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O’Donnell Turns Witch Flap Into Appeal to Mainstream Voters

In her first ad of the general election in Delaware, Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell plays off her notorious foray into witchcraft to make the case that she is within the mainstream.

“I’m not a witch. I’m nothing you’ve heard,” she says in the ad released Monday. “I’m you.”

The tea party favorite defeated the establishment candidate, Rep. Mike Castle, in the GOP primary Sept. 14. Within days, a trove of old television footage surfaced of O’Donnell speaking about her conservative beliefs, not all of it flattering. In one of the first clips, O’Donnell admits on Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect” in 1999 that she had “dabbled into witchcraft” and “hung around people who were doing these things.” She said one of her first dates was with a witch.

Castle had been forecast to easily win the Senate seat against New Castle County Executive Chris Coons (D), while O’Donnell has been criticized as being too far out of the mainstream to be elected in Delaware. She sought to counter that argument in her ad, saying, “None of us are perfect, but none of us can be happy with what we see all around us. … I’ll go to Washington and do what you’d do.”

O’Donnell’s campaign has also been troubled by questions about her résumé and personal finances.

Maher has been airing an O’Donnell clip from “Politically Incorrect” each week on his current HBO show, “Real Time.” He has said he will stop when she agrees to an interview.

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