By now you’ve heard the news: the woman who is not a witch thinks Mitt Romney should be the next President of the United States. And Romney is happy to have the backing of Christine O’Donnell, blasting out her endorsement to his supporters Tuesday night.
This makes O’Donnell the second controversial conservative figure Romney has touted in the past week, as he tries to cast himself as the reliable conservative against the surging Newt Gingrich. Last Friday, Ann Coulter popped up in a Romney radio ad aimed at boosting his electability argument. O’Donnell’s not in any Romney advertising so far, but she did make the TV rounds on his behalf (to varying degrees of success.)
It’s another indication that the increasingly bitter primary fight for Republican voters is making it tougher for Romney to steer clear of controversy before the general election, which seemed to be his strategy before Newtmentum. O’Donnell did not emerge from her losing Delaware Senate bid in a good light last year, and it’s doubtful that she’ll do much for him should he pull out the nomination in the end.
In fact, it’s doubtful she’ll do much for him in the primary either. A couple weeks ago, Iowa tea partiers were anticipating O’Donnell’s Romney endorsement and quickly severing whatever remaining ties they had with her because of it.
Those ties were tenuous at best in the first place. When O’Donnell was scheduled to attend an Iowa rally with Sarah Palin in August, the event descended into total chaos after organizers tried to uninvite her over concerns that her appearance was not “in the best interest of the movement.”
So, yeah, not exactly the kind of person you’d expect the man who’s running on not being a bomb thrower to embrace publicly. Democrats certainly seemed happy about it — they sent out O’Donnell’s endorsement of Romney to reporters within minutes of the Romney campaign’s announcement.
So, as with Coulter, we see Romney tying himself to a conservative figure that could be a real problem in the general election. It’s a sign of how hard Romney has pivoted from his general election-friendly message so far to a damn-the-torpedos primary push since Newt has blown up.