the suzi parker files

Politics, Pop Culture and Ponderings

Posts Tagged ‘Chris Coons

Christine O’Donnell Denies Misusing Campaign Funds, Cites ‘Disgruntled’ Former Staffers

leave a comment »

Defeated Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, who is reportedly under federal investigation to determine whether she used campaign money for personal expenses, said Thursday the claims come from “disgruntled” former employees, channeled through a “left-wing” watchdog group.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the case has not been sent to a grand jury but has been assigned to two federal prosecutors and two FBI agents in Delaware. 

The O’Donnell camp immediately labeled the probe “politically motivated.” She blamed political rivals for what she called “thug tactics.”

“Keep in mind,” O’Donnell said on CNN Thursday morning, “we upset the Delaware political establishment, and we beat their so-called untouchable incumbent [Rep. Mike Castle]. There’s a vendetta to stop this movement. . . . [But] we are going to continue to put the political establishment on notice.” The charges are false, she said, noting that the campaign workers making them were fired during an earlier Senate race. She called her accusers “disgruntled 2008 former volunteers.” And she denounced Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the organization bringing the complaint, as a “left-wing, George Soros-funded liberal group.”

O’Donnell, who was backed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in her unsuccessful campaign this fall against Democrat Chris Coons, echoed those comments on several network morning news programs, including the “Today” show.

On Wednesday, O’Donnell told The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware. “”I don’t know if an FBI investigation even exists. If it is happening, of course we’re going to cooperate, because we have nothing to hide.” And she said on NBC Thursday that it’s “very suspicious” that she has yet to be personally notified of any inquiry even though information has been leaked to the Associated Press.

The allegations were first raised against O’Donnell, a tea party favorite, by CREW in a Sept. 30 news release. CREW said it had filed complaints with the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Election Commission against O’Donnell “for using campaign funds for personal living expenses.”

O’Donnell shocked political Washington when she upset Rep. Mike Castle in a Republican primary to run for Vice President Joe Biden’s old Senate seat. But O’Donnell, plagued by her own miscues, lost the general election to Coons.

O’Donnell raised more than $7.3 million from around the country during her campaign. In her post-election FEC report filed in early December, O’Donnell reported $924,745 on hand with only $2,692 in debts.

In an e-mail, Matt Moran, former O’Donnell campaign manager, said the charge against O’Donnell “was all started by false accusations by Christine’s political opponents,” citing CREW. And O’Donnell implied that Biden had a hand in the investigation:

“Given that the King of the Delaware Political Establishment just so happens to be the Vice President of the most liberal Presidential administration in U.S. history, it is no surprise that misuse and abuse of the FBI would not be off the table,” she said in a statement. O’Donnell told the Today Show a former Biden staffer was involved in framing the CREW complaint against her.

O’Donnell’s last tweet was on Dec. 2 when she wrote, “You heard the spin about the 2010 elections. It’s time to set the record straight & move forward – signed a book deal w St. Martins Press!” The book will be about her candidacy.

Advertisements

Christine O’Donnell’s Ad Creator: The Wizard Behind ‘I’m Not a Witch’

leave a comment »

Will Christine O’Donnell be forever branded a witch?

She may, unless she quickly transforms into Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz,” which she says she is considering as her Halloween costume.

She could do another campaign ad, featuring her resplendent in a blue-and-white gingham dress and red sparkling shoes while holding a Toto dog. “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” an off-camera announcer might ask.

“Oh, I’m not a witch at all! I’m Dorothy from Kansas. I mean Christine from Delaware.”

Maybe Fred Davis – the GOP’s go-to irreverent ad man of the moment who prefers California to Washington – is in a studio somewhere creating that very ad. “I haven’t publicly stated this, and I don’t know if I’ll get in trouble for saying that, but our intention was to kill it [the witch ad], and that’s not what happened,” O’Donnell said in an interview with “Good Morning, America” on Thursday.

Davis told Politics Daily via e-mail, “The O’Donnell campaign had to rush full speed ahead into a national, major race, when they started from a small, hopeful primary campaign. It’s lightning speed each and every second, making every day a challenge. I think they are doing quite well with it!”

Another O’Donnell ad shot in the same “I’m You” vein goes after her Democratic opponent’s education. “I didn’t go to Yale,” she says of Chris Coons, as piano music plays in the background. Why? Because she’s just like you. Click play to watch ad:

O’Donnell is spending a lot of money on ads created by Davis. According to O’Donnell’s latest FEC reports, O’Donnell paid Davis’ Strategic Perception, Inc. $20,000 on Sept. 24 and $179,855 on Sept. 27.

Davis is not cheap. He created California U.S. Senate GOP nominee Carly Fiorina’s now-infamous primary ad against Tom Campbell that featured him as a red-eyed demon in sheep’s clothing. According to Fiorina’s April FEC report, Carly for California, Inc. paid Strategic Perception $230,784. It was during this time that Davis shot the devil sheep ad.

One of Davis’ most famous ads prior to this season was “Celebrity,” which juxtaposed President Barack Obama against Paris Hilton and Britney Spears as the biggest celebrity in the world during the 2008 presidential campaign. He was the creative guru behind the 2008 Republican National Convention. “I wrote every word in that damn convention,” Davis told The Washington Post.

So why does O’Donnell now regret the ad? Did the candidate not have the final word? Did Davis persuade O’Donnell to go forward with it although her gut told her to leave her witchy ways in the past? Maybe she didn’t have a choice. After all, Davis told TIME magazine recently in a profile piece, “We never present three or four ideas, and you pick one. We present one.”

To witch or not to witch, that was the possible question facing O’Donnell. As the Washington Post wrote last month, “He [Davis] controls every detail of his ad shoots and writes the scripts. He pushes and pleads with his nervous, starchy candidates to try ideas that other strategists would dismiss as too out-there.”

The witch ad may have been too out-there, some say. Joe Erwin, president of Erwin-Penland in Greenville, S.C., who has worked in Democratic politics, said the witch ad was a mistake. “By doing this she played on her opponents’ turf and played defense with the critics who were essentially mocking her,” Erwin said. “When you open an ad with that sentence, you’re digging a deeper hole.”

Erwin suggested a better way to handle the witch topic was to have responded with “self-deprecating humor, in a way that people would find her more likeable, and understand that the off-handed comments of a college-aged young woman really are not a threat and not representative of who she is now.”

Tom De Luca, a political science professor at Fordham University, said the ad underscores all of O’Donnell’s negatives, including that she looks young and not ready for prime time. “We want our politicians to be like us, but we want them to be able deal with the world of politics and power,” he said. “That doesn’t come through in that ad.”

But others say many voters liked the ad. Michael Maslansky of maslansky luntz + partners wrote Thursday that history will likely “look positively on her two backlit campaign ads. Aside from her opening line in the first ad, disclaiming her connections to the dark arts, both ads tested strongly with conservatives and independents, and even broke into positive territory with Dems.”

The witch ad – perhaps the most memorable of the midterms – helped raise a lot of campaign cash for O’Donnell from around the country. Even Mistress of the Dark Elvira launched her own parody of the ad Thursday afternoon. Christine O’Donnell may not win the Delaware Senate race, but she’s certainly become a household name, thanks to Fred Davis.

Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Christine O’Donnell: Jezebel Website Wants to Do a ‘Santorum’ on Her Name

leave a comment »

Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell definitely evokes intense emotions in people.

But the reactions to this political rookie range widely. On the one hand, there’s Newt Gingrich sending words of encouragement to the Tea Party favorite. On the other, there’s the feminist website Jezebel wanting to transform her name into something icky.

Gingrich recently wrote to O’Donnell, thanking her for “taking your beliefs, values and aspirations into the public square.” He added that he was pleased O’Donnell shares his commitment “to transforming government at every level to save America.”

On Monday, the candidate returned the compliment, calling Gingrich “one of America’s great thinkers and a tremendous patriot.”

Jezebel, of course, has no interest in a lovefest. In fact, the site is attempting to “redefine” the candidate and put her in a vastly different context. Jezebel’s editors have modeled their mission after Dan Savage’s Internet campaign a few years ago, when he sought to redefine then-Sen. Rick Santorum. Savage, a sex columnist, who more recently launched a viral video campaign to assure sexually harassed teenagers that “it gets better, ” previously set his sights on the Republican from Pennsylvania after the senator compared homosexuality to bestiality and incest. Savage coined a term — Santorum — to convey something that is (putting it politely) extremely disgusting and foul.
Christine O'Donnell, JezebelJezebel wants to redefine “O’Donnell” in the same vein. Is the name a sex act, substance, body part, device or feeling? That’s to be determined. “We have the Republican candidate from Delaware who is just as reprehensible, and who necessitates a Santorum-level response,” the site said. “O’Donnell is not conservative — she is a cretin.”
Some of O’Donnell’s stances are cited, such as her takes on homosexuality (a “deviant sexual orientation” and symptomatic of an “identity disorder”), China (“There is a very carefully thought-out and strategic plan to take over America. I think the Chinese government is definitely a foe”) and women in the military (“By integrating women into particularly military institutes, it cripples the readiness of our defense”).
The editors believe that while O’Donnell, who supports abstinence only outside of marriage will lose her Senate bid against Democrat Chris Coons, she will not go away because “her Tea Party funding and endorsements from the NRA and Sarah Palin all but guarantee that Christine O’Donnell will have further opportunities to pollute the national discourse with her counter-factual, empty-headed nonsense — and perhaps to make further runs for office.”
The contest’s rules? The phenomenon or thing that is called “odonnell” must not already have a name. Jezebel adds that the definition should also be as sex-negative as the candidate herself: “An odonnell is decidedly not ‘that feeling of delightful, tingling numbness you get in your extremities immediately following a very satisfying sexual climax.’ “

Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Christine O’Donnell’s Younger Years: Forget Witchcraft, Think Media Goddess

leave a comment »

Bless her heart. Christine O’Donnell has a lot of people angry at her — Wiccans, Satanists, Bill Maher, and even some Republicans. 

No small feat, but reflecting on O’Donnell’s history, it’s par for the course.

Maher made an appearance on “Hardball With Chris Matthews” Tuesday night to discuss O’Donnell, who made more than 20 appearances on his “Politically Incorrect” show years ago. Over the weekend, O’Donnell, who is the Republican Senate nominee in Delaware, said she made comments like the one about dabbling in witchcraft to help Maher with ratings.

Maher called foul.

“It’s funny to me, Chris, because this is the woman who claimed on another one of our ‘Politically Incorrect’ episodes from the ’90s that she would not lie, even in the case of hiding Anne Frank in her attic,” Maher told Matthews. “Eddie Izzard confronted her and said, ‘Really? If Hitler was at the door and you had Anne Frank in the attic, you wouldn’t lie?’ She said, ‘No. God would find a way.’ ”

Perhaps, Maher did want ratings, but O’Donnell had her own agenda as a young, firebrand former Catholic-turned-Evangelical Christian pushing her message. She said on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Tuesday night that she viewed such appearances as a ministry and that she was excited back then about her new-found faith.

Some will laugh at her naivete, and likely doubt the veracity of her statement, but I know plenty of people who, in their teens and twenties in the Bible belt, tossed their heavy metal albums into the roaring fireplace and began quoting the Gospel.

O’Donnell told Hannity that her “faith has matured” since her twenties.

But that comment doesn’t appease Wiccans and Satanists, who want her to understand their beliefs. Wiccans say that O’Donnell is confused about witchcraft. They have altars but no blood. Satanists have rebuffed O’Donnell, too. They claim no real Satanist would ever have a picnic on an altar.

Give Christine a break. Her dabbling in the dark side may have happened exactly as she described. Blame the boy she dated. Maybe the young warlock was trying to impress her by turning his weight bench into a devil-worshipping altar and splattering some red food coloring for effect.

Her story to Maher also could have been pure theatrics. After all, she started off as a theater major in college and ended up in the College Republicans. From there, she found her way to Washington, working with Enough Is Enough, an anti-pornography group, and later at the Republican National Committee. She even attended the 1996 Republican National Convention.

Like many ambitious twenty-somethings who hit Washington, she networked and created her own group, Saviors Alliance for Lifting the Truth (SALT). If she was looking to create a media launching pad, it paid off.

She discussed creationism in schools on CNN and the sins of masturbation on an MTV sex special in 1996. But like the witchcraft statement, O’Donnell has taken too much criticism for her viewpoints on masturbation. To be fair, masturbation was a hot, controversial topic in the 1990s. In 1991, Pee-wee Herman was busted for masturbating in a movie theater. In December 1994, Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders was fired by President Clinton for promoting masturbation as a means of preventing young people from engaging in riskier sexual acts.

Author Martha Cornog wrote in The Journal of Sex Research in 2004 that, since the 1960s, only 30 books focusing on masturbation had been published. Guess which decade had the most? Yep — the 1990s, when there were 13.

Talking about such a taboo topic greatly benefited O’Donnell, who became a popular pundit. She took her cheery smile and bouncy hair all the way to Maher’s show, where she was the chaste Sandra Dee foil in the grungy sex-obsessed Clinton years.

Like any good grassroots activist, she kept her name and her cause in the headlines. In 1997, she wrote a Washington Post op-ed about witnessing at rock concerts. “Walking through the crowd I also noticed more pentagrams than crosses around the teenage necks,” she wrote. “Satanism is the religion of the ’90s, I was told.”

While Maher chides O’Donnell about her appearances on his show, he contends that he likes her and that she is sincere in her beliefs. He wants her to come on his HBO program. But O’Donnell told Hannity Tuesday night that she was only focusing on local media until after the election. But can a media junkie really ignore phone calls from big-time talk show producers? Doubtful.

After all, the biography attached to a 2003 article written by O’Donnell — in which she tackles “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and the women of Middle Earth — describes her as “sassy, stubborn and sweet, and by those who disagree with her as ‘the girl you hate to love.’ This young woman who National Review Magazine says ‘blends the flare of the Bible with Cosmopolitan,’ shatters the stereotype about her generation.”

If O’Donnell loses to Democrat opponent Chris Coons, she’ll likely land her own television show. Maybe that’s what she’s been after all of these years.

Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Christine O’Donnell: Don’t Hide From Your Witchy Generation X Past

leave a comment »

Christine O’Donnell is the Forrest Gump of politics.

In 1996, she popped up on MTV in a special talking about the sin of masturbation. In the late 1990s, she appeared on Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect 22 times, according to Maher, and once even cracked sex jokes with Ben Affleck.

O’Donnell, 41, is the new Republican U.S. Senate nominee in Delaware. She is also a Generation X candidate, leaving a cyber trail like many in the Rock the Vote generation. They supported a host of causes – anti-apartheid, AIDS treatment, sexual abstinence and, in O’Donnell’s case, anti-masturbation.

Christine O'Donnell, Republican candidate for Senate in DelawareHer appearances on Maher’s shows in the heyday of the Monica Lewinsky scandal are now being scrutinized. Maher says he will release an episode a week until O’Donnell agrees to come on his HBO show “Real Time.” As Politics Daily’s Matt Lewis reported Maher put out a clip Friday that had not previously aired showing O’Donnell discussing — gasp! — witchcraft.

“I dabbled into witchcraft — I never joined a coven. But I did, I did. … I hung around people who were doing these things. I’m not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do,” she said.

She continued: “One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn’t know it. I mean, there’s little blood there and stuff like that. We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar.”

Oh, Christine. Don’t feel bad. I have a pack of tarot cards hiding in a drawer somewhere. Friends of mine congregated in cemeteries in high school and held séances while listening to The Smiths. (So far, none of them has decided to run for public office, however.)

As many Generation X’ers have discovered, comments and actions made at 20-something, sound crazy when you’re 40-something and in politics. In the age of mass media, it’s as hard to undo youthful Goth and Satan indiscretions as later reconsidered love for Amy Grant or Stryper. (For whatever comfort it’s worth, it’ll be even harder for the Facebook app-happy generation Y when they decide to run for office. Stay tuned for status updates about anarchy, the high school principal and sex will return to haunt them in an opponent’s campaign ad.)

Regardless of her prior position on masturbation or witchcraft, O’Donnell is to be admired and feared by Democrats. She’s quickly become a household name in the vein of Sarah Palin, and she’s raised more than $1 million dollars in a few days. Compared to the fem phenom, who even knows her opponent’s name? (It’s Chris Coons.)

O’Donnell seized her Christian causes and ran straight to national TV with them. The often acerbic Maher has said she could go further than Palin because she’s not as mean. IShe landed on Maher’s shows numerous times to debate some of the biggest stars of the 1990s. In one segment, she appeared with Rev. Jerry Falwell discussing Christian fundamentalism and the Bible.

In 1999, on Maher’s “Politically Incorrect,” she ordered Ben Affleck around like he was her houseboy while discussing Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial.

According to a transcript (so far a video has not surfaced), Affleck said, “I just want to ask you one question.”

O’Donnell responded, “Yeah, get on your knees.”

Now that’s a bold woman. Affleck was then one of the biggest stars in America, having just won an Academy Award a few years earlier for “Good Will Hunting.”

Of Clinton’s questionable ways, O’Donnell said, “Let me tell you, that’s a sad commentary about our country, if adulterers are fighting for their rights now.”

Affleck retorted, “I got it. I know what it is. You know why it bothers you so much? ‘Cause you have a certain, like, Monica flair about you.”

Where will O’Donnell’s past turn up next? Will she embrace her earlier incarnations or flee them? On Saturday, her campaign announced she had canceled two scheduled appearances on national Sunday news shows, (CBS’s “Face the Nation” and “Fox News Sunday”). Instead, her campaign said she would be attending church functions.

As if she could suddenly avoid TV, Christine declined the limelight.

For someone who has never been shy expressing opinions, it seems disingenuous to become demure now that she has a shot at real political power. Meantime her campaign should be a lesson for future Generation X candidates. Watch out. Your virtual chickens — along with the big poodle hair — are coming home to roost.

Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 9:38 pm