Haley Barbour with Christine O’Donnell at the June 13, 2008 fundraiser for Bill Lee. (Photo courtesy of Maria Evans)
On Monday, August 15, 2011, I issued a press release to set the record straight about an event featuring Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, an event that three time Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell cites in her new book, Troublemaker as an example of how the Delaware Republican Party was snubbing her all of the way back in 2008, when she was the party’s chosen nominee.
For the past nine months, I have been meticulously doing research for a book I’m writing about O’Donnell’s string of failed Senate bids, the Tea Party movement, and the role that national conservative figures like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Jim DeMint had in her primary upset of nine-term congressman, Mike Castle.
The 2008 fundraiser in question wasn’t even on my book researching radar. And why would it be? July 13, 2008 was another candidate’s day, not Christine O’Donnell’s.
I was one of the organizers of the fundraising event for Delaware gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee. As Lee’s communications director and a former member of the media, I was in the habit of recording his appearances in order to provide accurate quotes to the press.
The proof I supplied to dispute O’Donnell’s claim that she was purposefully overlooked, was the unedited audio of the speeches given at the fundraiser, audio that clearly contradicted several of O’Donnell’s statements.
O’Donnell claims that then state party chairman, Tom Ross “…acknowledged every party bigwig, every elected official, and every candidate for every conceivable office, all the way down to the state legislature…” except for her. The audio proves that Barbour was introduced by Congressman Mike Castle, and that the only dignitary that Castle introduced was Haley Barbour. Tom Ross did not speak to the crowd at that event.
O’Donnell goes on to claim that Barbour, “made it right” by giving her a special introduction to the crowd, but the audio shows that Barbour only said that O’Donnell “worked with me at the Republican National Committee” and all of the accolades O’Donnell said Barbour gave to her, he actually gave to other officials at the event.
The immediate response by O’Donnell and her team was exactly what I expected. They went on the attack. O’Donnell’s hysterically devoted campaign manager, Matt Moran, tried to link me to the state party’s FEC complaint against O’Donnell, a complaint that I found out about after it was filed.
Moran went on to say that I didn’t “deny” that “O’Donnell wasn’t invited to the fundraiser,” and that statement is absolutely true, because I was never asked whether or not she was invited.
In her book, O’Donnell claims that she found out about the July 13, 2008 fundraiser the day before, (that would be July 12, 2008), purely by accident, from Haley Barbour himself, and that her campaign had to scramble to “find out what fundraiser he’s (Barbour) talking about,” and that they had to do an “end-around to arrange for tickets, but we finally got them…”
The day after I issued the press release, on a local radio station where I had once worked as a talk show host, blogger and reporter, O’Donnell said that she “felt sorry” for me and the show’s host, one of her sycophants, called me Mike Castle’s “concubine.”
I was horrified to realize that my 12 year-old son had been listening to the broadcast. “Are you OK, Mom?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said. “I told you yesterday that people were going to say bad things about me, but it’s OK because I’m telling the truth, and when you tell the truth, everything works out.”
“Mom, what’s a ‘concubine’?” he asked with a concerned look on his face.
I paused for and long moment and considered my answer. “In this case, it means someone’s who’s right,” I said. I figured that I could clear up that definition on another day, when he seemed less upset.
I was glad that my son didn’t know that I had also been called a “liar,” a “political scoundrel,” “corrupt” and that I was accused of doctoring the tape. O’Donnell’s supporters went as far as to attack other members of my family in order to discredit and quiet me.
I looked down at the piece of paper I was holding in my hand and smiled. It was a page from Christine O’Donnell’s 2008 FEC report.
It showed that Christine O’Donnell purchased her tickets for Bill Lee’s fundraiser on July 11, 2008, the day before she claimed that she found out about it accidentally from Haley Barbour.
I felt grateful that time was universally known to move in a forward direction. I can only assume it works the same way in the bizarre world that Christine O’Donnell lives in.