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Cheney calls GOP senator she's challenging 'confused'

Liz Cheney has started a Republican Party family feud with her announcement that she will run for the Wyoming Senate seat held by popular Sen. Mike Enzi. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reports.

 

Liz Cheney launched her campaign for Senate on Wednesday by calling the 69-year-old Republican senator she's looking to unseat "confused."

Cheney made official her Republican primary challenge in Wyoming to veteran Sen. Mike Enzi on Wednesday, calling for a "new generation" of conservative leaders in Washington. And, in the first of two campaign stops today, she said the state's senior senator must have been "confused" when he said Cheney had promised not to challenge him if he sought re-election.

"I think Sen. Enzi may be confused. I think he may have me mixed up with Cynthia Lummis," Cheney said at a campaign stop in Casper, Wyo. "What happened is I called Sen. Enzi to tell him that I was considering a run. And I have always believed that that decision should be made irrespective of whoever else is in the race."

Decrying what she says is President Obama's "wars" on the second amendment, religious freedom, and Wyoming's ranchers and energy industries, Liz Cheney announces her campaign for the Wyoming Senate.

She added: "It's not true -- I did not tell Sen. Enzi I wouldn't run if he did. I suppose he's just confused."

Enzi expressed his dismay toward Cheney's decision to challenge him when speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

"She said that if I ran, she wasn't going to run, but obviously that wasn't correct," Enzi said, adding: "I thought we were friends."

Cheney said that Enzi must have been confusing her with Rep. Cynthia Lummis, a Republican and Wyoming's lone representative in the House. Lummis, who said that Cheney's challenge was in "bad form," had said she would run for Senate if Enzi had decided to retire.

Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, also sought to address "carpetbagger" claims related to her decision to move her family from northern Virginia, in the suburban Washington, D.C. area, to Wyoming just last year.

"Anybody who thinks you come here for political reasons has never been here. And they don't understand what a special place this is," she said. "I'm honored to be in this race, and I tend to think the people that make the 'carpetbagger' charge make it because they want to avoid talking about substance and issues."

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