Photograph by Win McNamee/Getty Images.
Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell has endorsed Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination.
The Delaware Republican defeated a more established (and much more moderate) candidate for her party's nomination for the Senate in 2010 before losing in the general election to a Democrat. She is perhaps more well-known, however, for her "I'm not a witch" campaign spots and her occasionally confrontational press relations.
"I am endorsing Governor Romney because I trust him to do the right thing," she said. "He has the strength of conviction to do the right thing regardless of opposition. America needs a president who is not a Washington Insider. America needs a president who hasn't been playing the game for the last three decades."
O'Donnell made her endorsement of Romney official during an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday night, and continued her mini-media blitz Wednesday with additional cable news interviews. For his part, Romney issued a statement saying he was happy to have O'Donnell's backing, calling her a "leader in the conservative movement" who agrees with him on the dangers of "excessive government."
"I hope the fact that I stood up to the liberal establishment within my own party gives me the bona fides among conservatives to say this," O'Donnell told ABC News. "I find the tone and nastiness of some of the things circulating around the Internet about Romney extremely offensive."
O'Donnell also took aim at the man now seen as Romney's chief rival for the nomination, saying that her fellow Tea Partiers shouldn't be fooled into supporting Newt Gingrich. "People are trying to paint Newt Gingrich as the anti-establishment candidate, which I think is funny because in a lot of the Tea Party vs. establishment campaigns in 2010, Newt Gingrich was on the side of the establishment," she said on CNN. "The Tea Party, I don't think, should be behind Newt at all."
Still, as Politico points out, O'Donnell's endorsement rollout didn't go off without a hitch. During her CNN appearance on Wednesday morning, she inadvertently highlighted something that Team Romney likely would preferred went unsaid, namely his perceived status as a flip-flopper. "That's one of the things that I like about him -- because he's consistent since he changed his mind," O'Donnell said.