Sen. John McCainJohn McCainWeek ahead: Pentagon funding in the balance as deadline looms Kasich: 'I think political parties are on their way out' Five fights for Trump’s first year MORE (R-Ariz.) on Monday refused to apologize for calling Tea Party lawmakers “hobbits” in a speech last month.
“I am sorry if it was misunderstood. I am not sorry for what I said,” McCain said at a town hall meeting in Gilbert, Ariz.
At the end of July, during the debt-limit debate, McCain criticized some members of the Republican Party for not supporting House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE’s (R-Ohio) deficit plan by making a “Lord of the Rings” reference on the floor of the Senate.
At the time, McCain eviscerated some members of Congress as “foolish” and “deceiving” for believing that refusing to raise the debt ceiling would give Democrats no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment. McCain described that scenario as a fantasy, saying then “the Tea Party hobbits could return to Middle-earth having defeated Mordor.”
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McCain defended his past support of the balanced-budget amendment.
“I will match my record as a fiscal conservative against anyone in the House and Senate, including the new members,” McCain said, according to a report in the East Valley Tribune. “I have fought both the Republican and Democratic leaders on spending.”
He maintained, however, that the amendment could not pass the Senate because of its Democratic majority.
“What was wrong that I said?” he asked.
“There was no way that a balanced-budget amendment would have passed the Senate. If anyone said that it could, they were not being truthful,” McCain explained. “Hobbits are not real, and the point is that [the Tea Partiers’ idea] was not real. You should not deceive people and say that something like a balanced-budget amendment could happen [under those circumstances].”
Congress is expected to vote on a balanced-budget amendment again later this year, as part of the debt-limit legislation signed into law last week.
Mordor represents the home of the evil Sauron in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional universe of Middle-earth, the setting of the “Lord of the Rings” book trilogy.