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Critics challenge assertions in O'Donnell's book

Randall Chase

Former Republican operatives in Delaware are challenging assertions made by former Senate candidate and conservative activist Christine O'Donnell in her new book.

Among other things, O'Donnell claims former Delaware GOP chairman Tom Ross snubbed her at a 2008 fundraiser by acknowledging all the Republican candidates in attendance except her while introducing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.

But Ross does not recall speaking at the fundraiser, and an audio recording released Monday by Maria Evans, Lee's communications director at the time, shows Barbour was introduced by former congressman Mike Castle.

O'Donnell also writes that Barbour said from the podium that the party should be proud to have her as a candidate.

On the recording, Barbour says of O'Donnell only that she once worked with him at the Republican National Committee.

Matt Moran, O'Donnell's former campaign manager, said the criticisms were being lodged by the same Delaware GOP establishment that lodged a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission against O'Donnell during the 2010 Senate campaign. The FEC voted along party lines in May not to pursue a probe of O'Donnell, even though staff attorneys concluded there was reason to believe she and her campaign had violated election laws.

O'Donnell also claims in the book that she was left with no money and no prospects after a failed 2008 Senate bid.

But in an email to former Wilmington GOP region chair Rick Carroll just 20 days after the 2008 election, O'Donnell said she was preparing for a 2010 Senate race. She also wrote that if Castle announced that he was running for Senate, she would withdraw from that race and run instead for his House seat.

The Associated Press