Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Thursday accused Democrats of “choreographing” a government shutdown as a distraction from President Obama’s lack of leadership.

“The president needs a distraction, and this is a choreographed distraction to try to shift the blame from a president who has been AWOL from leadership and has very little political courage," the conservative senator charged.

DeMint, a favorite of the Tea Party movement, added that Democrats are trying to place blame on the Tea Party for the specter of a government shutdown when they themselves are at fault.

“They are coached to call us extreme and blame it on the Tea Party,” said DeMint.  “Americans are smarter than that.”

The current resolution funding the government expires on Friday. Both sides continue negotiations.