Posted: Dec. 16, 2011


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

Journalism was not exactly at its finest when Christine O'Donnell's presidential endorsement somehow was considered news.

Next up, Jon Corzine talks about where he does his banking. Also, Dick Cheney recommends a shooting range.

The pity about O'Donnell is the week was otherwise going fairly well. A Republican presidential debate that was supposed to be moderated by Donald Trump was called off. There are some things even this political season finds too silly.

O'Donnell endorsed Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination. This meant she was backing the same candidate as Mike Castle. Like everybody saw that one coming.

It was certainly worth asking Greg Lavelle about. Lavelle, who doubles as the minority leader in the state House of Representatives and the Delaware Republicans' vice chair, is organizing for Romney here.

At the mere mention of Castle and O'Donnell in the same sentence, however, Lavelle's cell phone seemed to go haywire, and it was impossible to get an answer out of him. Funny, the rest of the conversation went fine.

Castle's endorsement for Romney was notable as part of a trend. Chalk up Castle as one of the legions who worked with Newt Gingrich and did not sign on to his presidential campaign. Castle was a congressman when Gingrich was the speaker. Right here at home, in fact, Castle has company, namely Pete du Pont.

Next to Joe Biden, the Delawarean with the most experience running for president is du Pont, who stumped around Iowa and New Hampshire for the 1988 Republican nomination. As he said of himself at the time, he was a former governor with a funny French name from a small Eastern state, so that was that.

While du Pont was the governor, he formed GOPAC, a political action committee to support Republican legislative candidates around the country. At the point he decided to run for president, he cut his ties with GOPAC and turned it over to Gingrich (who later got GOPAC entangled in ethics troubles, but that had nothing to do with du Pont.)

"I have not endorsed anybody in this campaign. I'd like to say I'll endorse at some point, but I don't see all the answers from anybody," du Pont said.

There is not much time before the voting starts with the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3 and the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 10, but du Pont is not alone in his indecision. He noted the polling shows the race in flux among Gingrich, Romney and Ron Paul.

"That says to me the Republicans of America haven't decided yet," du Pont said.

Surprisingly enough, du Pont has not been as reticent about the Democratic slate. In a column he writes for the Wall Street Journal online, he recently suggested Barack Obama might consider jettisoning Biden in favor of Hillary Clinton for vice president.

"It is fair to say that Mrs. Clinton's addition to the ticket would be a substantial gain for President Obama that he badly needs," du Pont wrote in a posting called "Bye Bye Biden?"

Ah, memories of the 1970s and 1980s, when Delaware wondered whether it would witness a campaign for the ages with du Pont going after Biden for the Senate in 1984. Not to mention they both declared for president for 1988, even if their candidacies were short-lived.

So what if they never ran against each other. The shadow boxing goes on.