Christine O'Donnell became a national figure when she ran for the U.S. Senate seat in the state of Delaware last year. But even though she defeated the heavily favored GOP frontrunner candidate in the primary, the fame she gained failed to carry her to a victory in the general election.
A favorite of the Tea Party movement, O'Donnell's candidacy was not without scandal. The conservative faced questions about her finances and educational qualifications, and was forced to explain comments she made in her past, including that she "dabbled" in witchcraft. A political ad produced to refute those earlier comments contained the memorable line: "I am not a witch." It was parodied and generally thought to have backfired.
In the book "Troublemaker: Let's Do What It Takes to Make America Great Again," O'Donnell tells the story of her childhood, how she became a conservative and a political activist, and details what she sees as ailing America.
Here are a few highlights from the book (the full excerpt follows below):
Calling it "one of the most bizarre pieces of political theater in recent memory," O'Donnell discusses the background of the notorious 2010 campaign ad and her sense of betrayal by Bill Maher, who dredged up a 1999 clip from the archives of Politically Correct, and showed it on his new HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher. She writes, "This nothing comment about a guy I'd known back in high school [who believed in the occult] had set in motion what was starting to feel like a modern-day witch hunt—with me cast as . . . well, as the witch." Regarding Maher's antics, she writes, "I was stunned. More than that I was hurt, because it felt like a betrayal . . . I'd thought we were friends."
O'Donnell muses, "We've watched the tentacles of big government reach into every part of our lives. In Delaware…a teenager can't even use a tanning bed without a parent's permission! But that same teenager can get an abortion without parental consent. How could a tanning bed be more dangerous than risky surgery?"
O'Donnell recalls, "I'd never thought of myself as a candidate for political office—certainly not the United States Senate. I was much more comfortable as the behind-the-scenes strategist . . ." However, friends "were all suggesting that with my national contacts, with my media platform, with my experience working in Washington, I was uniquely positioned to bring a much-needed voice to the primary campaign."
She comments, "I greatly admire President Bush as a leader with courage to defend his country and to stand for his convictions…most of the time. But liberal influences within his own administration, led at times by Karl Rove, severely tarnished Bush's legacy among true Constitutionalists."
O'Donnell writes that for prior generations, "The American Dream meant the chance to work hard, save and sacrifice, to earn the house or the car or the freedom to do as they please. Everyone had a shot at the American Dream, if you were willing to pay the price. Today the American Dream is government subsidized."
Read an excerpt from O'Donnell's book below, then check out some other books in the "GMA" library