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Sen. Richard Lugar To Tea Party Foes Of Nuclear Treaty: 'Get Real'

President Obama signs the New START Treaty, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) watch. i i

President Obama signs the New START Treaty, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) watch. Carolyn Kaster/ASSOCIATED PRESS hide caption

itoggle caption Carolyn Kaster/ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Obama signs the New START Treaty, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) watch.

President Obama signs the New START Treaty, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) watch.

Carolyn Kaster/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) has been targeted by Tea Party forces in Indiana for a primary challenge. Among other things, they disapprove of his support for the new START nuclear disarmament treaty between the U.S. and Russia.

Even though the treaty was a top priority of President Obama's, it was uniformly supported by national security experts in the Republican establishment, including President George H.W. Bush and former secretaries of state. As one of the GOP establishment's national security experts, Lugar was right there with the rest.

But the Tea Party isn't impressed by the Republican establishment. And the feeling is mutual.

Lugar was interviewed by WANE-TV in Ft. Wayne, Ind. An excerpt:

"I've been working systematically for 20 years going to Russia trying to help direct a situation in which we're taking warheads off of missiles every day, destroying missiles that were aimed at us; destroying submarines that carried misslies up and down our coast," said Lugar. "I've got to say 'Get real'. I hear Tea Party or other people talking about they were against START. I said 'Well, now, hang on here.' "

... "If you want to get into START, let's talk about it, but realistically as Americans, not as some Republican renegade. [I'm] trying to take warheads of Russia [out of circulation] so they won't hit Indiana."

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