Christine O’Donnell made it all the way to the end of a 10-minute segment with Today Show’s Savannah Guthrie this morning and addressed the infamous “walk-off” interview she did with CNN’s Piers Morgan on Tuesday night.
The former Delaware Senatorial candidate (and current book author) reiterated that she had no problem answering his questions generally, but she thought Morgan was “berating” her with a line of questioning she labeled as “borderline sexual harassment.” She suggested that if Bill Clinton were a guest, there’s no way Morgan would have asked about Monica Lewinsky or whether he still has a “fascination” with cigars.
O’Donnell also denied that she actually walked out at all, saying that she simply got up to leave because she was late for another event and the interview seemed to be over. “He needs the ratings, which is why he’s exaggerating what happened,” she said of Morgan. “I didn’t storm off. His sound person is the one who took off my mic.”
Guthrie did get O’Donnell to explain her position on gay marriage, which the Tea Party darling described as “the same as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, and Michele Bachmann: that I believe in state’s rights, but I also think that the church has the First Amendment right to define marriage as it wishes.”
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So let’s break this down.
First off, the ball is definitely in Piers’ court now (and don’t think he won’t grab it and make a play – this is the best thing that’s happened to him since super-bitchin’ Charlie Sheen was on last March). Did his producers take her mic off on their own accord, or were they instructed to do so by O’Donnell’s handlers? Was the interview actually over and just framed as a walk-off?
Next, O’Donnell made a nice move linking her views to those of Obama and Clinton, two of the nation’s most prominent Democrats who still haven’t come out in favor of federal legislation supporting gay marriage. She was able to answer the question about gay marriage – she wanted to answer it all along, if only Piers hadn’t been so damn rude! – without having to get into her actual positions on homosexuality itself.
It would have been interesting had Guthrie asked her about her successful primary campaign to unseat incumbent Mike Castle, which included a rumor that he was cheating on his wife with a man. Guthrie also could have asked if O’Donnell has denounced her previous statements made in a 1997 C-SPAN video that showed the politician claiming that the country spends too much money treating AIDS as opposed to cancer and heart disease. In the video, O’Donnell says people suffering from AIDS should not be referred to as “victims,” and labels homosexuality as an unhealthy activity akin to eating fatty foods and smoking.
O’Donnell does, however, have a point on the masturbation issue, which she has actually denounced repeatedly. She was young and passionate and shared her beliefs, but has made it clear that it’s no longer part of her platform as a politician. It was low-hanging fruit, and Morgan plucked it.
But the sexism accusations are suspect. Would Morgan ask Clinton about Lewinsky? Of course he would. It was a defining part of his presidency. Would he ask him if he still likes cigars? Probably not, as Clinton never went on MTV or C-SPAN to try to get others to understand that kinky sex is the path to eternal salvation.
One thing is certain: O’Donnell still makes for good TV and hasn’t lost her knack for making headlines. And don’t expect this to be the last we hear from her: O’Donnell told Guthrie that although she hasn’t made up her mind about running for office again, she looks forward to continuing as a leader “in this movement” in 2012.