The video: Christine O'Donnell, the Tea Party phenom who has been embroiled in controversy since her upset victory in Delaware's GOP Senate primary last month, released her first ad yesterday — and Washington's chattering classes can't get enough of it. In the spot, O'Donnell attempts to distance herself from her experiments with witchcraft, makes vague reference to the other controversies dogging her — "I'm nothing you've heard" — and positions herself as a commonsense everywoman, claiming that if elected, she'd "go to Washington and do what you'd do." As the ad ends, she assures the viewer: "I'm you."
The reaction: This commercial isn't doing her any favors, says Frank James at NPR. The way to counteract damaging accusations is not "to produce a TV ad guaranteed to heap fresh ridicule on her," not to mention "launch a million YouTube parodies." But addressing her problems head-on might actually help O'Donnell politically, says Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic. Her ad "defuses some of the tension about her witchcraft experimentation, and it might help inoculate her against some of the more valid charges" against her, such as those concerning her questionable resume. Plus, those YouTube parodies will just allow her "to play a victim even more than she is already." Watch O'Donnell's ad: