Christine O’Donnell Will Not Be Sarah Palin’s Warm Up Act

ABC News’ Sheila Marikar reports: Contrary to reports, Tea Party activist Christine O’Donnell will not speak before Sarah Palin at a Sept. 3 Iowa tea party rally. But she was initially invited to do so.

“We were contacted by someone with the Tea Party Tribune, they mentioned that Christine O’Donnell is on a book tour, they asked if she might be able to set up a table with some books and then possibly address the crowd,” Charlie Gruschow, co-founder of the Tea Party of America, the group that’s hosting the “Restoring America” event, told “We said, ‘Well, OK.’”

O’Donnell rose to national prominence last year while running for a U.S. Senate seat in Delaware. During the campaign a 1990s video of O’Donnell saying she once dabbled in witchcraft emerged online, and to counter the criticism about the clip, she ran a campaign ad declaring, “I’m not a witch. I’m nothing you’ve heard. I’m you.” O’Donnell ended up losing her Senate bid and later called the ad a mistake.

“We were totally caught off guard and didn’t realize the controversy surrounding her,” Gruschow said. “We received some emails from some Tea Party patriots that were coming to the event saying they were very concerned. So we said it’s not worth it.”

Instead, a handful of other speakers will precede the former Alaska governor, including radio host Tony Katz, Iowa Tea Party chairman Ryan Rhodes, and Los Angeles-based comedian Eric Golub.