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O'Donnell Applauds 'Troublemakers,' Defends Interview Walkout

Former U.S. Senate candidate brought book tour to tea party 'Flip the Senate' rally in Arlington.

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.”

Walk out

She hasn’t seen everything as complimentary.

Wednesday night, O’Donnell made headlines for walking out of an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan following a question about gay marriage.

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.

Jason Spencer August 21, 2011 at 07:26 PM
Thanks for the comments. For what it's worth, O'Donnell said she had an unedited clip from the show that supports her position, but her staff has not yet provided it to Patch.
Charles Cooper August 23, 2011 at 01:24 AM
Marriage is a product of religion in every culture that has ever been. America has the singular quality of being the first government that was not founded on the power of religion. Doesn't it make more sense, here in the United States where individual believes trump nearly every situation, that something as deeply personal as love should be subject to the two partners belief system instead of a government solution. I was at his event, I am a Republican and a Tea Party Patriot and think the problem is not that gays want to get married but rather that government wants to regulate it. Tell me how we can have equality when government can look at two people and tell them they can't form a contract for property exchange because on their gender.
Jason Spencer August 23, 2011 at 02:17 AM
Interesting point, Charles. Sounds like a place where the conservative Tea Party and Arlington's progressives could agree on something, just for different reasons.
Karen Gautney August 23, 2011 at 10:20 AM
Charles, I agree with your position, even though we get to it from different paths. I do want to say, however, that marriage has not always been a product of religion in every culture. That is a myth. Stephanie Coontz is a historian who has written about the history of marriage and that myth, along with many others. I would recommend a look at her work for anyone who wants the real history of marriage.
Charles Cooper August 23, 2011 at 01:26 PM
This particular view is a Libertarian view and not reflective of the overall Tea Party. Most of the people in the Tea Party are more concerned with economic issues than with social ones anyway. Christine's particular view on Gay Marriage that she never articulated is that Marriage is an issue for the states to decide. My view which is more radical is that in the view of Government Marriage is nothing more than a contractual exchange of property. Constitutionally, we all have the right to contract. But I also believe that marriage is more than a type of contract it has social and religious implications that can neither be given or controlled by government. How can government regulate love? I'm sure they would tax it if they could quantify it. This is why Marriage has been governed by religion because it is a higher contract one that is beyond the purvue of the power of government. One thing you should keep in mind about the Tea Party is that it is an amalgamation of people with as many varying views on things as there are people in it. We are unified by the singular belief that Government has over-reached the bounds that were created for it by the constitution. The US built a wall around it government, but like creeping ivy, it has eaten its way through the concrete.

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