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Christine O'Donnell threatens to sue radio station, retreats when reminded about the 1st Amendment

Odonnellonwdel Christine O'Donnell is still having trouble understanding that pesky 1st Amendment.

After a 20-minute radio interview with an AM station in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday, a representative of the Republican nominee for Senate demanded that the station turn over a video that had been made of the interview so it could be destroyed.

O'Donnell's campaign manager, Matt Moran, called the station, WDEL, and threatened to "crush" the broadcaster with a lawsuit if the unauthorized video wasn't released to the "tea party" darling, the station reported.

WDEL's attorney told the O'Donnell campaign's law firm that no prior authorization was required to record the interview on video or post it online because the station's actions were protected by the 1st Amendment as free speech, according to a story posted online by WDEL.

"After seeing the video the attorney for the O'Donnell campaign contacted WDEL's counsel again to apologize for charges made by their campaign manager," the station wrote. "The attorney agreed that there was no legal issue with the video and expressed regret for the incident."

"There is no threat to sue D-E-L," O'Donnell's press secretary Doug Satchel told the radio station, on video, Wednesday, apparently putting the matter behind them.

When asked if the campaign likes the video, which is posted on WDEL's Facebook page, the press secretary seemed happy with it.  "We think the video shows Christine to be a strong candidate that went toe-to-toe with a strong talk show host," Satchel said.

On Oct. 19, O'Donnell raised questions about a different portion of the 1st Amendment when, during a debate with Democrat Chris Coons, she challenged him on the separation of church and state.

After Coons said that "religious doctrine doesn't belong in our public schools," O'Donnell, a Christian, who recently said that her inspiration to become the next senator from Delaware came directly from God, challenged the veteran lawyer.

"Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?" O'Donnell asked Coons as the audience chortled. Coons said it appeared in the 1st Amendment. 

"Let me clarify," O’Donnell went on. "You’re telling me that separation of church and state is in 1st Amendment?"

"Government shall make no establishment of religion,"  Coons summarized.

The exact phrase is "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."  But who are we to split hairs?

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: Screenshot of Christine O'Donnell from her radio interview on WDEL-AM. Credit: WDEL's Facebook page


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if you watch the video you'll see O'Donnell snap her fingers at about 11 minutes into it, and her campaign thug comes to her side to intimidate the conservative talk show host into changing his line of questioning, another minute or so later, when the talk show host refuses to relent, you see O'Donnell push her campaign thug towards the talk show host to stop him.

....not only does this lady lack rudimentary intelligence sufficient to turn a door knob, but she is seriously,pathetically, delusionarily sick!

I saw the tape. I believe Christine, being so far behind in the polls, is probably in desparation. When in desparation, we sometimes do things we would otherwise never do in 100 years. I think it best to put this unfortunate event behind all of us. Remember, Christine is still a soul, just like the rest of us.

"Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs."

-Jesus, in Luke 12:1-3

Conservatives are:
A) Morons
B) Comical Politcal Wanna Be's
C) Both A and B
D) Searching for porn during this quiz
E) False

If you selected E, you are a conservative, you do not understand the concept of simple interactive questions, and rational reason is just beyond your grasp.

The more the public learns about O'Donnell and the rest of her teabagger ilk, the less it's likely that these morons can actually get elected.

The distinction between "government" and "Congress" isn't small in this case. O'Donnell is right that the First Amendment, apart from any subsequent judicial precedent, doesn't directly address the separation of church and state in general - a concept originally intended to protect smaller Christian denominations against discrimination that could arise from a federally-established church. Theoretically, as one of my professors pointed out, states could establish their own churches. But the broader point is that "establishment" doesn't necessarily preclude some kinds of interaction between church and state, such as funding faith-based programs with a secular purpose. O'Donnell, unfortunately, isn't very good at explaining these distinctions on the spot, and the media eagerly wait to pounce on her flubs.

"O'Donnell, a Christian, who recently said that her inspiration to become the next senator from Delaware came directly from God, challenged the veteran lawyer."

The text should read "O'Donnell,who claims to be a Christian"...instead.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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