that they didn't do it, etc. What gets me is that my taxes are THANKFULLY going down for once this year! In tax year 2007, I paid $4000 more in fed taxes, with $30k (virtually identical deductions) less income than in 2002. That's what Bush's tax CUTS did for me! I didn't really get it for a while, boy was I shocked! Yet, a friend of mine, who makes about $130k more than I do, got tax cuts under Bush. What the hell was that about – So she could hire more domestic help? I had to let my housekeeper and gardener go – so they got hurt (and no they weren't illegals, just good people needing to add to their income). And I'm disabled! But I still work for pete's sake. I was so uninclined to protest with the teabaggers it's funny. These people haven't done the math – but then they probably can't count in the first place.

    April 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  29. Bobby

    the government works for us ...and there "FIRED"

    April 15, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  30. Johnny, KY

    These protesters are so clueless. Crack open a history book, Republicans– please! It'll save us all a lot of annoyance.

    I'm glad the secret service had a machine check out the package. I wouldn't put it past someone who was buying and WASTING tea during a recession to not carry around an explosive of some kind in a crowded area.

    Not smart, these ones.

    April 15, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  31. Jeff LeRoy Davis, Kelly, WY

    I watched media coverage of the Matthew Shepard funeral alter and inflame the protester/anti-protester dynamic. A less than ethical news network is exaserbating this event into National news to sell more soap. CNN, please maintain the highest journalistic standards, because it's the right thing to do. Thnx!

    April 15, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  32. Scott

    Maybe if the didnt waste all that money on tea bags they might have some extra cash to pay their taxes...but that's just my logic. ha!

    April 15, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  33. Doug

    Where were all these people at while George W. was ruining the country ?

    April 15, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  34. Carol B. in MD

    Is trouble really brewing, Ed? Did these brave protesters pelt the lawn with Earl Grey, Lady Grey, Lapsang Souchong, or regular pekoe tea? My bet's on pekoe.

    April 15, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  35. ChicaWest

    The Republicans are sour grapes... they should stumble over to Boston and get tea bagged. 😉

    April 15, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  36. Michelle Johnson, Lomita, CA

    It would have been interesting to watch the security robot at work. Did CNN manage to get any shots of that?

    April 15, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  37. Melissa

    This kind of behavior is childish on the part of the Republicans. I've never seen the Democrats behave like the spoilt brats the Republicans are. The Republicans should be ashamed.

    April 15, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  38. Mary Gilmore

    Anderson, I really don't think the protest is anti Obama. It is anti-Tax the same way it was at the Boston Tea Party.
    Just happened that some thought to let President Obama know about it. After all who else to go to but the head person in this Country, certainly Congress is not listening.

    April 15, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  39. Annie Kate

    Tea bags? So Obama is now King George? It seems a bit early in the Presidency to have protestors outside the gates, much less throwing things onto the White House lawn.

    April 15, 2009 at 5:40 pm |