WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah says he supports the tea party and salutes the energy he says the movement has injected into the political scene.
The Utah senator was the first of five lawmakers to arrive at the Tea Party Express's town hall Tuesday night, and the only one not explicitly endorsed by the populist movement.
Hatch, who is up for re-election in 2012, saw fellow Senate veteran Bob Bennett defeated in Utah's GOP primary last year by tea party-backed Mike Lee.
Hatch told the tea partiers that he is pushing for a balanced budget amendment and the repeal of the health care overhaul.
Also expected to attend the event were Lee, Sen. Rand Paul and Reps. Allen West of Florida, Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Steve King of Iowa.
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