(CNSNews.com) - House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says tea party conservatives have "hijacked the name 'Republican."
The Grand Old Party accomplished so much for our country. Some of the leaders, even in -- within the past few years, have done so much for our country. And this (tea party) is -- you know, is a different manifestation.
"I believe the tea party hijacked the name 'Republican.' I wish the Republicans would take it back. But when you see 199 Republicans vote to default on the full faith and credit of the United States of America, 199 Republicans -- only 28 voted with -- well, 27 voted with the Speaker to do the responsible thing -- then you know that the tea party has either frightened or had its impact in some way or another on the other members."
Pelosi was responding to a reporter, who asked for her "assessment" of the tea party as it marked the fifth anniversary of its founding with a gathering in Washington.
"Well, I think they considered a success when they shut down government. And I don't think that was for the good of the nation," she said.
Many of those who support the tea party agenda of fiscal restraint and limited government do not consider themselves "Republicans" at all. They are conservatives -- of either party, as conservative talk show host Mark Levin told Fox News on Thursday:
"The largest group from a philosophical and political perspective in this country are conservatives -- conservative Democrats, conservative Republicans, conservatives who are -- who are disgusted with all parties and both parties and politics.
Levin, quoting President Ronald Reagan, said those are the people the tea party needs to embrace.