Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Piers Morgan walk-off: 'no hard feelings' for Christine O'Donnell

Piers Morgan

Former US Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell said she has no hard feelings toward Piers Morgan after walking off his CNN show - but has declined an invitation to return.

The Delaware Republican left Morgan's show yesterday after refusing to answer a question about gay marriage. She complained that Morgan was being rude.

Ms O'Donnell said today that she was more than a good sport in the face of "inappropriate" questions from Morgan.

She was promoting her new book, Troublemaker: Let's Do What It Takes to Make America Great Again.

The Tea Party favourite won the GOP primary for Senate unexpectedly last year but lost the general election.

Morgan said it was the first walk-off he has had in 25 years of doing interviews.

Ms O'Donnell became angry after Morgan asked whether or not she supported gay marriage. She said he was "borderline being a bit rude" and said she wanted to talk about topics in her book.

Morgan pressed on, asking her what she felt about the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy toward gays and lesbians in the US military, but Ms O'Donnell did not want to talk about it.

Morgan said he did not think he was being rude. "I think I'm being charming and respectful," he said.

Someone said off-camera to Ms O'Donnell that it was "time to go", and she took off her microphone and left.

Before the question about gay marriage, Morgan had asked Ms O'Donnell: "Do you still think masturbation is wrong?", "Are you still a supporter of total abstinence?" and "Have you committed lust in your heart?"

"If you watch the full interview, you'll see I was more than a good sport with his prior inappropriate and double-standard line of questions," O'Donnell said today.

"We had already gone over our time limit and were late for a Women's National Republican Club speech being shown on C-Span. No hard feelings and I wish Piers all the best in his future endeavours."

CNN invited Ms O'Donnell back on Morgan's show today, but she declined. Joseph Rinaldi, a spokesman for her publisher, said she was already booked with other events.

Morgan tweeted after the show that "Do you think Christine O'Donnell is going to put a witch's curse on me now?" - a reference to ms O'Donnell saying several years ago that she had dabbled in witchcraft as a teenager.

There was a certain symbiosis to the walk-off: Ms O'Donnell is seeking attention for her book, while Morgan is seeking ratings for his show while trying to deflect attention from accusations in London that he was aware of phone hacking by journalists at the now-defunct News of the World, which he used to edit. He has denied any involvement in phone hacking.

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