September 20th, 2010
09:02 AM ET

Mike Pence on GOP message, O'Donnell, 'witchcraft' remark

The Republican field for 2012 is already crowded. And this morning, there's another name to consider: Indiana Rep. Mike Pence.

He won a presidential straw poll at the values voter summit this weekend - a meeting that raised some questions about the marriage of the Tea Party and traditional Christian conservatives. But what is on everyone's mind this morning is Christine O’Donnell.

Pence spoke to John Roberts and Candy Crowley on CNN's "American Morning" about those pressing GOP issues.

Crowley: Congressman, a question about Christine O’Donnell and all, the Republican choice for Senate out of Delaware. I'm sure you know that a new clip has come to the forefront showing her saying, well, she dabbled in witchcraft during high school. She's kind of pushed back and said, listen, who of us didn't hang around with questionable people in high school? But there have been other things about student loans and how she makes a living. Do you have any misgivings about O'Donnell as a candidate?

Pence: Oh, gosh. Look, you know, it's really something when Bill Maher becomes the vanguard of religion in America, isn't it? Welcome to the silly season. Look, you know, you ask me about last weekend and, you know, I don't think it was about me.

I don't think Delaware's about Christine O'Donnell. I don't think Alaska's about Joe Miller as much as the message. And I know there'll be this nitpicking and attempts to take things out of context. Certainly she has some explaining to do about that to her voters in Delaware.

But at the end of the day, what's bringing people out and creating a momentum for what could be real change in America is that the American people are tired of the borrowing, the spending, the bailouts and the takeovers, and they're looking for men and women that are willing to stand up and be counted and take on the establishment.

Roberts: Congressman, you said that Bill Maher is now the vanguard in the silly season. Obviously, he's having fun with this, he's a comedian. But other establishment Republicans have rung in on this, too. Karl Rove yesterday was very critical of Christine O'Donnell, saying she's talked about a lot of "nutty things," calling her background "checkered."

And there are serious questions raised about Miss O'Donnell's background, character, statements and previous actions. You said she needs to answer to the voters of Delaware. But do you have any questions? Or are you fully comfortable with everything you know about her?

Pence: Well, look, I don't vote in Delaware. Christine O’Donnell, I think -

Roberts: But at some point, you might have to work with her.

Pence: John, I think she was right yesterday to focus on communicating with her voters in Delaware about what she said on that. And, you know, I think over - again, I think we're in the silly season here. I think we're going to continue to see efforts - whether it's in Florida or in Alaska or in Nevada or in Delaware, or here in Michigan - where we got people like Tim Walberg, a strong conservative fighting to return to Congress from Battle Creek.

Look, you're going to see an effort, I think, by the left in this country to change the subject, to personalities away from the subject of the message, which is we've got to get this economy moving again. We've got to get spending under control, and that will require sending people to Washington, D.C., that have the courage to stand up to the status quo and to put our fiscal house in order.

Watch American Morning weekdays 6am to 9am ET. For the latest from American Morning click here.

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Scott

    People who insist the republicans are hypocrites but won't say democrats are hypocrites are not being honest with themselves. John Kerry who registers his multi-million dollar new boat in a neighboring state to avoid paying Massachusetts taxes,yet claims the rich should pay more...unless applied to him. Of course he changed his tune when caught but it doesn't mean much when you do it after having been caught. Charlie Rangel gets caught failing to pay taxes on income from properties he owns and takes nice vacations on lobbyist's dimes but claims we have to stop this practice. Dems are fighting for more campaign reform so excess funds can't be used to sway a race then they have Pelosi insist candidates who are not in trouble divert some of their funds to those in other races. More hypocrisy. The Dems will talk about how the financial and oil industries are "special interest groups" that are pushing their agenda and how bad that is. Those same democrats don't see labor unions, teacher unions, race-based groups are special interest groups pushing their own agendas to influence elections.

    Those democrats who think the hypocrisy isn't there on their side are dead wrong. Each side has massive hypocrisy going on and until these long entrenched representatives on both sides are swept away, it won't change. It hasn't despite 20 years of promises. They Tea party people may not have all the answers but it is the first time where I have felt the general idea of a group trying to get together at the grass-roots level to remind members of congress that they are supposed to work for us and not us have them live like royalty is starting to sound like not such a bad thing to me.

    September 20, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris87654

      to Scott – hypocrisy seems to have no political affiliation, but the problem is with those who are off-the-chart. Palin and O'Donnell (and now Pence) seem unable to construct a coherent sentence. And Republicans can't seem to come up with any decent ideas – only criticism of what's wrong (which I can do, but I want to elect someone who can fix this stuff). Republicans seem busy trying to APPEAR like they're cohesive, but the GOP and Tea Party have major fractures – on this point, the only thing the "lamestream" media is doing is confirming the gut feeling of any normal voter. The GOP needs to let go of the Palinian "rightwingnuts" by doing what they think is right, and let Palin take the brood to a splinter party (if Republicans are all extreme right, then so be it – they'll never be accepted by the majority of Americans). O'Donnell is so far off the chart that even Karl Rove says she's loco (his later "endorsement" for her was only something like "I always support the Republican candidate") – Karl may be in position to undo some of the divisiveness he started – the nutcases will never win a general election, but hypocrites can and always will.

      September 20, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Beyondmytwo

    Has anyone who is a moderate republican looked at the candidates that are coming out of the tea party? I really hope that republicans wake up and see what is going on here. do we really want to move this far to the right? give us your two cents at

    September 20, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris87654

      I'll check that link. There are MANY more quiet, moderate, and center right voters than there are loudmouth groupies which is why Palin et al will never win a general. Republican strategists HAVE to be thinking of how to deal with it – Palin will likely run just to feed her need for the spotlight, but strategists know it would be disastrous. And I just saw an article that said Pence was voted (by some group) to be the number one choice for president and VP – and then saw this and thought how he's like a male Sarah.

      September 20, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Keith Sillsbury

    Keep singing and dancing and mabe they'll forget about the question.

    September 20, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. termlimits

    Let the people of Delaware take care of it. The moron on HBO is a joke!

    September 20, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Scott

    I'm willing to overlook a checkered past for a little, okay let's say ANY, fiscal discipline. Didn't Bill Clinton smoke weed in his younger days? And about the student loans. Seriously, when did rich pigs like Karl Rove ever have to worry about student loans? It was the old Republicans that were spending hogs under Bush. And it got even worse with the new Democrats under Obama. Stop worrying about all the petty crap and get people in office who give a damn about the rest of us and not just their political cronies.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bama

    Well Mike Pence sure knows how not to answer a question. I guess people like that. Funny when I am ask a question, I can't skirt around it and give no answer.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. avva

    I don't think that guy should be saying anything bad to her if she practised witchcraft for real. its scary stuff and even if she did it for not very long who knows what maight have gotten in. she could have a bad power

    September 21, 2010 at 3:23 am | Report abuse |
  8. Elric (Yes, that's really my name)

    Quick note about the whole Witchcraft thing. Wicca is a recognized religion, with tax exempt status. Last I checked, the United States was a country of religious freedom, so that issue should hold no water.

    As for the rest about Miss O'Donnell...let the facts speak for themselves.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Elric (Yes, that's really my name)

    Quick note about the whole Witchcraft thing. Wicca is a recognized belief, with tax exempt status. Last I checked, the United States was a country of religious freedom, so that issue should hold no water.

    As for the rest about Miss O'Donnell...let the facts speak for themselves.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MARION

    Witchcraft will be O'Donnell's waterloo, as was Palin's waterloo. In order for witchcraft to work, the targeted person must, also, believe in witchcraft. Evil thoughts, words, and deeds always return upon the sender, many times more.

    September 27, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
1 2