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DeMint: Bunning asked me to endorse Rand Paul

It's been a week since Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) got past his public worries about "poking his finger in the leader's eye" and endorsed Rand Paul in Kentucky's Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Yesterday, DeMint told me exactly how this worked.

"There was more and more misinformation about Rand Paul," said DeMint, "about his pro-life position, about his position on Israel. A lot of things were just being misrepresented, and that got to be unfair. [Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.)], whose seat it is, encouraged me to come in and help Rand. And so I felt like I was invited. Rand Paul called, and I asked him, do you feel like it would make any difference? He said it would, because he wants to compare his conservative credentials."

DeMint waited until after the Indiana primary to break the news to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who had just endorsed Paul's opponent.

"I met with McConnell," said DeMint, "told him about it, told him I fully supported him as leader, and that this was just about trying to get someone up here who believed in constitutional limited government. I told him I don't want to be leader, I don't want to run for president. I'm doing this because I just want to save our country from this reckless debt and I need a few recruits. He seemed to understand that, and we're in good stead."

By David Weigel  |  May 12, 2010; 8:24 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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