Lugar: I'm the Republicans' best chance
December 25th, 2011
08:55 AM ET
11 years ago

Lugar: I'm the Republicans' best chance

(CNN) – Republican Sen. Dick Lugar said Sunday Republicans should support his candidacy if they want to hold onto his Indiana Senate seat in 2012.

The six-term senator, who may face a difficult reelection due to a challenge from the right, used recent Republican Senate losses in Nevada and Colorado to expose the flaws in tea party-backed candidates.

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"They were people who claimed that they wanted somebody who was more of their tea party aspect, but in doing so, they killed off the Republican chances for a majority," Lugar said on CNN's "State of the Union." "This is one of the reasons why we have a minority in the Senate right now."

He also made the case that his conservative record lends itself to tea party support and drew on his experience speaking before groups in his state aligned with the grassroots movement.

"I have a very conservative voting record over the course of the time I've served," Lugar told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "Certainly unique, I think, in the Senate, of having been a farmer, a small businessman, a Naval officer, a mayor, a school board member. These are grassroots functions that people are dealing with."

Lugar pushed back against claims he is one of the most vulnerable senators, saying Republicans will support the candidate most likely to win the seat in the next election cycle.

"A Republican majority in the Senate is very important, and Republicans who are running for reelection ought to be supported by people who want to see that majority," Lugar said. "I think the majority of tea party people understand that, too."

Lugar, an elder statesman in the upper chamber, has been criticized as too moderate. Critics cite votes including those to confirm President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominees, as well as support for the Wall Street bailout and an arms control treaty with Russia.

When Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock announced his decision to challenge the senior senator, he criticized him for his willingness to work with Democrats.

The two-time chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee also critiqued the foreign policy proposals suggested by Republican presidential candidate and Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Paul often voices opposition to foreign wars and aid to other countries.

"To roundly condemn foreign aid for the fact that we are concerned about borders in Afghanistan and Pakistan or what have you, seems to me is really uncalled for," Lugar said.

When asked who he would support for his party's nominee, Lugar only said he favored Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, who decided against a bid for the White House earlier this year.

"He would have been a great president," Lugar added.

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Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Indiana • Richard Lugar • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. ZB

    Wake up America, these people are off their rocker unless you want to have the lunatics running the asylum:

    "When Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock announced his decision to challenge the senior senator, he criticized him for his willingness to work with Democrats."

    And Lugar's responseL "I have a very conservative voting record over the course of the time I've served,"

    So the guy thinks he's conservative enough for the Tparty, which is like saying I am crazy enough to qualify for being in the asylum.

    December 25, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  2. Bruce Eder

    It's tragic that politics in this country have come to Lugar, one of the finest conservative minds in the Senate, having to degrade his intellect and reputation by comparing himself favorably to the Tea Party and the nutcase wing of the Republican Party.

    December 25, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  3. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Ooooh! He suffers from the sin of apostacy for daring to compromise to bring about legislation. We all know that Republican Senators with friends across the aisle have been known to actually vote in favor of Democratic proposals once in a while, and that destroys the purity the Republican Party is trying to bring about, purging itself of all progressive elements!

    December 25, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. GI Joe

    I believe all baggers will be voted out of the house in 2012, and the baggers in the senate will be out in 2016 unless they drastically change their obstructionist (just to be contrary) views. Our government has to work for the entire country or it won't work at all.

    Baggers work for Koch Brothers, Karl Rove, Dick Armey and a few other wealthy right-wing-nuts.

    December 25, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  5. Todd C

    "[H]e criticized him for his willingness to work with Democrats." That tells you everything you need to know about what's wrong with the GOP.

    December 25, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  6. taylor

    Mr. Lugar, they are on there way out, dont worry about it, level headed, thinking, sane, people
    will vote for you, forget the damn radical extremists, they suck.

    December 25, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  7. ScottyB123

    Lugar is a fascist, pro-oligarchy shill. He's in favor of the Patriot Act and the indefinite detention of Americans, without due process enshrined in the NDAA which basically nullifies the Bill of Rights for ALL Americans. This government both left and right have forsaken their oath to protect the liberties of its CITIZENRY in favor of protecting the interest of the corporations.

    December 25, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Has he been good for the state? Has he worked with his fellow members of the Senate on getting legislation that is good for the country and not just his ideology? These are just some of the questions that the voters need to think about.

    December 25, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. Tom

    Shows the state of the Republican party when the main criticism of your challenger is your willingness to work with all sides to get things done. Mr. Mourdock might well remember that is what a Democracy is all about. His, and the conservative right's version of my way or no way, is called tyranny.

    December 25, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. NVa Native

    I do not agree with Lugar on many issues, but at least he has earned respect as an honorable person who is trustworthy and genuinely wants what is best for all Americans. And the tee-baggers seem to have disdain for these qualities. Fortunately the tee-baggers are a cancer created by fox and multi-national corporation's lobbyists – and the cure is on the way – the elections of 2012.

    December 25, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. Ancient Texan

    NVa Native- The Tea Party is alive and well. The House will gain more GOP/TP members in 2012 and the Senate will turn over to the GOP also.

    December 25, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  12. vic , nashville ,tn

    Tea party still has influence; example best candidate Jon Huntsman couldn’t move his poll numbers

    December 25, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  13. Just a thought

    These Tea-Potty heads are vying to be the downfall of this country. These knuckle draggers actually believe that destroying our government is what's best for this country. How can that be? Ok...I get it, They don't like big government, They want freedoms ...yahda yahda yahda....But come on, I want to be able to fly safely, I want to breath clean air, I want to drink safe water, I don't want a mortage lender to rip me off, AND I want this country to be able to protect itself for enemies both domestic and foreign....HOW DO THESE VILLAGE IDIOTS EXPECT US TO DO THAT WITHOUT A STRONG GOVERNMENT???

    December 25, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. Keith in Austin

    @ScottyB: "Lugar is a facist pro obligarcy shill."

    Chill out dude, it's Christmas! Don't ruin the day for others with your Liberal tripe or because you got a lump of coal today! PS, Merry Christmas and learn to spell! "Obligarcy"? You're kidding right?

    December 25, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |