John McCain had plenty of explaining to do last night when he joined Sean Hannity on Fox to try and assuage the anger of many conservatives after he read a Wall Street Journal op-ed that was critical of the Tea Party. In the op-ed, Tea Party members were called "hobbits," and McCain was sure to read that part out loud. So how did he explain himself? He said he was simply reading from the op-ed, and he actually "admires" the Tea Party.
"I wasn't attacking the Tea Partiers or anybody," he said, later adding that the editorial he read was more of an "attack on President Obama."
“I admire, respect and appreciate the Tea Party, and they’re the ones that gave us a majority in the House of Representatives so that we can get something done," McCain said near the end of the interview.
Still, he disagrees with the "idea" that conservatives would rail against John Boehner's plan because it doesn't do enough (such as advancing a balanced budget amendment). That, he said, could lead to Congress passing Harry Reid's plan, which he thinks is an egregious piece of legislation. In fact, he called it “one of the most flimsy, transparent, phony spending cut things, proposals, that I’ve ever seen."
As for Hannity, he was pointed about his thoughts on the crisis: "Senator, I'm not buying this."
You can watch the interview, in two parts, below: