Democrat Party Leader Seizes on Republican Criticism of Christine O’Donnell

By Susan Jones | September 15, 2010 | 9:53 AM EDT

Chairman of the Democratic National Committee Tim Kaine speaks to a crowd at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, Ill., on Aug. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

( – Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine says he now expects to win seats in November that he previously thought Democrats would lose.

In the case of Delaware, Democrats simply need to quote what Republicans have said about Christine O’Donnell, the conservative Republican supported by the tea party.

O’Donnell beat the establishment Republican candidate, Rep. Mike Castle, in Tuesday’s primary.

“I just see the candidates that are being put up by folks who are really outside the mainstream,” Kaine said – a reference to the tea party movement. “Even hearing how Republicans talk about some of these nominees suggests that they’ve almost said to moderates in the party, ‘You’re not welcome.’”

Kaine, in a Wednesday morning interview on Fox & Friends, pointed to Delaware: “The number of Republican leaders around the country who have said negative things about the candidate (O’Donnell), just on matters of truth and veracity, kind of character issues – is just highly unusual. And I think that gives Democrats an excellent opportunity with moderate, independent voters to do better in some races than it looked like six months ago we were going to.”

Kaine said he thinks Democrats now have ‘a really good shot at winning” the U.S. Senate seat in Delaware, although “we’re not going to take anything for granted.”

Kaine said while the tea party appears to have the “upper hand” in the Republican primary races, he said it won’t happen in the November election, when independents and Democrats come to the polls.

“People are hurting,” Kaine said, adding that successful candidates will be the ones who address that.

But he also said it’s not enough to just feel Americans’ pain: “Not just, ‘Hey I’m mad, too,” but ‘Hey now, here’s what we can do about it.” I think trying to switch from just the negative to the can-do optimistic thing is important for all of our candidates.”