October 7th, 2010
07:00 PM ET
4 years ago

O'Donnell on the Maher tapes: 'I'm not saying that I'm prou...'

Wilmington, Delaware (CNN) - Delaware Republican senate candidate Christine O'Donnell says she's "matured" since her now well-known appearances on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher back in the 1990's. But she acknowledged in an exclusive interview with CNN that the resurfaced clips have forced her to reinvent herself in the final weeks of the campaign.

"I haven't been embarrassed. And I'm not saying that I'm proud," O'Donnell said. "I've matured in my faith. I've matured in my policies. Today you have a forty something woman running for office. Not a 20 year old. So that's a big difference," she added.

Watch the full interview, after the jump:

O'Donnell is now running a TV ad in which she tells voters, "I am not a witch… I'm you." The spot is a response to the Politically Incorrect clip unearthed on Maher's current HBO program, Real Time, in which O'Donnell admits she once "dabbled in witchcraft."

"This campaign is about the future and not the past. This campaign is about what each candidate is going to do to address the needs of the people of Delaware," O'Donnell said.

After weeks of keeping a lower profile and fewer interviews with the national news media, O'Donnell has scheduled more public appearances in recent days. Today she took a handful of questions from reporters at a Delaware gun club where she picked up the endorsement of a local 2nd Amendment rights organization.

In a wide-ranging interview on a series of national issues, O'Donnell promised to vote to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. She dared the President to veto any bill that would repeal health care reform. "If Barack Obama vetoes that the year before his reelection he's setting himself up to be very vulnerable and I've seen many Hillary for President ads running," O'Donnell said.

Asked whether she believes human activity contributes to climate change, O'Donnell responded: "I don't have an opinion on that."

On the issue of teaching creationism in public schools, she declined to state her position. "It doesn't have anything to do with what I will do in Congress… My opinion on that is irrelevant," she said.

O'Donnell said she often gets 'you go girl' advice from former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Is Palin is qualified to be President? "Is she running for President? Again, hypothetical," O'Donnell said.

She also declined to say whether she would support current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell or tea party favorite Jim DeMint for Majority Leader in a republican-controlled Senate.

At the gun show event, a French TV reporter asked O'Donnell "if she could wave her magic wand, what would she change in Washington?" It was an obvious reference to her "witchcraft" moment. O'Donnell took the question in stride, a sign she doesn't feel threatened by the controversy.

But she is not planning to go on Maher's program between now and Election Day. To O'Donnell her past statements to Maher are not at stake in this closely watched race.

"What I said or did on a comedy show, you know, over a decade ago is not relevant in this election," O'Donnell said.


Filed under: 2010 • Christine O'Donnell • Delaware • The Situation Room
soundoff (209 Responses)
  1. Tam

    She may have matured chronologically, but not intellectually nor mentaly. There ain't no cure for stupid.

    October 7, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. bailoutsos

    Has she really done anything except campaign for office?

    October 7, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  3. Elena

    What a I would like to ask all these Republicans who want to repeal the Health Care Law is this:
    How specifically does "Uncle Sam come between you and your Doctor"? Give *specific* examples, instead of spreading around unfounded fear (as you and all your previous governments always did).

    Also: What is your exact proposal "to protect the most vulnerable"? Aren't those the kids with pre-existing conditions that this Law now protects?

    Enough with the spin and the empty rhetoric. It's time that all of us sensible people see those people for what they really are – obstructionist ambitious wanna-be politicians. It's time for our side to get mad as well, and stand up to them.

    October 7, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  4. Debby

    If the public thinks what she said as a kid is bad, look at Maher as a grown up with his stupid movie Religouslis. Maher is making more of an idiot out of himself airing these segments from the 90's not yet. Now wonder his show is going downhill fast.

    October 7, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  5. stufthis

    Hey wingnuts! Do you think O'Donnell will be tough on terrorists when she won't even go on unbiased main street media? She is unfit for office.

    October 7, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    This is ridiculous! This woman has never held employment,but the holier than thou party of god see nothing wrong with that!
    Hey Newt would you rather people on welfare run for office and just live on campaign finances??(Except welfare isn't illegal)it's one and the same.
    If your not rich and you vote republican
    You will just be voting against yourself!

    October 7, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Why would Obama veto a bill that took a rediculous amount of effort to get past you filibustering republicans. Stupid idiot.

    October 7, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  8. stevie68a

    Not answering "would you teach "creationism" in public schools"? is very telling. This kind of superstition goes against the
    constitution. Her kind wants a theocracy. She is dangerous like Palin.

    October 7, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  9. rezhed

    That Bill Maher appearance was "way back in the 90's"? It was October 29th 1999. That does not seem very way back to me.

    October 7, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  10. sheppard

    'I'm you'? She ain't 'me'

    October 7, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  11. Gangly

    Any bill O'Donnell and her ilk propose to repeal "Obamacare" must contain a provision that all taxpayer-paid health coverage members of Congress currently receive is also repealed/terminated, and that any future taxpayer-paid coverage they receive cannot be any better than what Congress provides to all American citizens.

    October 7, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  12. Rob in MO

    There is no evidence that she has matured. She is as silly as ever, but, hey, she's a republican politician. What do we expect?

    October 7, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  13. Jim Butler

    What kind of follow-up on the Bill Maher clips was that???? Granted the "Politically Incorrect" was in the 90's, but she claimed only 3 years ago on The O'Reilly Factor that there were mice with fully functioning human brains. That was not an immature indiscretion. That is evidence that this woman has no grasp of facts or science

    October 7, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    This is ridiculous!
    This witch has never held employment and!
    Hey Newt!
    Would you rather people on welfare to just run for office and live off of campaign finances?(It's one and the same,except it's not illegal to collect food stamps)
    If your not rich it would serve no purpose to vote republican!

    October 7, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  15. abdul jones

    "I’ve seen many Hillary for President ads running,” O’Donnell said.

    I wonder where she saw these ads?

    BTW, her claim of access to secret classified information was only 4 years ago.

    October 7, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  16. Chedar

    Once a witch always a witch. It's too late, once you said it, it ia locked particularly on national television.

    October 7, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    This woman has never had a job!
    Hey Newt should people on welfare just run for office and live off campaign contributions?

    October 7, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  18. shell

    there is one little problem that cnn didnt assert to........ Odonnell was on Maher show 11 years ago not 20 years ago..... she has made ridiculous statements as of 4 years ago.... her last senatorial debate she said she had classified information on china taking over the us that she was not pivy to discuss.... she said mice had human brains....plus a whole list of more ridiculous statements.... and what about her ethics compliants that are merited... cnn didnt challenge her on any of that... hey i though i was watching fox news for a minute!

    October 7, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  19. Robin

    If she really wants to end the criticism, she needs to sit down and do an interview with someone that won't toss her softball questions. Time to put up or shutup.

    October 7, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    This woman has never been employed!
    Maybe people should give back the food stamps,
    Just run for office and live off campaign finances,and while your at it don't forget to use those socialistic programs like those government grants that her friends want to get rid of!

    October 7, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  21. Regertz

    "Isn't it interesting that the GOP-Koch-TeaParty folks, are complaining about the "unfair" treatment of O'Donnell, when each and everyday for the past 21 months and even before, Conservatives on Faux News, AMHate Radio etc., have been hating, demonizing, slandering the President of the United States?! Even saying vile and disgusting things about Mrs. Obama?"

    Yes, yes, yes...But lets not forget the hate screeds against Mrs. Clinton by the likes of Barbara Olsen and others. This is standard GOP spew.

    October 7, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  22. Sean

    Ok, this is my last posting on O'Donnell. Can CNN please stop reporting her? Worst, put her face on the front page? Come on! There are so many Republicans to bash, and need bashing to help the Democrats, like the HP ex-CEO (who is quite a strong candidate and not so ignorant).... why Democrats spent so much time on this useless junk? STOP IT!

    October 7, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  23. Frank

    This is a sad state when people like that are running for public office. Just say no comment to all the questions you don't want to answer. What a strategy.. Are the American voters that stupid and gullible.?

    October 7, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  24. kite005

    People should pretty much disregard whatever she said back then but it is funny. It's the things almost all of the right keep repeating, as she does, that people need to pay attention to. It's the fascist, corporatist ideas that we need to fear. Our government is fine with basically two parties one representing the right and the other representing the left. It doesn't work smoothly but I bet Saddam's, Hitler's, Stalin's, governments all worked smoothly. While I do think things are a little unbalanced right now and the right needs to gain some influence they have pretty much had the ultimate reins on things for 8 yrs. and maybe it's just the normal cycle of things, but things got messed up during that time. So, the right cannot legitimately profess to want to take the country back and such silly comments. Our country is both of ours left and right. I felt we got our country back when Obama was elected. I didn't say that though.We should not go back to what we were doing so fast. You'll see in 2012.

    October 7, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  25. MarshallM

    If she has matured as she says, why did she have her lackeys insult and turn away Rachel Maddow's producer when Rachel tried to gain an interview with her? Christine O'Donnell cannot have it both ways. She cannot simultaneously say that the liberal media is conducting a character assasination of her and not grant any liberal news media any sort of access. That is the mark of an IMMATURE person who has something to hide.

    October 7, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
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