New York Times: With O’Donnell as Foil, Democrat Plays It Safe

NEW CASTLE, Del. — When Chris Coons was asked last week about a new television commercial in which his rival in this state’s Senate race, Christine O’Donnell, assured voters that she was not a witch, his smile was controlled and very, very brief.

“That’s got to be one of the more memorable ways to introduce oneself,” Mr. Coons said. Then he quickly steered the discussion toward the economy.

In a subsequent interview here, when Ms. O’Donnell’s past denunciation of masturbation came up, he said only this: “I have 11-year-old twin boys, and this campaign has allowed us to accelerate awkward conversations.”

Ms. O’Donnell, whose warm embrace by the Tea Party helped her stage a surprising Republican primary upset, has given Mr. Coons, her Democratic opponent, plenty to pounce on. What he does for the most part is avoid it, on the apparent theory that she generates ample ridicule without any extra from him.

In fact, his campaign frames her in a strikingly deadpan manner. On his Web site recently, the opening image was not of him but of her, with these neutral words: “Meet our G.O.P. opponent.” There was no further commentary, and the picture — shiny hair, sparkling eyes — was decidedly flattering. For the Coons campaign, the mere fact of her was fodder enough.

Read the whole article »