Cindy Rashty

These progressives are nuts

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Australia's deputy prime minister warned Friday that the greatest threat to the U.S. economy are the "cranks and crazies" in the Republican Party, a rare foray into American domestic politics that was blasted by the opposition.

Wayne Swan, who also is treasurer and his center-left Labor Party government's ranking finance minister, took aim at the tea party during a speech to a business forum, breaking a convention among Australia's major parties to steer clear of U.S. domestic political debates.

"Let's be blunt and acknowledge the biggest threat to the world's biggest economy are the cranks and crazies that have taken over a part of the Republican Party," Swan said.