Dick Armey: Rand Paul Made an 'Amateur Mistake'

Tea Party founding father Dick Armey criticizes rookie candidates.

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By Alex Kingsbury, Washington Whispers

Tea Party founding father Dick Armey says Sharron Angle, the Tea Party-backed candidate seeking to oust Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, made a gaffe when she twice warned of "Second Amendment remedies" to America's problems, if she didn't win the Nevada contest in November. Could such references to armed insurrection turn off moderate Republican voters? "It is always a problem," says Armey, who just penned a new book, Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto, due out in August.

"People in the public arena are oftentimes going to say things that they wish they hadn't said. Lord knows, I have," he says. "I bet you five minutes after she said that, she said, 'Dang! I wish I hadn't said that.' "

But he's willing to forgive Angle, something he says that GOP voters will have to do as well, if they want to unseat Reid. [See which industries give most to Harry Reid.]

As for Rand Paul, another prominent Tea Party-backed Senate candidate, Armey says Paul made an "amateur mistake" expounding on his libertarian view of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on MSNBC. Armey didn't find fault with the substance of Paul's controversial contention—that the government shouldn't have forced private businesses to desegregate—but instead with Paul's choice of venue. "A freshman mistake. A rookie mistake," Armey says. "He thought MSNBC was a legitimate news organization. Bless his heart, he walked right into the buzz saw."

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