September 15th, 2010
02:21 PM ET
4 years ago

Facing backlash, DeMint has message for GOP

Sen. Jim DeMint said Wednesday he doesn’t think Tea Party backed candidates will spoil the GOP’s chances for gaining a majority.
Sen. Jim DeMint said Wednesday he doesn’t think Tea Party backed candidates will spoil the GOP’s chances for gaining a majority.

Washington (CNN) - Republican Senator Jim DeMint conceded to CNN that he is trying to send a message to the GOP establishment by backing conservative candidates like Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, but rejects concerns that his moves could rob the GOP of the Senate majority.

"The GOP establishment is out," DeMint said in an interview in his Senate office, "what we're going to do is help the American people take back their government, and I hope the Republican Party will be the party that carries that banner."

DeMint was an early supporter of O'Donnell, a candidate many Republicans did not want, because they fear she is too conservative to win in a blue state like Delaware.

DeMint conceded that it will be "tougher" for O'Donnell to win than it would have been for her defeated, moderate opponent, Rep. Mike Castle, but he also argued that "Americans who live in Delaware love their country and they're not stupid."

"We're at the edge of a cliff of financial disaster in our country. I think the terms of moderate or conservative really trivialize something. The stakes are too high to use those terms. This is really a difference between survival and bankruptcy as a nation. People of Delaware understand that New Hampshire all over the country so I think this year is going to be different," said DeMint.

"They're not going to be looking for a candidate who is kind of mushy and you can't tell the difference between him and Nancy Pelosi," he said.

Despite his efforts to send a message to the GOP establishment, he says he still supports his own Senate GOP leadership.

"Mitch McConnell is a great leader I think what he needs is a good team around him so he can move us forward and John Cornyn is a great friend and a great conservative and I think they've made the best decisions they could about who they thought could win the election. but America has changed. there is an awakening that's going on that has inspired people who have never been involved with politics to take a sign and go out and stand in the street and say no more," said DeMint.

Before the interview, a GOP source told CNN they were frustrated with DeMint because he was pushing for purity over practical – that by backing someone like O'Donnell with less of a chance to win, he is jeopardizing GOP goals, like repealing health care reform.

DeMint scoffed at that.

"We've got to avoid this idea that we can get anyone who calls themselves a republican even if they don't vote with Republicans. That's not what Americans want. I don't think that's what our party leaders want," he said.

With DeMint's help, Conservative candidates in states like Kentucky and Colorado have defeated the Republicans the national party considered more electable against Democrats in the general election.

DeMint insisted those conservative candidate are faring better in the polls than people had anticipated.

"I think if you talk to [NRSC Chair] John Cornyn or [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell…and they now look at our candidates like Pat Toomey and Marco Rubio and Rand Paul and Ken Buck they're all ahead in the polls because America is really ready for a Republican who is very clear. That we need to cut this spending and borrowing," said DeMint.


Filed under: 2010 • Jim DeMint
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Bob, Virginia

    That's right Jim, and because they love America and are not stupid, they will vote for Coons and not the nutty con artist O'Donnell.

    September 15, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. Ken, AZ

    I hope and pray that a majority of the American people aren't stupid enough to elect idiots like these the ruin, errr run our country. There is something seriously wrong with DeMint.

    September 15, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. Angus McDugan

    Republicans better back her. Otherwise they will show that they are not truly conservative. The people voted for her so they need to back her 100%. Do they not want the senate seat?

    September 15, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  4. Georgia, Joe

    Jim DeMint is correct that the people of Delaware and hopefully many other parts of the Country aren't stupid. Hopefully, by election day, they will figure out how really dangerous DeMint and his followers, like Rubio, Buck, Miller, Paul and O'Donnell, are to this nation.

    September 15, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. vic, Nashville TN

    Another Misinformation Pennsylvania, Florida and Kentucky independent polls shows Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul their leading with in margin of error (tight race )

    We can’t predict PA or Fl anything will happen Kentucky GOP candidate should have double digit lead

    September 15, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. June in Chicago

    Thank you Jim. You keep plugging away getting your nut-cases ready to run and the Democrats will walk all over them in November. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    September 15, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. shawn

    Ummmm, the chances of the GOP taking control of the Senate are O-V-E-R. These nutball Teabags are unelectable to anybody who isn't a deranged right-wing Republican primary voter. So thanks Dummies! Thanks for helping Democrats!

    September 15, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  8. Tulsa

    Hey Demint, We are ALL Americans and no, we're not stupid. We voted Republicans out and we, the people, voted the President in.

    You right wing idiots may not like it, but the people DID speak. We were fed up with the Republican party and it's lies so we voted in the Democrats. Your constant cries of "NO!" have proven that you are not fit to be in the halls of Congress.

    September 15, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. BeverlyNC

    Someone needs to take DeMint out of his seat. He is a southern racist crackpot who has promoted violence among tea baggers and made disgusting slanderous remarks about President Obama.

    DeMint is NO leader and he has done NOTHING for the People of SC. If the majority black population would get out and vote – we get could rid of this dirt bag.

    It would nice to have one less hate-filled Republican in Congress.

    September 15, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. kay

    This country is in big trouble if more him are elected.

    September 15, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. SayWhat

    Mr. DeMint, you are living in a fantasy world if you think that the American people will follow the march of the radical right to fascism.
    It looks like you and the GOP are headed for your own Waterloo and you guys are the French!

    September 15, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. Billy Bob

    and what makes this bigoted S.C. extremist different from the "established GOP," except the "established GOP" used to cooperate once in a while. Damit offers years more of obstruction.

    September 15, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Debbie

    Your right DeMint, we're not stupid, this is why she will never win the senate seat in Delaware. We do not need outsiders telling us who to vote for. Remember this "we are not stupid".

    September 15, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Dave

    DeMint's message is very simple: The GOP has no room for moderates, compromise, or intelligent thought. We are all about ourselves and all we want is power. If you aren’t with us, you’re against us.

    The rhetoric and bluster coming out of idiots like DeMint has Lincoln rolling over in his grave.

    September 15, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. diridi

    This guy is like Eric Cantor, another idiot....I think, we need to pass anti-earmarks bill, anti-derivatives bill, and anti-lobby bill and senate term limits bill....these are long overdue...to straighten this nation....for these some one like Obama needs to come...I am so glad, we passed Health care reform and Financial Regu. reform....

    September 15, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. johnRJ08

    DeMint is just another southern bigot who has managed to acquire political clout. He is supporting Tea Party candidates who are woefully unprepared and intellectually inadequate to hold any public office, yet he tries to excuse that support by saying he's just trying to send a message. How about supporting the best candidates, rather than seeing every election through a political prism.

    September 15, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. Snow

    You tell em Senator, you are a true conservative and come November 2010 your conservative ranks will grow as we weed out moderate who vote with obama and RINO's from the ranks.

    September 15, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  18. rdepontb

    DeMint knows what a sad bunch of wimps the "Republican Establishment" really is. He's thrown them all under the bus.

    It will be this way for the Establishment; the junior senators and congresspeople will not want to wait forever for committee assignments or high-viz projects. They will be more than willing to help out "their own kind" and push the oldsters aside!

    They've done it several times already, without anyone even seeing it in time.

    September 15, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. oskar

    If people in Delaware really love their country as DeMInt claims, they will not vote for this Palin clone. They, and the rest of us, don't need more ignorance in government and don't need her Taliban attitudes.
    The GOP, for its claim on less government, would now have someone look at your sex habits and report to whom? For a party to claim loss of freedoms, this dingo will have the right wing religious deeply entrenched. We are not a theocracy and should never be one. They are all failures worldwide.
    What else is her platform? Does anyone know? Another slogan driven candidate. The GOP is lost and clueless.

    September 15, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. Bertina

    I thought the govt was bad for America.

    September 15, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. Whatever

    O'Donnell complained about negative ads... she better not go negative otherwise the DEM candidate should come out with "guns blazing" to use a gun reference that the Tea Party is so famous for using. I'm going to give some $ to the DEM in that state. For people that are screaming about having no money people sure are giving to political campaigns as well as big corporations too!!!!

    September 15, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  22. Steve- Illinois

    If the GOP plans on gaining ground by campaigning against candidates elected by Republicans, then they are a huge part of the problem! We need to elect candidates that will represent their constituents first, and foremost! These career politicians who think of themselves first, party second, and constituents somewhere further down the list, need to start planning their retirement!

    September 15, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. LOVESIRONY

    that "Americans who live in Delaware love their country and they're not stupid." like my voters in South Carolina

    September 15, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. larry

    Jim Demented and other members of "The White Annoying Teabagger" party want to "take back their government". But the fact is that they really want to create a new goverment of fear, bigotry and hate, not just the fear government of the republican party. Jim Demented is a piece of dreck.

    September 15, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. JonDie

    The Tea Party candidates are lunatics who think by pushing the U.S., into anarchy they can come to power.

    September 15, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
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