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Posted at 5:03 PM ET, 02/ 8/2011

Afternoon Fix: Dick Lugar tells tea party to 'get real,' Ensign holding fundraiser

By Chris Cillizza

Dick Lugar is goading the tea party, Ensign is raising money for his Senate bid, Ken Buck has launched a non-profit, and Gary Johnson will speak at CPAC after all.

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Surveying the 2012 field: The ins, the outs and the maybes
Hatch and Lugar blaze different paths as tea party stalks
CPAC 2011: The Conservative Political Action Conference
The GOP's nuclear option on spending


*Tea party target Dick Lugar is goading his conservative critics. "I've got to say 'Get real,'" the Indiana GOP senator said. "If you want to get into START, let's talk about it, but realistically as Americans, not as some Republican renegade."

* Colorado Senate candidate Ken Buck (R), who lost narrowly to Sen. Michael Bennet (D) last fall, has a new venture: "Balance America," a non-profit organization dedicated to passing a federal balanced budget amendment.

*After Gary Johnson (R) supporters suggested he was snubbed at CPAC for supporting gay rights and marijuana legalization, the former New Mexico governor scored a last-minute speaking invitation. "For whatever reason, it happened," said his spokeswoman Sue Winchester, chuckling at the timing. "We're just like, 'ok, great.'"

*Liberal activist Marcy Winograd, who challenged Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) in multiple primaries, wrote in a post Tuesday on plans to ask potential rival Secretary of State Debra Bowen some "tough questions" before deciding on her own bid.


* Embattled Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) is holding a 2012 campaign fundraiser at Capitol Hill's Cava Restaurant tomorrow night, asking for contributions from $500 to $2,000 dollars.

* President Obama will host House Speaker John Boehner and his two deputies, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) at the White House for lunch tomorrow. The focus will be on economic policy.

* Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R) is planning his third trip to Iowa since the midterm elections, scheduled for March 26th. "I am looking forward to this opportunity to share my views with conservative activists from across Iowa," Santorum said in a statement.

* Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) will speak at the prestigious, foreign policy-oriented Herzliya Conference on Wednesday as part of a trip to Israel hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition.


Do you have the moves?

With Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake

By Chris Cillizza  | February 8, 2011; 5:03 PM ET
Categories:  Afternoon Fix  
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Next: Laying out the CPAC stakes

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