(CNN) - With just over two weeks until Colorado's primary, a leading Republican Senate candidate who enjoys strong support from the Tea Party movement is apologizing for calling Tea Party activists "dumbasses."
The Denver Post and 9News reported Sunday that GOP Senate hopeful Ken Buck was caught on tape saying "will you tell those dumbasses at the Tea Party to stop asking questions about birth certificates while I'm on camera."
Buck, who was recorded without his permission by a Democratic operative while arriving at a campaign event last month in Crowley, Colorado, was referring to Tea Party activists who question the authenticity of President Barack Obama's birth certificate. As he continued to walk with the Democratic operative, Buck added "God, what am I supposed to do?"
The audio was obtained by the the Denver Post, which links to the audio clip in their on-line report, and 9News, a local news station in Denver.
"I'm not suggesting the language was appropriate," Buck told the Denver Post and 9News Sunday night. "But after 16 months of being on the campaign trail, I was tired and frustrated that I can't get that message through that we are going to go off a cliff if we don't start dealing with this debt."
Former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, Buck's opponent in the battle for Republican Senate nomination, was quick to respond. An e-mail by her campaign links to the Denver Post story on the controversy.
"Ken Buck is two steps short of a fraud. He's a self-proclaimed tea partier who trashes tea partiers when he thinks no one is looking," says Norton campaign spokeswoman Cinamon Watson, in the e-mail statement.
So-called "birthers" question whether Obama is legally president by arguing that he was not born in the United States. Hawaiian officials have over the past year and a half confirmed Obama's birth in their state.
Earlier this year Buck hinted that he would support legislation that would ensure a president candidate is a U.S. citizen, but he hasn't highlighted the issue in his campaign. Sunday Buck said that the issue of Obama's birthplace distracts from bigger problems the country is facing right now.
The leader of the 9-12 Project/Colorado Coalition, a Tea Party group in Colorado, doesn't think the controversy will cost Buck votes.
"We are going to stay focused on issues," Lu Busse tells the Denver Post, "and not who calls us names."
Buck's comments are the third to spark controversy over the past three weeks.
Earlier this month, former Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado said at a Buck rally that the biggest threat to the United States was President Obama. Tancredo's comments went viral on-line. According to the Denver Post, Buck was recorded criticizing Tancredo.
Last week Buck was back in the headlines, after a recording was released of Buck at a July 17 rally saying that voters should choose him instead of Norton "because I do not wear high heels."
The Norton campaign is now highlighting those comments in a new campaign commercial. Norton enjoys backing from many establishment Republicans, including Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer whose popuarity among conservatives has skyrocketed as of late in the wake of her state's immigration law.
Buck, the Weld Country District Attorney, has jumped in the polls over the past two months and now some recent surveys suggest he leads Norton.
The GOP primary winner will face off in November against the victor of the Democratic battle between incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet and former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. Colorado holds it's primaries on August 10.
Updated at 12:00 p.m. ET: The Buck campaign is reacting to the Norton campaign's response to the "dumbasses" controversy.
"Jane is continuing her 'all-negative, all-the-time' campaign. Instead of talking about about the issues, she's focused on personal attacks," Buck camapign spokesman Owen Luftus tells CNN.
Well when you sell your soul to get elected at all costs it's hard to complain. Buck is a fraud of the worst kind.
You hear what the GOP thinks of you tea party people? They accept your money and laugh at you as soon as you turn your backs!
Wow....a statement with some credibility from a Repub and he has to retracti it? Bummer.
If he thinks that these people are "dumbasses" then he should denounce their support. But that would require honesty and integrity and he is a politician.
Keep it up, Buck. We TEA Partiers are filtering out the riff raff in Congress and those running and we are equal opportunity voters who are bipartisan.
If you think we're going to send someone with an attitude like this TO Washington, you're dreaming.
Keep it up.
Oh, and in case you are wondering.....we expect you to VERIFY THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE.
You work for the people, remember?
And last, Americans will NEVER again tolerate ANY candidate's records being sealed. If you can't reveal who you are, stay out.
He is done just like Sharron Angle. I just don't know where all this nuts from the right are coming from. Did the government shut down a medical center and let all the nuts out?
More evidence the Republicans think they can win in November. They have used the Tea Party "dumbasses" as ground troops, accepted their help, but now, when it is getting serious and Republicans don't want to appear to be psycho to the voting public, the Tea (Party) is being dumped over the side. "Thanks for your help! See ya!"
Democratic operative???? That says it all.
Do people really vote for people like this?
For once the republican GOP is calling it like it is and now changes his mind to the truth!
Earlier this week, I googled 'Ken Buck'. (I google every political candidate, I wanna learn all about them, that is their personal history) I fully admit, that I find what is believed to be factual info in Wikipedia. I do, however go further if something seems 'odd'. Then I go to various other sites, for whatever grabs my attention. What I found unusual regarding Mr. Buck is that he showed up In Wikipedia. So I selected it, Wikipedia stated that the entry had been just deleted. My question to Mr. Buck is why? Is there something you do not want your voters to know?
This is the First time in a Long time I haveto Agree with the statements of a elected member of the GOP!! He was right on the money with his statement .
Here in NC they are either uneducated rednecks or they are very wealthy racists who want the slave days to return to the south.
Virginia FOXX is one of the loudest. And she lies blatantly at every rally. The D...A..es buy into her every evil lie.
It's a sad day when a politician has to apologize for telling the truth, and a typical day when he has to pander to dumbasses.
Why apologize for the truth?
It really makes you feel bad for the guy. He's aware that a significant percentage of his support comes from "dumbasses" (his term, not mine) but can't publicly tell them that they're idiots, or he'll lose the election.
Those are not Tea Party people asking that question, those are birthers. And it really is a legitimate question.
But Ken, they ARE
Recorded him witout permission? How low will the GOP/Tea Party stoop just for political gain? Huh? it was a Dem operative? My bad! Nevermind!
Use them then toss them away.
For so many Republicans, people are merely disposable.
Well, according to this Democrat, that means there is ONE Republican with a brain in this country. There may be hope for that party after decades of sloth and anti-intellectualism going back to Reagan.
It's going to take Level Headed people to run this country......not these Hot Headed Angry canidates from the Tea Bag Party, or from the same old right wing conservative canidates that spew Hate, Anger, Lies, all I hear from these people is How Obama's policies need to stop but they have NO concrete eveidence that his policies aren't working, they have NO concrete better Ideas, except lower taxes and less spending.......and their LESS SPENDING is to disolve Medicare and Social Security and all programs that help the poor and less fortunate........these people will also set back all the Civil Rights work that we have accoplished over the past 50 years....The canidates that the Repblican party has come up with and the canidates from the Tea Baggers will NOT serve this country any better than the men and women we already have in the House and Senate and as idiotic as some of these canidates are we would probably have a Govenment much worse than what we already have........
HA! even HE thinks the windbags are idiots! SO fake...
At least Buck is honest some of the time, a rare attribute for a Republican.