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. Linda

    Golly, does this surprise anyone? What tea-baggers has not been off the charts with their views? Let's see, we could have witchcraft, no more flouride in the drinking water, coddle BP (because you know we don't want to have them have anyone's boot on their throat for what they have done to our Gulf), etc. if these nut cases get in to Congress. I am all for fiscal responsibility, but I often wonder where all of these tea-baggers were hiding when W bankrupted this country by borrowing from China for the two tax cuts, two wars, the medicare prescription plan, and the stimulus (I know you repubs that you will say that this was Obama's doing.....but you are wrong. Of course, how could you see this as anything else when you have people like Mary Matalin who told us that W inherited 9/11?????!!!!)

    September 19, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. nathan

    Thanks for letting us keep the Senate. If you TeaBaggers had half a brain you still wouldnt be dangerous lol

    September 19, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  3. jeff

    Aw, leave the poor thing alone. This election year needs some comic relief and O'Donnell is just perfect for our amusement.

    September 19, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. anon

    Rove will find himself outside of the party if he continues with this. The stakes are EVERYTHING.

    If he blows it for the Republicans by being a little girl he will have no place in the party.

    September 19, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  5. Rick

    That loud noise you hear is the sound of the Republican Party imploding.

    You know, if Karl Rove thinks it's a problem that O'Donnell said she dabbled in witchcraft, then that means that Rove believes in witches. Now there's something to worry about.

    September 19, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  6. Sofie

    If she was a democrat, the repubs would be all over this, even more so. They make up these kinds of stories but she is on tape with this. And, Erik, she wasn't a teenager 11 years ago, she was 30 years old and should have known better if she was a true Christian.

    September 19, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. Chris

    Butter her up. She's toast.

    September 19, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  8. bigfoot north carolina

    Rove is guilty of dabbling into something much more sinister – the Bush administration.

    September 19, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  9. Pragmatic

    Gold starts awarded to IEK – why let a small percentage of republicans decide who gets to run for office! None of DeMint's business!

    Murkowski is just taking Palin’s advice "Don't retreat, reload!"

    September 19, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. the real ib

    Democrats voted for Rangel in the primary and then they talk about O'Donnell; hyprocrites. She has done nothing worse than this crook and a lot of the other democrats. Rove needs to shut his mouth; he is doing nothing except to help the democrats because she bucked the party and won.

    September 19, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. Lucas Breen

    Rove is trying to make the GOP mainline conservative, and these crazy fringe people seemed determined to use the party to advance their extreme right-wing agenda.

    I think he is showing some guts in standing up to them, though it doesn't take much to see that this crowd has its roots in the Presidency of GWB and his "brain."

    September 19, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  12. Gpenn

    You know it's bad. When the poster child for the GOP is calling you out.

    September 19, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. tp

    A little play on words there for republicains.....2 wrongs dont make a right (conservative)

    September 19, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  14. unbelievable

    Unless she can do the "Symantha" thing and truley make the idiots on both sides disappear, just another empty political promise! Who cares!

    September 19, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. Stephen

    I thought the Tea Party was a "coven". A coven of conservative crackheads.

    I guess O'Donnell would be considered the "wiccan wing of the GOP".

    September 19, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. G-nO-P

    I think the ReThuglicans are in for a small surprise this election... if they think their past behavior and soundbites won't make it into commercails their nuts.... Oh, they were nuts already

    September 19, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. steve in fl

    She may have never been married but she certainly had a "date at the altar." lol

    September 19, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  18. paganchick

    a) witches don't believe in satan, and thus, don't have satanic altars.
    b) who cares? wicca and its' pagan affiliates are constitutionally protected religions, and anyone can dabble or practice.
    c) this woman is crazy, and this is just the least of it. can we pay attention to some of her more serious craziness now?

    September 19, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  19. Larry Bradenton, FL

    Well well. The republican/tea party have finally done it.
    They now have;
    The wicked witch of the East (O'Donnell)
    The wicked witch of the West (Palin)
    The wicked witch of the North (Bachman)
    The wicked witch of the south (Brewer)

    By the the way...this ain't a tea party!

    September 19, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  20. B

    This is the result of allowing the extreme right take over!
    I am not a Republican, but they are screwing themselves into the ground..

    Most of America is not extreme, and will not support these morons.

    I also understand that the GOP just doesn’t get it.

    September 19, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  21. Jim

    I think she means that one time she wore a witch costume for Halloween.

    The best part of this story is that Sarah Palin will now have to "refudiate" her endorsement of O'Donnell.

    September 19, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  22. Bob in Kansas City

    The lunatic Tea Party sychophants have hijacked the Grand Old Party and they deserve every bit of it. They have rendered the party emasculated of it's relevance and America had better hang on if they succeed it garnering the seats in Congress and can muster enough votes to take America back a hundred years. The Constitution in it's present form will be on the chopping block with amendments to make American look like the Quakers .

    September 19, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. TheAlaskaCurmudgeon

    Hey Karl Rove, Fifty-two percent of Alaska's voters are registered as independents. You Republicans need to get through your fat heads that we independents don't want whack-jobs in the Senate. Your fellow Republicans (the Re-puke-licans of the party) nominated an abject moron. We independents aren't buying his snake oil. That's why we flooded Murkowski's office with requests that she stay in the race. She's part of that dying breed: intelligent conservatives. We want to keep her, and we – the majority of the state's voters – WILL reelect her.

    Hope you like the taste of egg, Karl, because you're going to be licking it off your face come November.

    September 19, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  24. a in austin

    Just another mainstream candidate with radical beliefs – we are in big trouble if the demented group take over.

    September 19, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  25. tedy roosevelt kenedy

    What happended to freedom of religion. just because you're a candidate for office. u have to throw out your first amendment rights

    September 19, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
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