In the most anticipated speech at today's Values Voter Summit in Washington, Delaware's new GOP Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell ignited the Omni Shoreham ballroom with a tangible buzz. She strode onto the stage to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," with orange spotlights sweeping the room. (None of the other afternoon speakers got a light show.) The packed crowd gave her an enthusiastic standing ovation, continuing to applaud long after she took the podium.
She wore a black suit and pearls and seemed nervous at first, ticking off the perilous resume of Obama's Washington: health care reform, the stimulus, bailouts, terrorist trials in Manhattan. "The conservative movement was told to curl up in a fetal position and just stay there for the next eight years, thank you very much," she said, then pausing as a big grin spread across her face. "Well, how things have changed." The audience broke into applause, and from that point forward, O'Donnell seemed to relax. Her speech featured quotable bits about American patriots throughout history and overstepping liberals, and even featured a few self-deprecating cracks.
"The small elite don't get us," O'Donnell said. "They call us wacky. They call us wingnuts. We call us 'we the people.'" Addressing the GOP infighting her nomination has come to symbolize, she admitted, "We don't always agree. ... We don't always endorse the same candidates or speak off the same talking points. We're loud, we're ratty" -- when the crowd laughed, she corrected the word to "rowdy," fumbling a bit. "We're that too," she said. "We're passionate."