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Heard on the Hill: But Did the Gipper Really Mean It?

During his 1966 California gubernatorial campaign, Ronald Reagan pushed the 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”

So it is a little puzzling that former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) and his advocacy group, FreedomWorks, which is a big Reagan fan, have launched a full-fledged attack on Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah).

On Monday a group of conservative Utah activists poured out of FreedomWorks’ Capitol Hill offices and headed straight to the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters — in the Ronald Reagan Republican Center — brandishing signs and calling for torches.

Literally. They called for torches.

FreedomWorks has made defeating Hatch a top priority for the 2012 cycle, just as it did with ex-Sen. Bob Bennett (Utah) during the 2010 elections.

FreedomWorks invokes Reagan several times in the group’s literature and even slams members of the GOP who don’t live up to the Gipper’s legacy.

Not for nothing, but don’t you have to speak ill of those you are running against?

So what gives? “We are following in Reagan’s legacy,” FreedomWorks spokesman Adam Brandon tells HOH. “He was pretty aggressive against [Gerald] Ford.”

Brandon says that when Reagan espoused the 11th Commandment, he actually meant that getting the most conservative candidate elected was the important thing.

“Whether it is good or bad for the party is not our concern,” Brandon says.

Gasp! What would Reagan say?

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