The whole experience of losing my grandmother in such a long, painful way was really very beautiful. It was so full of love, and growth. It strengthened us as a family. It was transitional, transforming. I went into the experience in some ways as a child and came out as an adult. Changed. In fundamental ways.
You're going to hate this, Christine, but hear me out . . ."
Okay, so that's the setup to the cris" is that came on the back of Bill Maher showing that old interview, and once it found me I couldn't think how to respond. Not at first, anyway. The general election was a little more than a month away, and we still didn't have any television commercials running throughout the state. Meanwhile, the Coons campaign, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and other groups had launched a whole series of misleading and distorted ads, quite a few of them attacking me, my family, my background, or my beliefs. They were also running false ads about Coons's record, claiming he had brought New Castle County to solvency when in reality our county had gone broke on his watch— a sad fact that our local newspaper wouldn't report until over a month after the election, by the way. Like it or not, like me or not, this nothing comment about a guy I'd known back in high school had set in motion what was starting to feel like a modern- day witch hunt— with me cast as . . . well, as the witch. It would have been silly, if it wasn't so darn serious, if there wasn't so much at stake.
For a while, I managed to defuse a lot of the talk. I even tried to joke about it. When a reporter asked me about the Politically Incorrect clip, I said, "If I was a witch, I would have turned Karl Rove into a supporter by now"—referring, of course, to the architect of George W. Bush's presidential campaigns and his former chief of staff, now one of the Grand Old Men of the Grand Old Party whose only acknowledgement of my campaign was to lead attacks against us.
It was a good line, but it didn't get a whole lot of play, because by now there was a great deal riding on this one Senate race, and not just for me personally. In fact, there was so much at stake in this midterm election that the Democrats were sending out the heavy artillery to stem the tide of support that had been coming my way since I'd announced my candidacy earlier that year. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was running ads against me, while national unions came out with a barrage of hateful direct mail campaigns. My fellow Delawarean, Vice President Joe Biden— who'd opposed me in the race for this same Senate seat back in 2008—was traveling through our home state, beating the drums for Chris Coons, and even President Obama was coming to Delaware to campaign against me.