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Attacking Mitt Romney Won't Help GOP: Sen. DeMint

The attack ads on presidential contender Mitt Romney and his ties to private equity are "character assassination" that is not good for the Republican Party, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint told CNBC.

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They also don't help the Republican presidential candidates behind the ads, which highlight Romney's tenure at Bain Capital. But DeMint, while naming no names, said the experience "could be a teachable moment for Romney. We need to explain to the American people how free markets [and] free enterprise works."

DeMint, who came to Congress as part of the Tea Party movement, said he wants a Republican contender who knows when to make the hard decisions to cut the federal deficit.

"The candidates need to come to the American people," he said. "If we don't stop spending and borrowing we're going to collapse this whole country. We've got to do it this year or we'll never get another chance."