'Not a witch' O'Donnell opens with simple TV ad

Christine O'Donnell's first TV ad of the general election, by GOP guru Fred Davis, addresses Delaware voters with a simple message.
Christine O'Donnell's first TV ad of the general election, by GOP guru Fred Davis, addresses Delaware voters with a simple message.

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By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Christine O'Donnell took to the airwaves Tuesday with a simple message for Delaware voters: "I'm you."

When the Senate candidate recently hired Fred Davis, the Republican ad wizard known for such provocative hits as "Demon Sheep," many assumed she would use the millions she raised online to launch a shock-and-awe ad offensive. And she still might.

But O'Donnell's first general-election ad is decidedly simple. Davis filmed O'Donnell, in pearls and a dark jacket, talking directly to the camera. No bells or whistles.

"I wanted people to get to know the real Christine," Davis said in an interview. He said the ad was designed to show "that she was not what everyone thought, that she was an everywoman - with one exception. She was one of us, but was so disappointed in our government that she was moved to action, to try and do something about it."

O'Donnell opens the 30-second spot by saying, "I'm not a witch." It was a reference to her much-publicized 1999 statement that she dabbled in witchcraft.

Davis said he included that line in the script to "once and for all put that behind her, and let people know we're moving on from that to things that really matter today."

O'Donnell's ad bears a resemblance to a recent ad Davis produced for Republican Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive running for the Senate in California. Both feature the candidates, dressed elegantly and speaking directly to the camera in front of dark, foggy backdrops.

But Davis said that the O'Donnell background was different, and that Fiorina's was a more elaborate production.

As for O'Donnell's straightened hair and formal attire, Davis said it was not scripted.

"The pearls, et cetera, are just her," Davis said. "She is literally not what everyone thinks. That's just what she wore."


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