October 19th, 2010
01:01 PM ET
12 years ago

O'Donnell gets Coons for Constitutional Law 101

(CNN) – Christine O'Donnell received a lesson on the Constitution at Delaware's Widener Law School Tuesday, but unfortunately for the Republican Senate candidate it came during a debate with Democrat Chris Coons.

On the issue of whether creationism should be taught in public schools, a highly skeptical O'Donnell questioned Coon's assertion that the First Amendment calls for the separation of church and state.

"The First Amendment does?" O'Donnell asked during the Tuesday morning debate. "Let me just clarify: You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?"

Watch the heated interaction, after the jump:

Coons responded by quoting the relevant text: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

"That's in the First Amendment?" a still skeptical O'Donnell replied smiling, as laughter could be heard from the crowd.

Earlier in the debate, O'Donnell flat out asked, "Where in the Constitution is separation of Church and State?" - a question that Coons did not appear to take seriously.

Matt Moran, campaign manager for Christine O’Donnell, said in a statement that O'Donnell "was not questioning the concept of separation of church and state as subsequently established by the courts. She simply made the point that the phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution. It was in fact Chris Coons who demonstrated his Constitutional ignorance when he could not name the five freedoms contained in the First Amendment.”

Unfortunately for O'Donnell, the Tea Party-backed candidate also stumbled over the Fourteenth and Sixteenth Amendments when asked if she would support repealing them.

"I'm sorry, I didn't bring my Constitution with me. Fortunately, senators don't have to memorize the Constitution. Can you remind me of [them]?" O'Donnell said.

Some Republicans and members of the Tea Party movement have advocated repealing the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment that grants citizenship to every individual born in the United States and the Sixteenth Amendment that created the Federal Income Tax.

Members of the Tea Party movement have also called for a repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment – the provision that calls for direct election of U.S. senators. O'Donnell was aware of that amendment and said she supported it.

Filed under: 2010 • Chris Coons • Christine O'Donnell • Delaware
soundoff (325 Responses)
  1. CNN watcher

    And dumb Sarah Palin wonders why the GOP won't throw money behind O'Donnell and her other favorite village idiots? She knows as much about the constitution as Palin herself (which is nothing)!!!!!

    October 19, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. CK in MN

    Goodbye Christine!

    October 19, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. Todd M

    Wow! Just Wow! This blows witchcraft out of the water. If this is not taken out of context, if she wasn't toast before she certainly is now.

    October 19, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. Muffet

    Palin croonies are just as stupid, dumb and ignorant as she is.

    October 19, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. good lord

    another idiot right winger...she must be related to Palin!

    October 19, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. Allen Hussein

    As long as they look pretty, teabaggers don't care how stupid or unqualified they are. Can anyone imagine what the cabinet of a Palin Presidency would look like? Maybe that dude she went to high school with that liked cows will be Ag Secretary.

    October 19, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  7. Robert Collins

    Another air head GOP/Tea party idiot

    October 19, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. GOP Scorched Earth Politics

    Candidates should be legally required to have a graduate degree or intelligence test to run for office. I mean if they spout the Constitution , Bill of Rights , founding fathers etc...without even knowing anything except that George Washington was a founding father...how can they possibly uphold the Constitution? BTW – George Washington and most of the other founding fathers were Freemasons, NOT born again fundamentalists or Mormons.

    October 19, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. andrewstl

    i think theres enough said in that article.

    tea pariers across board are typically ignorant and know that an african american is in office and they cant stand it,

    not much else to say to the retard odonnel except her and palinn should try porn average looking and not so bright

    October 19, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. Captain EO

    She's right. There is nothing in the Constitution that calls for the "separation of Church and State."

    "Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of Religion" and "Separation of Church and State" are not equal statements. Not by a longshot.

    October 19, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. jay in denver

    Frankly, Senators SHOULD have to memorize the Constitution. It would help them to do their jobs more effectively.

    Apparently, all O'Donnell has memorized are Sean Hannity's talking points. This woman is an embarrassment to the Republican Party, the state of Delaware, and the United States of America. Please don't make the mistake of electing a moron like her.

    October 19, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  12. Geoffrey Sperl

    Okay... let's just stop with the O'Donnell coverage. She's in way over her head, she has no clue as to what she's talking about, and she can't speak to anything other than her memorized talking points. Seriously, it's getting painful now. Let her just slide into memory and let's move onto something with substance...

    October 19, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. T'SAH from Virginia

    Too Late O'Donnell – Please!!! You messed up by seeking an endorsement from PALIN!!! Now you ALMOST sound as dumb as she is!!! Jeez!

    October 19, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  14. Robert Davis

    And Christine O'Donnell, O'Christine or whatever, is Palen's supported Delaware Senatorial candidate? Wow, the Palenista's must be soooo proud. Neither one of them can get their fingers out of their collective dimples – cute is as cute does.

    October 19, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. DandyStryker

    Camouflage: Adopting a false appearance so as not to appear as one really is.

    This is what the Tea Part is up to. They talk about the Constitution, but know nothing about it. They don't read it, study it, or know its history. They have talking points given them by their puppet masters, but haven't a clue what's in the Constitution.

    It's the same thing with their "patriotism." They talk about patriotism but it's all lip service. They're not war vets. They don't do volunteer work for their country. All they do is complain about their taxes. And you know what? It takes a helluvalot more than bitching about your taxes to qualify as a patriot.

    October 19, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. L. Adams

    How funny. The constitution is a living document whenever lines need to be added or deleted to fit conservative aims, but otherwise is not a living document.

    October 19, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. Gary Swanson

    The Christine O'Donnell is a major party candidate for the United States Senate is an indication that the dumbing down of America is progressing at a greater rate than I feared that it was.

    October 19, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. dave

    Bye, bye Christine. Thanks for playing.

    October 19, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. Dave, Central Illinois

    I'm not a fan of this lady, but this phrase came from a letter written by Jefferson to memebers of a Baptist church where he mentioned a "wall of separation between church and state". This phrase IS NOT in the Constitution. The concept has been drawn from Establishment and Free Exercise clauses which have been twisted into a weapon against free expression by the likes of the ACLU. Before you morons chide others for their ignorance, perhaps you should check your facts. Typical Liberal blowhards.....

    October 19, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  20. Ray

    Oh My Word! Are we bing Punk'ed?

    October 19, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  21. Tina, NC

    These TP candidates are such a joke. It makes me sad to see that such ignorance has become a virtue in the republican party. These people's brains contain nothing more than memorized talking points. The founding fathers must be rolling over in their graves at these constitution thumpers (not unlike the bible thumpers) who don't even have a clue as to what it says.

    October 19, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  22. Canuck

    The dumbing down of America continues....

    October 19, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. UrAverageJoe

    She is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Though amusing to watch, it's sad that a true debate about serious issues can't happen in this race!

    October 19, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. Florida Joe

    OH MY GOD Mini Sarah is SSSSSOOOOO DUMB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 19, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. Poser

    O'Donnell has been touting her course on the Constitution as part of her resume over and over again in public forums. It's pretty pathetic to demonstrate such a poor understanding of it. I generally avoid personal attacks but the the following question begs to be asked. Is O'Donnell dumber than Palin? You betcha! Wink ;-).

    Get a clue Tea Baggers. These candidates are using the Constitution as nothing more than an empty platitude to get you to vote for them. Look at what they're actually proposing to bring forward as policy to see how it will directly affect you and your family. Look at the real budget numbers to see where our tax money goes. Look at what needs to be cut in order to balance the budget. Social security, medicare/medicaid, military spending, and the interest on the debt is 80% of the budget. They'll cut SS and medicare because they've already said they won't cut the military. There is a reason the candidates won't say what they'll cut. You won't like it.

    October 19, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
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