Nightly News | September 15, 2010
WILLIAMS: Good evening.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: The tea party is for real, in case anyone had any doubts. And within the Republican Party today, you could see some veteran politicians adjusting to that idea after watching a few establishment politicians go down to defeat last night. There were primary elections last night in a number of important places and races, the message of voter discontent in the status quo loud and clear. And while that was last night's result, and November is something else entirely, lots of people awoke to a new political reality today. But there's a lot of that going around, starting in Delaware , where our own Kelly O'Donnell starts us off tonight. Kelly , good evening.
If there's a lesson from last night, here it is: Good evening, Brian . Tonight both Democrats and tea party supporters are excited about the same big upset here, each believing it can help their separate causes; while Republican officials in this state and nationally are trying to figure out how to win with a candidate they did not want. Up early to face a rush of national attention and new scrutiny.
KELLY O'DONNELL reporting: So that's the message...
Ms. CHRISTINE O'DONNELL: Tea party conservative Christine O'Donnell 's Senate primary victory defied the Republican Party regulars who had openly mocked her. Even today, no congratulations from her GOP opponent.
O'DONNELL: He won't endorse me. He said, 'She has Governor Palin . Why does she need Mike Castle ?'
Ms. O'DONNELL: Her family and friends paused for a prayer as she made the media rounds.
O'DONNELL: Thank you, thank you. That's -- it was an exciting night last night.
Ms. O'DONNELL: Tea party upsets like hers have triggered a Republican Party civil war.
O'DONNELL: I am perplexed about what's going on with Karl Rove .
Ms. O'DONNELL: Bush political strategist Karl Rove insists Republicans will lose the seat because O'Donnell has said, quote, "nutty things."
O'DONNELL: If he worked as hard for me as he is against me, then I have no doubt we can win.
Ms. O'DONNELL: Critics claim O'Donnell has taken extreme positions on social and moral issues, advocating abstinence and saying that viewing pornography was like cheating on your spouse.
O'DONNELL: That was a long time ago. I'm in my 40s now. I've matured in a lot of my positions, and a lot of the way that I present my beliefs. I am a practicing Catholic .
Ms. O'DONNELL: Democratic officials labeled her ultra right wing, too conservative for Delaware . But Vice President Joe Biden told MSNBC 's Rachel Maddow Democrats should not be overconfident about winning his old seat.
O'DONNELL: I think that in my state, this new Republican candidate is going to have an awful lot of money. I think you're going to see it pouring in, and...
Vice President JOE BIDEN: Analysts say Delaware Republican leaders were so focused on calculating a general election win that they misjudged the anger channeled by O'Donnell .
O'DONNELL: To simply shun a candidate who did win the Republican endorsement in Delaware , I think is counterproductive toward that end.
Professor SAM HOFF (Delaware State University): Today, a sudden turnaround as national GOP officials warmed to O'Donnell and donated to her fledgling campaign.
O'DONNELL: I look forward to electing Christine , the next senator from the state of Delaware .
Mr. MICHAEL STEELE (Republican National Committee Chairman): In New Hampshire , the tight Senate GOP primary wasn't over until this afternoon. Kelly Ayotte , endorsed by Sarah Palin and party officials, narrowly overcame a more conservative activist. And New Hampshire 's Democrat in the Senate race is an incumbent, Congressman Paul Hodes . Here in Delaware , O'Donnell will face a local official, county executive Chris Coons . And because O'Donnell 's win was so unexpected and she's never held office before, so many of her public views and comments and positions are just being fully
O'DONNELL: Kelly O'Donnell starting us off from Wilmington tonight. Kelly , thanks.
vetted now. Brian: