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U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer acknowledged this morning that she will face a tough re-election battle and called on her fellow Democrats to match the enthusiasm she saw in Tea Party activists.

Boxer was speaking before hitting the stage at the California Democratic Party convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

She said she's long been a target of conservatives but said she has been surprised by some of the rhetoric that she's seen from her GOP counterparts in Congress.

"Some people take those words, and it might move them to do things that are dangerous to society," Boxer said. "I'm just going to do what I've always done. ... I'm not afraid of this fearmongering."

Boxer then fired an opening salvo in the brewing battle to replace retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

"Some of my (Republican) colleagues said they're going to filibuster a Supreme Court justice even before they know who it is," Boxer said. "I would say that's just wrong on its face."

Important to winning this year, Democrats have to match the energy of Tea Party activists, who rallied across the nation Thursday, the three-term senator said.

"At this point, I think the polls are showing that there is more enthusiasm with the tea party party," Boxer said, "and I think it is absolutely a fact that we have to match that enthusiasm."

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