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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“O’Donnell’s platform, personal life at drastic odds”

Delaware senatorial candidates Christine O’Donnell (R) and Chris Coons (D) went toe to toe in a nationally televised debate Oct. 12.

Unlike her fellow mamma grizzly Sarah Palin, O’Donnell didn’t use folksy catch phrases and compulsive winking to mask her incompetence. Instead, the political lightweight stumbled over the simplest questions and parroted standard Republican talking points.

Coons, although far more articulate than his opponent, fell short of expectations as well.

The New Castle County executive was condescending and dismissive of O’Donnell at times, frequently prefacing his responses to her statements by saying, “”There’s so much to respond to there.””

But Coons’ mistakes aside, O’Donnell’s hawkish fiscal conservatism despite the utter disarray of her own personal finances will leave a lasting impression on Delawarean voters this November.

O’Donnell decided that her first line of attack would be aimed at Coons’ handling of the New Castle County budget.

She pointedly accused the two-term county executive of leading New Castle to the verge of bankruptcy, an accusation which Coon’s campaign has fervently denied.

Moving on to issues of a national scope, O’Donnell claimed the federal deficit was the result of the Democratic Party’s “”tax and spend”” economic policies. She then rattled off a list of proposed reforms, one of which included cancelling the “”unspent”” stimulus bill.

But of course, staying true to her conservative principles, O’Donnell also railed against welfare recipients, claiming those who receive food stamp are entrenched in a “”culture of dependency.””

O’Donnell, who had stated earlier that the country could not spend its way to economic recovery, seemingly contradicted her hard-line stance on federal spending when the focus of the debate shifted to foreign policy.

O’Donnell scoffed at Coons’ claim that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have contributed to the nation’s debt, contending that a military withdrawal from Afghanistan, a $3 trillion money pit, would embolden terrorists and threaten the nation’s security.

“”When we were fighting the Soviets over there in Afghanistan in the ‘80s and ‘90s, we did not finish the job. … If you’re going to make these politically correct statements that it’s costing us too much money, you are threatening the security of our homeland,”” O’Donnell said.

But clearly, O’Donnell is in no position to berate anyone for his or her money management skills.

Earlier this year, the IRS placed a lien against O’Donnell for nearly $12,000 in taxes and penalties from 2005, which she now claims was the result of a “”computer error””. She was also sued by Farleigh Dickinson University for $4,823 in unpaid tuition, and in 2008 she defaulted on her mortgage, resulting in a $90,000 judgment.

O’Donnell’s reported income was a meager $5,800 between March 2009 and July 2010. She would have been filing for chapter seven bankruptcy today had she not used campaign funds to pay for her personal expenses.

Although O’Donnell has said questions about her finances are a distraction and an insult to voters, given her checkered financial history, it’s hard to believe she’ll be able to tackle the nation’s deficit. O’Donnell should get her own financial affairs in order before running on a platform of fiscal responsibility.

— Nyles Kendall is a political science junior. He can be reached at

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