According to a report in the New York Post, President Obama referred to "tea-baggers" in an alleged handwritten letter to a concerned citizen.
Assuming the letter (which is written on official White House stationary and bears handwriting that looks like the president's) is actually from Obama, the president was writing in response to a note he received from one Thomas J. Ritter, a fifth grade teacher in Texas. Ritter had written to Obama to complain about Obamacare and the vitriolic tenor of American politics in general.
“I watched you make fun of tea baggers and your press secretary make fun of Ms. Palin which was especially beneath the dignity of the White House,” Ritter wrote. “Do the right thing not the political thing. Suggest a bill that Americans can support.”
In his response, Obama echoed Ritter's use of the phrase "tea baggers" — a derogatory term for members of the Tea Party — but pushed back against Ritter's complaint that White House critics are "targeted and ridiculed."
"I received your letter, and appreciate your concern about the toxic political environment right now," Obama began. "I do have to challenge you, though, on the notion that any citizen that disagrees with me has been ‘targeted and ridiculed’ or that I have ‘made fun’ of tea baggers."
"I have gone out of my way to listen to legitimate criticism," Obama continued, "and defend strongly the right of everyone to speak their mind — including those who call me ‘socialist’ or worse."
Read the alleged Obama letter below, via the New York Post: