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Last night Delaware Senate candidates Chris Coons and Christine O’Donnell debated live on primetime CNN (before cutting away to cover the ongoing miner rescues in Chile).

The most widely talked-about moment came when moderator Nancy Karibjanian of Delaware First Media asked O’Donnell about which recent Supreme Court rulings with which she disagreed. O’Donnell fumbled the question. Video and transcript are below.

KARIBJANIAN: Well, we’ve talked about the Supreme Court, and obviously a United States senator has the opportunity to determine in a way the make-up of that court. So what opinions of late that have come from our high court do you most object to?

O’DONNELL: Oh, gosh. Give me a specific one, I’m sorry.

KARIBJANIAN: Actually, I can’t, because I need you to tell me which ones you object to.

O’DONNELL: I’m very sorry. Right off the top of my head, I know that there are a lot, but I’ll put it up on my Web site, I promise you.

BLITZER: Well, we know you disagree with Roe versus Wade.

O’DONNELL: Yes, but that was — she said a recent one.

BLITZER: Well, that’s relatively recent.

O’DONNELL: She said, of late.

Yes, well, Roe versus Wade would not put the power — sorry, it’s 30 (ph)…

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: But since then, have there been any other…

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: … Supreme Court decisions?

O’DONNELL: Well, let me say, about Roe versus Wade, Roe versus Wade, if that were overturned, would not make abortion illegal in the United States, it would put the power back to the states.

BLITZER: But besides that decision, anything else you disagree with?

O’DONNELL: Oh, there are several, when it comes to pornography, when it comes to court decisions, not just Supreme Court, but federal court decisions to give terrorists Miranda-ized rights.

I mean, there are a lot of things that I believe that — this California decision to overturn Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, I believe that there are a lot of federal judges who are legislating from the bench.

BLITZER: That wasn’t the Supreme Court, it’s a lower court.

O’DONNELL: That was a federal judge — that’s what I said, in California.

O’Donnell’s campaign later clarified that she opposes the Supreme Court’s decision in the 2005 case Kelo v. City of New London, which in a 5-4 decision held that “the city’s taking of private property to sell for private development qualified as a ‘public use’ within the meaning of the takings clause.”

O’Donnell also defended herself against controversial comments she made on Bill Maher’s talk show “Politically Incorrect,” including a claim that she once dabbled in witchcraft and her belief that evolution is a myth.

“This election cycle should not be about comments I made on a comedy show over a decade and a half ago,” she said. In a similar vein, however, she attacked an article written by Coons in his college newspaper in which he described himself as a “bearded Marxist,” saying, “Forget the bearded Marxist comment, you writing an article saying that you learned your beliefs from an articulate, intelligent Marxist professor and that’s what made you become a Democrat, that should send chills up the spine of every Delaware voter.”

Coons defended the article as ironic.

It’s an article that I wrote as a senior the day of our commencement speech and the title and the content of that clearly makes it obvious that it was a joke. There was a group of folks who I had shared a room with, my roommates junior year, who are in the Young Republican Club and who thought when I returned from Kenya and registered as a Democrat that doing so was proof that I had gone all the way over to the far left end, and so they jokingly called me a bearded Marxist. If you take five minutes and read the article, it’s clear on the face of it, it was a joke. Despite that, my opponent and lots of folks in the right wing media have endlessly spun this. I am not now, nor have I ever been, anything but a clean-shaven capitalist.

So how did the candidates fare through the debate? Coverage has largely focused on O’Donnell, who worked to lower expectations on her performance. The debate would do little to change voters’ minds, Salon’s Steve Kornacki wrote, unless O’Donnell were “able to create some kind of breakthrough moment – or would Coons commit some kind of paralyzing gaffe?” Coons, Kornacki concludes, did not mess up in any meaningful way.

Coons was probably a bit too dismissive of O’Donnell at times, frequently prefacing his replies to her statements by shaking his head and marveling that “there’s just so much there” to respond to. Voters already see that O’Donnell as something of a lunatic; they don’t need Coons pointing it out to them over and over. But his stylistic sins were minor and he committed no major gaffes. Die-hard conservatives surely found plenty of ideological objections to Coons’ statements, but they’re already in O’Donnell’s camp.

Courtesy of the Washington Times

Slate’s Dave Weigel, a Delaware native, noted that he listened to the “over-played” debate and continues to be amazed that the national media is interested in a race where Coons has nearly a 20-point spread.

She’s a competent TV pundit who doesn’t really drill down into policy. Lo and behold, she tossed off a ton of TV lines without saying much about policy. Oh, yes, she spoke about it in soundbite terms, but at every moment where Coons or moderators asked her to take her stance to its logical conclusion, she wandered into Neverland. Really, 10 minutes after she was explaining that it was unfair to judge her on her financial record, she proposed more accountability from people who used emergency rooms because they didn’t have insurance. Or something.

I suppose that the Rise of the Tea Party candidate — and we could say the first one was Sarah Palin, really, as she was given national prominence by conservative bloggers and media — has led to debates with ultra-low expectations for those candidates. I imagine that Sharron Angle will fail to spontaneously combust, and thus be declared a surprise winner on points of her debate with Harry Reid.

The BBC said that O’Donnell’s sassiness could not overcome her shallow answers.

Ms O’Donnell’s sassy, everyday-girl appeal couldn’t obscure the lack of detail in her responses.

Nor could it compensate for her dumbfounded silence when asked to name a recent Supreme Court ruling she disagreed with.

But that might not matter in this election. She successfully touched on the talking points that have proved to resonate so powerfully with conservatives – repeatedly referring to the constitution, railing against “Obamacare” and accusing Mr Coons of being a Marxist.

Some call this “dog-whistle politics” – these kind of references hit a pitch, and speak a language that supporters hear differently, and respond to more strongly, than other constituencies. Ms O’Donnell appears to have mastered the technique.

The Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawick was confused by all the hype surrounding O’Donnell. “I tried to look past all the wild stuff said about her to see what it was about this candidate that led to her upset victory in the primary race, but I honestly couldn’t find any real takeaway. I wanted to see some honesty and new answers, but I saw nothing much to get excited about.” Nevertheless, Zurawick still liked her “better than the drab, smarmy guy she’s running against, Coons.”

Finally, the National Review’s Jim Geraghaty, despite not being a fan of O’Donnell, criticized Coons’ answers as unsurprising and banal and moderators Karibjanian and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer as in the tank for the Democrat.

I’m not inclined to agree with the positions of Democrat Chris Coons, but he struck me as terrible. I wondered if he felt a bit like Al Gore taking on Dan Quayle in 1992 or Joe Biden taking on Sarah Palin in 2008; the opponent was supposed to be a blithering idiot and anything less than a TKO would be a disappointment. But Coons seemed intent to play it safe, to the point where the local moderator, Schoolmarm McFavoritism, had to invite him to jump in twice. Several times he said he didn’t have the required time to answer the questions, and so he punted. His answers were pat, predictable, almost rote recitation of standard-issue Democratic talking points. As I said on Twitter, the generic ballot numbers in Delaware may be strangely relevant, since it seems Chris Coons is the Generic Democratic Candidate.

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For months, an anonymous hold in the senate (likely, most reports note, Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)) has blocked MIT economics professor Peter Diamond’s nomination to the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors.

“Professor Diamond is a skilled economist and certainly an expert on tax policy and on the Social Security system,” Shelby said July 28. “However, I do not believe he’s ready to be a member of the Federal Reserve Board. I do not believe that the current environment of uncertainty would benefit from monetary policy decisions made by board members who are learning on the job.”

President Obama even had to re-nominate Diamond, who once taught Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. It was looked even less likely that Diamond, along with two other Fed Board nominees and a host of further blocked nominations, would receive quick floor action.

Then Diamond won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science yesterday.

The Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the Nobels, said that the prize, which Diamond shared with Dale Mortenson of Northwestern University and Christopher Pisarides of the London School of Economics, was for the researchers’ exploration of “why it takes so long for people to find jobs, even in good economic times, and why so many people can be unemployed even when many jobs are available.”

The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn argued back in August that Diamond is eminently qualified for the Fed.

He’s among the top economists of his generation and, while he doesn’t specialize in monetary policy, he’s done groundbreaking work on the labor market and government pensions, two areas very much in the Fed’s purview. Besides, as Matthew Yglesias points out, three of the sitting governors aren’t even formal economists. Two of them are Republican appointees and none, as far as I know, aroused Shelby’s suspicions.

The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein writes that Shelby’s real objection to Diamond’s nomination is not entirely political in nature.

You can’t serve on the Federal Reserve Board before you serve on the Federal Reserve Board. Shelby’s argument against Diamond is cover for his actual objections against Diamond. One of those objections is simple partisan politics. But another, I’ve heard, is odder: Shelby hates behavioral economics.

This White House, as has been endlessly pointed out, is big on behavioral economics. See Peter Orszag, Jeff Liebman and Cass Sunstein for more on that. But the administration’s embrace of the discipline has provoked a response that the White House never anticipated. Republicans have grown suspicious of behavioral economics. And Diamond, it turns out, has done a fair amount of work in the field (for instance, here). Insofar as Shelby’s got an actual objection to Diamond, that’s it, and one of the things he wants is another hearing focusing on Diamond’s behavioral work.

Democrats are hoping Diamond’s Nobel win will help propel him through the confirmation process, but Shelby maintains his objection. “While the Nobel Prize for Economics is a significant recognition, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences does not determine who is qualified to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System,” he told Reuters.

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Most legislation has been sucked into the morass that is the pre-midterm congressional session, but at least one bill that will affect most Americans has gotten out. The Senate Wednesday passed by a voice vote the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, requiring broadcast and cable TV companies to air commercials at the same volume as the programs they support.

The CALM Act (get it?) is supposed to help cut down on complaints to the FCC about loud commercials, one of the top complaints to the nation’s broadcast regulators. “TV viewers should be able to watch their favorite programs without fear of losing their hearing when the show goes to a commercial,” Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York told the AP.

A few minor changes to the bill since it passed the House will require a re-vote there, but the House is in recess until after the November election and will thus not have a chance to vote on it then. The bill mandates the FCC adopt guidelines from the Advanced Television Systems Committee, a non-profit that develops standards for television, within a year, and begin enforcing it in two, so unfortunately there are a few more years before the blaring “Social Network” commercials startle you awake.

Although it seems like an open-and-shut case, not everyone seems to care, like crabby commentator Frank Robinson at the Warren Tribune Chronicle:

Have we as a society become so lazy we don’t even want to use the remote to adjust the volume? I remember watching TV when there was no remote, and you actually got up, walked across the room, and changed the channel and adjusted the volume. Wow. … What is especially puzzling in this case is that Congress is involved. Why? Elected officials have to have more important things to worry about.

John Abell over at Wired applauds the measure but notes that its effect is dwindling fast.

While this may have been a cause for national celebration in simpler times, the parade has largely moved on. We are now armed with the tools to ignore TV ads in the broadcast/cable/satellite realm — if ad aversion is your thing, do yourself a favor and buy a TiVo box, or at least rent your provider’s DVR. Many high-end entertainment systems already have the capacity to moderate volume on the fly. And perhaps more to the point, we are marching steadily (if still slowly) to a time-shifted, on-demand video universe where a) traditional programming is just a small slice of what you do with what you might still call your TV set and b) you don’t use a TV set at all to “watch TV.”

Furthermore, much of the ad action is taking place online at streaming video websites, outside the FCC’s scope.

Even Hulu Plus, which charges $10 a month if you can get an invite, has ads. They are more limited, but guess what? You can’t bypass them, at all. While you can pause and scrub forward and back on programming, you are a captive audience to the ads. Also, they are (in this reporter’s anecdotal experience, at least) louder than the programming, just like on the TV.

SmallGovTimes.com has a brief piece on the bill’s passage, but its headline is what’s intriguing: “Amidst economic turmoil, Senate finds time to limit commercial volume.” It’s not clear why the economy, even one as damaged as this, would or should prevent Congress from finding time to vote on small bills such as this. When, then, is it okay to begin passing non-commerce bills, after unemployment drops below a certain level? Until then should senators sit in their offices when not working on economic issues and think about new ways to create jobs?

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Yesterday Senate Democrats failed to garner enough votes to invoke cloture and prevent Republicans from filibustering a defense bill with several liberal riders, including a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Dream Act, which would pave the way for illegal immigrants with college degrees or military service to gain citizenship.

Courtesy of the Boston Globe

The bill was the last real chance Dems had of repealing DADT before the lame duck session or, even worse, the next congress, which could be controlled by the GOP and would therefore likely be hostile toward the measure.

Republicans noted yesterday that their opposition was generally not toward repealing the ban itself, but rather Democrats achieving a repeal by tacking it on to a defense spending bill. John McCain criticized the “blatant and cynical attempt to galvanize the Hispanic vote in regards to the DREAM Act, and also energize the gay and lesbian vote in the case of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’  Obviously we need a defense authorization bill. We need one very badly, and I hope that at some point we’ll address it.”

Gay rights groups, however, have placed plenty of blame on Barack Obama, Politico notes.

“We haven’t noticed any activism on this issue out of the White House at all,” said Alexander Nicholson of Servicemembers United. “It just goes to show what we’ve suspected all along: the White House never supported moving forward on this issue…..and was backed into a corner and jumped on the train as it was leaving the station.”

The New York Times is particularly damning of the 43 senators who voted to filibuster.

The two parties clashed on the number of amendments that Republicans could offer. Republicans wanted to add dozens of amendments, an obvious delaying tactic, while Democrats tried to block all but their own amendments. In an earlier time, the two sides might have reached an agreement on a limited number of amendments, but not in this Senate, and certainly not right before this election, when everyone’s blood is up even more than usual. …

History will hold to account every member of Congress who refused to end this blatant injustice.

The Washington Post declares “fairness will have to wait.”

In the end, both sides may have gotten what they wanted. Democrats can argue in campaign ads and rallies over the next several weeks that Republicans blocked funding for the troops in a spiteful move to prevent fairness in the military. Republicans can just as easily blame Democrats for sabotaging the defense bill by clinging tightly to an extreme liberal agenda. The only losers? Common sense, fairness for gay and lesbian service members and the rational policy of making the best use of all Americans who want to help defend the country.

Outside the Beltway’s Doug Mataconis tears apart both sides of the aisle.

There’s election year politics going on over this issue on both sides of the aisle, of course. After all, the Democrats could, and should, have kept the immigration bill separate from a bill dealing with the budget for the Department of Defense. Republicans, on the other hand, are resting their opposition to proceeding forward on repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell on the phony issue of a Joint Chiefs of Staff study that is concerned not with whether to repeal the rule, but how that repeal will be implemented once it becomes law. Considering that the language of the repeal specifically says it doesn’t go into effect until after the study is completed, the objections of Senators like John McCain on that ground are entirely without merit.

The Human Rights Campaign, however, remains positive and forward-thinking.

“We are in fact quite bullish that it can get done in the lame duck. It has to get done,” said HRC spokesman Fred Sainz. “Today’s loss was because of a lack of time on the amendments process. Senator Reid has no way to get the bill off the floor if he didn’t limit the number of amendments. We are very hopeful that both parties can find a way to introduce amendments and get repeal passed.”

Ed O’Keefe over at The Washington Post agreed with the HRC’s optimistic outlook.

Gay rights advocates vowed to keep pressure on the Senate, with some believing they will have enough votes to end the ban if senators votes on the compromise in December. Several moderate Republicans have said they would vote to end “don’t ask, don’t tell” only after they review a Pentagon study of how repealing the ban might impact troop readiness and morale. The study is due to President Obama and senior military leaders on Dec. 1.

As usual, the Pentagon is being tight-lipped: “We have no comment on the legislative process. This was an internal procedural matter for the Senate.”

It’s still not clear how much time DADT has left on the judicial side. Earlier this month a federal judge in California declared the 1993 policy unconstitutional. The suit’s plaintiffs, the Log Cabin Republicans, asked the judge to issue an injunction banning DADT-based discharges; the Department of Justice must respond to that request this week. In the wake of the Senate defeat, the HRC is asking the DOJ not to appeal the ruling.

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Remember the State of the Union address, way back in January? Back before the ground zero mosque and the Pakistan floods and Shirley Sherrod and the Gulf Coast oil spill and that Icelandic volcano and the winter Olympics? What was that thing Barack Obama promised?

“This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It’s the right thing to do.”

Oh right! Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell! Well, it’s September now, we’re most of the way through the calendar year and with midterms coming up there’s only a little legislative time left. How did that whole repeal thing go?

It hasn’t happened yet.

The repeal is tacked on as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2011, a yearly bill that budgets the Department of Defense. The House passed the DoD budget, amendment included, in May, but the senate has yet to move.

Now, advocates are scrambling to lobby senators to vote on it—especially Harry Reid, who as senate majority leader has to call for a vote. A Reid spokesperson told The Advocate that the bill is “on the list of things we would like to do in the next few weeks,” but supporters aren’t willing to leave this one up to chance. According to The Blade, Servicemembers United, a gay veterans organization, has designated Thursday, Sept. 16 as a lobbying day, hoping to get the senate to take up the bill the week after.

The SU lobbyists say they plan to target several moderate Democrats, including Jim Webb and Mark Warner of Virginia, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire.

Everyone agrees the repeal is most likely to pass before the November elections.

“I think chances are pretty good that we’ll get that through to fruition if Sen. Reid brings it to the floor for a vote before they recess for election season,” [SU executive director Alex] Nicholson said. “If he doesn’t, I don’t know what to think. I sort of throw my hands up in the air at that point at that and say, ‘Let’s wait and see,’ because anything could happen.”

An anonymous politico in the Advocate was more worried.

The source wagered that if the Senate floor vote does not take place before the midterms, the defense funding bill would have a “50-50” shot of passing before the end of this Congress. If it is not finalized by year’s end, the repeal effort will die.

Jason Mazzone over at Balkinization is downright pessimistic.

[T]he full Senate, which was expected to consider the repeal measure over the summer, has not yet taken it up and Republicans have threatened a filibuster when and if the Senate does. … If, as expected, Republicans in November gain control of the House and gain seats also in the Senate, repeal of DADT in the next two years is extremely unlikely.

However, his next prediction, in which he assumes appeals on the Prop. 8 ruling and DOMA are reversed, is a little too far-fetched.

We have, then, a remarkable possibility. Within the next two years, federal appellate courts hold that a ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the Constitution and uphold the Defense of Marriage Act. Obama (who has said he opposes same-sex marriage) loses reelection in 2012. As a consolation prize, Congress repeals DADT and a Republican president signs the repeal into law.

Although the rulings reversals seem unlikely, Obama losing in 2012 is not, but the last sentence is pure hogwash. There are no consolation prizes in politics.

———

Bonus! Maybe Congress won’t have to repeal it. A U.S. District judge in California yesterday ruled DADT unconstitutional, saying it violated the First Amendment rights of gay men and women and has a “direct and deleterious effect” on the military. The judge will file an immediate injunction preventing the military from discharging soldiers on such grounds. The suit was brought by the Log Cabin Republicans. The Department of Justice is still arguing that this is a decision for Congress, not the courts, so we’ll see how this plays out in the coming days.

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Legislation is pending in both chambers of Congress to provide great apes — the bill specifically identifies chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans, as well as gibbons, which are technically a lesser ape — with protection against invasive biomedical research and to ban federal funding for such research inside and outside the United States. Congress should pass the Great Ape Protection Act summarily.

GAPA — H.R. 1326 in the House and S.3694 in the Senate — finds that apes are “highly intelligent and social animals and research laboratory environments involving invasive research cannot meet their complex social and psychological needs.” For legislative purposes, the regulation is classified as part of interstate commerce because most great ape research is performed by pharmaceutical companies in the development of new drugs.

Perhaps most inspiring is GAPA’s conclusion that there is a moral responsibility (whose, the bill does not specify) to provide quality care for apes used for research. Many such apes were infected with HIV or hepatitis C in the course of being studied. According to the Jane Goodall Institute, there are 1,000 chimpanzees, about 500 of which are government-owned, used for research in the U.S., costing taxpayers $20 to $25 million per year to house.

Furthermore, the JGI argues that ape-based research is a poor methodology in addition to being unethical. Although humans share 98 percent of their DNA with chimpanzees, that small discrepancy can lead to major variations in those diseases in humans. The JGI instead recommends DNA analysis, computer modeling and in vitro testing alternatives.

Many other countries have passed similar legislation in recent years, including the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Japan, Austria and Belgium. Spain even granted legal rights to great apes in 2008.

Nevertheless, there has been some opposition to this research ban. GAPA would “halt ongoing biomedical research into such diseases as hepatitis C for which no other animal model exists,” a coalition of associations wrote in a letter to Congress. The ban would also hurt efforts on research that can help apes, they argued, including research into the Ebola virus and cardiovascular developments to benefit apes in captivity. Signatories included the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, the American Psychological Association, the American Society of Human Genetics and the National Primate Research Centers.

GAPA has received little Republican support in the House. Of the bill’s current co-sponsors, 132 are Democrats (two, Bordallo of Guam and Pierluisi of Puerto Rico, are non-voting members) and 14 are Republicans.

In the Senate, the three co-sponsors are Democrat Maria Cantwell of Washington, Republican Susan Collins of Maine and independent Bernard Sanders of Vermont. The bill was introduced just one month ago in the senate and will likely draw more co-sponsors with time.

Hopefully the recent introduction of the Senate bill will help move along the House bill, which has been languishing in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce since its introduction in March 2009. The current congress is dangerously close to concluding, and with matters as pressing as health care, the economy, education reform and two ongoing overseas conflicts taking up so much of the legislators’ attention, a bill like the Great Ape Protection Act could easily decay in committee until the next congress, when it would have to be reintroduced (again, actually, as the bill was first introduced in 2008).

It certainly can help with the budget. Retiring the 500 federally owned chimpanzees would ultimately save about $170 million, the Humane Society of the United States calculated. It’s a drop in the bucket, but because it saves money while ending unethical research methods, the Great Ape Protection Act is a win-win.

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The Tea Party Express, one of the major national Tea Party groups, will soon launch a $250,000 media campaign for Christine O’Donnell, a Tea Party candidate challenging longtime Congressman Mike Castle for the Delaware Republican senate nomination this fall. The primary is September 14, just two weeks away, meaning that money will likely have some serious impact on the airwaves. What does this mean for the small state (my home) and for national politics?

Mike Castle. Courtesy Castle for Senate.

First, some background; the seat is that formerly occupied by now-Vice President Joe Biden and currently occupied by Ted Kaufman, who was appointed in 2008 and never planned to run for reelection. (The state’s other senate seat has been held by former governor Tom Carper since 2000; he was reelected in 2006 with 70 percent of the vote.) Castle, 71, has served as Delaware’s sole representative in the House since 1993; prior to that he served two terms as governor. In 2008, he was reelected with 61 percent of the vote.

Christine O'Donnell with Michele Bachmann. Courtesy O'Donnell 2010.

O’Donnell, 41, was the Republican nominee against Biden in the 2008 election; she lost to him by a 30-point spread. She worked for the Republican National Committee before moving to Delaware to work for conservative publisher Intercollegiate Studies Institute; more recently she has worked as a marketing consultant and political commentator, often on Fox News.

The Democratic nominee is Chris Coons, 46, the county executive for New Castle County, the largest county in Delaware with approximately half a million residents. Coons previously clerked for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and worked for the “I Have a Dream” Foundation. Although Coons was elected handily three times, New Castle is the most liberal of Delaware’s three counties.

Eight polls conducted since October 2009 have shown Castle defeating Coons, although the Democrat has been gaining slight ground on the moderate Republican. Four polls show Coons easily beating O’Donnell in November; the most recent put Coons winning against O’Donnell 44-37 (and losing to Castle 48-35).

This new Tea Party backing for O’Donnell has the state GOP worried. In a release, after blasting her for shooting video for commercials at Saturday’s Glenn Beck rally in D.C., they trash her as dishonest and against Republican interests in the state.

O’Donnell has been cited repeatedly lying to voters and manipulating her own political history. Recently, O’Donnell has claimed that she won two out of three counties in Delaware in her 2008 race against then-Senator Joe Biden. Election results show that Biden won overwhelmingly against O’Donnell and that she did not win any counties in the state of Delaware.

Her campaign appears to be getting desperate as the Republican primary is only two weeks away. The most recent Rasmussen poll has shown her support drop by five points in only a month to 36 percent – robbing her of the talking point that she would beat Democrat Chris Coons in November.

The Republican primary is closed to Democrats and independents, and O’Donnell seems confident she can defeat the more moderate Castle in such a primary. Money-wise, even steeped in Tea Party dough O’Donnell is woefully behind Castle, who recently reported raising over $3 million for his campaign.

Everyone, the media especially, loves a surprise victory from a dark horse candidate (coughjoemillercough), so this race will certainly draw increased national interest for the next couple of weeks and likely through November.

Bonus: Far less attention has been paid to Delaware’s House race now that Castle is running for the Senate. The Democratic candidate will likely be former lieutenant governor John Carney. The Republican nomination is still largely up for grabs while two businesspeople fight out a primary. However, it may not matter; Castle largely relied on popularity and longevity to maintain his at-large House seat. Delaware has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of D+7, making it even more likely the seat will shift parties.

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