Though he didn't name her specifically, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) blasted Senate colleague Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) Friday morning during a speech to the Values Voters Summit.
"Even in Alaska, the home of bacon, they threw out that senator," DeMint
told an applauding crowd as he discussed the Tea Party movement.
He also took the opportunity to praise Murkowski's challenger, local Alaska attorney Joe Miller, to whom she conceded the Republican Senate primary on Sept. 1, and to express his fondness for the Tea Party movement.
"Tea parties? I've been to a lot of them," he said to more applause.
He went on to criticize "senior Republicans in the Senate" for not supporting insurgents.
"Some of our establishment friends are not really happy with me, or you," he said.
With comments like these, DeMint has increasingly found himself at the center of tensions between establishment Republicans and rising Tea Party challengers.
On Friday, he acknowledged his role in encouraging Republicans who "understand the importance of having a culture based on values."
"I've been working to stir up primaries between establishment Republicans and those that stand for the principles of freedom," he allowed, listing GOP Senate nominees Sharron Angle (Nev.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Rand Paul (Ky.), and Christine O'Donnell (Del.) as "candidates we can be proud of."
"This is no longer you voting for the least-worst on the ballot," he told the audience. "Washington has treated Americans like they were stupid for too long. On November 2, you're going to see who is stupid. They're going to be out of Washington, and you're going to be in."