Tags: DeMint | Palin | GOP | Christie

Sen. DeMint: GOP Really Is 'Big Tent' Party

By Greg McDonald   |   Thursday, 06 Oct 2011 11:05 AM

U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint says Republicans can lay claim to being the party of the “big tent,” now that “lots of Americans” are leaning more conservative and calling for limited government and balanced budgets.

Americans are focused on fiscal issues, developing the economy by tapping into more energy resources, and rolling back regulations, the South Carolina Republican told Sean Hannity on Fox News Wednesday.

The GOP presidential field is on the same page when it comes to those key issues, regardless of whether they are tea party-like conservatives or so-called “establishment” candidates, DeMint said.

“That’s good because Republicans have been looking for that big tent, and I’m very happy that that big tent is on the conservative side, and that’s really where lots of Americans are going right now,” said DeMint, one of the leaders of the tea party movement on Capitol Hill.

DeMint said he intends to support whoever the nominee is and stressed that all of the candidates deserve a good look now that the field is set with the decisions of Sarah Palin and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie not to run.

Asked whether candidates such as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or Texas Gov. Rick Perry should be held accountable for changing positions on issues, DeMint said he’s not so much concerned about their past politics as he is about their politics for the future.

“I’m a recovering earmarker, and I led the effort to kill earmarks,” he said, noting how politicians can change for the better. “We’ve got to convince a lot of people in Washington to change their positions because we’ve got to change the direction of the country. So, I'm looking for what the candidates say about what their vision is for America . . . I want to know that they have the courage to weigh in and present bold ideas for the future.”

DeMint also offered some high praise for Palin, saying she deserves credit for helping conservative Republicans retake control of the House.

“What happened in 2010 had a lot to do with Sarah Palin,” DeMint said.

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