Monday, 20 September 2010

Delaware GOP Senate Candidate a Witchcraft "Dabbler"?

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Since Christine O’ Donnell’s victory in Delaware’s GOP primary last week, it seems that much of the media and political circus — including the Republican establishment — has been out to prove that she was Delaware’s "wrong choice." While the GOP has withdrawn its contempt for O’Donnell, media outlets like the Huffington Post and MSNBC continue to target the Delaware candidate. The newest attack against O’Donnell comes in reference to comments the GOP candidate made years ago regarding witchcraft on the television show Politically Incorrect.

Christine O’ Donnell appeared on liberal TV host Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect multiple times in the 1990s. In her appearances, she was labeled a “Christian activist," and often represented a group called SALT (Savior’s Alliance for Lifting the Truth). However, in her appearance on the October 29, 1999 episode of Politically Incorrect, she made some unfortunate remarks and divulged perhaps a bit too much information about her youthful past:

“I dabbled into witchcraft. I never joined a coven. But I did, I did…I dabbled into witchcraft. I hung around people who were doing these things.”

She added, laughingly (the show premiered on Comedy Central, after all): “One of my first dates with a witch was on a Satanic alter and I didn’t know it. There was a little blood there and stuff like that. We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic.”

Not surprisingly, despite the questionable nature of her remarks, the comments were taken out of context. On that episode, O’Donnell was arguing against the celebration of Halloween and referenced her own past to make the argument.

The video footage of O’ Donnell’s remarks was released by Maher himself this past weekend. O’ Donnell responded good-humoredly to the comments in question yesterday:

That witchcraft comment on Bill Maher… that was in high school! How many of you didn’t hang out with questionable folks in high school? There has been no witchcraft since. If there was, Karl Rove would be a supporter now.

Democratic political analyst Bob Beckel told Fox News that O’Donnell’s response was rational and he personally enjoyed the little “shot” against Karl Rove. Overall, Beckel believes that the Democrats have better ammunition against Christine O’Donnell than the witchcraft comments.

Sarah Palin, who personally endorsed Christine O’ Donnell in the GOP primary, sees the latest controversy surrounding the Republican candidate as a tactic of the Left to distract from O’Donnell’s political stances, which she believes will best serve the people of Delaware. As such, Palin encouraged O’ Donnell to ignore the negative media attention through a “tweet” on Twitter. The tweet read:

“C. O’Donnell strategy: time’s limited; use it 2 connect w/ local voters whom you’ll be serving vs. appeasing nat’l media seeking ur destruction.”

Conservative columnist Andrea Tantaros responded to the former governor’s message by asserting that Palin’s tweet was “smart.” She claims that O’ Donnell needs to “keep taking her message to the people in Delaware.” Joking about the establishment Republican’s staunch anti-O’Donnell stance, Tantaros said O’Donnell should in fact “take out ads that say ‘Karl Rove hates me,’ ” claiming it would be “very effective.”

Tantaros believes that the GOP’s separation from the candidate may in fact bode well for her. “I think the more the Republicans trash O’Donnell, the more it helps her identify with the people of Delaware,” Tantaros explained. “This is a state that largely trusted the policies of Democrats.”

Almost immediately after the Politically Incorrect footage was released, O’Donnell canceled her weekend appearances on CBS’ Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, but O’Donnell’s spokesperson insisted that the cancellations were not related to the witchcraft controversy.

Whether the latest controversy will affect O’Donnell’s poll numbers remains to be seen. A September 15 Rasmussen Report poll shows O’Donnell trailing behind the left-wing Democratic candidate Chris Coons, 42 to 53 percent.

Photo: Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell delivers remarks at Values Voter Summit in Washington, Sept. 17, 2010: AP Images