Democrats facing the November midterm elections in the U.S. must win back disaffected voters who supported the party in 2006 and 2008 in order to keep control of Congress, former President Bill Clinton said.
If Democrats can “shake the voters out of their apathy, then we’ll do fine” against the Republicans in the November election, Clinton, a Democrat, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. Little is known about the candidates backed by the Tea Party who have won Republican primaries this year, Clinton said.
Leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties are attempting to gauge what the Tea Party movement, in which a groundswell of support has delivered knockout blows to Republican incumbents in states including Alaska and Delaware, will mean in November’s general election.
“They’ve elected a lot of people who are articulate and attractive, but it’s not clear what their specifics are,” Clinton said. “We need to hear more from them on where they stand.”
Karl Rove, who served former Republican President George W. Bush as an adviser and deputy chief of staff, said on “Fox News Sunday” that Tea Party-backed Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell’s defeat of U.S. Representative Mike Castle in the Delaware Republican primary is a signal party leaders need to carefully consider their strategy for winning in November.
Questions About O’Donnell
“There are serious questions that have been raised about Miss O’Donnell’s background, character, statements and previous actions,” Rove said on Fox.
Republicans can pursue a strategy that ignores those questions, “or you can take the perspective that I do, which is people are not going to hear these arguments about President Obama and his policies and what the Democrats are doing in Washington as long as these questions are out there,” Rove said.
Talk show host Bill Maher has released a clip on HBO from his previous 1990s program on ABC called “Politically Incorrect” showing O’Donnell saying she had dabbled in witchcraft, according to ABC News. Another video clip making the rounds on the Internet shows O’Donnell opposing masturbation in a 1996 MTV documentary, comparing it with adultery, according to ABC.
O’Donnell yesterday canceled scheduled appearances today on CBS’s “Face the Nation” and on “Fox News Sunday.” Campaign spokeswoman Diana Banister told the Associated Press that O’Donnell had scheduling conflicts including church events and a campaign picnic.
In Alaska’s Republican primary election, Tea Party-backed Joe Miller beat Republican incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski. Then Murkowski announced she’d run as a write-in candidate.
“It’s not about undermining the Republican Party or the Democratic Party,” Murkowski said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “I am listening to my constituents. That’s what it’s all about.”
“Obviously she’s not listening very well to the Alaskan voters,” Miller said on the “Fox News Sunday” program. “Voters said the views that we’d expressed are the views that the future of this state needs to embrace. Really she’s got a real disconnection from reality in thinking that the voters of Alaska are extreme.”
Rove said that Murkowski won’t win as a write-in candidate. “Under the law you have to carefully spell the name exactly correct,” Rove said. “Everybody go to your pencil and paper and write down the name Murkowski and see if you got it right. No, she’s going to lose.”
The Republican Party “should recognize the bigger issue, which is defeating President Obama and his agenda” and get behind Miller, Rove said.
While Rove said the victories by Tea Party-backed candidates over incumbent Republicans haven’t developed into a civil war within the party, Murkowski was less certain.
South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint, who has been backing Tea Party candidates, “has kind of rattled the cages,” Murkowski said. “Whether it advances to a full-on civil war, I don’t know.”
DeMint said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the Tea Party is the best hope for Republicans to regain control of Congress.
“The quickest way to 60 votes in the Senate is to have Republicans who stand on principle,” DeMint said. “If we don’t do what we say, the Republican Party is dead.”
Republicans will regain control of the House and will win “a number of Senate races,” DeMint said.
Colin Powell, former Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, said Republicans shouldn’t cater to “fringe elements” who question the president’s religion or whether he was born in the U.S.
“Let’s attack him on policy and not nonsense,” Powell said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. Powell, who endorsed Obama for president in 2008, said he remains a Republican, although he’s “not happy with the rightward shift” the party has taken.
“I still think that there is a need for a two party system and that the Republican Party still has strength in it,” Powell said.
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