Two years ago, Bill Maher stood in front of his audience and dared a former guest — Christine O’Donnell, then the upstart, tea-party-backed candidate for Senator in Delaware — to come back on his show. And, if she didn’t, he promised to release a clip a week of her appearances.
The first one he showed on September 17, 2010 — in which she said, “I dabbled in witchcraft — became the basis of her first television ad in which she now-infamously claimed “I am not a witch. I’m you.” The ad, which was widely derided, helped scuttle her Senatorial ambitions.
Maher, therefore, decided to begin their much-delayed tête-à-tête with an apology. “I first want to say to you — honestly, look you in the eye, I haven’t seen you in a long time — I know when I brought out the witch tape, I made your life hell and I’m sorry about that,” he told O’Donnell. He then proceeded to blame it all on the media. “I never intended it to go… We have to say, it’s a lot about the media. I thought it would be funny, and I read it was the most-reported story in all of the 2010 elections.”
“And I gotta say, you know, I don’t agree with your ideas, but it shouldn’t have hung on that stupid witch thing,” he added.
“No, I shouldn’t've,” O’Donnell replied, before appearing to take responsibility for the ad that backfired so spectacularly. “And as I’ve admitted in my book, part of it was a self-inflicted wound because we put out that stupid ad,” she told Maher.
Not two minutes later, however, O’Donnell backtracked, blaming the ad on a leak by advisers she should not have trusted. “I had never approved that ad, and it got leaked out,” she claimed. The ad, which went online on Monday, October 4, was widely reported to be O’Donnell’s first-ever television ad that was to start airing in the state on October 5, 2012. It ends with her saying, “I’m Christine O’Donnell, and I approved this message. I’m you.”
O’Donnell went on to add, “There’s a balance when you get into politics, between knowing when to trust your gut instincts and when to rely on your advisers. And it really is a delicate balance. I learned that lesson the hard way.”
Back in 2010, Maher followed through on his promise to air addition clips of O’Donnell from the 1990s, airing one in which she refuted the “myth” of evolution by stating, “Well then why aren’t monkeys still evolving into humans?”, another in which she said she didn’t become a Hare Krishna because “I love meatballs!” and then one in which she frustrated future Sen. Al Franken, Ben Affleck and Penn Jillette with her pronouncements about sex.
In tonight’s Maher appearance, she slammed Clinton’s Democratic convention speech, Obama’s economic record and the Republican party’s abandonment of their principles.
Watch the clip, which first aired on HBO on September 7, 2012, below: