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Christine O'Donnell Skips Sunday Shows After Release of Witchcraft Video

Christine O'Donnell, the Tea Party candidate who won the G.O.P. nomination for Delaware's U.S. Senate seat, decided to skip scheduled appearances on two of the big Sunday talk shows after Bill Maher released a 1999 video clip of O'Donnell saying that she had "dabbled into witchcraft" and that her first date with a witch took place "on a Satanic altar." But, O'Donnell says, "I never joined a coven." [Video below.] O'Donnell was a frequent guest on Maher's ABC program, "Politically Incorrect," which aired until 2002, and the comedian and commentator has promised to air other potentially damaging clips of O'Donnell until she agrees to appear on his current show, "Real Time with Bill Maher" (HBO). Although scheduled to appear yesterday on "Fox News Sunday" and "Face the Nation" (CBS), O'Donnell suddenly remembered that she had other things to do -- like attend a picnic in Delaware -- after Maher released the clip. Don't think for a minute, though, that O'Donnell's witchcraft admission will endanger her support from the religious right. Repentance equals redemption among those in that number, and O'Donnell's whole point in making the admission is that she knows of what she speaks when she says she has seen the light. At the Family Research Council's big Values Voter Summit this weekend, O'Donnell's appearance on Friday was a huge hit, and emcee Gil Mertz promised the audience that O'Donnell, "as a woman of faith," will be "much under attack." Maher's actions will simply be taken as further evidence as a secularist jihad on the anointed candidate. Besides, if there's any really witchcraft issue here, they can always summon this guy. No, O'Donnell's witchy past -- and I don't call it Wiccan, because Wiccans don't worship Satan -- is more likely to be a negative indicator with people outside the religious right, like, say, the normally moderate voters of Delaware. In related news, Tom Ross, the state chairman of Delaware's Republican Party, appeared today on ABC's "This Week." Host Christiane Armanpour showed clips of Ross's comments about O'Donnell prior to the primary, including this: "She's not a viable candidate for any office in the State of Delaware." Ross went on to complain of groups from outside the state coming in to Delaware, "big-footing around," dumping in millions to back O'Donnell in her successful bid against Castle, the party's endorsed candidate. O'Donnell on "Politically Incorrect" in 1999 Delaware GOP state Chairman Tom Ross talks about O'Donnell on ABC's "This Week"