Haley Barbour to tea party: ‘Reagan compromised on everything’

“In a two-party system, purity is the enemy of victory,” Barbour said, repeating a construct he has used before.

Barbour mentioned previous examples of the tea party nominating a candidate who later went on to lose in a winnable race, focusing in particular on Christine O’Donnell’s primary win over then-Rep. Mike Castle in the 2010 Delaware Senate race.

He noted that outside groups spent heavily for O’Donnell in the primary.

“People got a right to nominate whoever they want to nominate,” Barbour said. “But that’s not the point. The point is, in the name of purity, we defeated a guy who was going to get 70 percent of the vote. And we elected a guy who votes with us 5 percent of the time.”