Christine O’Donnell is not going away
Christine O’Donnell may have lost her Senate race. But she’s not exiting the spotlight. In fact, she’s sounding a bit like Sarah Palin.
The Tea Party darling of Delaware cheerfully tells NBC’s Today show that she’s pursuing a book deal. She likes being involved in documentaries. And she’s going to fight tooth and nail against whatever Democrats try to pull during the upcoming lameduck session in Congress (how isn’t quite clear).
“We created a platform and we’ve been able to get a lot of issues out there. And I’d like to continue to do that at least for the short term.”
Will she run again for public office? “I haven’t a clue,” she says.
Sounds a tiny bit like Palin, who became a Republican rock star after she and John McCain lost their 2008 White House bid. First, the former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee got a lucrative book deal, then loads of TV exposure, and has kept the political world guessing about her electoral plans.
O’Donnell’s campaign was bombarded by one crazy controversy after another and she quickly came to be seen as an unelectable novice who helped keep the Senate out of Republican hands by losing a seat that her party primary rival probably would have won.
Why the optimism about her own future as a political celebrity? Maybe because she blames her 17-percentage-point election loss to “bruised egos” — meaning Republican leaders who failed to support her — rather than voter preference.
“If we didn’t have that network, that machine, mechanism, to plug into like other candidates did, we had to spend the time rebuilding that, establishing the grassroots network to get out the vote and also defending the accusations that even my own party was putting out,” O’Donnell complains. “It was too heavy of a lift for one entity.”
Before the Republican primary, O’Donnell says Karl Rove told Delaware Tea Partiers that they must be ready to rally around the winner: “But when it came time for him to do what he was encouraging others to do, they couldn’t do it.”
However, O’Donnell did outspend her victorious rival, Democrat Chris Coons by something like a 2-to-1 margin.
What about Palin? The original Mama Grizzly and prospective 2012 White House contender endorsed O’Donnell and defended her in the media but never campaigned for her in Delaware.
Et tu, Sarah? Not at all, says O’Donnell: “It was simply a scheduling issue and those who needed to know that I had her support, they did know.”
Rove seemed to believe the election’s outcome had more to do with the voters of Delaware, telling the same program that the electorate will decide whether O’Donnell has a future as a public official.
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Photo Credits: Reuters/Jason Reed (O’Donnell); Reuters/Lucas Jackson (Palin); Reuters/Fred Prouser (Rove)