Politics & Policy

O’Donnell Regrets Witch Ad, Wants More GOP Help

Republican senate candidate Christine O’Donnell told ABC News in an interview that she regrets running the “I am not a witch” ad, wishes the Republican party would help her campaign more, and thinks that she did better than Democrat senate candidate Chris Coons in the First Amendment exchange during a recent debate.

“I haven’t publicly stated this, and I don’t know if I’ll get in trouble for saying it, but our intention was to kill it, and that’s not what happened,” O’Donnell said about the witch ad, referring to the controversy concerning remarks she had made on Bill Maher’s TV show in the 90’s saying that she had “dabbled in witchcraft.”

O’Donnell also said she wouldn’t dress up as a witch this Halloween. “I was thinking about just going as Dorothy. I killed the witch. There you go,” she said laughingly.

Asked by ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl why Republican leaders weren’t helping her campaign, O’Donnell said they had told her she needed to catch up in the polls, and warned that their refusal to help her was hurting her ability to advertise.

“It absolutely would make a difference,” O’Donnell said about getting more support from Republican leaders. “The Democratic Senatorial Committee is running ads. On cable television, you’re limited to how many commercials each campaign can buy. So we get one a minute. If we had other groups, you know, buying commercials, exposing my opponent’s tax and spend record, then it would be a lot easier to educate the voters about what they get when they vote for my opponent.”

“Who knows whether they [the GOP] will [come]? This is a call-out to them, but you know what, I’m confident we can win, with or without them,” she said.

O’Donnell also speculated about why Washington Republicans were not more actively supporting her campaign. “The thing about my candidacy is that I’m busting up the backroom deals,” she said. “We’re shining a spotlight on what’s going on in Washington, and both parties are guilty of catering to special interest groups. And that’s why my support extends way beyond the Tea Party.”

Talking an exchange in a Tuesday morning debate between O’Donnell and Coons about the First Amendment that drew widespread interest, O’Donnell argued that she had won.

“I asked him where in the Constitution is the phrase ‘separation of church and state,’” she said. “He said the First Amendment. I followed up with, ‘Can you name the five freedoms that are guaranteed to us that are protected by the First Amendment?’ And he could not.”

“It’s really funny the way that the media reports things,” O’Donnell mused. “After that debate my team and I we were literally high fiving each other thinking that we had exposed he doesn’t know the First Amendment, and then when we read the reports that said the opposite we were all like ‘what?’”

Talking about the substance of the disagreement between her and Coons, O’Donnell reiterated what she had mentioned to Battle ’10 earlier this week. Asked if she believed in separation of church and state, O’Donnell said she thought the Constitution mandated that “the government will not create, will not dictate that every American has to believe a certain way, but it won’t do anything to prevent the free exercise thereof, and that’s what people, like my opponent in that debate, so carelessly choose to leave out.”

The RealClearPolitics average of recent polls shows Coons with a 17.6-point lead over O’Donnell.

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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