O'Donnell Defends Primary Upset That Sent Shockwaves Through the GOP

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," September 15, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: We are now officially in the home stretch with just seven weeks to go before the November midterm elections, and last night a Tea Party earthquake shook up a number of key races.

Now the one we were closely monitoring was the big race in Delaware in which Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell upset the former governor of that state, Congressman Mike Castle, and that means this November O'Donnell will face off with New Castle County executive, Democrat Chris Coons.

Now over the last 24 hours Democrats have attempted to spin O'Donnell's victory as proof there is some sort of civil war going on inside the GOP. But the events of today should help put those rumors to rest. Just hours ago the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee John Cornyn announced that the NRSC plans to strongly stand by Christine O'Donnell. In fact, the committee has already sent the maximum allowable donation to O'Donnell's campaign.

And in addition, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is throwing his support behind O'Donnell. Governor Romney released a statement today saying, quote, "Now is the time for Republicans to rally behind their nominee Christine O'Donnell... I believe it's important we support her so that we can win back the U.S. Senate this fall."

And joining me now is the big winner from last night's primary, Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell is back.

Christine, congratulations on last night. Thanks for being on the program.

SENATE CANDIDATE CHRISTINE O'DONNELL, R-DEL.: Thank you. Thank you very much, Sean. And thank you to you and all of your viewers for helping make this happen and believing in me from the beginning.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this. Have you heard from Mike Castle yet?

O'DONNELL: No, I have not.

HANNITY: You have not. Now we just got done saying, I respect the will of the voter and their decision. There was a report out earlier today that he may not support you or endorse you.

And what do you think of the fact that he hasn't -- wasn't gracious enough to call you and is saying something like that?

O'DONNELL: Well, I can imagine that it'd be hard. He hasn't lost an election in 40 years. And I think that he didn't see this coming. So he probably just needs some time to get through -- you know, it's the day after.

But it's a shame that he won't endorse me because if the tables were turned, I would have endorsed him. And now he and I represent the Delaware Republican Party. And they chose last night who they want to represent them on the ballot.

And if we continue in this divide, it's going to make it a lot harder to win in November. I still believe we can win. I have absolutely no doubt that we can win after hearing the great announcements of support that you just shared with your viewers.

Because, you know, this is such an important race. Not only because of what our country is facing, but because the winner of this election can be sworn in the day after Election Day because it's a special election for the seat once held by Joe Biden.

Now Senator Reid and Nancy Pelosi have already announced they're going to have a lame duck session with bills like cap-and-trade and the Dream Act. And, you know, Harry Reid called my Democratic opponent his pet.

So who do you want serving in that lame duck session? Someone who's going to promote that very liberal agenda that can't even get enough Democratic support or someone who is going to push back against the establishment and proven that you can have the determination and will to win, and try to stop that lame duck agenda?

HANNITY: Now you have not been shy in going on with our friend Governor Sarah Palin calls the lame stream media. Now correct me if I'm wrong. Today alone, just this morning, you were on the "Today" show. You were on "Good Morning America." You were on the "Early Show". You were on CNN. You were on all those liberal shows?

O'DONNELL: I was. I was.

HANNITY: All right. So my question is why have you decided to subject yourself to the -- what I would argue probably biased, tough questions and obviously the advancement of some of the attacks against you?

O'DONNELL: Well, because I wanted an opportunity to counter those attacks. My opponent is putting out lies. They're being exasperate -- or was, and they're being exasperated by the liberal media.

And I found that when the viewers get a chance to meet me and hear me present my positions and my ideas, they can see for themselves that I am not the person that the liberal media is trying to paint me as.

So I see it as an opportunity. I'm going to have to face that same hostility in the U.S. Senate. They are no different than some of the people that I will be serving with this November.

So if I'm afraid to face the liberal media, how can I earn the voters' trust to face the liberals in Washington, D.C. and stand up for what is right?

HANNITY: A lot has been reported on when we had Karl Rove on this very program last night and the things that he has said.

Let me run some of the tape and get your reaction.


KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH SENIOR ADVISER: 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 advance the characteristics of rectitude and truthfulness and sincerity and character that the voters are looking for.

HANNITY: But I think that --

ROVE: And we'll see how -- if she can answer these questions. She sure as heck didn't answer them thus far in the campaign.


HANNITY: Your reaction?

O'DONNELL: We did answer them on our website, Christine2010.com under "Christine Counters" with the boxing gloves. But you know I'm hoping that maybe it's just the fog of war that hasn't cleared yet.

And I want to give him the benefit of the doubt that when all this settles he will reach for the greater good and do what is best for the greater good and help us win, help us unite the Republican Party so we that can make sure we have another Republican, which may be the 41st vote to stop -- you know against a filibuster or to stop the votes on things like cap-and-trade.

So this is a very important race.


O'DONNELL: And I'm counting on Karl Rove to rise above it because he's a good man.

HANNITY: All right. Let me ask this. Mike Castle did speak out a little bit today and in part he blamed people like me and Levin and Rush Limbaugh. And here's part of what he had to say.


REP. MIKE CASTLE, R-DEL.: I think the misrepresentations of the lies of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh on the air were another very significant part of all of this. I think some of the misrepresentations in my opponent's race were a part of it as well.

How they ever came up with the theory that I voted to impeach George Bush, I'll never know. I mean, and that was the news for a couple of days right around the election time by I think Mr. Limbaugh. But those are the kinds of things that make politics very difficult.


HANNITY: He voted for cap-and-tax. He voted for TARP. Didn't he say in the campaign -- correct me if I'm wrong -- that he wouldn't vote to repeal health care? Isn't that his record?

O'DONNELL: Absolutely. Absolutely. That is --


HANNITY: He sounds like a liberal, blaming other people.

O'DONNELL: That's right. But you know what? You guys brought his voting record to the public so I thank you. I kind of agree with him. I wouldn't call it blame. I would call it credit.

You had -- you were a band -- leader of the band in saying we have got to stand on our principles. We cannot sell out any more. Selling out on our principles is what has brought our country to the brink of bankruptcy.

And we need to start focusing on solutions that create jobs based on the private sector. So you put the message out there that we have to look, not at who is the easiest win but who has the free market solutions to the economic crisis that we're finding ourselves in.

I think a lot of the voters began to then look beyond a lot of the mudslinging that my opponent was putting out to the positions that we were both presenting. And many of the voters then told me he wasn't presenting any positions, you were the only one. And -- so I do thank you for that.

HANNITY: All right. Even the White House has weighed in on this. White House spokesman --

O'DONNELL: Really?

HANNITY: Our good friend, our propagandist friend Robert Gibbs weighed in and he's claiming that this primary is an example of a civil war existing within the Republican Party.

Interestingly, no Democrat -- and we'll get into this later tonight -- wants to be seen with Barack Obama in this election cycle. But here's the White House and Robert Gibbs.


ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: She ran in 2008 against then-Senator Joe Biden and I think lost fairly handily close to 2-1. I think -- look, I think last night showed that there is a very vociferous debate going on inside the Republican Party for the hearts and minds of Republican voters.


HANNITY: Let me ask the broader question here because if you look at Kentucky, if you look at Alaska, if you look at Sharron Angle. If you look at a number of races and yours in particular, it is -- it has been the establishment versus, you know, this new conservative ascendancy in the Tea Party movement.

What is your -- what do you think is happening in the country where the Tea Party movement keeps winning? The people that supported you won.

O'DONNELL: Well, what my race is about and what we see happening all across the country is that we're putting the political process back into the hands of the people.

The people are tired of the establishment on both sides who have lost their way and abandoned the constitutional principles on which our nation was founded. So what they've said is we are concerned about the direction our so-called leaders are taking us in Washington.

And we want candidates who are willing to stand up for that. But the White House's statement is just all the more proof as to why the Republican Party in Delaware must unite in order to win this November.

HANNITY: All right, Christine O'Donnell, congratulations on your big win last night. We'll continue to follow this campaign and your race very closely, along with all the races around the country. Thanks for being here.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.

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