the suzi parker files

Politics, Pop Culture and Ponderings

Posts Tagged ‘Delaware Senate Race

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.

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