Karl Rove Questions Christine O'Donnell's 'Serious Character Problems'

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," September 14, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Joining me with reaction to all the latest primary results, former adviser to President George W. Bush, Fox News contributor, we call him "The Architect," the one and only Karl Rove.

Karl, welcome back.

KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH ADVISER: Thanks for having me, Sean.

HANNITY: All right, first, your reaction -- you know, first, we had Alaska, Murkowski loses. You had Rand Paul beat the establishment candidate, Sharron Angle, now its Delaware. Your reaction?

ROVE: Well, look, all the rest of them are explainable. You know, in Murkowski versus -- in the Alaska race, you had a long time feud between two factions in the party. In Kentucky, you had you a good candidate versus a candidate who had no message. In Nevada, you had a candidate who sort of self-emulated herself and another candidate with consistent message.

This is the inexplicable one because Christine O'Donnell has come on here at the -- very end of the campaign. There's a huge turnout tonight in Delaware. The total was estimated to be 30,000 people going into the primary and has come out 56,000. She has dealt a defeat to one of the state's longest, best known, thought to be most beloved political figures, a former governor and nine-term Republican Congressman in Mike Castle.

So this is the one that's unusual because this is not a campaign that has been going on for a year where you had one candidate consistently doing better as a candidate than the other as in the case of Rand Paul and there were not deep sort of family and tribal disputes as we had in Alaska between Miller and Murkowski. We didn't have a candidate who sort of committed suicide, political suicide by saying things that got him in trouble with voters.

Instead we have a true upset of somebody with little money, little track record and I think this says that this is more about Mike Castle's voting record than the appeal of Christine O'Donnell.

HANNITY: You know, I'm not sure if I agree with you. I think there's a battle going on with what we define as the establishment when we're talking about with Dana and Stuart, and those that are taking strong conservative views.

I mean, Mike Castle is one of the seven or eight Republicans in the House that voted for cap-and-tax an F rating with the NRA. He's not pro-life.

You know, and you have the establishment over the years, look who they backed, Arlen Specter, Charlie Crist, Murkowski. They didn't support Rand Paul, Sharron Angle. There seems to be a schism here. There seems to be a divide.

ROVE: Well, look I'm not certain of this because look, there were conservatives on both sides of this race in Delaware. One thing that Christine O'Donnell is now going to have to answer in the general election that she didn't have to answer in the primary is her own checkered background.

You made my case. You made out a list of the things that Mike Castle had done right -- excuse me, done wrong. You didn't make out a list of the things that Christine O'Donnell had done right. I've met her. I got to tell you, I wasn't frankly impressed as her abilities as a candidate.

And again, these serious questions about how does she make her living? Why did she mislead voters about her college education? How come it took nearly two decades to pay her college bills so she could get her college degree? How did she make a living? Why did she sue a well-known and well- thougth of conservative think tank?

HANNITY: This is probably one of the few times we're going to disagree here because I met her. I've interviewed her a lot over the years. I found her quite impressive.

And more importantly, she is a solid conservative. I think what people are saying in this primary, in this race and I think all across the country in these other races that we are mentioning here is that you know what, if you vote for cap and tax and have an opponent that says they wouldn't they have an choice, they have an option.

So I think it was very substantive, very based on issues, very based on the voting record of one and the promised voting record of another.

ROVE: Again, you are making my case. This was about Mike Castle's bad votes. It does conservatives little good to support candidates who at the end of the day while they may be conservative in their public statements do not event the characteristics of rectitude, truthfulness and sincerity and character that the voters are looking for.

We'll see how she can answer these questions. She sure as heck didn't answer them thus far in the campaign and not in the general election that she will be asked about.

HANNITY: I interviewed her and I felt her explanations were more plausible --

ROVE: Did you ask her about the people who were following her home to her headquarters and how she has checked each night in the bushes? Did you asked her -- I mean, there were a lot of nutty things she has been saying that just simply don't add up to --

HANNITY: Its sounds like you don't support her, but I will tell you, I think --

ROVE: I'm for the Republican, but I got to tell you, we were looking at eight to nine seats in the Senate. We are now looking at seven to eight in my opinion. This is not a race we're going to be able to win.

HANNITY: You may be right in the end, I don't know. We can look into our crystal ball and can say things. I would argue back to you gently that I don't think we can make progress in stopping the Obama agenda with rhino Republicans that, you know are not going to be there when the solid votes are needed.

ROVE: I agree. But we also can't make progress if we have candidates who got serious character problems, who cause ordinary voters who are not philosophically aligned with us to not vote for our candidates out of concern of what they said and what they do.

HANNITY: Well I think one of the problems too, we send people to Washington and forgot why we send them there and they got fat and lazy and out of control.

ROVE: Absolutely.

HANNITY: And they're paying a price and they should pay the price.

ROVE: And in 2006 that we had people who had really violated the people's trust by engaging in acts of corruption, which is why the Democrat culture of corruption theme was so powerful in 2006.

HANNITY: I don't hear one allegation that begins to compare to Charlie Rangel or William Jefferson or anything like that.

ROVE: That's not a very good defense. That's not a very good defense.

HANNITY: These seem to be trumped up charges from my standpoint that the Republican establishment was throwing against her. Which by the way violated -- whatever happened to Reagan's 11th Commandment?

ROVE: I agree, but look, she attacked him by saying he had a homosexual relationship with a young aide with not a bit of evidence to prove it.


HANNITY: I heard the tape. She said in that interview she was not making that accusation.


ROVE: That was the second interview. She had already previously spread the rumor. I mean, come on. Look, she's got a chance now. We'll see how well -- let's you and I have a private side bet on this one.

But I think at the end of the day she has to answer these questions in a way that people of Delaware find convincing or we are going to find ourselves with somebody who says conservative things, but doesn't have the character that the people of Delaware want to have back it up.

HANNITY: Karl Rove, we'll give you the last word.

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