Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) chided Tea Party activists in his state, telling them to "get real" about their opposition to the New START treaty.
Lugar, who voted for the treaty's ratification late last year, dismissed the Tea Party's criticism of his vote. He's expected to face a primary challenge from the conservative movement.
Lugar has said he expects a challenge from the Tea Party, and is gearing up to fight in that race to secure a nomination for another term.
"I don't think I've ever been involved in a campaign for a statewide office that started the whole year before the year," he said. "But nevertheless, here we are and we're very competitive."
The Indiana Republican isn't the only veteran senator preparing himself for a possible conservative challenger in a primary; Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is also expecting a challenge, and has been bracing himself for it.
But Lugar and Hatch have taken very different approaches so far. While the Hoosier is clashing publicly with the Tea Party, Hatch will participate in an online town hall on Tuesday evening organized with a Tea Party umbrella group.