Christine O’Donnell, the failed Tea Party Senate candidate from Delaware, is back in the news with the release of her new book, Troublemaker: Let’s Do What It Takes to Make America Great Again. The book frames O’Donnell as the prototypical conscientious patriot, holding true to her principles while battling the odds and the local Republican elite.
Problems with veracity troubled O’Donnell throughout her campaign, so it’s appropriate that they continue to plague her during the launch of her book.
One of the key stories in the book used to demonstrate the nefariousness of the local Republican political elite and its small-minded hatred of O’Donnell is a brief account of a 2008 visit by former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.
In her book, O’Donnell claims that the event was a Delaware Republican Party fundraising dinner, and that the State Party Chairman, Tom Ross, recognized every candidate in the room during his introductory remarks, with the sole exception of her. At the time, O’Donnell was in the midst of her second United States Senate campaign.
O’Donnell’s said that after Ross’s tactless snub, Gov. Barbour “stood right up there and gave me my own little shout-out. He said he was grateful to see his old friend Christine O’Donnell in the audience, or words to that effect. He even took it a little further, saying that I’d done a great job back when I worked for him, that the party should be proud to have me as their candidate, and that he had no doubt I’d do a great job in Washington if I was elected.”
All in all, this is a thrilling tale of elitist perfidy being overcome in the end by the simple, pure, principled O’Donnell. There’s only one problem with this story: according to Maria Evans, a Delaware blogger and radio personality currently working on a book about O’Donnell, Troublemaker’s account is pure fiction. Moreover, Evans’ claims to be in possession of an audio tape of the Barbour event that proves this.
According to Evans, Governor Barbour did visit Delaware in 2008, but the event was not a Delaware Republican Party function — instead, it was a fundraiser for Judge Bill Lee, the Republican candidate for governor. Also, Tom Ross didn’t handle the introductions — Congressman Mike Castle did. And Castle didn’t recognize any of the numerous Republican candidates or officers present in the room.
Finally, although Governor Barbour did mention O’Donnell, it was something a bit less then the ringing endorsement related in Troublemaker.
Evans maintains that on her recording of the event, Barbour simply states:
“Christine O’Donnell worked with me at the Republican National Committee.”
Well…at least she had a real job once upon a time.