Christine O’Donnell getting slammed my MSM on 1st Amendment

Interestingly enough it’s Coons who could not answer the Constitutional question. But that was put to him by O’Donnell. Still it’s O’Donnell who is being whacked and ridiculed when her challenge to Coons is clearly rhetorical. Audio below. You decide for yourself.I’ll let either the SOS or Steve step in on the constitutional issue, but I have been stunned by the media’s response to this segment of the debate. Stunned on how it’s been twisted into a gaff and stunned at how the MSM has avoided Coons obvious brain freeze. Stunned but not surprised.

The two Delaware Senatorial candidates are debating the issue of intelligent design and evolution. O’Donnell thinks both should be taught if a school system so desires. Coons calls on the first amendment to bolster the position that “creationism” is religious and should not. Set aside the fact that Coons could not distinguish between creationism and intelligent design … O’Donnell asks where in the constitution is the first amendment. The whole radio debate is here at the WDEL site, but I have cut down two bites. The first is O’Donnell’s query on the First Amendment.


I am hoping the SOS will step in here so check back but, “separation of church and state” is not in the constitution and its first mention is in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson. Since that time the first amendment has been used to ban everything from Nativity scenes to prayer at football games … even silent prayer.

Immediately following that question O’Donnell had her feet held to the fire on whether she supported repeal of the 14th, 16th and 17th amendments. She gets the 17th but misses on the 14th and the 16th. I’ll admit, I couldn’t remember the 16th, the power to tax. What got me was the reporter’s gross mis-characterization of the 14th, not to mention, incomplete.

But then as Michelle Malkin notes, and correctly predicted earlier today the main stream media will make barely a mention of the fact that Coons could not remember the freedoms guaranteed in the first amendment, other than “separation of church and state”.

That’s right. Delaware Democratic Senate candidate Chris Coons can’t name the five freedoms in the First Amendment.

But all you’ll hear from the MSM today is that Christine O’Donnell — correctly — questioned Coons’ claim that the phrase “the separation of church and state” appears in the First Amendment.

Coons’ ignorance doesn’t fit the O’Donnell bashers’ narrative. So they’ll pretend this didn’t happen:


Sure enough, MSNBC’s Matthews and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer zeroed in on O’Donnell’s (correct ) question on the First Amendment, calling it a misstep when clearly, as you can hear, is rhetorical. But both completely ignore Coons lack of a first amendment answer. But then, as a lefty, everything after the establishment clause just gets in the way. I will get video up before the show tomorrow and add it here. But a quick example is the MSNBC lefty bias demonstrated here.

Update: Sorry the audio links above were broken. They should be OK now.

Posted in

Jim Vicevich

Jim is a veteran broadcaster and conservative/libertarian blogger with more than 25 years experience in TV and radio. Jim's was the long-term host of The Jim Vicevich Show on WTIC 1080 in Hartford from 2004 through 2019. Prior to radio, Jim worked as a business and financial reporter for NBC30 - the NBC owned TV station in Hartford - and as business editor at WFSB-TV in Hartford for 14 years while earning six Emmy nominations and three Telly Awards.


  1. Anne-EH on October 19, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Jim, for a Democrat running for public office, Coons would not know what is in the 1st Amendment which really, really SURPRISES me. If my memory serves me correct, the term "seperation of church and state" by Thomas Jefferson was given in a either a letter or speech to a group of Baptists in Danbury, CT during the early years of the USA.

  2. Dimsdale on October 19, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    It is just good old fashioned knee jerk liberalism at its finest.  They create an "O'Donnell is an idiot" meme, and apply it to everything she says.  Exactly as they did to Palin.  Both O'Donnell and Palin have been remarkably clear and well spoken, and both performed well in debates.


    Coons couldn't name the first five freedoms because Democrats aren't about freedom, they are about subservience to the state, central planning and a communal mindset, all the things that are anathema to a vibrant and growing society.  I think he is one of the new Democrat "intellectuals in name only"; they tell us over and over again how intelligent they are, but there never seems to be any evidence of that, either in the form of paper or practice.  So much for a free and objective press (one of the first five freedoms, Mr. Coons).


    And, as she correctly points out, the theory of evolution is a theory, not a fact, as Coons maintains.  Regardless of what I believe, on anyone, whether one believes in Darwinian evolution or intelligent design, it won't matter one whit; it will not affect a single thing we do or say, taxes, jobs or the economy.  So, in the matter of who is best to serve in the Senate, it is irrelevant.  In the classroom, both could be presented and be the basis of an excellent discussion, and nothing more.


    Was Coons challenged on the 14th, 16th and 17th amendments as well?



  3. chris-os on October 20, 2010 at 3:26 am

    Too funny.

    Bill Maher said it best "Why should she know what's in the constitution, six months ago the only question she was asked was "where's the rent?'".

  4. Dimsdale on October 20, 2010 at 5:12 am

    Funny as the fact that Coons had no clue about the first five freedoms.  What did Maher have to say about that?  Or about the fact that she was technically correct, as Harry Smith had to admit on the Early Show this morning?

  5. Odonna on October 20, 2010 at 5:23 am

    I thought O'donnell came across as well-spoken and knowledgeable. 

    She was right about the First Amendment and she was right that there is a difference between Creationism and Intelligent Design.  ID proposes to take a serious look at evidence of complex engineering or (duh) "intelligent design" in nature.  The possible origins of that design is not specified and would be a separate topic.  I think school children should be taught the current paradigm of evolution and should also be made aware of current debates within science, including ID.   Wouldn't that be the truly "liberal" approach–? 

  6. Dimsdale on October 20, 2010 at 5:41 am

    How can you argue that "intelligent design" is bunk when you can accept genetically engineered produce?

  7. RIAP27 on October 20, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Dear Jim and fellow listers,

    I listen to your program every  day, and have for years.  I am writing in regard to  the idea that evolution is a belief system on par with Intelligent design or Creationism.

    I am married to  R&D Senior Scientist who is a chemist and  I was an Earth science major in college many decades ago when they taught just the facts, just the facts–  and I write Science fiction. We are both VERY conservative. However, this idea that evolution is a belief system on equal footing with creationism just burns my brain into a frenzy. Evolution is a science, the science of genetics at its root, not a faith, whereas Creationism is pure faith.

    Evolution is a science, the science of genetics and biology at its roots, not a faith, whereas Creationism and Intelligent Design are pure faith-a religious explanation of how the Universe came to be.

    On the origin of life– I will try and answer concisely but I tend to ramble! LIFE itself is  made up of chemical reactions, thus is studied by the branch of science called biochemistry. Biochemistry is the study of the chemistry of living things. Its where pharmacutial research falls for without the fact it is all chemical on its basic level-medications would not work. We turn our food by digestion with hydrochloric acid in the stomach into its basic chemical make ups to make fuel for our body's cells.

    Organic chemistry-closely related-studies the chemistry of things living and dead or dying. This science says that 90% of all CO2 produced on earth is caused by plant detritus ( try that word on some idiot liberal one day). Plant detritus is the decay and rot of plant matter on the ground and in swamps and other bodies of water. The rest comes from respiration of living animals. Plants and trees use up the CO2-need it to grow and flourish, and do not care whether it comes from some jogger running down the road or a passing vehicle!!! The liberal agenda ignores this fact.

    Life began 4 billion years ago on this planet by a chemical reactions  driven by various conditions on the planet during that time. Once water formed here (how that happened is still up for debate but the thought is a comet or meteor strike brought the necessary elements needed to begin the formation of H2O)  the stage was set for the very chemical reaction-thought to be set off by some of the 1st lightning strikes on planet earth. From those specks of life in which RNA then DNA were created, life slowly evolved over billions of years to what we have now. Life continues to evolve. It has not stopped. Its that we do not live long enough to actually SEE the changes that evolve into a new species.

    There are examples of some on the brink of doing just that. Should we live as a species long enough to see this-it could easily come to pass that two dog breeds, as an example of the mechanism,  may become a new species. A chihuahua and a mastiff physically cannot breed because of the huge size difference.  Though genetically they are still capable-should they continue on this way they eventually will not even be genetically be able to breed and reproduce because their genes will have altered so much from each other that one or  the other will be a new species. Thus the old species and the new live side by side. Though dogs have been bred by humans to this extreme to cause possible speciation, it happens in nature as well if two populations get isolated from each other long enough-they change enough from environmental pressures over generations that if they  do meet again they will be unable to interbreed-thus one or both of them will have become new species.This happens over so long a span of time that most people cannot grasp the concept, but if one truly understands how genetics and evolution works-its easier to grasp and makes perfect sense.

    In the "survival of the Fittest" oh yes, we humans won the lottery so to speak, but it was not luck but our own doing. We evolved because we outcompeted our proto-human and ape competitors, as well as other animal species, millions of years ago to dominate the planet. Liberals propose to understand this but they do not, and contradict themselves all the time.They also count on the ignorance of the general populace on these matters to perpetrate their idiotic ideas using psuedo science based on real science that is twisted to their whims. I am all for survival of the fittest in society-where the premise also works best in a free enterprise system where the best survive, reproduce, and excell!

    All life is chemical reactions and is the reason we are born, live and die because ALL chemical reactions have a beginning, middle and end. Evolution is driven by genes-genetics  and biochemistry is the basis for all genetics. Species change and diverge over great spans of time. Whether we  know of all species in existence is irrelevant to this truth.  A simple example of how species change and even spawn new species-an animal has a mutated trait that makes it breed faster and more prolifically and it passes that trait on to its offspring. This group is as successful as its parent group but over time and environmental isolation that prevents back breeding–eventually–they cannot breed with each other physically and genetically  and a new species is born. It does not happen overnight. It happens over time and many many generations. One extra change in those Chihuahua genes and that breed will change to the point they cannot breed back to dogs and become a new species. This takes many hundreds of thousands of years, sometimes millions. The only reason we have domestic animals is because of the mechanism of evolution! Wolves to dogs, ancient equines called Tarpans(extinct now) to modern horses, African wild cat to domestic cats and on and on. That shows the mechanism and the only difference is with humans controlling the breeding-its accelerated. In nature its far slower. Wolves and dogs can still interbreed however they are considered separate species because of the vast differences between them. Given enough time–that ability to interbreed will disappear. Who knows what will be in another million years? Because the one constant in life is change. We as humans have not been on this planet long enough to record one species changing into another, unless you count wolves spawning dogs, etc.  The fossil records show that this occurs over a very long period of time, time passage that many humans have a hard time grasping. Paleontology, sometimes called historical geology, is fascinating and helps explain many things. To get a new family of living things often takes some catastrophic environmental change that wipes out great numbers of existing living things. The survivors then breed prolifically and with each generation produce offspring better able to cope with the new environment. Get one one two born with a mutation that it benefits from and it outbreeds the others passing the trait to its offspring-new species are born that way. It can happen slowly with tiny changes or rather quickly with big mutated changes. Thus the species change and sometimes spawn whole  families of new species. This takes millions upon millions of years.

    Big Bang-my idea-since all this is a chemical reaction that have a beginning and an end, but can spawn other reactions and on and on. At present there Universe is expanding from a big bang. It will, at some point stop expanding and start contracting and collapse in on itself, then, driven by the intense dense matter and pressures and chemical reactions within that ball of matter, much like a star goes super nova –it will explode and start all over again. This may have been going on for uncounted billions and billions of years-over and over again. We do not know how it may have started nor how it might end, if it ever does-but everything from the stars born from the big bang explosion to the humans crawling on this little planet around this ordinary star evolved and continues to evolve from the stardust strewn around the universe from that explosive beginning and subsequent life and death of stars born long before our sun. Our sun was born of matter blown off from those 1st generations of stars deaths, born of one of millions of primordial disks of matter that coalesced throughout the galaxy and in other galaxies. The Universe is a vast vast place-larger than we can easily imagine.  The sun was born, lives now-sustaining planet Earth– but will die one day-expanding into a red giant and swallow its planets as it swells-billions of years from now of course. It will die eventually as its chemical reactions within are spent and run out. Same with all life–we are born of a meeting of egg and sperm-a biochemical reaction, and we die when the biochemical reactions in our bodies is spent.

    Even the weather on this world is all basic chemical reactions. The simple act of evaporation and condensation and precipitation are chemistry on a basic level.

    Evolution is NOT the same as the silly Global warming nonsense or the Climate change idiocy, or the newest Climate disturbance stupidity, since one constant in all climate is change!! It changes all the time and that is all driven by solar activity. The sun itself is one big chemical reaction-a nuclear furnace that sustains this planet.It does not run evenly or radiate energy evenly. Its always in flux, thus so is our climate. We humans have nothing to do with it.

    If one needs God to explain things, why is it so hard to believe that this is all God's way of doing things??Perhaps evolution IS God's "Intelligent design or plan." One of my paleontology professors said this to us one day-essentially- "All this does not prove or disprove the existence of God. I am a Christian man and its my contention that this is God's way of working the Universe"

    I thought to myself-that I can accept. However, I cannot accept Creationism as an explanation since its all religious faith and mythology. The creation myths of all religions are lacking since they were at the  time of their writing, a way for people to try and explain their world and how it came to be. With the knowledge we have now, all these creation myths including Creationism, become nothing more than old stories with NO basis in true science. The sciences of evolution, genetics, geology, biology, chemistry, astronomy, physics, and other sciences  is not faith but truth. The Global warming alarmists mock meterology, chemistry, and basic astronomy. They trivialize the role of the sun on life on earth. They fail to see WE humans are PART of this biosphere-not above it or out to destroy of it.

    The silly so called truths the liberals believe are intended to misinform and sway the populace to their sinister socialist agenda. In my eyes, today's rank and file democrats  are all fools that  do not understand it well enough and thus believe idiotic things like global warming etc. The Democratic elite misuse the knowledge intentionally and twist it to half truth and ridiculous theory like Global warming caused by humans. That said–on the flip side–fostering Creationism as a true science is as bad as what liberals do-twisting science to its own end.

    Creationism is no different from any other creation myth in religions as diverse as  Buddhism and Islam, Roman and Greek mythology, and even  the old Pagan religions.  They tried to explain things they did not understand as best they can. With all our scientific knowledge today this is no longer the case. Many  of you on our side ridicule the liberals for using Global warming and go green as a religion to control people and it is true, they do, however-on the flip side this atheist conservative sees our side doing the same with Creationism! BOTH sides deny the truth trying to twist the actual science to their views.

    I cannot tolerate it when Creationism is forced into science classes. It belongs in Sunday school in the Church and NOT in science classes.

    The only cure-is to educate EVERYONE in all the sciences. Learning TRUE history, math and reading and writing sure would help a great deal too. Knowledge is power-power to see through the liberal tricks, lies and nonsense. Power to see the liberals for what they are. Power to see that they are using darwinism and evolution to their own ends and those that do not fully understand the mechanisms of genetics and evolution can be swayed to believe lies. They can also turn off people to sciences, who then  blame "darwinism " for these liberal attitudes when in fact its the liberals who have perverted "darwinism" and the science of evolution and genetics. I know so many do not understand why they must learn sciences if they will never use it in life. People don't realize that by just having the knowledge in the head, it can prevent people from being taken by Scams of all kinds and especially the ones political like global warming, or one as close to home as selling earthquake insurance to people in areas far far away from any major fault lines. Happened here in 1989 and some liar got on TV and said we had a fault line running east west thru CT that could do us the same damage. I was livid since we do NOT have such a fault line and all our "major" fault lines run north to south and are NOT plate boundary faults like the San Andreas is!! Stuff like that enrages me and Creationism pushed as science is the same thing since it denies some science while embracing others-whatever suits its needs. Its lying to its believers as much as liberals lie when it is pushed as a true science.

    Creationism DOES NOT belong in Science classes of any kind no matter the school any more than all this Go Green and Climate disaster idiocy does. For Christians to continue to deny evolution is a real mechanism  on Planet Earth is just as bad as Atheist liberals denying that NORMAL cyclic climate change is driven by solar activity NOT by humans. I feel like I am surrounded by IDIOTS when it comes to this issue.

    I know I have rambled quite a bit and I hope some of this makes sense.

    It is as black and white as can be in my mind and I am far from confused And every time I hear Creationism belongs in school with evolution and genetic science-I want to scream!!!!!


    Marie J. Phillips

    Those who cannot, will not, or refuse to learn from the past–are condemned to repeat it.

    In a truly free society, individuals succeed or fail by the consequences of their conduct-good or bad.<a title="; href="; rel="nofollow">

    Watertown, CT


  8. chris-os on October 20, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Did you watch the debate, Dims? or just views clips providing by the righties?.

    How can you say "he had no clue", you don't know this.

    O'Donnell asked that question about the 5 freedoms -the debate was stopped there as she was told that the participants could not ask the questions.

    As far as the silly defense the right wing scrambled up today: the 1st Amendment says :

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”"

    Ummm…Congress=state, religion=church

    O'donnell could not use simple reasoning skills to figure this out if she knew what was in the 1st amendment?

    Jefferson, btw, referenced the 1st amendment in that 1802 letter, he said "it built a wall of separation between church and state".

    And, you cannot run around waving the constitution then pick and choose what parts of it you want to follow.

    It is ok for anyone to want their children to learn about creationism or ID, or whatever-then send the kids to parochial school, bible class, catechism. etc.

  9. Dimsdale on October 20, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Nope.  Watched, and watched again just for you!  The debate was stopped on the words of Coons, who said that, after fumbling around on the first freedom, that the panel should be asking the questions, not the panel insisting on him not having to answer the question.  And if you think her presentation was poor, then you were watching what you wanted to watch.  And see.


    In fact, on the "do you agree with the Tea party about repeal of certain amendments" question, they did the same thing to O'Donnell that they did to Hillary in her debates with Øbama: they ask her first, allowing him to get his thoughts together and be able to compare or build on her statements.  When asked about the 14, 16 and 17th Amendments, they weren't explained to her, but her question allowed him to pretend he knew what they were all along.  There is no evidence that he would have known them by their numbers any more than she did.


    Can I quote you on the "you cannot run around waving the constitution then pick and choose what parts of it you want to follow" statement?


    Do you know the context of the "“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” clause?  If so, expound.  Even Coons said it was a good question that she asked, and her later comments, which Coons talked over, supported the "scrambled up" explanation of what she was saying about its literal inclusion in the text of the 1st Amendment.


    And my comments about evolution vs. intelligent design/creationism specifically state that the two should be presented, by a teacher, who can direct the discussion about the pros and cons of both.  It's a critical thinking thing.  You would be greatly surprised about what I believe, by the way.





  10. Erik Blazynski on October 20, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    both candidates are idioits.. the words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the first amendment, however when she is saying "that is in the first amendment?" she is not talking about the words “separation of church and state” she is talking about the near perfect recitation of "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"  which she is clearly questioning.

    @Marie, very well stated. Evolution is obvious, it is religion that clouds this truth. The myths provided in christianity can not be perpetuated when reality is injected, so they just deny obvious reality. Luckily evolution is weeding out the people that believe in these myths.

  11. porschepete on October 20, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    We are all made of "star stuff"It is what you believe in is what gives you comfort.

  12. Dimsdale on October 20, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    The only people that should be giving a tinker's damn about Coons and O'Donnell are Delawarians.  Evolution theory will not be overturned by the election of O'Donnell.


    It's the jobs and the economy, stupid!

  13. chris-os on October 20, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    If I were a Delawarian, I would vote her into a psych ward. She could find friends there that she could discuss the mice that she knows about with human brains!

    Seriously, is it no wonder that Coons is ahead by double digits?

  14. Dimsdale on October 20, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Oh, you mean her somewhat crude description of human-animal chimeras?? Well, I guess we all can’t be experts on everything!
    Can you vote people into psych wards in Delaware?? 😉

  15. DuffTerrall on October 20, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Marie, genetics, microbiology, organic chemistry, and all the various life sciences are absolutely proven fact, and I have never heard a credible complaint against them. Naturally selective micro-evolution (Chihuahua to Mastiff/Dog to Wolf) is a perfectly acceptable belief to most creationists that I have met. They are this due to the fact that they meet the primary?criteria?for science – they are all observed. Darwinian Macro-Evolution?(Goo to You), however, is a completely different theory from any of these.?The issue with DME is that there is no observational evidence. It isn’t science, it’s metaphysics, and from that position has absolutely no standing to claim superiority over ID theory. Absolutely there are things in ID that cannot be fully explained, but DME has similar problems – irreducibly complex systems, probability of random formation in face of available time, primary sources, etc.. As a classification issue, ID doesn’t need to be brought into the science class, Darwinian macro-evolution needs to me removed to the philosophy class.
    On Coons and ODonnell, the validity of either theory is, ultimately, irrelevant, though. What is the Federal government doing in schools in the first place? 1st Ammd. issues aside, whatever happened to the 10th? There is no justification for the Federal government having involvement with education, and to try and use a loophole where they’re simply providing funding (not controlling it mind you, just doling out money, oh we would never try and control the schools.) , but only if you meet their standards, is ridiculous.

  16. sammy22 on October 21, 2010 at 4:46 am

    If the Federal Government was not "involved" in the schools, we might still have segregated schools. Even CT has not gotten it right on the subject of educational "equality" in 30 plus years of fiddling w/ the "we know better" method of local control.

  17. Dimsdale on October 21, 2010 at 5:29 am

    Hmmm.  "Might".  In other words, we don't have the sense to realize that segregation is wrong.  Thanks.


    What about the self segregation called "diversity" that is promoted by the government?


    What about the decline in school performance (particularly for blacks) that has come about with increased federal mandates?

O'Donnell 2

The website's content and articles were migrated to a new framework in October 2023. You may see [shortcodes in brackets] that do not make any sense. Please ignore that stuff. We may fix it at some point, but we do not have the time now.

You'll also note comments migrated over may have misplaced question marks and missing spaces. All comments were migrated, but trackbacks may not show.

The site is not broken.