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updated 7/13/2010 11:23:58 AM ET 2010-07-13T15:23:58

Republican Senate hopeful Rand Paul said Tuesday he couldn't have won the GOP nomination in Kentucky without support from the tea party, and claimed the movement criticizes Republicans and Democrats equally.

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"An interesting thing about it is, it's equal parts chastisement to both parties," Paul said on Fox News Channel.

However, tea party candidates have run as Republicans, and the movement has identified with the GOP, particularly criticizing Democrats.

Paul, a Bowling Green eye doctor, said the tea party offered an "open mike" for unhappy voters.

"What's different is both the Republican and the Democrat party are not set up for people to come and express their mind," Paul said.

He said tea party groups ask him if he'll vote against Republicans over spending and other issues, but he didn't say how he responds to those questions. Later, campaign manager Jesse Benton said Paul has "made it very clear that Republicans and Democrats have been spending too much money, and he will vote against any unbalanced budget, whether it be Republican or Democrat."

Paul said he was the "right messenger at the right time" to emerge from political obscurity with the rise of the tea party. He faces Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway for the seat of Republican Sen. Jim Bunning, who is retiring after two terms.

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Video: Paul criticizes newspapers

  1. Transcript of: Paul criticizes newspapers

    MATTHEWS: rallying cry now of Rand Paul , the Kentucky Senate candidate. He voiced it at an event this Saturday. Let`s watch.

    RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: We have to get our policy out there. We`re not going to get a lot of help from the newspapers. We must present our message. We must articulate it. We must not let them describe who we are. We must describe who we are.

    PAUL: There has been a concerted effort since the Tea Party began to rise since my victory to paint us as something we are not. There is nothing about our movement that is really outside of any kind of mainstream.

    MATTHEWS: That`s right. Newspapers do nasty things, like write down and print up what you said last week. You, Dr. Paul , said you had problems with the `64 civil rights bill and how it got enacted. You, Dr. Paul , called White House criticism of BP un-American. How are people to judge you if not by your words? But if you want to speak finish yourself, you have a fresh start here, any time you want it, on HARDBALL . Speaking of Tea Partiers , Michele Bachmann continues to out-crazy even herself. The Minnesota congresswoman who once accused the Obama administration of running a gangster government has kicked up the rhetoric notch. Bachmann said at a conservative gathering in Colorado this past Friday that President Obama is turning the United States into -- quote -- "a nation of slaves." I guess once you get hooked on this stuff, you have to keep upping the dosage. Moving down to South Carolina , Democratic Senate candidate Alvin Greene tells " The New York Times " that the story of his unlikely primary victory has gotten interest from a New York publishing agent and a Hollywood screenwriter. Greene `s actor of choice to play him in a movie, Denzel Washington . Yes, I saw Denzel in "St._Elsewhere," in "Glory," as the great Steve Biko , the South African black consciousness leader. I saw him play Brutus in " Julius Caesar " in New York. I saw him as the lawyer in " Philadelphia ." Let`s see. He also played Malcolm x . So, I don`t blame you, Mr. Greene , for wanting him to play you. My question, Mr. Greene , is, who are

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