Toil and trouble over 'I'm not a witch' ad
August 16th, 2011
12:54 PM ET
9 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. C. Howe Yulikit

    Your whole campaign was a mistake. You are in no way qualified to hold any elected office you moron.

    August 16, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. Ken in NC

    "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." Now what advice could she be giving? Oh I know. IF YOU ARE A WITCH, DON'T RUN, FLY. hehehehehe

    August 16, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. Voice of Reason

    "I am not a witch"... Yeah – and you're no leader, either.

    From her campaign money improprieties to the wierdness of her message to the moral piety that she would impose on anyone who doesnt see the world through her eyes... O'Donnell straddles the line between deluded and dangerous. In addition to the dumbing down of the rhetoric, and the 'normalization' of her extreme views, her complete lack of leadership and fiscal responsiblility has disqualified her from holding any office whatsoever.

    But i'm sure that, unencumbered by reason or integrity, she will plow forward in the next election with the Tea-vangelicals pulling the cart...

    August 16, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. Voice of Reason

    "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..."

    If you've 'gotten this far'?? She's lost EVERY time she's run! Her myopic inability to see that people simply do not want her representing them borders on delusional. She needs to learn that its not like the line at Disneyland. You dont just get in line and wait for your turn. You dont get elected based on simple persistence, but rather on having integrity and leadership values, and having the ability to fill those shoes. She does not. And unless something happens in her life that drastically changes her outlook, she will never be elected.

    But that doesnt matter. She got the obligatory book deal, and i'm sure she's just waiting for that call from Fox News...

    August 16, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. Republican Robber Baron

    Perfect example of just how truly NUTS the Tea Party klan is.

    August 16, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. emma

    This woman has little insight about why she lost the election. "I am not a witch" talk is not the primary reason she lost. It was her lack of understanding about the meaning of Democracy.

    August 16, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. Pete

    Nah, I think being as dumb as a rock was the mistake.
    Why can't some people realize they're just not cut out for certain jobs or positions?

    August 16, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  8. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    Yaaaawnnnn.... enough said.

    August 16, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  9. Sanity

    Her entrance into politics was a mistake. She is as a joke.

    August 16, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. sj81

    As a Christian I ask "who cares if she's a witch?". Freedom of religion. How far has our country come if we're still judged for our religious beliefs. I get the vibe she dodged questions about an innocent curiosity and religious exploration to save face. Sad.

    August 16, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. Witcheseverywhere

    So long, idiot! Your 15 minutes are long over.

    August 16, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  12. diridi

    You look like one, except no broom....

    August 16, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. Marie MD

    Who cares? Another one who has had more than hdr fifteen minutes of fame.
    BTW – you ARE a witch!

    August 16, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. Stephen Daedalus

    Wow... even when she's admitting that she's an idiot, she makes an idiot out of herself.

    August 16, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  15. Sonnycam1

    Vote Christine O'donnell for Monday Morning Quarterback!

    August 16, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. Ed

    I forget - why are we paying attention to this moron after all these months? I thought we all agreed that her 15 minutes are over?!

    August 16, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. Truth

    If she weighs as much as a duck and floats she is a witch lol

    August 16, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. John

    Christine O'Donnell Is a Mistake. She wrote a book what next next she going to work for Fox News. This sound like we been thought all of this be for. Christine O'Donnell she didn't lose because of the witch thing, she lost because she has no Political Experience what so ever and she was living on other people money. And you are back by the Tea Party and they like them to be dumb and you are worth of this.

    August 16, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. Elias

    the real issue with O'Donnell is she is just so Vapid. She seems devoid of real intellect choosing to argue over fairy tails and superstition of her religious beliefs that only apply to her. She holds such a small world view that she sets herself up to be the butt end of some really funny jokes. Good riddance to this fake politico.

    August 16, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. Tom Terrific

    WHO CARES?? She is a nobody looking to extend her 15 minutes of fame. MOVE ON.

    August 16, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. Blue19

    Here's hoping Sabrina continues to dish out campaign advise to others. Clearly she knows how to run a campaign, just not a successful one. Of course the fact she's never won isn't her fault, it's everyone elses.

    August 16, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. zan07

    She's funny as hell. Bet she can't write comedy as good as Handler though. Why, just why wouldn't the national republican party back her? Huh I wonder why. Do you think she realizes why they didn't back her? Loopy. The national witches association should have come out with an ad that certified she wasn't a witch just to save their own brooms!

    August 16, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. SCOTO

    I was more offended by "I'm you" line. No you certainly ain't. Not even close!

    August 16, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  24. AM

    Yeah – I think she thinks this was her downfall. How wrong she is! She's an absolute idiot and completely unqualified for any elected office.

    August 16, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    Over or /Under book sales......27,000?

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