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Lugar swats at Tea Party threat, says 'Get real' on START

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) is one of those senators some in the Tea Party have vowed to make a prime target in 2012. But Lugar -- who worked with Barack Obama when he was a senator on nuclear proliferation, voted for START, and voted for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees -- swatted aside Tea Party threats in an interview with an Indiana TV station.

On START, he says, “Get real”: "I've been working systematically for 20 years going to Russia trying to help direct a situation in which we're taking warheads off of missiles every day, destroying missiles that were aimed at us; destroying submarines that carried misslies up and down our coast. I've got to say 'Get real'. I hear Tea Party or other people talking about they were against START. I said 'Well, now, hang on here.'" More: "If you want to get into START, let's talk about it, but realistically as Americans, not as some Republican renegade. [I'm] trying to take warheads of Russia [out of circulation] so they won't hit Indiana."

On the Supreme Court votes: "I hope people sort of understand that because otherwise we polarize the Supreme Court business to a point that conservative justices offered by a conservative Republican president -who'll be elected at some point- are going to have trouble.”

On the early start to the campaign: "I don't think I've ever been involved in a campaign for a statewide office that started the whole year before the year. But nevertheless, here we are and we're very competitive."