Karl Rove Defends Comments about Chirstine O'Donnell

Former Bush Senior Adviser Staff Karl Rove today defended his earlier criticisms of Delaware's Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell and insisted he supports her campaign, since she is now the Republican nominee.

Asked today on Fox News whether he would endorse O'Donnell, Rove said, "I endorsed her the other night -- I said I'm for the Republican in each and every case."

After O'Donnell pulled an upset victory in the Delaware Senate primary Tuesday night, Rove criticized the "nutty things" O'Donnell has said, and he concluded, "This is not a race we're going to be able to win." The Republican operative came under fire from many conservative pundits.

Today, Rove said his job as a Fox News political analyst "is not to be a cheerleader for every Republican... it's to call them as I see them." He pointed out that today's Rasmussen poll shows O'Donnell trailing the Democratic candidate Chris Coons by 11 points.

"That's not out of the game, but she's got to make up ground and make up ground quick," Rove said. He added that she could do so by attacking President Obama and giving candid and honest explanations for her past financial problems.

In the meantime, Rove said his earlier negative remarks actually helped O'Donnell because her supporters were prompted to donate to her campaign in response them. Rove pointed out that his political organization, American Crossroads, is spending $50 million to elect Republicans this year and has spent $3 million just to support Tea Party-backed Sharron Angle in Nevada.

Karl Rove: Christine O'Donnell Says "Nutty Things;" O'Donnell Fires Back
Christine O'Donnell: A New Voice for Conservatives?
Keeping the Primaries in Perspective
Christine O'Donnell's Win in Delaware "Reenergized" Chris Coons' Supporters
CBSNews.com Special Report: Campaign 2010

Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.