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. Guess Who

    What is driving the Tea Party is more a disdain of Obama than love of country. The results in the New York governor race tell it all. The so called God fearing conservatives selected a person who apparently is morally decayed, but he showed them he hated Obama a lot more than Lazio. If Obama is to be defeated, beat him as a good boxer would by knocking him out rather than hitting low and biting. A good fair fight will be appreciated and better governance will be the result.

    In the end I think God is confused.

    September 15, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  2. once upon a horse

    could it be that some of the GOP memebers are seeing stuff that a lot of Dems and the left have been saying about them all along. Rove clashing with Ms. O'D, DeMint clashing with the GOP establishment all about which direction the party is going. The far right and Tea Party bunch is going to ruin the GOP and the Democrats and others may wind up the better for it.

    September 15, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. Duck Fallas

    I guess I'm stupid and I don't love my country. I hate myself.

    Thanks for setting me straight, Senator DikMint.

    September 15, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. oskar

    Mr. DeMint, if cutting spending and borrowing is your party new mantra, then where were you when Reagan and Bush the Lesser doubled the national debt from their presidential predecessors each time and Bush the Lesser had borrowed money from the Chinese to fund two simultaneous wars? You don't know your own party (GOP) history and are trying to rewrite it just like Karl Rove is now trying. We will not fall for this scam again.
    Shame on the GOP for getting us into this fix and now you want the helm again? BS!!

    September 15, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  5. Flora

    He talks as if Bush and his cohorts did nothing for 8 years to get Obama's administration into this mess. Why not fess up, take responsibility instead of blaming others. Childish to say the least.

    September 15, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. JOhn

    ""Americans who live in Delaware love their country and they're not stupid."

    You better hope not, stupid is the republican parties base.

    September 15, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. Can't We All Just Get Along?

    But the American people took back their government when Bush was gone and we elected an intelligent man like President Obama who understands that we have a Constitution, what it's for and how important it is.

    If these GOPers are wanting to "take back the government," then that means they want to steal it from the American people and return it to the neo-fascist regime that Bush and his cronies implemented for eight long years.

    September 15, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. NVa Native

    After the Repubs have terrorized its base for so many years, their base has turned into psychotic beast that is now terrorizing the GOP!!

    Natural consequences are a wonderful thing.

    September 15, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Paul from Phoenix

    Good for him. It is time for all establishment candidates to get the boot, regardless of party affiliation.

    September 15, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. Crazy Harry

    I suppose DeMint would know who is stupid, since he is an ignoramus himself.

    September 15, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. dAvid, CA

    O'Donnell has already revealed herself as a Beck-believing loon who parrots the same paranoid rubbish that fool pedals all day long. Thank god Demint is right about the people of Delaware not being stupid enough to elect a fraud like O'Donnell.

    September 15, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. AJ

    DeMint is part of the "establishemt" he so denigrates how he can claim to be anything other is laughable.

    September 15, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. Joe Gaines

    Who is DeMint going to take back the government from the 2% rich who pay no taxes or the black man who is President its kinda hard to steal from yourself , someone tell me how do you take something back you already own did I miss something

    September 15, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. margaret

    I think the people who are voting for teabagger backed candidates are idealistic folks that aren't disposed to vote for dems but aren't exactly crazy about the mess the repubs got the country into. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The baggers may not get what they hope for, but it is promising to see that some people still feel that the system is responsive to their votes.

    September 15, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. BlackUSAguy

    Demitt wants to HIDE the party name because he thinks that people are stupid enough to vote for the GOP without realiizing that they did. He wants the public to think of the GOP as somebody who is on their side and not as Tea Party and GOP. PEOPLE ARE NOT STUPID, DEMINT. People knows the difference between a democrat and a republican. This is a plot to steal moderate votes for the right-extreme party.

    September 15, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Senators like Sen. Demented is what's wrong with the Senate. Their whole goal is for the President to fail. Well, they've failed miserably in trying to do so. Your lunatic right wing candidates will lose in the general election. Thank you for your part in the Death of the GOP Sen. Demented.

    September 15, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. don

    All Republican will fll in line. It's all about the power.

    September 15, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. Vic of New York

    Jim, please stop lying to the American People. What the mutant Conservative want to do is set up a TOTALITARIAN GOVERNMENT that will criminalize consensual sex between non-married partners ( forget gay partners) and makes masturbation into a misdemeanor – these are Christine O'Donnell's words. You will to GAS CHAMBER MUSLIMS and non-Christians and turn the United States into a Religious theocracy run by Conservative Christian Ministers. Jews will be tolerated, because Conservative Christians believe that "God" will come to Earth after ALL the Jews have been corralled into Israel. The new "United Christian States" envisioned by Conservatives like Glen Beck will wage preemptive "holy wars" against Muslim countries – thus bloating the government with an expanded military establishment and saddling the population with unprecedented debt. EVERYONE KNOWS what Conservatives want. It's time for people to begin to connect the dots and see the encroaching danger of a Totalitarian Conservative Government. "Freedom" is the bogus propaganda of Totalitarian Governments – just like "Big Brother" in Orwell's "1984"

    September 15, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. Ryan

    Christine O'Donnell is – ON RECORD – of the belief that masturbation is immoral and equates to cheating in a marriage. She is a complete nut job.

    Clearly no one has done their research on her and her psycopathic racist rants either.

    September 15, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. Cindy Merrill

    Actually, neither the GOP or the Democrats are right on this one: We ( Tea Party Members) are Anti-Incumbant, at least for now, anyway. If a US House member or a Senator has served more than 8 years in office, chances are, they're beholden to special interest groups, political committes and their party's fundraising: The average voter no longer matters, except during the election cycle.
    So Democrats had better not order the bubbly just yet because their incumbants are in trouble also.

    September 15, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. debbie

    The problem is that most Americans are MODERATE, not right-wing extremists like the Tea Party people.

    September 15, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  22. Bubba

    The so-called "Tea Party" is being used by extreme right wing members of the GOP, like DeMint, to try to rebrand the Republican party. By renaming and rebranding they hope the voters will not notice that the same folks championing the "Tea Party" are the same folks that elected the government that ran amock fiscally from 2000 to 2008. But when they hand the reigns it was ok. They did not say a word about borrowing and spending then, they even defended it. Where was the outrage then? The outrage today is politically manifactured by right-wing rhetoric and propaganda to try to allow GOP and the conservatives dupe the public and evade responsibility for their dismal failure in leadership and ideas. Unfortunately, it looks like its working. Although they are clearly inept when it comes to policies and ideas, the GOP and Tea Party team are genius when it comes to manipulating the American electorate. However the truth, like the sun and moon, cannot be long hidden.

    September 15, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  23. Eimerd

    DeMint is lucky enough that his ancestors moved to the US, cause if he would be Dutch politician he would not stand a chance to be elected.

    September 15, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. tony

    So, candidates must have no individuality? that's what demint says

    September 15, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. sonny chapman

    "Take it back"; Code language that you feel someone has something that you feel is YOURS. Greedy Repubs. hated Bill Clinton because he took THEIR Presidency. And now Obama & the Dems. have taken THEIR power & they want it back–something awful !

    September 15, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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