Christine O'Donnell was a Constitutional Government fellow at the Claremont Institute, and talks about her love of the Constitution all the time, so we know she is pretty much an expert on the Constitution. But even she was stumped by a complicated and often overlooked passage from the document when it came up during a debate with her Senate opponent, Chris Coons, earlier today.
Coons said private and parochial schools are free to teach creationism but that "religious doctrine doesn't belong in our public schools."
"Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?" O'Donnell asked him.
When Coons responded that the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O'Donnell asked: "You're telling me that's in the First Amendment?" ....
"You actually audibly heard the crowd gasp," Widener University political scientist Wesley Leckrone said after the debate, adding that it raised questions about O'Donnell's grasp of the Constitution.
Raised questions? No. There are no questions. For someone hoping to serve in the Senate of the United States, saying "You're telling me that [the establishment clause is] in the First Amendment?" is like a prospective astronaut saying, "You're telling me we can't breathe in space?" It's like a heart surgeon walking into the operating room and asking, "You're telling me there are four chambers in the pumpy thing?" And so on.
O'Donnell questions separation of church, state [AP via Yahoo]
Update: Now with embarrassing video: