The TV Column

Christine O'Donnell haunted by Ghost of TV Appearances Past

By Lisa de Moraes
Friday, November 12, 2010

Christine O'Donnell, the tea party darling from Delaware, was fighting late-night terrorism when she declined to appear on Bill Maher's weekly HBO show during her recent Senate campaign, she explained to NBC late-night host Jay Leno on Wednesday.

Maher had a boatload of O'Donnell clips -- more than a decade ago, she was a frequent guest on his previous late-night show, "Politically Incorrect" -- including one in which she talked about having dabbled in witchcraft (hence her "I'm not a witch" campaign ads).

As Election Day neared, Maher told viewers he would run an O'Donnell clip every week until she came on the show, which she never did -- so he did. Run the clips, that is.

"I wanted to do the show. We just couldn't get it worked out," O'Donnell told Jay on "The Tonight Show." "And then, my sister and I were watching the show when Bill made his threat, and I just thought . . . whether it's a comedian or a terrorist, you should not respond to threats."

And speaking of the Ghost of TV Appearances Past coming back to haunt O'Donnell during her campaign, Jay quickly worked the conversation around to the subject of masturbation. That had been the subject of another of those pesky clips -- this one from her appearance on an old MTV show. In Jay's defense, David Spade was his other celebrity "get" Wednesday night, and, being the gracious host he is, Jay was only trying to find a topic of interest to both his guests.

"How did that even come about?" Leno wanted to know of the MTV clip.

"I used to be a liberal. I used to be a lot of things that I'm not," O'Donnell explained. "I was a kid with a new opinion. And for me that was more of a ministry opportunity than a political statement."

(When O'Donnell appeared on the MTV series "Sex in the '90s," she was the president of Saviors Alliance for Lifting the Truth, which promoted abstinence. In the clip, she contended that "the Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery" and "you can't masturbate without lust," so it was no substitute for abstinence.)

"So, it's not so bad now?" Jay asked.

"I'm not even going there!" O'Donnell giggled.

Oh, and O'Donnell's gotten lots of "interesting" offers since the election, ranging from the usual book deal to a reality TV series.

One lame "Delaware Shore" Jay gag later, O'Donnell assured viewers that she was not interested in doing a reality show unless it was like that 30-minute ad her campaign produced, highlighting how various political issues affected the lives of everyday people.

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