Saratoga Springs, Utah, Mayor Mia Love says a recent news article saying she "rejected" the "Tea Party" label is inaccurate.
As reported earlier this month, that article said Love publicly disagreed with conservative tactics that led to October's government shutdown and that she steered clear of embracing the "Tea Party" name during an appearance at Salt Lake Community College earlier this month.
Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love says she never rejected the "Tea Party" label. (AP)
But Love, who lost her 2012 bid as a Republican candidate for Congress but has said she will run again, told TheBlaze that the published account of her words was misleading.
Originally titled, "Mia Love rejects tea party label, disagrees with tactics that led to shutdown," the article was renamed, "Mia Love says, 'I don't believe in labels.'"
Love said she never has rejected the Tea Party. Instead, she told TheBlaze, she felt as though the reporter was using the label in an effort to box her in ideologically.
Saying the media often paint an unpalatable picture of Tea Party-aligned candidates, Love said she felt the reporter was following this approach when she asked whether Love is a member of the conservative cohort.
"I said, 'I'm not going to allow you to put me in a box … I am a wife, I'm a mother, I'm a concerned citizen -- I'm a Utahan. Label me with that," Love said of the answer she gave.
Rather than distancing herself from traditional Tea Party values like fiscal discipline and restraint, Love said her attempt to avoid the reporter's label had everything to do with what she believes her opponent -- and the media -- are trying to do.
"That (is a) label that they try to use is to discredit people like (Utah Republican Sen.) Mike Lee. (They use) it as a code sign for extreme," Love said. "What I told her is, 'I'm not going to allow you to label me.'"
She added, "You just cannot let them label you as being a crazy person. I have been a mayor in my city. Before I even knew about the Tea Party I was working in my city to make sure I understood the proper role of government."
Love said Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah), her future opponent should she get her party's nomination, is using a similar tactic of making her look "way out there." Her values, she said, remain the same and align with her vision of what the Tea Party truly stands for: fiscal responsibility.
"We're not going to let the mainstream media decide who we are. I am the same person I have always been," Love said. "My principles are not going to change."
The article in question also reported Love said she didn’t “even know what to say” when asked if she was trying to distance herself from the Tea Party. But Love later told TheBlaze that she made this comment out of "exasperation," because she was surprised by the question -- one she said has no merits.
Love called the article a "classic example of somebody that owns the ink and the paper taking things out of context."
Immediately after the article was written, Love issued a statement responding to other comments published about how she would have adopted a different approach to the government shutdown than the one taken by Lee and other Republican leaders:
There’s been some confusion over a poorly-written article by Lisa Riley Roche of the Deseret News, so let me make clear my position. My vote over the shutdown would have been the same as that of Utah’s other GOP House members – Jason Chaffetz, Rob Bishop, and Chris Stewart. I would have voted against funding Obamacare and voted to keep open the rest of the government. I would not have voted, as Jim Matheson did, to continue the reckless rate of spending that President Obama and Harry Reid have insisted on. I believe it’s wrong for us to kick the can down the road by shackling our children and grandchildren with our debt.
Unfortunately, a false narrative exists out there that I disagree with Senator Mike Lee’s goals and commitment. Here’s the truth: Aside from state legislators, I was the only elected leader who stood with Senator Lee at his rally earlier this month. Senator Lee’s devotion to limited government, fiscal discipline, and personal responsibility is a goal I share, and I’m proud to have stood with approximately 2,000 fellow Utahns on a cold, November morning to applaud his commitment to defunding Obamacare and putting Utah first.
Love is expected to pen an op-ed in in the coming weeks for Desert News, the outlet that published the original story, addressing these issues.
Calls and e-mails to Deseret News and the reporter requesting a comment and offering a chance to respond were not returned.