Hoffa defends anti-GOP rhetoric at Obama rally

Teansters Union President James Hoffa addresses the crowd before President Obama delivers a speech at a Labor Day event sponsored by the Metro Detroit Central Labor Council on September 5, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The president discussed his efforts to create jobs and strengthen the economy. Also at the event were Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, singer Aretha Franklin, and leaders from various labor unions. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Jim Hoffa
Teansters Union President James Hoffa addresses the crowd before President Obama delivers a speech at a Labor Day event sponsored by the Metro Detroit Central Labor Council on September 5, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The president discussed his efforts to create jobs and strengthen the economy. Also at the event were Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, singer Aretha Franklin, and leaders from various labor unions.
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

After delivering a combative Labor Day speech that some conservatives called too hostile, labor union leader James Hoffa is standing by his remarks.

"Everybody here has a vote," Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of the Teamsters, said Monday at a Detroit event. "If we go back and we keep the eye on the prize, let's take these sons of bitches out and give America back to America where we belong."

The remarks came ahead of President Obama's appearance at the event, and conservative bloggers criticized the president for not condemning the remarks.

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann sent her supporters an email soliticiation for donations following Hoffa's remarks. "Hoffa and his well-funded liberal allies are scared of our momentum, and will do anything to try and silence our voices," she wrote. "But, we won't go quietly into the night. Will you follow this link and make a donation to help me defend myself against their profane and vicious attacks?"

Hoffa told Talking Points Memo he doesn't regret his choice of words.

"They've declared war on us," he said, referring to Republicans who've rolled back union rights with laws scaling back collective bargaining. "We didn't declare war on them, they declared war on us. We're fighting back. The question is, who started the war?"

In a Facebook post this morning, former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin accused Hoffa of "thuggery."

"Union bosses like this do not have your best interests at heart," she wrote. "What they care about is their own power and re-electing their friend Barack Obama so he will take care of them to the detriment of everyone else," said Palin, who in the past has also been criticized for her rhetoric.

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