Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller defended Chocola's record and reiterated the group's issues with Hatch and Lugar in a statement to The Hill.
"Very few legislators have perfect records, and Chris Chocola isn't any different," Keller said. "The pattern of decades' worth of big-spending, pro-bailout votes cast over 35 years by Orrin Hatch and Richard Lugar raise serious concerns that they might vote for more debt and spending, something that should concern their constituents."
The conservative former congressman is not the only one to reverse himself on the debt issue: Most of the Republicans who were in Congress in 2004 voted for an increase, and every Democrat at the time opposed it. President Obama voted against increasing the debt limit as a senator in 2006.
Obama's quotes on the issue at the time read like today's Republican message: He said at the time that America "has a debt problem and a failure of leadership" and that supporters of the debt-ceiling increase were "shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren."
The president has since said his vote was a mistake, describing it as "a political vote as opposed to doing what was important for the country."
Chocola's change of opinion is unlikely to lessen the impact of any money his deep-pocketed group decides to spend against Lugar, Hatch or other Republicans who decide to back a compromise should it emerge. But it is a sign that both sides could face charges of hypocrisy should they try to use the issue on the campaign trail next year.