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Tenn. GOP Resists Calls to Reign in Rhetoric

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  -- Tennessee’s Republicans are resisting calls to reign in conservatives on the party’s right flank.

Stories this week in Tennessee’s two largest newspapers, the Commercial Appeal in Memphis and the Tennessean here in the Mid-State, call into question comments made recently by county-level GOP officials concerning gays and Muslims.

At the national level, Republican Party leadership spoke out forcefully this week against similar comments made by Congresswoman Michelle Bachman.

But the State GOP doesn’t appear ready to have that conversation. Here’s how GOP spokesman Adam Nikas responded when WMOT News asked him if it was time to change the party’s tone.

“Well, the tone we’re setting is a tone discussing the economy, the number one issue we think on people’s minds. That’s what we have control over and that’s the tone we’re trying to set. Because we think that, at the end of the day, that’s going to be a winning issue for us in November.”

Republican rhetoric here in Tennessee is getting attention well beyond the state’s borders. Articles this week by USA Today, NBC News, and The Daily Beast have all focused on recent controversial comments.