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. Cindy

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

    Democrats in Delaware are Americans who love their country too. And of course they're not stupid.

    September 15, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. Jim in San Mateo

    No, the people of Delaware are not stupid, Senator DeMint. That is why they will vote to have a Democrat represent them in the Senate because of all the idiotic things that the Tea Party and Christine O'Donnell have said they would like to do.

    Government is not the problem. To much spending and to much deficit are the problems. We as a nation have to live within our means. That does not mean tossing the poor into the street, it does not mean reserving health care for those who can pay the most and most of all, it does not mean acting like spoiled children when you have been sent to Washington to do a job for the American people, not a political party.

    So put a sock in it, get some courage to be a leader, and make some compromises and get the Nation's business done instead of grandstanding for ideological purity.

    Any idiot can stamp their feet and whine about how they're not getting everything they want. That's easy. A real leader compromises and works out a solution. That's hard work, but real leaders never shy away from hard work.

    September 15, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. doug

    The Democrats really should not comment on something they know nothing about.

    Republicans are individualists, not like you, one party under George Soro's big umbrella of hate, division, and control.

    September 15, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. steven harnack

    If Republicans were every serious about cutting spending they would push to cut defense spending by at least half but then they've never seen a war that they didn't love. War and the ones making the weapons are the Republicans reason for being.

    September 15, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. mike

    yes, let's start cutting spending with S.C. this state has been on the federal dole for ..generations, maybe close to a century. so, let's get them off the dole along with Miss, AL, AK and all the states that only take federal tax dollars. When DeMint disparages Pelosi someone should remind him that the people of CA are supprting SC, a state that doesn't tax itself enough at the state level to pay for it's roads or schools. I think it's time for the people who elect Jim DeMint and others like him to get a taste of life without Federal handouts.

    September 15, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. Mitch

    Dear Mr. DeMint....

    Take back our government? We did that in 2008. Since then you and your party have shown Americans that politics is more important than fixing the economy, that fear and hate is more acceptable than cooperation and hope, that the health of a person is no longer as important as the health of your donor tally.

    To the GOP and Mr. DeMint. We don't need our government to be taken back. We need Americans to be more important to you than re election. Your party created the disaster we've faced. Please don't think we want that back.

    September 15, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. Anita in AZ

    By definition conservatives are for small government, knowing that how well can they govern? History tells us how well they govern. All for corporate not the people. Sacrifice the middle class all 98% of us for their profit margin. Republicans have been feeding that machine since Reagan. Record profits now but uncertain about putting people back to work.

    September 15, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. Former Republican, now an Independent

    DeMint and his extremist partners is what is wrong with the republican party. The nation resides just to the right of moderate, not off the deep end with these "jihadist" neo-cons!

    September 15, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. Ed L

    FOOL.... we the American people just got our government back 2 years ago after the 8 rotten years of FASCIST BUSH.

    September 15, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  10. mike

    New rule: a state can only be on the federal dole for 10 years and then they get cut. That is what I call fiscal responsibility.

    September 15, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. Fair_is-Fair

    He is so right, he is the stupid one!!

    September 15, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. Jackalope

    DeMint wants to re-make America in the image of South Carolina. Thanks but no thanks, Jim, one South Carolina is more than enough.

    September 15, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  13. Jacob

    this guy is a creep!

    September 15, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  14. Marge

    If the republicans hadn't programmed the electric voting machines so that stupid Greene would win the Democratic primary, Demint would have had opposition and someone to vote for. He sure as Hades must have been afraid of Rawls to get them to program those darn old voting machines. But then that's what republicans do...they just can't help it.

    September 15, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. Robert

    The GOP and the Tea Party are toast in November.

    September 15, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  16. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Keep going Demented. Wingnuts eating wingnuts at just the right time.

    September 15, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  17. Jeff

    Yaay for Jim DeMint, the Democrats best friend! :)

    September 15, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  18. Orlando Patriot

    Don't worry Jim.......Support those of us who want smaller government and less government spending will prevail. The country KNOWS that we as a country cannot survive another 5 or 10 years with this "out of control" government. We keep saying THE GOVERNMENT WORKS FOR US – WE DON'T WORK FOR THE GOVERNMENT!! If the Republicans want to be a part of our Conservative movement then welcome aboard. If you do not support the Conservative movement then the Republican Party as we know it is on the verge of extinction.......

    September 15, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  19. water bearer

    ""what we're going to do is help the American people take back their government"

    Stop pretending that you're speaking for "the American people", DeMint! You are speaking tor the 25% of the American people who are TeaPublicans . . . . 25% and that's ALL! The VAST MAJORITY of the American people reject the Tea Party and what it stands for. Or, some of them may support some of the views of the Tea Party but the fact that all of the candidates so far put forth by the Tea Party are right-wing-extremist-NUTS scare the hell out of them!

    September 15, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  20. PacificView

    Since O'Donnell has been rejected by the RNC does that make her a RINO? Who gets to decide this? It's getting confusing.

    "Mitch McConnell is a great leader",... thanks Sen DeMint for a little afternoon levity.

    September 15, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. CHUCK

    Senator DeMint, are you saying that if the citizens of the great state of Delaware do not vote Republican, they are stupid and do not love their country? Is that what you are saying?

    September 15, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  22. NC

    Let the Games Begin.

    September 15, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. Sam

    Here's a question for all the people who are smarter than me: If Republicans do not believe in Government and its (perceived) intrusion etc...why do they want to run for office...to be a Maytag repairman? What exactly are they planning to do when they are in office? According to them Govt should'nt tell anyone what to do; Govt should'nt HELP anyone because everyone is unto himself. So, why have a government at all?

    September 15, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. Sam Ellison

    So the guy that's been in government for 11 years is railing against the establishment? And the Tea Party supporters are buying this?!?

    September 15, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. leanderjim

    This becomes more and more interesting. If the Republicans keep shooting themselves in the foot, their political future looks dimmer and dimmer. How much further into the wilderness are they willing to go before they realize that the mess the tea party, social conservatives and just dim witted nut cases Fox TV has spawned is ruining conservatism.

    September 15, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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