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Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts says that challenger Greg Orman "sounds like a high school sophomore" in his independent pitch to voters.
"[T]his business of not choosing either party, walking down the middle of the aisle with a sign saying, 'I'm an Independent looking for good ideas' -- that sounds like a high school sophomore," he told NBC's Kelly O'Donnell in an exclusive interview. "So [voters] know that that's not the answer, the answer is to send me back."
Roberts acknowledged that voters are "frustrated" but said that he shouldn't be ousted by voters simply because some believe he's been in Washington too long.
"Well, you just don't take Peyton Manning out of the ball game, I don't think," he said. "I've had a long record of achievement and working with many people in Kansas."
Roberts faces a tough race against Orman, who surged after Democrat Chad Taylor unexpectedly dropped out of the race.
The longtime Kansas lawmaker argues that he's the candidate who can help break Senate gridlock by being part of a new Republican majority, and that Kansas voters know he's on their side.
"They know I've been fighting for them. I have to remind them of that," he said.
He also said that Orman should apologize for comparing the parade of Republican surrogates stumping on Roberts' behalf -- including Kansas political icon Bob Dole -- to a "clown car."
"I think it was a flippant remark, not very different from all the rest he's made and I hope he does apologize to Bob," Roberts said.