The tea party represents a significant percent of the voting population, and for the media to treat it like "some kind of disease" is unfair, billionaire entrepreneur Sam Zell told CNBC on Tuesday.
"The tea party is a reaction to an imperial White House," Zell said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "The idea that they are treated as though they are crazy is ridiculous, and not very representative of a democratic society."
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Commenting on the standoff over the government shutdown and the looming debt ceiling deadline, Zell said: "The way in which this is being postured is as though the president sits on high and says, 'I will not negotiate.' And everybody is expected to lay down. I don't understand that."
"What makes this man different than anyone else?" he asked. "The president is elected to negotiate."