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. Jeff, Washington, DC

    I eagerly await former governor Palin's admission of a gross error in judgment endorsing Ms. O'Donnell as a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

    September 19, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. jenn, philadelphia

    Tell me something liberals, does a politician's religion matter or not? These are the same people who don't want us to even ask the President's religion. Now, they expect Christine O'Donnell to explain comments from 11 years ago. Maybe they should consider this the religious equivalent of saying "I smoked pot, but didn't inhale" and let it go.

    September 19, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. Bwestley

    I'm sorry...but this is political game. If you state that you want to bring "true socially conservative values" to DC, you open the door to your whole life being viewed and critiqued. You can't just say, "that doesn't matter because it happen ten years ago"; it is relevant because people want to know how your life defined the person you are now. And, you have to answer for whatever is in total conflict to your positions – including witchcraft, personal finances, voting record accusations, etc. Didn't you know what you were getting into, Ms. O'Donnell? Better yet, Delaware voters, don't you think you should do your homework on BOTH candidates before you make your decision?

    September 19, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. Tina in PA

    Witchcraft? Not the religious right!

    The GOP is saying it doesn't matter what she did or said in her past. That only counts for President Obama or anyone associated with him.

    Hippocrits

    Let's here Hannity or any on on Fox News justify not digging into her past when he lives off digging into people he's against past.

    Come on some body from the right tell me I'm wrong. I'm waiting

    September 19, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  5. barron

    The real issue is how the Republicans deal with this out of touch extremism. These people make Barry Goldwater's extremism look like a school election. Face up to it, these people are not patriotic, they are not true believers in our constitution and they have their self-interests at heart and to hell with anyone who feels/thinks differently. They are in the process of destroying the Republican party which is probably a good thing. That way they can start over and maybe, in 20 years or so will be viable again. Anyone really think this mess will go away in 2012. The bleeding will be unstoppable as will the re-election of President Obama and Dem. majorities in Congress

    September 19, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  6. gracie

    Karl Rove's mission continues to "sink the boat" of O'Donnell!! Well done, Mr. Rove - now that's what I call loyalty to George Bush and Dick Cheney and the GRAND OLD PARTY!!! I just love to see the GOP's current status: "eating each other up", just like a game of "pacman"!!!

    September 19, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. John

    Her comments really wouldn't have mattered much had the GOP not continually invoked god in every issue.

    September 19, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. Johnny

    My,My the Tea baggers on this site are getting restless. Murkowski has every right to run as a write in candidate. Tea Baggers that is what we call in America.... Democracy.....

    September 19, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. Rick

    O'Donnell has aligned herself with the T-Baggers (Religious Right), who preach God and virtue, amongst other things. I was a bit crazy in my teen years but I never "dabbled in witchcraft"!!!!! Is this an issue? You bet it is!!!

    September 19, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. Roberto in Maine

    Sure Karl, the witchcraft thing might upset that Bible belt base and ultimately cost the GOP 'taking back' America. The fact that she embezzled money doesn't count because that's the way it is with the money interests that support the GOP.

    September 19, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. Quiet1

    Karl Rove is an idiot who has done the Republican Party little Good, Dems should hope he can still have influence on the Repubs

    September 19, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. Seawife

    Although I am not eligible to vote in Delaware, I would certainly be alarmed at this person Miss Christine who indeed dabble in witchcraft.

    What are you people taking about! You don't care! This mean you do not care what happens to America. Same thing as being un American.

    This is like people saying I dabbled in Cannilbilism but I am moving on now. Get real.

    If you think our country is in a bad way now, just think what your Teabagging friends could to us in the future.

    September 19, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. cmkc

    These comments are noticeably devoid of Tea-Party Chrisitians jumping to the defense of their chosen candidate.

    September 19, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. paul

    The baggage on this candidate keeps coming in. Another example of the tea party moving the Republican party way toooooooooo far to the right. They are so excited to have any conservative that they don't check the backgrounds of these people. If the economy was better the "nut cases" would be laughed off but the tea party and Republicans are looking for that special candidate that can "take back this country". Be careful who you vote for.

    September 19, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. NVa Native

    Some how Rove now is asking for accountablility?
    Now Rove thinks he's some how legit' because he is on the fox ?! There is nothing legit with fox ecepxt that he it is legitimately a right wing media outlet.
    Both O'Donnell and Rove associate with witches and grand-lizards. Pointy black hats and pointy white hats – all the same.
    Funny thing is that mostly the only people who care are their religiously wacko base – who of course will absolve them of any wrong doing because idols can't be blamed.

    September 19, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  16. Political Junkie #1

    As I loathe Karl Rove, he is right on calling this person out. These nutso's MUST be called out as they will ruin America if ever sworn into office.
    Just wait and see what Bill Maher has in store for her Christine when he continues to show all past taped shows of her.

    Ha, ha. I can hardly wait.

    September 19, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  17. normajean

    Does anyone see the danger in what is happening in this country? We have totally unqualified people running for political office aimed at running the U.S. for years to come should they win. This would be almost humerous if it weren't so tragic .Never in history have we had so many off beat, undereducated,far out thinking{if they are thinking at all }strangefaces appearing ready to take over the total ruination of this country.A business owner anywhere in the United States wouldn't even talk to these people if they were looking for a job. You need more qualifications to get a job in Sears or KMart. The people behind these oddities are pushing for their own power and don't care what happens to the country or these candidates.WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!!

    September 19, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. Bert in UT

    The fact that she dabbled in witchcraft is the least scary thing I have heard about her. But she is so cute! That's got to be worth at least 25% of the votes right there.

    September 19, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. vgal

    Of course she'll ignore it. That's all those crazy's do – is ignore all the insane, crazy stuff they've done and act like they didn't do it. And then the "non-elite" voters who think they are so much smarter and "real people" than the elite's (aka educated people) will vote for these complete morons. Well, you get what you get!

    September 19, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  20. Montecito

    What is to explain!
    This person Christine is so out of the mainstream plus Palin, Limbaugh, Hannity, etc, they MUST and I mean MUST be called on this.

    September 19, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  21. Phil from Corpus Christi

    What a surprise! Republicans/Tea partiers in league with Satan! I always suspected as much :)

    Does anyone really care what Karl Rove thinks anymore? If anyone is to be suspected of dabbling in dark, mystical forces, it would be him, Cheney, and the rest of the idiots from the Bush43 administration.

    This is just another instance of the GOP feeding upon itself as it spirals into oblivion, because they would rather play the political blame game than try to do something constructive as a party. I honestly believe there are intelligent Republicans, but none of them get any face time with the public, because the sensationalist press focuses on loud and obnoxious buffoons like Beck and Limbaugh. I am delighted Jon Stewart is having a rally for Sanity on October 30. It's something this country desperately needs.

    By the way, is "dabbling in witchcraft" similar to not inhaling when smoking a joint? Both parties have their faux pas. I say everyone should let this instance pass. It will make the talk show circuit for about a week or two and then will be forgotten.

    September 19, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  22. Michael

    There goes Delaware.
    This is what happens when the lunatic fringe takes over a political party – you get a bunch of lunatics nominated for public office.

    September 19, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  23. hawk1

    I just can not see the stupitity of half of this nation. they rant about the democrats spendin. yet never a word was uttered while bush and the republicans in both houses spent like drunken sailors on shore leave. the republicans have almost destroyed this countryan every republican since there was a republican party have all doubled or tripled the national debt. th want to do away with education, health care, social sercuity. help for veterans and the list goes on and on. when are the idiots that vote for these lying fear mongering hypocrits going to wake up to the fact that they are destroying this country that me and hundreds of thousands of veterans fought for.

    September 19, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. JohninTampa

    O'Donnell says she never joined a coven. But she joined Sarah Palin, and Palin herself has cozied up to practitioners of the dark arts. I say a coven by any other name spells just as sweet.

    September 19, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  25. mary

    From what I hear -there is more wierd stuff coming about Miss O'Donnell. It's going to be very interesting! Anyway I want to add my thanks to her for insuring us a Democratic Senate seat in Delaware. I'm a registered Independent w/ conservitive leanings- I'm in my 60's and also a Christian who believes in Creation...It's too bad but I think the Tea Party Movement is giving Christianity a bad name. Jesus was ALL about social programs & taking care of the sick&needy. The Tea Party is against everything-Social security,Unnemployment Benefits,An education for all- Health care for all–If they want to call it socialism so be it! ..May I remind them that God considers all people of all colors and circumstance -His children. Sign me as praying and supporting my President.

    September 19, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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