Tea 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.
Yale librarian Fred Shapiro, who compiled the list, said he looked for quotes that are “famous or important or particularly revealing of the spirit of our times.”
“It was not pleasant dealing with this material,” Shapiro himself was quoted as saying by the New Haven Register, Yale’s hometown daily. He explained that the most notable remarks are “generally polarizing, fairly harsh. Some would say they are extreme.”
O’Donnell’s ‘witch’ quote came to symbolize a phenomenon of the 2010 campaign: Tea Party candidates who proved ill-equipped to thrive in the burning spotlight of national politics.
O’Donnell actually made the Yale list twice. The second entry is her rhetorical question about the constitutional separation of church and state, uttered during an Oct. 19 debate: “You’re telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?”
Others on the Yale list of notable quotes include:
* Republican and Tea Party rock star Sarah Palin, who tweeted to supporters on March 23: “Don’t retreat. Instead — reload!”
* Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle, Nevada’s losing Republican Senate nominee, who said in January: “I hope that’s not where we’re going, but you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies. They’re saying: My goodness, what can we do to turn this country around?”
* House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said on March 9: “We have to pass the (healthcare) bill so you can find out what is in it.”