Utah Sen. Mike Lee to give tea party speech

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah Sen. Mike Lee is set to be the face of the national tea party Tuesday night when he delivers the movement's response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech.

Excerpts of his speech show Lee will pin the widening wealth gap on the president's policies and tout the ideas of a new generation of leaders including himself and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Sal Russo of Tea Party Express says the organization chose Lee because the Republican first-term senator is a recognized leader who is popular among tea partyers.

Brigham Young University political scientist Quin Monson says the spotlight will help Lee develop his brand. But he says aligning so closely with the tea party could also put him at risk in future elections.

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