Sen. Coburn challenges McConnell in leadership battle

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Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) summed up the frustration of several colleagues at a gathering of the Republican Steering Committee. He chastised Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) for how they have waged their aggressive push to defund ObamaCare.

Their rhetoric, Coburn said, has been used in television and radio ads attacking other Republican senators.

“He said to Cruz and Lee, ‘Don’t pretend to be naïve. You know outside groups are using what you’re doing as ammo against your colleagues,’ ” a Republican who attended the meeting said.

Coburn also told McConnell that he had allowed the situation to spin out of control.

“He said to McConnell, ‘This has happened because there’s a leadership vacuum,’ ” the Republican source said.

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