War of words pits McCain against Tea Party, Sharron Angle - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

War of words pits McCain against Tea Party, Sharron Angle

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

It began as a rant by one of the most senior Republicans in the country. On the floor of the U.S. Senate, John McCain ranted about freshman Tea Party Congress members and their role in the debt ceiling debate.

"The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue and the public will turn en masse against Barack Obama," McCain said.

Then, the former Republican presidential nominee cited a newspaper editorial, comparing Tea Party members to characters in The Lord of the Rings 

"The Republican House that had failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all the blame," continued McCain on the Senate floor. "Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the Tea Party hobbits would return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.

The Arizona Republican didn't stop there. 

"This is the kind of crack political thinking that turns Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell into GOP Senate nominees."

McCain didn't appear to feel the same way less than a year ago. He campaigned for Angle at The Orleans in October, telling the crowd to send her to the United States Senate.

"It was surprising that he would campaign for me and then switch to an insult like that," said Sharron Angle in a phone interview with FOX5 News. "It's of course his prerogative to do those things. We saw him do it with Sarah Palin, and I suppose it's just Christine O'Donnell, me and Sarah Palin over the side, into the harbor." 

On Thursday, the Tea Party favorite fired back in a scathing email. She called McCain "Lord of the Tarps," and said she embraces the title "hobbit."

"Well certainly, he meant it to be an insult, but it isn't. As you know, if you read the Lord of the Rings and hobbits, the hobbits are the heroes, and they win in the end because they stand on their principles."

Angle told us the comparison is fitting.

"It truly does match what has been happening in this country. People who stand on principal, who have thought that they had no power, now have come into a place where they really have influence."

Chairman of the Clark County Republican Party David Gibbons says the war of words between Angle and McCain is not symptomatic of a rift in the party, but a sign of how tempers have flared during this debate.

Gibbons believes the Tea Party and this exercise in democracy will ultimately benefit the nation.

"I think it's going to be good for the country, Republican party, Democratic party," said the newly-elected chairman. "You have a group of people out there saying this is what America is about."

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