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Christine O'Donnell promotes book, tells of 'witch' ad regret

Christine O'Donnell, Delaware's 2010 Republican candidate for Senate, says she learned a lesson the hard way: Trust your gut, not the experts who tell you to do an 'I am not a witch' ad.

August 17, 2011|By Amy Hubbard, Los Angeles Times
  • Delaware Republican Christine O'Donnell speaks at the Family Research Council's Values Voters Summit in Washington.
Delaware Republican Christine O'Donnell speaks at the Family Research… (Jonathan Ernst, Reuters )

Christine O'Donnell is promoting her new book, "Troublemaker," whose title is from a Time magazine reference to the former Delaware Senate candidate and "tea party" favorite. In the book, and in recent interviews, O'Donnell has made no secret of one of her big regrets — and her feeling of betrayal at the hands of Bill Maher, a man she had considered a friend.

On "Real Time With Bill Maher," the HBO host featured a bit of 1999 video from "Politically Correct" with O'Donnell. In her new book, she says the clip showed a "nothing comment" about a boy she'd known in high school who dabbled in the occult and it started a "modern-day witch hunt – with me cast as … well, as the witch."

Of Maher, she writes: "I'd thought we were friends."

The political ad that the clip spawned just continued O'Donnell's nightmare. It was perhaps the most memorable ad of 2010.

In the spot, O'Donnell speaks slowly to the camera, saying, "I am not a witch. … I'm you."

The commercial thrust her into the national conversation last year and, as the L.A. Times' Nation Now blog notes, not necessarily in a good way, with ensuing mockery by "Saturday Night Live" and talk shows across the country.

Democratic opponent Chris Coons ended up beating O'Donnell with more than 56% of the vote.

O'Donnell was promoting "Troublemaker" on "Good Morning America" on Tuesday morning. She cringed when the program's George Stephanopoulos played part of the political ad on the show. O'Donnell said she regretted ever making it. She hated it, she said with a sigh. So why did she do it?

"Everyone said 'trust the experts,'" she said. "And we were trying to win over" the National Republican Senatorial Committee, "because they were not getting involved."

Lesson learned: "Trust your gut," O'Donnell said. "Trust your instincts."

amy.hubbard@latimes.com

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