NASHVILLE, TN -- Talk radio show host Laura Ingraham skewered Sen. Lamar Alexander during a rally this evening in support of his primary challenger Joe Carr, comparing him to an “old sweater” that had become full of moths, with faded colors.“It’s just tired. It’s just taking up room in your drawer,” she said, pointing out that it was time for a wardrobe change.
“I am here, my friends, to help you retire the political equivalent of your old plaid sweater,” she said.
The crowd of over 600 people at the Nashville Millenium Maxwell House hotel delightedly cheered as Ingraham took numerous shots at Alexander’s moderate record and personality in the Senate.
Alexander has a long political career in Tennessee, running for a third term as Senator after already serving as a successful governor of the state. But Ingraham, who painted Alexander as an out of touch politician of a different era, has trained her focus on the race in the manner she did to Majority Leader Eric Cantor's race, helping produce the shocking upset there.
Ingraham visited with Carr and his supporters before the event while chatting with reporters, as a bluegrass band played crowd favorites such as “Man of Constant Sorrow” and “He’s In the Jailhouse Now.”
But the polite, old time feeling of the event quickly dissipated as Ingraham fired up the crowd.
“I say this, and I mean it: Lamar Alexander, he’s probably not an evil guy, he probably doesn’t hate the Tea Party, I don’t think he knows the Tea Party, I don’t think that’s what he’s about, I really don’t,” she said.
On amnesty, she explained, Alexander was wrong on the number one issue in the country, citing the recent Gallup poll showing that the issue was at the top of voters' concerns. She criticized Alexander for supporting the Senate “Gang of Eight” immigration bill, working with Senate Democrats like Sens. Chuck Schumer (NY) and Dick Durbin (IL).
“What planet are you living on, are you that naive, that tired, or are you that bought off?” she asked, as the delighted crowd applauded.
Ingraham noted that the modern left was filled with “utter distain” for conservatives and their values, and said today's Democrats weren’t the moderate Democrats of Alexander’s era.
“They think you are more dangerous any day of the week than ISIS or Al-Qaeda,” she said as the crowd booed.
Ingraham encouraged all voters in Tennessee to work hard for Carr in the remaining days of the election to send a loud message to the Washington establishment.
“We have to grab the establishment by the lapels and say very forcefully -- No. You. Won’t,” she said.
Ingraham praised Joe Carr for listening to the people and standing up for conservative principles.
“What we need now in our country, we need fighters, we need individuals who stand up, buck the powers that be whether they be on the left and the right,” she said.
Carr took the stage, making Alexander’s record on immigration reform the center of his speech.
“You can’t hide, Lamar!” he said, telling the crowd he would go into the weeds of Alexander’s record of supporting amnesty.
Carr blasted the Chamber of Commerce’s endorsement of Alexander, pointing out that the organization supported immigration reform for the sake of getting more cheap labor. That, he explained, was part of the war on the American worker.
Carr told the crowd that, as their Senator, he would go to Washington to help conservative senators like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Jeff Sessions.
Carr immediately endorsed Cruz’s bill, co-sponsored by Sessions, to stop President Obama’s use of executive authority to give amnesty to children of illegal immigrants.
“Let me be perfectly clear, so that I’m not misunderstood, Sen. Alexander, so you’ll be able to understand this,” Carr said. “No. More. Amnesty.”
But most of all, Carr criticized Alexander for working with Democrats.
“If you expect me to go to Washington DC and hold hands around the campfire, roast marshmallows, and sing Kumbaya, you’re sending the wrong guy,” Carr said. “I’m going up there to start a fight.”
During the rally, both Ingraham and Carr mocked Alexander’s endorsements from former Republican politicians, highlighting Carr’s support from local Tea Party groups.
Ingraham criticized Alexander for hiding behind his endorsements and issuing press releases, and she joked about Mike Huckabee’s preference for private jets.
Carr opened his speech by mocking Alexander's most recent endorsement from former Sen. Fred Thompson. Carr reminded the crowd that Thompson was the "father of reverse mortgages.”
"Fred Thompson, thank you very much for your endorsement of Lamar and reverse mortgages," he said sarcastically.
When asked for comments in reaction to the rally, the Alexander campaign responded to Breitbart News with the following statement:
"Sen. Alexander has broad support from conservative grassroots Tennesseans, as well as endorsements from National Right to Life, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee, and Newt Gingrich,” said his campaign spokesman, Brian Reisinger.