Nightly News | September 20, 2010
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Forty-three days to go to be exact before those midterm elections. The tea party , as you may know, getting all the buzz, a lot of attention from the press, and it has the established parties worried for different and separate reasons. Also means a lot of new scrutiny for some new candidates, like Delaware Republican Christine O'Donnell . Our own Kelly O'Donnell reports.
KELLY O'DONNELL reporting: Delaware 's tea party star Christine O'Donnell dismissed the sudden flow of old TV appearances as a vain distraction from real issues.
Ms. CHRISTINE O'DONNELL: I dabbled into witchcraft. I never joined a coven. But I did. I did. Unidentified Man Wait a minute. You were a witch?
O'DONNELL: Comedian Bill Maher 's show was taped just before Halloween 11 years ago. O'Donnell says that was about high school. Ms. O'DONNELL I hung around people who were doing these things.
O'DONNELL: In front of voters last night, she tried to turn witchcraft into a punchline.
Ms. O'DONNELL: There's been no witchcraft since. If there was, Karl Rove would be a supporter now.
O'DONNELL: Today, Rush Limbaugh said O'Donnell 's past is getting unfair scrutiny.
Mr. RUSH LIMBAUGH: We know more about Christine O'Donnell right now than we know about Obama .
O'DONNELL: Today, the president said the tea party should offer answers, not just anger.
President BARACK OBAMA: The challenge, I think, for the tea party movement is to identify specifically what would you do .
O'DONNELL: Democrats focused their fire on O'Donnell 's finances.
Unidentified Woman: O'Donnell spends money she doesn't have.
O'DONNELL: This year O'Donnell paid the IRS more than $11,000 in back taxes owed from 2005 .
O'DONNELL: Today a watchdog group accused O'Donnell of misusing funds from an earlier campaign. In a sworn affidavit, a former campaign aide said O'Donnell spent campaign donations on personal expenses, including rent, gas and meals. The O'Donnell campaign denies those allegations, and says they take very seriously the quote "sanctity of donations." Analysts say this year many voters aren't as interested in candidates' background.
Mr. STUART ROTHENBERG (Political Analyst): I think they're paying less attention to the personal experiences, credentials, qualities, and looking more at just, 'Will this person shake things up?'
O'DONNELL: And rattling the establishment has become the campaign promise of 2010 . Kelly O'Donnell, NBC News, Washington.