Steele, Gillespie Standing By O’Donnell’s Claims About Classified Info On China Plot (VIDEO)

Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell has put leading Republicans in a tough (and funny) spot. In response to her 2006 claim that she had seen classified information about a secret Chinese plot to take over the United States, the current Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele and former RNC chair Ed Gillespie are saying that hey, maybe she’s right.

Back when she first ran for Senate in 2006, losing the Republican primary, O’Donnell claimed during a debate that China had a “carefully thought out and strategic plan to take over America,” and criticized one of her GOP opponents for wanting the United States to pursue cooperation with the country. “There’s much I want to say. I wish I wasn’t privy to some of the classified information that I am privy to.”

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Christine O’Donnell: Anti-Masturbation Crusader. Witchcraft Dabbler. Republican Senate Nominee.]

Appearing last night on MSNBC’s The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell, Steele was grilled by Lawrence O’Donnell (no relation) about this matter. “Michael, you know she`s lying about the classified information, right? I mean, reassure the country,” said Lawrence O’Donnell.

“Do you know — do you know that, Lawrence?” Steele replied. When Lawrence O’Donnell stated that he was certain that Christine O’Donnell was lying, Steele answered back: “Produce your evidence and invite me back on the program and talk about it.”

In addition, Gillespie appeared today with MSNBC’s Chris Jansing, and was also asked about O’Donnell’s claim to have had classified information.

“Well Chris, you’re asking me a question I can’t answer. I don’t know what information Christine O’Donnell has or doesn’t have,” said Gillespie. “I think if she says she has information that indicates that China has a plan to increase its influence over the U.S. economy, I’m not sure how many people could argue with that. Whether it’s classified or not, I don’t know.”

It’s amazing how having a candidate who is a wacky conspiracy theorist can lead to the GOP standing by her conspiracy theories. Next thing you know, Republican members of Congress will be sponsoring birther bills and potential presidential candidates will be calling President Obama a Kenyan anti-colonialist Marxist. Oh wait…

The TPM Poll Average gives Democratic nominee Chris Coons a lead of 57.7%-37.5% against O’Donnell.

(Via Media Matters and Greg Sargent.)