September 19th, 2010
12:44 PM ET
8 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. Mike in Texas

    Agreed DownTownBrown,

    How can you be fiscally responsible when you can't even handle your own finances?

    Oh, but nothing is her fault, it is all a smear campaign.

    Yeah, right. She is only doing this so she can have income, get free healthcare and a pension.

    September 19, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. Get A Grip

    We have both parties up there in Washington stealing and cheating the American people, destroying our country and Rove and others are concerned about someone dabbling in witchcraft.

    September 19, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. The Unsub

    She's finished. You can't explain away practicing as a Wiccan.

    September 19, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. Indie Woman in Denver

    I think the conservative Christians who make up the Tea Party base would have a bigger problem with Christine "dabbling" with witchcraft than the other things Dems, Indies, and moderate Repubs (if there are any left) object to her financial troubles, inexperience, propensity for lying, and her inability to separate her religious beliefs from secular policies & laws.

    September 19, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    Who cares what crazy stuff she did as a teenager

    She was born in 1969 - she dabbled in 1999 - NOT a teenager, but an adult who was nuts 11 years ago, and probably still is nuts.

    September 19, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. x-rev

    Witchcraft? Maybe she is still practicing, because it seems like she was able to cast a spell over the voters.

    September 19, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. WuLiMaster

    Funny thing is, had O'Donnell shown any shred of intelligent knowledge of witchcraft or Satanism, I would have actually had a small increase in respect for her. I'm sure it'll be good for a laugh when she "explains" these comments.

    September 19, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Shelby

    Hilarious. The leader of the Tea Party, sarah palin, credits her political success (winning her bid for Alaska Gov) to the prayers of her former church's WITCHDOCTOR. Now sarah has endorsed a former witch. Too funny!

    September 19, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  9. MJB

    Good Grief, can't anyone be happy someone else won instead of your gronies. Carl, wonder whats been going on in your life the past 70 years. Have you any skeltons. Hummmm! thought so. Don't cast a stone buddy....

    September 19, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. Kevin

    Who cares about this silly "witchcraft" nonsense? The real story here is that O'Donnell charged $20,000 of her 2009 expenses to her campaign... when she didn't even HAVE the campaign until 2010.

    The same ethics watchdog that went after Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters is now onto O'Donnell's campaign spending practices.

    September 19, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. Henri

    Rove advises her to "move on." Indeed, to Mars with Palin and the rest of these Tea Party ignoramuses. The US needs intelligent and competent politicians and leaders, not wingnuts and religious fanatics. One Taliban in the world is enough.

    September 19, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. Richard Burns


    I still haven't figured what you have to gain by throwing her under the bus? You simply give an acknowledged Marxist all kinds of running room. Yes, she has some baggage, but is her baggage worse than a Marxist? We have cemetery's all over the world filled with our fighting men who gave their lives fighting for our freedom. My father served in France in WW1, a brother in the Philippians in WW 11and me in just after the Korean War. None of her baggage comes anywhere near a Marxist. When are we going to wake up America? People of Delaware, our country is under attack-a Marxist?-give me a break.

    September 19, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. Sue from California

    First we had the evangelicals who thought they would be able to run the country and were only used by Bush and the republicans. Now we have the tea party. They are making the republicans look like a bunch of nut jobs. What's next?

    September 19, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. Lynn

    Ironic..being told to give a reasonable explanation by Karl Rove...

    September 19, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. Chris C

    She was chosen by the Republican party. Plain and Simple. If voters of Delaware want her in the General, they will support her, if not, they will vote for someone else. Mike Castle didn't get his people out or didn't campaign hard enough. Either way She is the nominee.

    September 19, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. rkm63

    Maybe Christine and her supporters should delve into Karl Roves past, they just may find he's really not what he appears to be? He should be spending his time questionong her opponent, not worrying about what Christine did years ago. Very silly!

    September 19, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  17. jim

    And at the same time lets ask Coons to explain his Carl Marx theories that he embraced in his younger years.

    September 19, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. Nick Salzmann

    Excellent comments so far by all. I am really enjoying the circus tent that has become the Republican Party these days.

    September 19, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. terryg

    Oh come on folks, give the poor woman a break. If you were ready to put Sarah Palin in as V.P. you should have no problem with Ms. O'Donnell being a lowly senator.

    September 19, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  20. Ann

    I don't see why Karl just doesn't accept the fact that the Repulican party is going to be surpassed by the Green party? Even his power is limited, and he can't beg, borrow, cheat, and steal his way out of this one. He should simply accept it. Conservatives are sunk.

    DEMS for 26 MORE YEARS!!!

    September 19, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. Sam

    Can someone explain why Sarah Palin is "bashing GOP"...wasn't that the party that put her on the national scene (and of course I'd never forgive McCain for inflicting the nation with "Palin the pain"). Now all of a sudden she is a tea party'er? How absurd...

    September 19, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. rkm63

    Karl's ego took a hit from Christine's win. LOL

    September 19, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. Kevin from Texas

    @Bob – That's just good political satire there

    September 19, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  24. Rick

    well this is why people don't go into politics. Because people don't want their past dug up and broadcast to the world. And honestly isn't this just a mean spirited thing to do? But honestly if there really was separation of church and state why would it matter what her past religious views were?

    September 19, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. John Q.

    OMG... maybe she used a Ouija Board as a kid too! Call the Pope for an exorcism!! Sheesh... for somebody the media pundits, Democratic Party, GOP power structure, et all, say doesn't have a chance.. there sure is a lot of the political elite out to discredit her in some way. Running scared perhaps????

    September 19, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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