Christine O'Donnell Enters the No Spin Zone

Tea Party favorite says 'stupid' witch ad was biggest mistake of campaign


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 25, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: In the "Personal Story Segment" tonight, Christine O'Donnell. You may remember that she lost her bid for a senate seat in Delaware and got hammered by the liberal media in the process. Now she has written a new book called "Troublemaker: Let's Do What It Takes to Make America Great Again".

Miss O'Donnell joins us now from Miami.

So looking back, what was the biggest mistake you think you made in that campaign?

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL, FORMER DELAWARE SENATE CANDIDATE: Well, several of them. But I think the biggest mistake was that stupid ad. And the reason why I tell it with such painstaking detail is because there is a lesson. This whole middle class movement that is propelling the Tea Party is fueled by the instincts and the passion and the gut of everyday Americans who have never been involved in the political process before.

Here I was, I won the primary because of that and then on the other side of the primary, I listened to the experts. I didn't have confidence in my own gut instincts and went with that stupid ad which everything in me screamed that it was wrong.

So I'm hoping that, you know, a wise man learns from his or her mistakes and even wiser learns from the mistakes of others.

O'REILLY: OK. Let's run that ad so everybody knows what you're talking about. Go.

O'DONNELL: I'm sure they know. I'm sure.


O'DONNELL: I'm not a witch. I'm nothing you've heard. I'm you. None of us are perfect. But none of us can be happy with what we see all around us. I will go to Washington and do what you would do.


O'REILLY: You know, I'm looking at that now, I don't think that's so bad. The guy who designed it, Fred Davis, your campaign hired to do this kind of media stuff, and the witch deal came out of some kind of interview you gave, what, 10 years ago to Bill Maher on his dopey show.


O'REILLY: But you came across as a woman who is saying look, this is ridiculous. I'm just like you are and I want to make things better. You thought that that was a detriment to what you wanted to do.

O'DONNELL: It was the opening line. The opening line overshadowed the message of the whole campaign. And I knew that going into it but, you know what; I think that it exploded to the level it did because when your political opponent doesn't have a platform to stand on, they resort to the politics of personal destruction.

O'REILLY: Look and he had every media person in the world helping this guy, this guy Coons. There's no doubt about it.


O'REILLY: Now, the guy who did this ad, Fred Davis, you kind of intimated in your book I had to read it quickly so maybe I didn't get the message properly that he did it on purpose. He leaked it to the media on purpose. Is that what you think? Were you sabotaged by your own people?

O'DONNELL: Well, I don't know if he did.


O'DONNELL: I don't know if he did but somebody leaked it before I saw it. And I respect Fred Davis. He usually does very good work.

O'REILLY: All right. So you believe that you were sabotaged then in your campaign by somebody who leaked that to the media before it went out on TV.

O'DONNELL: It leaked. I made it very clear after we produced the ad that I -- I didn't really want it to go -- I didn't want that one to be our first one and then all of a sudden it became --

O'REILLY: It's on the Internet and everybody is looking at it.

O'DONNELL: Exactly before I did. That was the interesting thing.

O'REILLY: It's a lesson to all politicians and people in the public eye.


O'REILLY: People can betray you and people can do nasty things and that hurt you.

You also write about Karl Rove, one of our political analysts here who didn't really think that you were qualified to be a senator and kind of said that and that hurt your campaign as well.

O'DONNELL: Well, the interesting thing is before the primary he came to Delaware and met with all the Tea Party leaders in Delaware saying whoever wins we have got to unite. And, yet, when it came time to listen to his own advice he just wouldn't. I recently extended the olive branch to Karl Rove because in order to make Barack Obama one-term president we have got to unite.

But he's continuing to bash the Tea Party. And I just don't get it. All I can think is that maybe he does really think that compromising is the only way Republicans can win.


O'REILLY: Well, let me -- let me --

O'DONNELL: But I say --

O'REILLY: Let me put forth his point of view and then I'll give you time to respond.

From what I get from Karl Rove because he is on the program every week is that he believes that there are some people who are competitive against a machine like Barack Obama's and some people who just don't have the experience. It's about experience and that Rove and other establishment Republicans want really experienced people. I don't think it's personal and I don't think it's anti-Tea Party.


O'DONNELL: Right. Well, that's why I wrote the book so that people can understand that I was qualified and they could know who I am. But Karl Rove continued to put out misinformation about me and about my background even though we gave him the information.

The other thing about it is I was ahead in the polls before the Republican infighting. I was leading against the Democratic opponent before my own party turned on me and CNN exit polling shows that Castle wouldn't have won either. So if we had united, if we had been able to duplicate what they did in Kentucky where the establishment got behind the Tea Party candidate, it might have been a different outcome.

But I'm still very proud because we put the political process back into the hands of the people. We were engaging people who have never been involved before. There is a mind set with so many that I'm not smart enough or I'm not rich enough as if the political process only belongs to the ruling elite. And I think that's what this whole Tea Party movement is beautifully about.

O'REILLY: All right. Ms. O'Donnell the book is "Troublemaker" and we appreciate you coming on the program tonight.