In it, but not of it. TPM DC

#InviteGate: Just How Did Orrin Hatch Make His Way To The Tea Party Tonight?

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Newscom / Scott J. Ferrell

When it was announced that Hatch would be a part of tonight's event, many assumed Russo was behind it. He recently did Hatch a solid by telling a reporter that Hatch was "an original tea partier," the kind of support Hatch will need if he wants to hang on through the tea party-led state Republican convention that Bennett couldn't.

But Tea Party Express Communications Director Levi Russell told reporters that it was Hatch who invited himself to the event. That was the storyline going in: a desperate Hatch, fearful of what the tea party could do to him, begged his way into to a town hall full of tea partiers to pretend he was one of them.

"That's innacurate," Hatch told TPM when asked about Russell's comments before the town hall. Hatch told reporters that he attended the meeting -- which was streamed live via the Internet to tea partiers across the country -- because the tea party invited him.

Not so, said Kremer. In an interview, she first said Hatch "reached out to us" before saying she didn't know how Hatch's appearance came to be.

"We definitely invited him," Russo said in an interview.

When asked about Russell's comments, Russo said essentially that the right hand of the Tea Party Express didn't know what the left hand was doing.

"We were just all traveling in different places and no one knew who did what," he told TPM. "[The mixup] was our fault."