Toil and trouble over 'I'm not a witch' ad
August 16th, 2011
12:54 PM ET
3 years ago

Toil and trouble over 'I'm not a witch' ad

(CNN) – Former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell is not a witch and says she hated the commercial that stated that fact.

Promoting her new book, Troublemaker, on several talk shows, the tea party poster-candidate admitted that the infamous spot which attempted to distance her from past comments that she'd "dabbled into witchcraft" wasn't the best choice.

"I did hate it," she told ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday.

Addressed several times in the book, O'Donnell noted that she believed the ad was a mistake and hurt her on the campaign trail.

"It was taking us, once again, off message," she said.

The ad, in which O'Donnell looked straight to the camera and said "I'm not a witch. I'm nothing you've heard. I'm you," was conceived and produced by Republican message maven Fred Davis.

On Tuesday he refused to directly respond to O'Donnell's criticisms.

"Ahhh, what colorful memories. I wish her well with her book," he told CNN.

The ad was in response to a '90's- era video clip released by Bill Maher from the archives of his show, "Politically Incorrect," where she acknowledges that in the past she had "dabbled into witchcraft" but "never joined a coven."

It became one of the most talked about commercials of the midterm elections.

She writes in the book that she "had come away thinking I never should have even read that stupid line. I'm no control freak, but here I'd ceded a bit too much of it, and now part of me felt like I was waiting for some other shoe to drop."

A different consultant familiar with the ad told CNN that O'Donnell and her team did not voice any opposition to the concept when it was first proposed and shot. The witch commercial was shot at the same time as several others.

"The scripts were presented and recorded" after only a few small word changes, the consultant said. He refused to speak on the record because it involves private discussions. There was "nothing on the overall concept" brought up, he said.

The commercial was approved by the campaign a few days after it was shot, and the process was set in motion to start getting it on the air, according to the consultant.

An e-mail from October 4th obtained by CNN from O'Donnell campaign manager Matt Moran to producer Davis and copying O'Donnell states, "Solid message Fred...well scripted and (sic) delivered."

It does make mention of O'Donnell's hair not looking great.

Her team also praised the "I'm You" theme from the commercial in a separate e-mail also obtained by CNN.

The commercial went up the morning of Oct. 5th and became the talk of the political world.

On O'Donnell now blaming the ad for the campaign's problems the consultant said, "She now blames pretty much everything in the world except the water in Delaware" for her loss.

But in her book, she takes some of the blame.

"This was not our finest campaign hour, I must admit," she writes. "By following a script I knew was all wrong. By going down a path I had no interest in taking."

The ad campaign was an effort to garner the support of national Republicans and to get some financial backing, which some in DC had been reluctant to provide because they were doubtful of her viability in the general election campaign.

After upsetting party-backed Mike Castle, a nine-term Delaware congressman and former governor, in the GOP Senate primary, O'Donnell said the National Republican Senatorial Committee balked in supporting her bid for the general election.

"We were trying to win over the NRSC," she revealed Tuesday. "They were not getting involved."

The committee donated $42,000 to O'Donnell the day after her primary win.

O'Donnell, who has now run for the Senate in Delaware three times, chalked the widely-panned commercial up as a learning experience and dished out campaign advice for other political hopefuls.

"Anyone going forward in politics needs to take a huge lesson is this and that's if you've gotten this far, trust your gut," O'Donnell advised.


Filed under: 2010 • Christine O'Donnell
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. njcronk

    The line that got her in trouble was not about being a witch. It was, "I'm you". That was creepy.

    August 16, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  2. Tony

    Not a fan of Ms. O'Donnell, but I have to say the witch thing was absolutely ridiculous. If they were going to go after her it should have been over the issues not some B.S. crap like that. I'm astonished that people picked that to have a problem with. I swear sometimes I feel like I was dumped here by aliens or something. I just don't get people sometimes.

    August 16, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. bob

    She did remind you of a witch in that commercial especially the part when she says i'm not a witch i'm you It would creep me out like she was trying to rob your soul and possess you!

    August 16, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  4. condelessa

    Oh Really????? Convince me!!!

    August 16, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. PR

    Airheaded, ditz, bimbo. Her book will be a flop and she'll rip off the publisher just like she's ripped off everyone she's come in contact with.

    August 16, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  6. TeachEnglish

    "Double double toil and trouble fire burn and cauldron bubble." One of Shakespeare's darkest plays.

    August 16, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. Punch

    This article is 8 months late

    August 16, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. derp

    You have to love America. Only here can a completely unaccomplished nit wit perennial loser professional candidate write a book and do the talk show circuit. What will she talk about.? The only things she has ever been good at is losing elections.

    August 16, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. Aezel

    Who the heck is Christine O'Donnell again?

    August 16, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. WiredweirdinSF

    Of course the Lame Brain MSM picked it up and used it to smear the woman like it does every Republican. The democrat controlled liberal media is so hypocritical. It must be their union roots showing.

    August 16, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    She has become relatively irrelevant.

    August 16, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  12. Michael in Houston

    Further proof that any slug can get their 15 minutes of fame and get on CNN. speaking of CNN....do you have ANYONE you can feature that has actually done someting with their lives or accomplished something?

    August 16, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  13. MiddleOfTheRoad

    It's been a couple of good years for ghostwriters.

    August 16, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  14. JAM

    She may not be a witch but she is a screwball!

    August 16, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. Acaraho

    Which wench ad is the witch wrenching about?

    August 16, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  16. Alex

    "Addressed several times in the book, O'Donnell noted that she believed the ad was a mistake and hurt her on the campaign trail." Wow, O'Donnell was "addressed" in her own book? Dangling participles, anyone? Hey CNN, surely there are enough literate people who can actually write seeking newspaper jobs. What's your excuse?

    August 16, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. Geoffrey in Lowell MA

    What this incredibly silly and witless woman does not realize nor has she considered is how her defective judgment lead to the mistake. Her self absorption and utter inability to understand how actual people think that lead to the "mistake". Thank god she wasn't elected and hopefully this is the last we shall hear of her.

    August 16, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  18. Russ139

    ("Anyone going forward in politics needs to take a huge lesson is this...). The lesson is, don't run for office if you're a pathological liar.

    August 16, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. JoeBG

    Oh sweetie, that witch ad was not your problem. Your severe lack of understanding of anything related to politics or the economy was your problem. Not some silly ol political ad.

    August 16, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  20. LOL

    I bet this lady trolls the comments section when an article is written about it. Hey lady- noone cares if you're a witch or not. Unfortunately for you, you're also a moron. Fortunately for intelligent people such as myself, you're irrelevant. Sorry. Pay back those student loans yet?

    August 16, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  21. Tonia

    christian fear of EVERYTHING strikes again. ok so she 'dabbled in witchcraft'- which probably meant she lit a candle and mumbled some nonsense words to make a guy fall in love with her. so what christains? she didnt try to summon your "lucifer" entity. let it go. learn to accept that not everyone believes the way you do- it doesnt make them a bad person. change is in the air- get your heads out of the ground. not everything is black and white- god or satan. it IS possible to believe in something/someone else.

    August 16, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  22. Karen Neff

    Who really cares?

    August 16, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  23. God

    Another LOSER with a book deal. WTF is up with this weird trend? She is a flake. She lost because she is a flake. Figure it out.

    August 16, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  24. JAM

    She may not be a witch but she is a real nut case!

    August 16, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. Warlock

    Does this woman have a job yet?

    August 16, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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