Appearing on ABC Sunday, two more Republicans followed Karl Rove’s lead by using the term “nut” to describe Tea Party candidates like Republican Senate Candidate from Delaware Christine O’Donnell.
Matthew Dowd, former chief Republican strategist for the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign, explained that voters are looking to candidates that might have a screw loose because they are so frustrated with the establishment.
“In the middle of a time when the country is so angry at Washington, they don’t want the Democrats, they turn to candidates that are so outside that many of those candidates are either nuts or somewhat off or not competent,” he told ABC’s Christiane Amanpour.
Meghan McCain, daughter of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), had an even sharper criticism which she pointed directly at O’Donnell.
“My problem is that no matter what, Christine O’donnell is making a mockery of running for public office,” said McCain. “She has no real history, no real success in any kind of business.”
“And what that sends to my generation is one day you can just wake up and run for Senate no matter how [much] lack of experience you have. And it scares me for a number of reasons and I just know in my group of friends it just turns people off because she’s seen as a nutjob.”
Dowd and McCain seemed to be echoing comments made by Rove only hours after O’Donnell was named as the Republican nominee. “She’s got baggage and she’s said some nutty things,” Rove told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
O’Donnell fired back the next day in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
O’Donnell, who had been laughing throughout Stephanopoulos’s questions, did not answer Rove’s charges directly but simply insisted, “Everything that he’s saying is unfactual. And it’s a shame, because he’s the same so-called political guru that predicted I wasn’t going to win. … He’s eating some humble pie, and he’s just trying to restore his reputation.”
“When we started gaining momentum and we started gaining credibility in this race, it made the Republican establishment look like lazy people who did not care about their principles,” O’Donnell continued. “I was ahead in the general election according to Rasmussen before this Republican cannibalism started. … So if they were serious about winning, we could repair the damage done and move forward.”
More recently, O’Donnell told the Wilmington, Delaware Rotary Club that she was willing to stand against her own party.
“If you want a senator who has had to fight her own party and is still fighting her own party,” she said, “please vote O’Donnell for U.S. Senate.”
But in an interview aired on ABC Sunday, Christine O’Donnell nearly begged establishment Republicans to come to her rescue.
“We’re asking the National Republican Senatorial to help us shine a spotlight on my opponent’s negative record,” said O’Donnell.
“We’re hoping that the National Republican Senatorial Committee will help us. But it’s two and a half weeks left, and they’re not,” she said.
Even within the Tea Party, O’Donnell’s support is not unanimous. Tea Party supporter Linda Conway told ABC that she was going to vote for Democratic candidate Chris Coons.
“I feel that the girl has no experience,” said Conway. “For some reason I just have [a feeling] that she’s almost like a front for someone and I just don’t feel that this young lady has the control and the smarts to get us out of this jam that we’re in at this time and I feel that coons with his experience does.”
This video is from ABC’s This Week, broadcast Oct. 17, 2010.