Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., may have dialed down his fiery rhetoric in public since announcing his Senate bid, but in a private fundraising letter obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he's still bringing the heat.
"I was the first Member of Congress to call (Pres. Obama) a socialist who embraces Marxist-Leninist policies like government control of health care and redistribution of wealth," Broun brags in the letter.
Broun's rhetoric has gotten him into trouble in the past and has some Republicans concerned that he could be another Todd Akin if nominated for the Senate. But since announcing his candidacy on Feb. 4, Broun has toned it down. In fact, just last week he refused to call the president a socialist in an interview.
In the letter, Broun also compares himself to former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, arguing that the two have "virtually identical" voting records -- except on foreign policy. He goes on to mention his close ties to former Rep. Allen West, R-Fla. -- for whom he voted as Speaker of the House in January -- as well as former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., highlighting his tea party ties.
The letter, signed by Broun, also says that West has endorsed him and contributed to his campaign, but when asked for confirmation, Broun's campaign spokesperson said that West has yet to officially back a candidate in the race. The campaign blamed the line on a mailing vendor, who works for both Broun and West.
The missive is an attempt by Broun to stake out conservative ground in what will likely be a crowded primary, potentially including several of his House colleagues. For the moment, Broun is the only announced candidate in the race and he seems to be taking advantage of his head start over the rest of the field, frequently referring to himself, in both the letter and in interviews, as one of the most conservative members of Congress.
In the exclamation point-filled letter, Broun requests donations of at least $35 and up to the $2,500 maximum, arguing that he'll need at least $10 million to run a viable campaign. As of December, Broun had just $155,000 in his campaign account, lagging far behind some of his potential rivals, including Republican Reps. Tom Price and Phil Gingrey, who had $1.6 million and $1.9 million in the bank, respectively.