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Mike Lee 'cut political teeth' in Reid household

From NBC's Ali Weinberg
Senator-elect Mike Lee, an attorney, staged a successful upset against three-term incumbent Bob Bennett Mike Lee by tapping into Tea Party anger over the perceived excesses of the current members of government.

But what might surprise some of his supporters is that the staunch conservative is a family friend of one of the chief symbols of the Old Guard: Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who was a member of Lee's Church of Latter-Day Saints congregation when he lived in Northern Virginia as his father served as the assistant attorney general under President Ford.

"The Reids were the first real Democrats that I spent a lot of time with," Lee told NBC News, "and I discovered fairly quickly that we didn't agree on almost anything. Any time I tried to defend the actions of the Reagan administration, they'd all jump all over me, so sometimes I like to say I cut my political teeth in the Reid household."

Lee added that Reid's son Josh has been a close friend of his since the sixth grade.

Just two months before Lee becomes a colleague of his family friend and sparring partner, he gave one of his first speeches in Washington D.C., in front of members of the Federalist society, a group for conservative and libertarian-minded lawyers.

Sticking to a Constitution-heavy pitch that so resonated to the Tea Party, Lee at times brandished a pocket version of the document as he spoke.

"I will not vote for a single piece of legislation that I can’t reconcile with the text and the original understanding of the U.S. Constitution," he said.

"Stated differently, if I can’t imagine myself explaining to James Madison with a straight face why what I was doing was consistent with the text and history of the constitution as it’s been amended all 27 times, I’ll vote no. I’ll do it every single time regardless of what the precedent says or can get away with," he continued to applause.

Watch an excerpt of Sen-elect Mike Lee's speech at the Federalist Society.

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