O'Donnell Smears Her Opponent As An "Anti-American" "Marxist"

September 22, 2010 12:18 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

After blowing off scheduled appearances on the Sunday morning political talk shows, Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell returned to the airwaves last night for a friendly interview with Fox News opinion host Sean Hannity.  During the interview — which O'Donnell said would be her last with the national media — O'Donnell downplayed her history of bizarre comments while attempting to paint her Democratic opponent, Chris Coons, as the real radical in the race.  Specifically, O'Donnell cited the story that Coons once described himself as a "bearded Marxist" as evidence that he is "anti-American." 

O'DONNELL: If the media's going to attack me for statements I made in my twenties, then that's fair game.  He made some very anti-American statements, apologizing for America, and calling himself a "bearded Marxist."


The only problem is that, as Slate's Dave Weigel recently explained, Coons never actually described himself as a Marxist — at least not seriously.  He did write an op-ed in college titled "Chris Coons: The Making Of A Bearded Marxist," describing how his political beliefs shifted leftward after he studied abroad in Kenya.  But it's clear from the article that the title was based on a joke with his friends:

I spent the spring of my junior year in Africa on the St. Lawrence Kenya Study Program. Going to Kenya was one of the few real decisions I have made; my friends, family, and professors all advised against it, but I went anyway. My friends now joke that something about Kenya, maybe the strange diet, or the tropical sun, changed my personality; Africa to them seems a catalytic converter that takes in clean-shaven, clear-thinking Americans and sends back bearded Marxists.  

Coons concluded by declaring his love for America and his faith in its promise (how...anti-American!): 

Many of the questions raised by my experiences of the last year remain unanswered.  I have spent my senior year reexamining my ideas and have returned to loving America, but in the way of one who has realized its faults and failures and still believes in its promise. 

Finally, ThinkProgress points out that while O'Donnell criticized Coons for "ducking the difficult forum" by not attending a Tea Party-sponsored discussion, she was making her baseless attacks from "her safe perch at Fox," just like Sarah Palin taught her.