Tales from the Trail

O’Donnell on defense

A possible federal criminal probe, charges of “thug politic tactics” and a foreboding feeling of more wicked tricks to come.

christine1No, it’s not a tease for a new novel filled with political intrigue — it’s the next chapter in the Christine O’Donnell story.

The Tea Party politician from Delaware who famously declared: “I’m not a witch” now declares she’s not a crook.

“There’s been no impermissible use of campaign funds whatsoever,” O’Donnell said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday.

The former Republican Senate candidate went on defense, appearing on the morning talk shows,  after reports surfaced that the Justice Department is investigating  whether she used campaign money for personal expenses.

O’Donnell’s ‘witch’ captures spirit of times

RTXU581_Comp-150x150Tea Party darling Christine O’Donnell may have lost the Delaware Senate race. But she heads the list when it comes to expressing the spirit of the times.

“I’m not a witch,” her famous TV ad declaration that preceded the demise of her Republican Senate campaign, tops Yale University’s annual list of most notable quotes for 2010.

O’Donnell doesn’t have the No. 1 slot to herself, however. She’s tied with former BP CEO Tony Hayward’s lament to reporters: “I’d like my life back.” That was when his company’s off-shore rig was spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, endangering life and livelihoods along the U.S. coast.

Washington Extra – Down but not out

How the Democrats could have done with those numbers a week ago, or more precisely how they could have done with three or four months of numbers like that. The U.S. economy created a net 151,000 jobs in October, hiring hitting its fastest pace in six months. It is a sign that the economy is regaining momentum after a desperately sluggish summer, and might have lifted President Barack Obama’s mood a little too as he makes the long trip to India. USA/

They were subjected to some bitter attacks from their opponents, and even had their detractors within their two parties. Both suffered cruel defeats this week, but if you thought you had seen the back of Nancy Pelosi and Christine O’Donnell, think again. The Republican from Delaware, who ended her remarkably upbeat concession speech with an invocation to have a “party”, has already announced she is pursuing a book deal and will still be fighting against the Democrats. Shades of Sarah Palin perhaps.

Pelosi, meanwhile, says she now wants her old job back, that of House Minority leader. Defeated or not, who would bet against her?

Christine O’Donnell is not going away

Christine O’Donnell may have lost her Senate race. But she’s not exiting the spotlight. In fact, she’s sounding a bit like Sarah Palin.RTXU581_Comp-150x150

The Tea Party darling of Delaware cheerfully tells NBC’s Today show that she’s pursuing a book deal. She likes being involved in documentaries. And she’s going to fight tooth and nail against whatever Democrats try to pull during the upcoming lameduck session in Congress (how isn’t quite clear).

“We created a platform and we’ve been able to get a lot of issues out there. And I’d like to continue to do that at least for the short term.”

Campaign’s over, so start campaigning

OBAMA/Finally get some shut-eye after Tuesday’s election? Well, rise and shine. 2012 is just around the corner and the presidential campaign is already getting under way.

Folks at the White House may be asking themselves if the humbled, chastened President Barack Obama will face a primary challenge from the Left.

That bit of speculation got churning after newly unemployed Senate Democrat Russ Feingold conceded defeat with the decidedly unchastened message: “It’s on to the next fight. It’s on to the next battle. It’s on to 2012. And it is on to our next adventure — forward!” FEINGOLD

Christine O’Donnell’s parting words: “Let’s Party!”

It was probably one of the most upbeat political concession speeches.

Tea Party favorite and Republican Christine O’Donnell, who lost the Delaware Senate race, began her concession speech by declaring victory and ended it with a very uplifting “Let’s Party!”

There was no sign of wear-and-tear from a campaign in which she felt a need to declare ”I’m not a witch” in an ad, and was called a “nut job” by Meghan McCain, daughter of Senator John McCain.

Democrat Christopher Coons won the Senate seat once held by Vice President Joe Biden. Although O’Donnell lost, other Tea Party favorites like Rand Paul in Kentucky and Marco Rubio in Florida won their Senate races. USA-ELECTIONS/DELAWARE-SENATE

O’Donnell credits prayer for campaign boost

USA/

Republicans may be abandoning Christine O’Donnell’s U.S. Senate campaign. But she still has friends in high places — really high places.

In fact, the Delaware Tea Party favorite is crediting divine intervention for the successes that her campaign has had.

“The day that we saw a spike in the polls was a day that some people had a prayer meeting for me, that morning for this campaign,” she tells the Christian Broadcasting Network, a cable TV channel founded by televangelist and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson.

Washington Extra – Take Five

Washington Extra is going to let our correspondents do the talking today. So instead of listening to my meanderings, check out these five stories:  SWITZERLAND/

-          Mark Hosenball’s special report on Christine O’Donnell and her money problems. Her tense relationship with mainstream Republicans and her floundering campaign have led big-time donors to shun her, albeit quietly. Read here.

-          John Whitesides’ story on how big Republican gains in the governors’ races on November 2 could dramatically reshape the U.S. political landscape for a decade, giving the party an edge on next year’s redrawing of congressional district boundaries and in the 2012 presidential race. Here.

Washington Extra – A belief in tea, and the Constitution

The Tea Party takes pride in its belief in the importance and centrality of the Constitution of the United States. Indeed, Senate Republican candidate Christine O’Donnell has been reported as referring to the document as a “covenant” based on “divine principles”.

So there was some disbelieving laughter from the audience in Delaware today when O’Donnell showed she did not know the contents of the First Amendment. “Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” she asked Democratic opponent Chris Coons. OBAMA/

“The First Amendment does?” O’Donnell went on to ask. “Let me just clarify: You’re telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?” Watch the whole eight-minute exchange here, part of a debate about whether schools should teach intelligent design or evolution.

O’Donnell has question on U.S. Constitution – where does it say separation of church and state?

Republican Christine O’Donnell has a question: where in the Constitution does it say separation of Church and State?

And she is genuinely amazed that the issue is addressed in the First Amendment.

The moment was captured during a debate at Widener Law School in Wilmington and quickly spread through the blogosphere.