The O’Donnell-Coons debate expectations were very low for the underdog. Yet the first O’Donnell-Coons debate didn’t turn out extremely bad for Christine O’Donnell, although that may be a small win. Since she’s been bashed extensively and was down big in the polls, even a good performance against Chris Coons might not make a difference. Naturally, her opponents are bound to get more material against her from the debate, yet she was not the only one to get mixed marks.
CNN televised the debate, even though this is not a close race. Yet all of the publicity for the underdog makes up for the lack of suspense. To start cutting into that lead, O’Donnell has to really rally the base to her side in the next few weeks, although even that might not be enough.
Few thought the debate would help her do that, given all the embarrassing clips of her previous media appearances. Yet, since Bill Maher and company started digging up her past interviews, she hasn’t appeared that much on TV lately, except for her “I’m not a witch” campaign ad.
In her first showdown with Coons, most of O’Donnell’s controversial statements, clips and parodies were brought up quickly. Moderators Wolf Blitzer and Nancy Karibjanian joined Coons in asking for clarity, but O’Donnell stood by some of her old comments.
She sidestepped whether she really believed that evolution was a myth, then changed the subject to call Coons a Marxist. Yet he actually did write an article called “Chris Coons: The Makings of a Bearded Marxist,” although he said it was a satire.
Nevertheless, the debate results didn’t have high marks for Coons, as even the New York Times said he sometimes seemed “mean spirited.” Blitzer and Karibjanian were also criticized by pro-O’Donnell supporters for their tactics.
But the big star of the night was O’Donnell, as she expanded on old and new controversies. She continued to state her opposition to abortion, and said critics were using rape and incest cases as “scare tactics,” claiming they made up 1 percent of abortions in the country. She did back off a bit on her 2006 claims that China could take over America, but did state they could take over “monetarily.”
The big new bit of mockery that could come from the O’Donnell-Coons debate came when they talked about the Supreme Court. When asked what recent Court decisions she opposed, she couldn’t think of anything more recent than Roe v Wade. But compared to the witchcraft comments, this may be a mild slipup.
The debate ultimately left O’Donnell where she started – embraced by some, mocked by others, and still down big in the polls.
Huffington Post- “Delaware Senate Debate: Christine O’Donnell Refuses To Say Whether Evolution Is A Myth, Calls Opponent Marxist”
New York Times- “Delaware Candidates Trade Jabs in Debate”
National Review Online- “Did Delawareans Just Endure the Worst-Moderated Debate Ever?”