Delaware Senate Debate: Who Won, Christine O’Donnell or Chris Coons?

To read our full analysis of how and why Republicans will take the Senate, click HERE.

The debate, moderated by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, didn’t have a clear cut winner as far as who answered better, though I’d say that O’Donnell will receive the most benefit from this debate.  O’Donnell gave strong answers to her questions despite Coons’ continual downplaying of every word that came from her mouth.  On several occasions Coons started his rebuttals by saying “I don’t know if I can respond to that” or “There’s just so much to say about that”, which won’t go over well with independent voters who, this election cycle, would rather hear policy than snide retorts.  O’Donnell gave surprisingly well thought out answers on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Abortion, and even did a decent job defending her bizarre comments on China’s immanent takeover.  Coons gave good answers as well (though I don’t agree with most of his stances), but skirted the issues on several occasions, including questions about his history with unions and his property tax hikes as New Castle County Executive.

O’Donnell’s only major slip up came when she was asked to name a recent Supreme Court decision that she disagreed with and couldn’t name one, saying “she’ll put it on the website”.  Blitzer offered Roe v. Wade as an option, to which Christine correctly responded by saying that she didn’t consider that recent.  The media will go crazy with this, but it’s really not that big of a deal considering our current Senators don’t read bills and for the most part don’t much about the policies they’re pushing.

The most striking component of this debate for me, however, was Wolf Blitzer’s obvious bias against O’Donnell.  On several occasions he cut O’Donnell off in mid sentence, while letting Coons talk until O’Donnell announced that his time was up.  Blitzer also protested a few non-answers from O’Donnell, while leaving Coons to skirt answers at his own discretion.

As a whole, I think this debate will boost O’Donnell’s a bit, but it’s not going to push her to victory.  Without the supreme court misstep, she would have stood to gain more, but unfortunately our soundbite media is going to pounce on that.

We’ll post the FactCheck later.  Early reports show O’Donnell passed, whereas Coons stretched it a bit.

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Filed under Christine O'Donnell

35 responses to “Delaware Senate Debate: Who Won, Christine O’Donnell or Chris Coons?

  1. rdubs

    Um. Chris Coons CLEARLY won. Christine O Donnell said America will “triumph over freedom”, couldn’t name a supreme court decision and referred to free speech as a “local issue.” I’m ashamed she’s gotten as far as she has.

    Note: Go to and search Christine O Donnell for real time opinions.

    • Rdubs, if you’ll notice, I didn’t say that O’Donnell won the debate. I said the net effect of this debate will be positive toward her, but only slightly. Coons’ portrayed himself as an arrogant politician, and that’s not going to translate well with Delaware independents. I use Twitter myself, but it’s hardly a gauge of someone’s debate performance.


  2. Schmidty

    Thanks for the recap; I wasn’t able to watch it real-time. Sounds like this girl just can’t get out of her own way. *Sigh*

  3. other guy

    rdubs, consider the source. this is a website called the conservative journal. through this lens, blitzer has an obvious bias because it’s a bias that doesn’t agree with the conservative journal. just like a site called the liberal journal will most likely side with coons and point out o’donnell’s shortcomings. note that coons was cut off from answers, too, but the author doesn’t mention this fact because it detracts from his argument.

    i’ll see snide remarks from coons and rasise you an instance or two of “harry reid’s lame duck session”. neither of these candidates debated entirely above the belt. it’s probably because they’re involved in american politics. who knew.

  4. Tom Willcox

    O Donnell is confused, there is no federal court decision on the issue of whether a terrorist is entitled to Miranda rights. The US Supreme Court in 1986 in Boumedienne held gitmo detainees could not be denied a writ of habeas corpus.
    There has been considerable debate over whether the government should Mirandize individuals, citizens or no, arrested in a terrorist Act. Most of it disregards the “ticking time bomb” exception (can’t remember the proper name) in case law interpreting Miranda

  5. packeryman

    This woman is a loser. How could the people of Delaware let her represent the GOP. She will lose by 25 points. Coons came over a 1000% better than O’Donnell. Where did the party pick up this far religious right wing nut. It is a total loss for Republicans. She might have some chance in some remote fundamentalist religious strongold(Georgia,Alabama.Arkansas)but not most of America. Carl Rove was right on this kook. The right wing shock jocks trying to push this woman are as disconnected from reality as O’Donnell.

  6. Tk

    She clearly won the debate. Coons couldn’t even hold a candle to her, unless your a Obama supporter, but even they are dwindling.

  7. Sean Sene

    She won , hands down.
    I was expecting her to fail big considering all the trash the liberals attempted to squash her with.
    She won, not just a little , not just a tiny bit, but all the way.
    Coons didn’t seem well versed on issues and it was clear Blitzer (Mr. Fettucini) thought he was there to help Coons.

    • The more I think about tonight’s debate, the more I feel like O’Donnell deserves the edge. Sure she gaffed up the Supreme Court question, but as tweeted earlier, the question was much harder than anything thrown at Coons. If you weight her performance (taking into account her lack of political experience, the bias against her), I’ll concede that she won handily.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Hope to see you again!


  8. long

    O’Donnell did not debate only againts Coons. She took courage to debate against 3 people tonight (Coons plus two liberal hosts). I vote for her courage.

  9. rutts

    I’m beginning to worry that we dont have one sane, intelligent tea party candidate. What a disaster, the dems deserve to win if this is the calibre.

  10. rick

    nice try rutts. Obvious plant poster.

  11. rick

    So Packerman is Christianophobic? Seems to fear anyone that considers values important.

  12. Pingback: Christine O’Donnell: How’d she do? | Net2Nepal

  13. Deb

    O’Donnell won, hands down. She quite handily threw Coons off base a number of times. The highlight was when he let her back him into a corner on his own “youthful and immature foibles” ( stating he became a Democrat because of a marxist professor). Very clever how O’Donnell used this against him when he tried to pin her down on her witch statements of her youth.
    I’m sure O’Donnell has surprised a number of viewers who were previously convinced by the media that she is a nutcase.

  14. Denise

    Far from a diplomat. She is unprofessional and rude. She rolls her eyes like a teenager when she disagrees. She label’s and stammers. How could she deal with adult issues of politics when she acts like a child. She is an embarrassment to the Republican party. Is this what we have to choose from? Egad.

  15. Puddy

    Yeah she won, if you consider not being able to give a coherent answer to any question. Oh and by the way apparently the United States fought the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 80’s and 90’s despite the facts that the U.S never had any troops on the ground, the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan in 89 and the Soviet Union started to collapse in late 1990. Of course she could have meant that we fought them by proxy but I seriously doubt that because she also thought the Afghan war was going on in the 90’s.

  16. ladybug

    If this is the sort of woman who would ever get elected to the US senate – God save America.

  17. john

    I thought Christina did surprisingly well, i had a slightly negative sentiment about her but this was the first time i have heard her thoughts. I think many Delawareans were impressed by her acumen, she did relativity better then expected so she has the edge, (translating to loss of votes for Coons and a gain for O’Donnell), Not enough to swing the election but she did gain from todays debate.

  18. NothingToSee

    I think Christine O’Donnell won this debate simply because she had a low bar set by the media. She responded well to pretty much every question except the supreme court decision but at least she was honest about not knowing a RECENT one. I agree that Coons came across as arrogant and disrespectful by his rebuttals. His “There’s just so much to say about that” followed by not much detail was weak. I would not be surprised to see O’Donnell jump in the polls with more independents gaining her vote.

  19. David

    How the heck does she get away with again stated that she had attended Claremont Graduate University?

    The University said there is “no student or education record for an individual named Christine O’Donnell.”

    • MrMajestik

      I am surprised the right wingers are still looking for verification that Obama has US Birth Cert. which he does but many of them continue to play detective and engage in conspiracy theory. She just graduated with a BA? Really? She is qualified to be in the US Senate? Maybe she should start with city council or mayor… she really does live in a fantasy land.

  20. patent1

    They would be nowhere now were it not for the help of the Koch brothers, who have dumped tens of millions into trying to get teabuggers elected. However, it is self-limiting. No matter how much they put into this election, they have reached the point of diminishing returns because the teabuggers don’t need an opposition party. They don’t need help turning people against them. All they have to do is talk. They are truly their own worst enemy.

  21. O’Donnell surprised me and will catch up to coons. It is however surprising that a Senate candidate cant think of a recent supreme court decision, is unfamiliar with the Afghanistan conflict of the 80s and 90s, and has to defend such ridiculous comments from her past. Overall im impressed with how she did do. However Republicans should still be embarrassed that she is their delaware candidate.

  22. Jason


    She has a graduate fellowship from the Claremont Institute. Not sure where you got Claremont Graduate University.

  23. Deb

    Coons came cross as a complete and arrogant ass. His degrading retorts and his so obvious sucking up to the moderators, trying to joke with them on a first name basis about O’Donnell, didn’t help him at all. He’s your typical intellectual Ivy League elitist who thinks the job is his.
    His suck-up to the female moderator, while knocking O’Donnell’s answer, told me a lot about him. He obviously figured it was him and the 2 moderators on one side, O’Donnell on the other. Unfortunately he was right.

  24. C Donohue

    How many times did Coons say “This administration has failed”? Hello, you are part of and contributed to this failed administration. The last two years have been downhill, lets start going uphill.

  25. Sal

    Anybody who says that Christine won this is guilty of the same bias they accuse the democrats of having. Christine all too often deferred questions, and would avoid the answers all together. Typical of an amateur that doesn’t have a clue what they are talking about. She got up there with her talking points, and refused to stray from them. It was just uncomfortable to watch her crash the way she did. Chris was more composed and prepared. And the fact of the matter is, they were asked the same questions. They were both given a rebuttal. The only reason she felt her questions were harder is because she didn’t know any answers when she was required to go first. And this, “I’ll put it on my website.” All that is, is code for “I don’t know, but I’ll have an employee of mine answer it on my website.” Those students didn’t go there, and America tune in, to be referred to a website. They went for answers, and she simply didn’t have any.

  26. Gaylon Booker

    I watched the debate until they cut away to await the arrival of miner #32. O’Donnell was perhaps not the brightest bulb on the tree, but neither was Coons. However, he convinced me he would fit right in with the arrogant a$$e$ comprising current Senate leadership. If I were a Delaware voter I think I would trust a newcomer who does not have all the answers to Coons who has all the same answers as Mr. Obama, Ms Pelosi and Sen. Reid, whose collective leadership is sinking America.

  27. rob

    She lost, Every issue is just the standard right wing offering we have been hearing for decades. She just repeats talking points. When it comes to health care, she like others on the right just repeat the same thing without offering really any new, big strong ideas. Its the same thing. Tort reform and buying insurance across state lines, both which wouldn’t do much.

    Nothing she said felt like they were things she really knows about or cares since they were the same thing republicans always say, some of the things were word for word with 90% of republicans been saying for 20 years

  28. student1776

    Coons seemed sort of dim, even with the assistance of the hosts, but clearly got across the message that he will fit right in with the Obama, Pelosi, Reid approach to government by spending big. People who want that should vote for him. McDonnell was a contrast with the media depiction of her, was disadvantaged by the bias of the hosts but in general did fine. The Supreme Court decision issue was a weakness but given the fact that Coons gave no strong answers to any questions, she won on the issues. I think the race will tighten up. I think also that people are focused on polls but that the polls don’t capture the enthusiasm gap – a factor I think will shift almost all the races 10+ points past the polls. If she closes it to within 8 points she will win. I’d like to see that mainly because I don’t want to see Coons as another Reid Rubber Stamp.

  29. MrMajestik

    You have got to be kidding me? Ms Christine got schooled…she looked like a 3rd string in high school debate team… the snickering and scoffing is overheard even when the camera is not on her… she and your teaparty are not going to do very well… but you people are delusional about a great number of things, so it doesn’t seem odd that you think it was a draw…or that O’Donnell actually did better than the Marxist… funny how you reject the idea of characterized CO about being a witch because it was so long ago…Coons issues which was stated as joke was just as long ago…hold people to the same standard please.

  30. Edward Rush

    I watched the debate and I was disappointed. I was not disappointed in Christine, but the Liberal attacks on her. She is not polished like Coons, and that is what I loved about her. The Elite Education Snobs have no clue to the reality of the world. Did anyone even acknowledge the fact that she did non-profit work? She is a real person and that is what I saw. She is one that I feel that can be trusted. Delaware needs to run away from Coons. He is creepy – in a Robin Williams psycho kind of way.

  31. trishden

    I didn’t watch the debate, not my state, will have to look it up on youtube. But, from what I heard today from various radio shows, she had the lead, wiped the floor was one of the phrases that comes to mind.

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