Returning the favor for his endorsement of her Senate campaign against Chris Coons, Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell threw her support behind Mitt Romney’s campaign in an appearance on Fox News Tuesday night.
O’Donnell told Fox News host Sean Hannity she was endorsing Romney, in part, because of his executive experience as a former governor of Massachusetts. The endorsement may come as a surprise to some who see Romney as more of an “establishment” candidate as opposed to the Tea Party. O’Donnell defeated long time Delaware Congressman Michael Castle by painting him as a RINO (Republican In Name Only) in last fall’s Republican primary in the Senate race. But she defended Romney as a true anti-establishment guy, pointing to his early endorsement of Tea Party candidates, including her, in previous years.
“Look at Governor Romney…one of the first ones in on Scott Brown, got behind Nikki Haley, Marco Rubio, me. So this says a lot. The courage and conviction it takes to get behind anti-establishment candidates speaks volumes,” O’Donnell said.
In an interview on CNN this morning, O’Donnell countered criticism of Romney as inconsistent, telling host Carol Costello, “That’s one of the things that I like about him, because he’s been consistent since he changed his mind. I think that he’s humble enough to say ‘I don’t always have the right answers.”
Even before announcing her endorsement, O’Donnell says she was hearing from Tea Party supporters urging her to get behind other candidates like Ron Paul. But she says it’s critical for Tea Party members to support whoever ends up as the GOP nominee, or else they risk losing their influence over the process. “The passion that propels the Tea Party could be our undoing, if we get so hard-headed that we’re not willing to unite around the nominee,” O’Donnell told Hannity in a rare display of criticism for the movement that propelled her to success over Castle in last year’s primary.
O’Donnell did go on the offensive against one Republican candidate, telling CNN, “The Tea Party, I don’t think, should be behind Newt at all. I would understand if they were flocking behind Michelle Bachman, but Newt Gingrich…has been inconsistent and unreliable.”
O’Donnell says she’d like to make appearances for the Romney campaign, but she admits, “I’m not so arrogant as to think that my endorsement is going to make or break his candidacy.” As for the future, it looks like Delaware voters could be seeing a return of candidate O’Donnell. When asked by Hannity if she would run for office again, O’Donnell answered, “Most likely, probably.”