Mark Levin dings FreedomWorks over campaign to oust Hatch

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Conservative talk radio show host Mark Levin is not pleased that the Tea Party-aligned group FreedomWorks plans to launch a “Retire Orrin Hatch” campaign this weekend.

The Daily Caller reported Thursday that the organization hopes to target Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and eventually get behind another Republican candidate in the 2012 Senate race.

But earlier this week, Levin offered his support to Hatch on his radio show. In a Facebook note, he criticized FreedomWorks, chaired by former Republican leader Dick Armey, and suggested the group is not always in tune with Tea Party voters.

“This is what happens when decisions are run out of offices in Washington,” Levin wrote. “The Tea Party movement is a grassroots movement.”

He continued: “And as I posted earlier today, Armey had a radical, open-borders, pro-amnesty position record in Congress and has recently endorsed that position as head of FreedomWorks. Do most Tea Party activists agree? Of course not.”

On his radio show this week, Levin told Hatch, “It would be a sad place in the Senate if we knocked you off in the Republican system in Utah.”

EXCLUSIVE: FreedomWorks will make Orrin Hatch first 2012 target

Russ Walker, the vice president of political and grassroots campaigns for FreedomWorks PAC, explained the rationale for the campaign: “The state of Utah is far more fiscally conservative than Orrin Hatch is.”

He said Hatch has a legislative history of voting to increase the debt ceiling, voting in support of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) legislation and voting against a ban on earmarks.