Washington (CNN) – Already, things are getting ugly.
In a preview of what'll likely be a bruising bout of political combat, the Tea Party Express and Nebraska Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson's campaign began trading barbs on Wednesday.
This comes just hours after the Express announced its pick to run against Nelson: state Attorney General Jon Bruning. The Senate endorsement is the first from the Tea Party Express for the 2012 cycle.
Even before the Express' official announcement in Washington at the National Press Club, Nelson's campaign was firing back.
"This endorsement makes perfect sense," Nelson campaign manager Paul Johnson wrote in a statement. "Both the Tea Party Express and Mr. Bruning want to cut Medicare, cut Social Security and return to the days when insurance companies could deny health coverage to children with preexisting conditions."
The last part of Johnson's quote apparently refers to conservative calls to repeal the nation's health care law.
Wasting little time in responding, the Tea Party Express called Johnson's claims flat out "lies."
"Shortly after seeing his conservative opponent endorsed by the Tea Party Express, the Nelson camp went into panic mode, and has already started a campaign of lies and deceptions to try and cling to political office," Express chairman Amy Kremer fired back in an email.
"Nelson's campaign has falsely stated that the Tea Party Express wants to cut Medicare, Social Security and deny insurance coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. That is patently false," Kremer added.
And then, some rough advice squarely aimed at Johnson.
"We would encourage Nelson to rein-in his campaign spokesman and stick to the truth and not lies and distortions of our record," Kremer wrote.
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