Christine O'Donnell Slams Media, Defends Views on Church-State Separation

Delaware U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell speaks during a debate between O'Donnell and her opponent Chris Coons at Widener Law School in Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, October 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Robert Craig, Pool) The News Journal

In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" on Thursday, Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell defended comments she made questioning the notion of the separation of church and state in the First Amendment. She also said she thought she "got the better of" Democratic rival Chris Coons in the Tuesday morning debate where she made the comments.

"It's really funny the way that the media reports things," O'Donnell said, in an interview with ABC's Jonathan Karl. "After the debate, my team and I, we were literally high-fiving each other... thinking that we had exposed [that Coons] doesn't know the First Amendment. And then when we read the reports that said the opposite we were all like 'what?!'"

"I do think I got the better of him," O'Donnell added, citing that when she asked Coons to name the "five freedoms" of the First Amendment, "he could not."

O'Donnell and Coons faced off on Tuesday in a heated debate at Delaware's Widener School of Law, and O'Donnell raised eyebrows when she challenged Coons on his assertion that the Constitution delineates the separation of church and state.

"Let me just clarify: You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?" O'Donnell said during the Tuesday debate.

When pressed during the Thursday interview to clarify her position on the separation of church and state, O'Donnell cited the language of the Constitution.

"Well I think it says exactly what it says: that the government will not create - will not dictate - that every American has to believe a certain way, but it won't do anything to prevent the free exercise thereof," she said.

The controversial Tea Party candidate also made a plea for support from Republican Party leadership during the interview. "This is a call-out to them," O'Donnell said, adding that when she approached the party for help, "they said that if we close the gap in the polls... and, you know, and that's a shame."

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O'Donnell emphasized, however, that she thought she could win without much help from her fellow Republicans.

"If we had other groups, you know, buying commercials, exposing my opponent's tax and spend record, then it would be a lot easier to educate the voters," she said. "But you know what? I'm confident we can win with or without them." 

O'Donnell also said on the showthat she regretted her "I am not a witch" ad from earlier this month, and joked that she was considering being Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz for Halloween because "I killed the witch."


Lucy Madison
Lucy Madison is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.

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