FreedomWorks’ Kibbe: Will ‘Grade on a Curve’ After Tea Party Splits on Debt Deal

By Eliza

Aug 2, 2011 3:37pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein (@rickklein) reports:

The final debt deal signed by President Obama today created fissures inside the tea party movement, with grass-roots activists and freshman Republican congressman split among themselves on whether the deal should be considered a victory or a defeat.

On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of the tea party group FreedomWorks, said he disagrees with tea party members of Congress – including stalwarts like Rep. Allen West, R-Fla. – who voted for the final deal.

But Kibbe said he’s ready to “grade on a curve” and not condemn members like West because of the differences of opinion on this matter.

“I'm not OK with them voting for this deal, but I'm going to look at their total records,” Kibbe told us. “I don’t expect any politician to stand 100 percent with the tea party movement — I think that would be extraordinary and exceptional if that happened.”

“What we're looking for is authenticity. What we're looking for are politicians that are willing to do what they said they were going to do,” Kibbe said. “We're going to have to grade on a curve because no one bats 1.000 in baseball.”

Still, Kibbe blasted the deal reached by President Obama and bipartisan congressional leaders:

“With this rush, orchestrated, last-minute political crisis, the problem is very few people know what they are actually voting on,” he said. “When you get into the details, you see that for all the hysteria about deep spending cuts, there's really not much substance to this plan.”

“And I've got to tell you, this super-committee — this is an abdication of congressional responsibility. It's their job to pass a budget resolution. It's their job to pass appropriations bills. And just because they can't do it doesn't mean that the Constitution allows them to kick the can to some super-committee.”

Kibbe said the next phase of the battle will include a “tea party debt commission” that will work parallel to the new bipartisan committee that will recommend deficit-cutting maneuvers. The “commission” will include field hearings and events in battleground presidential states, Kibbe said.

“We are working with tea partiers right now to launch a tea party debt commission, to put our specifics on the table. Because it's clear to me that Washington can't do this on their own — we're going to have to do it from the ground up, just like we did in 2009, just like we did in 2010 with the election.”

Watch the “Top Line” interview with Matt Kibbe HERE.

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