POLITICS
08/09/2011 02:32 pm ET | Updated Oct 09, 2011

John McCain On Tea Party 'Hobbit' Criticism: 'I Am Not Sorry For What I Said' (VIDEO)

During a town hall in his home state on Monday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was asked to apologize by a member of a local Tea Party group for critical remarks he made about some within the conservative movement during the deficit debate last month, Arizona-based station 3TV News reports.

McCain took issue with lawmakers affiliated with the Tea Party for their unwavering opposition to raising the debt ceiling. Speaking on the Senate floor, the Arizona senator read from a Wall Street Journal editorial offering a critical take on how some members of the Republican party had approached the pressing fiscal issue. The piece likened members of the Tea Party to "hobbits."

“I am sorry if it was misunderstood," said McCain in response to the call for him to apologize for his remarks. "I am not sorry for what I said."

Here's the relevant excerpt from the Wall Street Journal editorial:

...The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue, and the public will turn en masse against . . . Barack Obama. The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.

This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell into GOP Senate nominees. The reality is that the debt limit will be raised one way or another, and the only issue now is with how much fiscal reform and what political fallout.

McCain's remarks last month drew fire from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), former Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle and others affiliated with the Tea Party movement.

Below, video of the exchange that went down at the town hall in Arizona via 3TV News.

WATCH: (1:45)

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