Values Voter Summit: DeMint Says Coons Hasn't "Had The Pleasure Of Us Talking About Him Yet"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 17 2010 11:01 AM

Values Voter Summit: DeMint Says Coons Hasn't "Had The Pleasure Of Us Talking About Him Yet"

I was talking to defeated Iowa gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats about the state of play in local House races when he asked who was on stage at that moment. Jim DeMint, I said. Plaats summoned an aide and broke into a jog.

"DeMint!" he said. "He's one of the guys I need to see."

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The junior senator from South Carolina was in his element here, walking around the podium as if giving a sermon, and dropping the names of the candidates he's supported in Republican primaries -- Rubio, Miller, O'Donnell. Thanks to conservatives, there will be "no least worst choice" in November.

On the way out, I asked DeMint if liberals were making a mistake by making fun of Christine O'Donnell's words in the 1990s as a pro-abstinence advocate, a conservative pundit, and all the rest of it.

"Coons has not had the pleasure of us talking about him yet," said DeMint, "a person who says [he] himself is a Marxist. I think what happened is millions of dollars were spent against Christine, maligning her. I think now we're going to tell the positive story about her and the real story about him, and the people of Delaware will be excited about that."

The "Marxist" reference is to a 1985 column by Coons in which he reported that his friends, amazed by his leftward shift after a trip to Kenya, asked why the country took conservatives and turned them into "bearded Marxist."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.