September 19th, 2010
12:44 PM ET
4 years ago

Rove: O'Donnell must explain witchcraft comments

 Rove says O'Donnell needs to explain her witchcraft comments.
Rove says O'Donnell needs to explain her witchcraft comments.

(CNN) – Karl Rove – the top GOP strategist who declared last week that Christine O’Donnell’s surprise victory does “little good” for the party – is now calling on the surprise Senate nominee to explain her comments about witchcraft.

"In southern Delaware where there are a lot of churchgoing people, they're going to want to know what that is all about,” the former aide to President George W. Bush told "Fox News Sunday."

“My view is she can’t simply ignore it,” he said. “She’s got to deal with it and explain it and put it in its most sympathetic light and move on.”

O’Donnell uttered the comments in question during a 1999 appearance on the now-canceled show “Politically Incorrect,” saying then, “I dabbled into witchcraft – I never joined a coven. But I did, I did. ... I dabbled into witchcraft.”

The 11-year-old interview was dug up Friday by liberal comedian Bill Maher – the former host of Politically Incorrect. During the 1999 appearance, O’Donnell also described one of her first dates – with a witch “on a satanic altar.”

A spokesman for the O’Donnell campaign did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

“She can’t simply say, ‘Oh these are unfactual, and not true,' and just ignore them,” Rove also said. “I don’t think the people of Delaware have or are accepting that as a reasonable explanation.

Citing exhaustion and scheduling conflicts, O’Donnell canceled her plans over the weekend to appear on both "Fox News Sunday" and CBS’ "Face the Nation" – a move Rove called a “smart decision.”

“She shouldn’t have accepted in the first place,” he said. “It’s Delaware voters, not conservatives across the country who will determine the outcome of this election … and there is, as I say, resistance.”

Turning to Alaska – where Sen. Lisa Murkowski launched a write-in bid after losing to a Tea Party-backed candidate last month – Rove declared the senator can’t win.

"She's going to lose," he said, adding, "[Joe Miller] won it fair and square, and Murkowski should not pursue this very, very sad line she is pursuing."

– CNN's Mariano Castillo contributed to this report


Filed under: Christine O'Donnell • Karl Rove
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. Bob of Lompoc

    Yeah, Karl. She needs to explain how, during her "witchcraft years" she gave birth to you and your twin, Limbaugh.

    September 19, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  2. Terry B., Lexington, Ky

    *LOL* What is there to explain? She said she "dabbled in witchcraft". This is like commiting a crime, either you did or you didn't, there is no grey area...

    September 19, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. vic, Nashville TN

    Some time I like tea party movement last week tea party made Karl Rove to speak the truth lol

    September 19, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. Peter M

    Repugs now have the T-Party egg on their face. Let's see how big the GOP tent is of witches, bigots, the KKK and religious fundamentalists.

    September 19, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. DownTownBrown

    Who cares about witchcraft? O'Donnell is running on a platform of fiscal responsibility. She has no job, a lean on her house, and is under fire for illegal use of campaign funds. Ask her to explain that first.

    September 19, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. suz

    Hope she doesn't say the dabble in witchcraft is unfactual, since unfactual isnt' a word.
    Why do republicans make up words?
    Someone buy the RNC a dictionary.

    September 19, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Johnny

    How many more Tea party members are also out there doing the same or worse. Tea party is very,very extreme and cannot be trusted. This is only the tip of the iceberg. GOP has no backbone and has allowed itself to be dictated to and taken over by these extremists.

    September 19, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. Birdwatcher1

    Bubble, bubble, the T-Baggers are in trouble!

    September 19, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  9. Tom

    What we need is people like Mike Castle that vote exactly like Democrats. What a major victory that would be. Not!!!!! How would Mike castle being elected be a conservative victory? He votes like a Democrat. Sounding like a conservative and calling yourself a Republican is insufficient.

    September 19, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. IEK

    Who cares what crazy stuff she did as a teenager. What she should really explain is how she can possibly think that Young-Earth Creationism has more scientific evidence than Evolution.

    As for Murkowski, Republicans voted and Miller won the GOP nomination fair and square. And his campaign is reaping the rewards. But that doesn't mean that all Alaskans don't deserve a chance to vote for whomever they believe will be the best Senator. The primary simply decides who gets the Party's support, it doesn't get to limit the voter's choices.

    September 19, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Jeff

    I agree with Rove! If these Tea Party candidates want to play in the majors they are going to have to learn how to play the game. There is a level of political immaturity in the Tea Party movement, but that's not say it's fun to watch the GOP party establishment squirm.

    September 19, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. Daniel

    Another bagger with a questionable background and questionable ethics and poor reasoning ability.

    September 19, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. Republicans is smart in the head area

    When Karl Rove is calling you a whacko, you know you are way off in the weeds.

    September 19, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. David in Arizona

    First Muslims and now Wickens? When will these attacks and ridicule of ones freedom of religion end? I'm not saying I like her, but who cares if she dabbled in withcraft. It was her choice. So now Christians pick and choose which commandments they abide by, they are now picking which constitutional amendments we abide by? Freedom of religion is freedom of religion. She should say yes I did, I am now a Christian and move on. She's an idiot for other reasons.

    September 19, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. johnRJ08

    If Rove is going to get tough on O'Donnell, he's also going to have to take on the phenomenon of Sarah Palin, because O'Donnell and Palin are clones of each other.

    September 19, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. will

    Gotta like this. We can expect Rove to be on Fox everyday now when yet another gem from this candidates past pops up saying "well she's got to explain that too." How long before Rove gives up and says "well she doesn't have to explaing anything or answer any questions" other than those from Palin Limbaugh etc; like "whats your favorite color." For Dems there is no "anti-imcumbent mood." We like our incumbents. There is only GOP anti-incumbent fervor and heres the kicker it's because the current GOP leaders aren't radical enough! Some might actually put the country first and HORRORS work with Dems. The "anti-incumbent mood" if the media would do it's job and look a little close is espoused and driven by the Frank Luntzs' pollsters who teach pols how to hoodwink voters and the media. Remember when he advised the GOP to call Wall Street reform "another bailout" What a patriot.

    September 19, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  17. Tom

    Chris Coons, Christine O’Donnell opponent, wrote an article in college that told how he became a Marxist. How come I haven't heard any stories about this? If Democrat LBJ can send men to die to fight against this type of ideology I think a Marxist running for congress should at least be news.

    September 19, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I'll explain O'Donnell's comments: Witchcraft is using supernatural or magical powers, often to inflict harm upon members of a community or their property. There is no other definition of O'Donnells witchcraft practices.

    September 19, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. Jose

    Karl is right. This situation is very similar to what Mike Huckabee did to Mitt Romney. There was no way Huckabee could win the GOP nomination, but he still stayed on in the race and destroyed a stronger GOP candidate's chances of wining the nomination.

    September 19, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. Sean

    Wow Karl, really? YOU of all people are demanding that someone must explain themselves for controversial things? What a hypocrite...

    September 19, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. anthony

    Republicans should refrain from criticizing Christine O'Donnell because she once dabbled in witchcraft. After all, Republicans have been practicing voodoo economics for the last 30 years.

    September 19, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  22. She's going to win......

    It's the year of the revolution......people want their country back from the Soviet style politics of Pelosi and Reid......

    People want to know how she will vote...not whether she's a slick insider.....

    September 19, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  23. T'SAH from Virginia

    This is one time I will agree with Rove and in reality, I would have respect him more if he didn't BACK DOWN from his original statement.

    Yes, O'Donnell will have to explain herself but it won't be on CNN or MSNBC and it will be written by her writers!!!

    It's a shame this woman was not VETTED!! Well, maybe she was by the Republican Party but NOT the Tea Party!!!

    DEmocrats in DE STATE the CASE, UNITE the BASE and you will WIN this RACE in November 2010!!!

    This is T'SAH the Liberal and not that other T'SAH from Virginia who will NEVER approve this message!

    September 19, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. rdepontb

    "Tea Party Egg On Their Faces"-great tag line!

    She's apparently had at elast a dozen years to prepare, out of the limelight if she wanted to, in order to be ready for prime time. Now we find out just what she 's doing, as an adult, while on her supporters' dole-dabling in a whole bunch vices usually engaged in by high shoolers or college freshmen.

    Go to it, Karl, Jon, Chris...please, make it quick and clean.

    September 19, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. Audrey Fryer

    I don't care about her "withcraft dabbling", I want to know more about the Mice with Human Brains.

    September 19, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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