In her first television ad for Delaware's general election Senate race, Republican candidate Christine O'Donnell takes on a matter that has ignited controversy around her campaign: an old video clip in which she says she's "dabbled into witchcraft."
The suggestion from O'Donnell came during a 1999 appearance she made on "Politically Incorrect," HBO host Bill Maher's former ABC program.
"I'm not a witch," says the conservative hopeful at the beginning of the newly-released 30-second spot. "I'm nothing you've heard. I'm you."
Speaking very slowly and looking straight into the camera, O'Donnell continues, "None of us are perfect, but none of us can be happy with what we see all around us. Politicians who think spending, trading favors and backroom deals are the ways to stay in office. I'll go to Washington and do what you'd do. I'm Christine O'Donnell and I approve this message. I'm you."
ThinkProgress relays what the GOP hopeful had to say years earlier about the witchcraft matter:
I dabbled into witchcraft. I hung around people who were doing these things. I'm not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do.
One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar and I didn't know it. I mean, there was a little blood there and stuff like that. ... We went to a movie and then had a little picnic on a satanic altar.
HuffPost's Sam Stein recently reported that O'Donnell sparked backlash with her remarks in the Wiccan community:
O'Donnell immediately distanced herself from the quote, asking whether it was fair to hold candidates responsible for the "questionable folks" they hung out with in high school. The clarification may have been the only sane political move for O'Donnell to make. But it had the side effect of angering an already politically sensitive pagan community.
"Yes, this was 11 years ago she said that," said Reverend Selena Fox, the High Priestess & Senior Minister of the Circle Sanctuary a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting paganism and nature spirituality. "But the kinds of things she is saying now, saying 'well in high school you are with despicable characters' or some such thing, she is actually defaming Wiccans. Whether she intends to do that or not as a way to try and get herself out of this political problem she has created for herself, the fact is America really needs to be a place where you can celebrate diversity and practice your religion without getting ridiculed or defamed."
WATCH: Christine O'Donnell: 'I'm Not A Witch'
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