Tea party leader Sen. Jim DeMint scathes Sen. Orrin Hatch

Published: Thursday, July 7 2011 12:55 p.m. MDT

While tea party favorite Sen. Jim DeMint takes a swipe at Sen. Orrin Hatch in his new book, Team Hatch is taking the high road by dismissing the remark as an innocuous mischaracterization.

While promoting his book "The Great Awakening," DeMint told National Review Online that his fellow tea partier Sen. Mike Lee "has two votes; every time he votes one way, Orrin's going to vote the same way" — an allusion to what National Review terms as Hatch's "fear of a primary challenge in 2012 (that) has prompted him to vote more conservatively lately."

Hatch's campaign manager, Dave Hansen, asserts that the similar voting trends of Lee and Hatch are indicative of a natural correlation — not any sort of follow-the-leader causation.

"Sen. Lee and Sen. Hatch talk regularly," Hansen said. "They work together back in Washington — both of them have said that — and they're both conservatives that represent the state of Utah. The votes that they cast are probably going to be the same in just about every case. I wouldn't read more into it than (that). … Sen. Hatch and Sen. DeMint get along very well and have worked together on a number of issues."

During an interview late Thursday, Hatch told the Deseret News that DeMint has repeatedly apologized for his statement and he has accepted DeMints apology.

In the Politico article published Tuesday beneath the banner "Tea party's new role model: Mike Lee," Lee responded to a question about whether he sees himself as DeMint's deputy by saying, "I'm nobody's deputy. I am who I am. I'm my own person."

Email: jaskar@desnews.com. Twitter: askargo

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