Veteran Republican strategist Karl Rove defended his criticism of GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell (Del.) in an interview Thursday, saying that while he believes the Tea Party movement has provided Republicans with "energy" and "enthusiasm," he will still judge GOP candidates on their merits. 

"My job is not to be a cheerleader for every Republican, it’s to call them as I see them," he told hosts of Fox News's "America's Newsroom."

He also rebuffed the suggestion that his perspective represents that of the establishment GOP.


"Be careful when you call me an establishment Republican, I’m not sure what that is," he said.

Rove received media attention this week after he noted that O'Donnell, who beat Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) on Tuesday in Delaware's Senate Republican primary, could lose what was considered an easy pick-up seat for the GOP.

"I'm for the Republican, but I got to tell you, we were looking at eight to nine seats in the Senate," Rove said Tuesday night. "We are now looking at seven to eight, in my opinion. This is not a race we're going to be able to win."

O'Donnell fired back, calling Rove a "one of the so-called experts whose credibility was hurt" by her win.