DeMint joins Buck in bucking Republican establishment candidates

DENVER – Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Ken Buck was joined by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., here Thursday at a hot-dog hoedown for both grass-roots tea partiers and establishment supporters. DeMint said he has been lonely in Washington, but saw a wave of anti-establishment choices, like Buck, rising to the top in this election.

Speaking with reporters, Buck continued to lash out against characterizations of extremism, explaining that his brand of extremism would be to stand with DeMint in the Senate and champion free-market values. Democratic Party Chair Pat Waak said that was the more or less the extremism they are talking about.

During the event MC’d by former congressman Tom Tancredo, Buck addressed close to a 200 supporters, telling them he planned to stand up to the Republican and Democratic Parties in Washington and follow the Constitution, further adding he stands firmly with DeMint.

“There have been a lot of senators who have come in and campaigned for my opponent, and a lot those are doing the wrong things in Washington, D.C.,” Buck told reporters. “Jim DeMint is the solution, not the problem. I stand with him.”

DeMint said the unbridled Democratic party led by Barack Obama is taking America to the left of Europe and that Buck was part of the solution.

“What I saw for years is that I had conservative principles but I didn’t have any help in Washington … even my own leadership can beat me in Washington, but they can’t beat me in Colorado or across America … if you are supporting Ken Buck,” DeMint said, adding he’s expecting Republican establishment picks to fall to individuals like Buck.

Buck, the Weld County district attorney facing former lieutenant governor Jane Norton in an August primary, said there are a number of programs that the federal government is involved in that are not constitutional, and that he would look to cut those programs, though he was not prepared to say exactly which ones.

One program Buck has vowed to repeal is federal health-care reform, though he said he would not look to repeal social security despite a number of problems he saw with it. Buck has said the government should not be in the business of retirement plans, but Thursday added he was concerned the program is little more than a pile of I.O.U.’s, and that the money supposedly in the fund is used for other federal services.

Buck said at an event Tuesday he would ask for a constitutional amendment like Colorado’s to force government to balance the budget.

Colorado Democratic Party Executive Director Jennie Peek said Democrats like Betsy Markey have been behind pay-as-you-go legislation designed to create fiscal responsibility, but added it was important to give the president the power to initiate programs like the stimulus package in cases like the recent economic crisis.

DeMint, however, said government programs were not the answer and said Buck had the courage to say no to “government takeovers.”

“[Ken Buck] has the courage to say no,” DeMint said. “Those folks in Washington who think they are compassionate by spending somebody else’s money to do a special favor for someone or start a new government program, there is nothing compassionate about that. What is compassionate and courageous are the people who say no. When Obama says, ‘Yes you can,’ we need a few people who will say, ‘no you won’t.'”

Waak said if DeMint was the solution to U.S. problems, Buck was following a very extreme path.

““Ken Buck will vote for Sen. Jim DeMint’s extreme vision for America, which would decimate Medicare, privatize social security, slash education funding, take police officers off the street and repeal health care reform. That is why DeMint is spending so much of his energy trying to get Ken Buck elected,” Waak said.

“Ken Buck has pledged to make Jim DeMint his mentor in the Senate; he has publicly stated that DeMint is the man he agrees with the most and calls the Senator ‘The solution’. There is no doubt that Buck’s intentions are to support his extreme agenda in Washington.”

Buck reponded that if by extreme, Democrats meant free-market principles, he agreed.

“The extremism will be making sure that we show the American people that government can act in a rational way in respecting free markets, and if that is extremism to my opponent {Democratic Sen.] Michael Bennet, than so be it,” Buck said.

“I think if you go back to the things that have come out of his mouth that he is now trying to run away from,” Peek said. “I think a mainstream Coloradoan would find the things he is saying extreme.”

Not to be upstaged, Tancredo told the audience the greatest threat to the United States is the man in the Oval Office. Asked if he agreed with Tancredo, Buck said he is concerned with the direction of the country but disagreed with the former congressman that the president was the greatest threat. Buck called the statement a “Tancredoism.”

“I think he has created a new word. It is called a ‘Tancredoism.’ I don’t agree. I think that there are a lot of threats in this country. I don’t think that the man in the White House is the greatest threat to this country at all.

“I am concerned about the direction of the country. I love Tom, but I don’t always agree with him.”

Waak expressed shock at Buck’s reaction to Tancredo’s statement.

“No one should just give Ken Buck a pass on the extreme and shocking statements of his good friend Tom Tancredo,” Waak said. “Over and over again, he associates himself with the extreme elements of the right wing and there is no doubt that it is his intention to forward their dangerous agenda in the U.S. Senate.”

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