DeMint: Republican leaders have 'gone to the left'

Conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Wednesday called out the leadership of the Republican Party for straying too far from conservative principles.

DeMint, in an interview with the Christian Broadcast Network, also said that he is trying to recruit a new crop of GOP lawmakers to challenge the party establishment.

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"The problem in the Republican Party is that the leadership has gone to the left," he said. "I need some new Republicans."

DeMint's comments come as party leaders such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas), and RNC chairman Michael Steele have come under fire from several conservative bloggers and conservative grassroots activists.

They argue that they have not done enough to thwart the Democratic legislative agenda and to back conservative candidates running in primary elections.

Those on the right point to some establishment Republicans' initial support for state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R-N.Y.) instead of Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman the New York special House election.

Conservatives have also rallied around former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio (R) instead of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R), the NRSC's choice in the state's GOP Senate primary.

"[We need] people who believe in constitutional government, a balanced budget and liberty and so I'm out across the country recruiting new republicans who I think if they get here will not only challenge the institutions of government but be willing to even challenge the Republican Party and our leadership if they feel like we're going in the wrong direction," DeMint said. "I think just a handful of new Republicans in the Senate could help change the direction."