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McCain Speaks of Tea Party 'Hobbits'

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) snagged headlines on Thursday after he quoted a Wall Street Journal editorial Wednesday on the Senate floor that ripped into Tea Party politicians about the debt ceiling.

The article called out GOP members, specifically Tea Party politicians, who wrongly believe, it said, that refusal to sign a budget agreement would cause a default crisis and turn the public against President Barack Obama.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), left and Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.)

"The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame," McCain recited with a mocking tone. "Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the Tea Party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor."

The comments stoked outrage among some Tea Party circles, including one that Sharon Angle runs in. Angle was explicitly mentioned as a "Hobbit" -- referring to the popular creature from author J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings epic -- in the section McCain spoke at the Senate.

"It is regrettable that a man seeking dialogue, action and cooperation for votes on the floor of the United States Senate has only one strategy to achieve that effort: name-calling," Angle said in a statement.

McCain addressed his comments late Wednesday on Fox News' "The Sean Hannity Show."

Host Sean Hannity accused McCain for attacking the Tea Party, and he added that it seemed like an example of Republicans competing against themselves.

"It was basically attacking the idea that somehow if we shut down the government that then Obama would get the blame and Republicans would triumph. I disagree," McCain said on the show . "If we don't act in the Republican House ... then the ball will be in President Obama's court and Harry Reid."

House Republicans were scheduled to vote on John Boehner's budget proposal on Thursday.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.



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