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O'Donnell to CNN: 'I've matured'

By Jim Acosta, CNN
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Christine O'Donnell: I've matured
  • CNN's Jim Acosta speaks to Christine O'Donnell in an exclusive interview
  • O'Donnell is the Delaware GOP Senate candidate
  • She answered questions ranging from health care reform to Sarah Palin
  • O'Donnell: "I've matured in my faith. I've matured in my policies"

Wilmington, Delaware (CNN) -- Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell granted me a 10-minute interview at her campaign headquarters on Thursday. Here are the highlights:

On the Bill Maher tapes: "No I haven't been embarrassed. And I'm not saying that I'm proud. You know, obviously what they're trying to do is paint a picture of who I was 20 years ago. I've matured in my faith. I've matured in my policies. Today you have a 40-something woman running for office. Not a 20-year-old. So that's a big difference."

"A lot of what I said ... I had a new-found faith and I saw this an opportunity to talk about the faith on national TV and more as a ministry opportunity. But voters need to rest assured that when I go to Washington D.C., it's the Constitution by which I will make all of my decisions. And I will defend their right to disagree with me."

Keep the Bush tax cuts and cut the deficit? "It is not impossible. First of all, any time taxes have decreased, revenue has increased. Because what you're doing is you're putting money back into the private citizens who then go and start businesses and create jobs based on the private sector not government spending."

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Health care reform -- scrap the whole thing including consumer protections? "What I want to do is create real health care reform. Things like that are absolutely crucial and you have to make sure that people with pre-existing conditions get the coverage and care that they need. I want to scrap the bill and start over with real reform, piece by piece. Nobody is disputing that we need health care reform, but this bill is a massive government takeover of the health care system that gives the government way too much power."

Is a repeal realistic? "If Barack Obama vetoes that the year before his re-election, he's setting himself up to be very vulnerable and I've seen many Hillary for President ads running. So if he chooses to thumb his nose at the will of the American people and ram this unrealistic, unconstitutional bill down America's throats, then there will be consequences politically for Obama."

Is global warming manmade? Does it contribute to global warming? "I don't have an opinion on that. I would have to look at a specific piece of legislation. When it comes to cap and trade, the bill that has supposedly out there to combat climate change, I'm absolutely opposed to cap and trade because of its economic consequences."

Teach creationism in schools? "It doesn't have anything to do with what I will do in Congress. ... My opinion on that is irrelevant."

President Obama's timetable on Afghanistan: "We need to make our foreign policy decisions based on their effectiveness not based on time."

Is Sarah Palin qualified to be president?: "Is she running for president? Again, hypothetical."

Does Palin give you advice?: "She gives me 'You go, girl' advice."

Did Palin really tell you to speak through Fox News?: "I heard her say something like that on 'O'Reilly.' If anybody knows about the politics of personal destruction, it's women candidates, women politicians like Sarah Palin."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or Jim DeMint? "Is Jim DeMint running?"

Unemployment -- Obama or Bush's fault? "It's a combination of politicians in Washington losing their way. ... So I think what we need to do to get our economy back on track is to replace career politicians with citizen politicians."

Why so reluctant to talk about her past statements? "This campaign is about the future and not the past. This campaign is about what each candidate is going to do to address the needs of the people of Delaware."

Never going to talk about Bill Maher?: "What I said or did on a comedy show, you know, over a decade ago is not relevant in this election."