WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Mitch McConnell, facing a Tea Party challenger in his home state of Kentucky, says he’s a “big fan” of the conservative movement, reports Breitbart.com.

Speaking on Fox News’ “You’re World With Neil Cavuto,” the Senate Minority Leader sought to defuse controversy made last month when he seemed to suggest he was opposed to the Tea Party.

During a conference call with donors in November, McConnell called the Tea Party “bullies” that he would “punch…in the nose.”

“There is one particular organization that I was talking about, which I think has been counterproductive, but I think  the movement in general has been very positive,” McConnell told Cavuto on Tuesday.

The Senate Conservative Fund has been aggressive in opposing McConnell in next year’s primary, spending lot of money on ads attacking his bona fides as a conservative.

“It is one of a number of different tea party groups, it is the one that I think has engaged in outrageous behavior that cost us seats,” McConnell said.

“I’m a big fan of the tea party writ large. I think the whole movement is devoted to trying to do something about government spending and debt has been very, very helpful to the conservative cause.”


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