22 Minutes and Walsh punk Christine O’Donnell

Three days of dogged pursuit of Tea Party standard-bearer Christine O'Donnell led Tuesday to a This Hour Has 22 Minutes crew, led by comic Mary Walsh, punking the U.S. politician.
Walsh punks punk

Three days of dogged pursuit of Tea Party standard-bearer Christine O’Donnell led Tuesday to a This Hour Has 22 Minutes crew, led by comic Mary Walsh, punking the U.S. politician.

Walsh told Playback Daily that her crew and her microphone got near to O’Donnell a few times at rallies and even outside her campaign office, before local cops managed to keep the Canadian TV crew at bay.

“We went to her office twice, we almost got to speak to her, but the security came out, spotted us and hustled her back into a locked office,” she said.

The This Hour Has 22 Minutes crew also pursued O’Donnell at Tea Party Express rallies, but field producer Michael Mullane recalls a challenge in capturing Walsh and the candidate in the same camera frame, and getting round O’Donnell’s security detail.

“Getting the two together was hard,” Mullane said.

Working on a hunch, the This Hour Has 22 Minutes team early Tuesday went to the polling station where O’Donnell voted in September during the Republican’s Delaware Senate primary, betting she may return to vote there in the Delaware Senate election.

“It occurred to us there’s a few things that can’t be controlled: you do have a right to a public trial and you are on the electoral roll indicating where you are voting, and you must do so in public,” Walsh explained.

The hunch paid off. Walsh and her camera crew were standing outside the Cab Calloway High School in Wilmington, Delaware when O’Donnell and only a few of her surprised handlers emerged from their campaign bus to enter the polling station.

Thrusting her 22 Minutes microphone towards O¹Donnell, Walsh called out: “I just wanted to say good luck from Canada, and to suggest perhaps you need your own constitution with a first amendment that guarantees the separation between your thought and speech.”

In a video posted to YouTube, viewers see O’Donnell smile, while remaining tight-lipped and walking, as Walsh adds: “Miss O’Donnell, the Canadian press is saying you’re so dense that light bends around you. Do you have any reaction to that?”

Unlike in 2009 when Walsh managed a response from U.S. politician Sarah Palin when she button-holed her during a book tour, the Canadian comic isn’t surprised O’Donnell didn’t take the opportunity to address her Canadian TV audience during an upcoming episode of This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

“Sarah Palin, I got her to say stuff. But I knew [O'Donnell] hasn’t said anything since her first amendment mix-up,” Walsh said, referring to the political candidate appearing oblivious during a recent debate with opponent Chris Coons to the contents of the American Constitution.

Sadly for Walsh, O’Donnell clamming up is par for the course when it comes to politicians these days, in Canada and the U.S.

“There’s a vast political movement in both our countries to protect politicians from ever speaking to the press,” she said.

“This is the new wave, everyone is protected form the fifth estate, and the people of the tea party movement believe that the fifth estate is their enemy,” Walsh added.

The Canadian TV crew captured O’Donnell on camera during a hiatus week for This Hour Has 22 Minutes, so the ambush won’t go to air until Tuesday, November 9 on CBC Television.