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Chris Coons can’t name the five freedoms in the First Amendment

By Michelle Malkin  •  October 19, 2010 12:57 PM

That’s right. Delaware Democratic Senate candidate Chris Coons can’t name the five freedoms in the First Amendment.

But all you’ll hear from the MSM today is that Christine O’Donnell — correctly — questioned Coons’ claim that the phrase “the separation of church and state” appears in the First Amendment.

Coons’ ignorance doesn’t fit the O’Donnell bashers’ narrative. So they’ll pretend this didn’t happen:


Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell questioned on Tuesday whether the Constitution provides for the separation of church and state.

The comment came during a debate on WDEL radio with Democratic opponent Chris Coons, who argued that local schools should teach science rather than religion, at which point O’Donnell jumped in. “Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” she asked.

The audience at Widener Law School was taken aback, with shouts of “whoa” and laughter coming from the crowd.

Coons then pointed to the First Amendment, which states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

“You’re telling me the First Amendment does?” O’Donnell interrupted to ask.

Following the next question, Coons revisited the remark — likely thinking he had caught O’Donnell in a flub — saying, “I think you’ve just heard from my opponent in her asking ‘where is the separation of church and state’ show that she has a fundamental misunderstanding.”

“That’s in the First Amendment?” O’Donnell again asked.

“Yes,” Coons responded.

O’Donnell was later able to score some points of her own off the remark, revisiting the issue to ask Coons if he could identify the “five freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment.”

Coons named the separation of church and state, but could not identify the others — the freedoms of speech, press, to assemble and petition — and asked that O’Donnell allow the moderators ask the questions.

“I guess he can’t,” O’Donnell said.

Yep, when he got caught with his own intellectual pants down, Coons runs to the moderators for cover.

Listen to the whole radio debate at WDEL here.

It’s obvious from O’Donnell’s very specific challenge to Coons during the debate that she knows perfectly well about the establishment and free exercise of religion clauses in the First Amendment.

It’s obvious that Coons is not only unfamiliar with the rest of the First Amendment, but also that he is wholly unfamiliar with where the phrase “separation of church and state” originated.

And it’s obvious from the warped, gleeful spin on this exchange just how in the tank for Democrats the “objective” press — protected by our precious, poorly understood, and frquently squandered First Amendment — really is.


Ramesh Ponnuru at NRO also agrees: “Some bloggers and tv commentators have seized on remarks by Christine O’Donnell to suggest that she is unaware that the First Amendment prohibits the establishment of religion. I don’t think that’s right. What she denies is that the First Amendment requires ‘the separation of church and state.'”

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