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Axelrod comment that tea parties are 'unhealthy' stokes militia fears

The comments could add to conservative Americans' sense that they are being either ignored or besieged but not heard.

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Hundreds of people from southern New Mexico line Main Street in front of Thomas Branigan Memorial Library in Las Cruces, N.M., to protest taxes Wednesday, April 15. They were there for the Las Cruces Tax Day TEA — Taxed Enough Already — Party.

Las Cruces Sun-News/ Norm Dettlaff/AP

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The nationwide angst about – and within – the so-called "tea party" movement continues to gather pace.

On the Sunday morning talk show, "Face the Nation," a senior adviser to President Obama, David Axelrod, said the tea parties organized April 15 to protest massive government spending could "mutate into something that's unhealthy."

The comment was immediately decried by elements of the blogosphere as an attempt to tar tea parties by inference – hinting that they are breeding grounds for the kind of antigovernment activity that led to the Oklahoma City bombings.

Say Anything, A North Dakota political blog, commented: "'Mutate into something unhealthy?' Like, uh, domestic terrorism? Is that what's left unsaid here?"

A sense of injustice is already acute among many tea partyers. Though Mr. Obama remains broadly popular, Dante Chinni of Patchwork Nation recently noted that he has created the widest partisan gap in America since the 1960s, according to poll numbers in the Washington Times. In other words, many people like him – a lot – but those who don't, really don't.

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