A day after walking out of a Piers Morgan interview, former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell walked into a roomful of tea party activists and likened them to early American revolutionaries and abolitionists.
“Whether it was the founding of our country or stopping the slave trade, it was the troublemakers, especially the women troublemakers, who advanced these changes in our country,” she said to about 70 people inside the Hendry House at Fort C.F. Smith Park.
Thursday’s event, billed by tea party organizers as a rally to take control of the Virginia Senate away from Democrats, served largely as a platform for O’Donnell to promote her book, “Troublemaker.”
She said the title came from a Time magazine story that labeled her as such.
“They called me a troublemaker for the way I supposedly ruined the neat little package that the lords of the back room in Delaware had put together, and this liberal Republican-in-Name-Only wasn’t so easily going to walk into a Senate seat,” she said. “Perhaps Time meant it as an insult, but I took it as a compliment.”
She hasn’t seen everything as complimentary.
O’Donnell said the interview ran over the allotted time and that Morgan insisted on “asking question after question about sex.” She said she left after “he took a decidedly creepy turn.” She also emphasized it was a taped interview, subject to editing – a similar story she’d told Fox News earlier Thursday.
“I was there to talk about the book, and he went way off topic,” she said. “…And then he went into what I think was sexist. Can you imagine if he was sitting there asking Bill Clinton, ‘Do you still hang around the interns? Do you still like cigars?’ It was inappropriate.
“I’m not a 20-year-old on MTV any more. I’m here to talk about policy.”
O’Donnell insisted that she’d answered the gay marriage question repeatedly, saying that she had the same position “as Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani and Michele Bachmann. I believe in states’ rights, but I believe in the First Amendment and that religion should define marriage.”
O’Donnell – whose failed 2010 campaign in Delaware was marred by decade-old comments about witchcraft and masturbation – was well-received in Arlington and stayed afterward to sign books and pose for pictures. The event was designed to grow the tea party's roots in here, but the crowd was from across Northern Virginia.
Bob McLean of Ashburn said his only complaint was that he wished O’Donnell “would just answer the question” on gay marriage without couching her answer in a position taken by others.
But she was speaking to a friendly crowd who took to her attacks on “the liberal media.”
“I think she gets a bad rap, like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin,” said Geraldine Davie of Springfield.
“They (the media) skirt around the issues. There’s got to be something in her that’s so dangerous that they go for her jugular. They attack women to get another 10 minutes of fame for themselves. It’s really very disturbing.”
O’Donnell only received one substantive question from the audience, which was about term limits. She said she favored them. When asked to quantify her answer, she said, “You know. It depends on the office.”
Before leaving, the crowd sang Happy Birthday to O’Donnell and presented her with a cake. She turns 42 on Aug. 27.
What about Virginia?
O’Donnell’s political action committee had about $33,600 on hand as of June 30, according to the most recent information available.
When Patch asked if she would use her PAC to support Virginia candidates in 2012, O’Donnell said, “Who knows? It depends on what happens. It depends on how much money the PAC makes. And it also depends on the candidate.”
For now, the PAC will fund a legal battle aimed at revoking the tax-exempt status of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group that filed a complaint against O’Donnell in 2010.
The Justice Department declined to prosecute CREW’s case.