Political analyst Karl Rove says Christine O’Donnell’s victory over longtime Rep. Mike Castle in the Republican Senate primary in Delaware is a “true upset” that toppled one of the state’s “most beloved political figures.”
But Rove, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, also said tea party favorite O’Donnell has a “checkered background” and won’t be able to win when she faces Democrat Chris Coons in the November general election.
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Appearing on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show on Tuesday night, Rove said of all the perceived upsets in this year’s primaries, “This is the inexplicable one. Christine O’Donnell has come in here at the very end of the campaign and there’s a huge turnout in Delaware tonight. The total was estimated to be 30,000 people going into the primary and it’s come out 56,000.
“She has dealt a defeat to one of the state’s longest and best known and thought to be most beloved political figures, a former governor and nine-term Republican congressman in Mike Castle.
“So this is the one that is unusual because this is not a campaign that has been going on for a year where you had one candidate that was consistently doing better than the other, as in the case of Rand Paul, and there were not deep family and tribal disputes as we had in Alaska between Miller and Murkowski, and we didn’t have a candidate who sort of committed political suicide by saying things that got him into trouble with the voters.
“Instead we have a true upset, with somebody with little money, little track record. I think this is really more about Mike Castle’s voting record than about the appeal of Christine O’Donnell.”
Referring to O’Donnell’s “checkered background,” Rove said: “How does she make her living? Why did she mislead voters about her college education? How come it took her nearly two decades to pay her college bills so she could get a degree?
“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 evince the characteristics of rectitude and truthfulness and sincerity and character that the voters are looking for.”
Rove pointed out that there have been questions about O'Donnell's finances, and some of her allegations against Castle. Hannity fired back that he interviewed her about all of those things.
"Did you ask her about the people who were following her home to her headquarters?" Rove asked, adding: "There are just a lot of nutty things she's been saying.
“I’m for the Republican, but I have to tell you we were looking at [picking up] eight or nine seats in the Senate and we’re now looking at seven to eight, in my opinion. This is not a race we’re going to be able to win.”
O’Donnell on Wednesday morning fired back at Rove, saying his remarks were “un-factual.”
O'Donnell told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos: “Everything that he is saying is un-factual. And it’s a shame because he is the same so-called political guru that predicted I wasn’t going to win. And we won and we won big.
“So I think he is eating some humble pie and he is just trying to restore his reputation.”
O’Donnell also said an endorsement and last-minute push by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made a big difference with voters.
“When Governor Palin stood up and so boldly made a statement that she supported me, it allowed them to get past the politics of personal destruction, to look at the message.
“She helped to bring it back on track.”
O’Donnell said it’s “a shame” that the Republican Party — which backed Castle — reportedly does not intend to spend money on her campaign.
“I was ahead in the general election according to Rasmussen, before this Republican cannibalism started. So if they were serious about winning we can repair the damage done and move forward.”
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