- Associated Press - Sunday, December 12, 2010

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Christine O'Donnell’s TV-ad declaration “I’m not a witch” during her U.S. Senate campaign topped this year’s best quotes, according to a Yale University librarian.

Ms. O'Donnell’s quote is cited by Fred Shapiro, associate librarian at Yale Law School, who released his fifth annual list of the most notable quotations of the year. In the ad, Ms. O'Donnell was responding to reports of her revelations that she had dabbled in witchcraft years ago.

“It was such a remarkable, unconventional quote to be a part of the political discourse,” Mr. Shapiro said.

The quote by Ms. O'Donnell, a “tea party” favorite running in Delaware, tied for first place with “I’d like my life back,” the lament made in May by Tony Hayward, then BP’s CEO, after the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

“People resented the fact that he was wanting to get back to his yacht races and other aspects of his normal life when those little problems were dwarfed by the magnitude of what people on the Gulf Coast were dealing with,” Mr. Shapiro said.

Mr. Shapiro noted that the top quotes stemmed from two of the biggest news stories of the year, the oil spill and the emergence of the tea party.

The original Yale Book of Quotations was published in 2006. Since then, Mr. Shapiro has released an annual list of the top 10 quotes. He said they will be incorporated into the next edition of the book.

Mr. Shapiro picks quotes that are famous, important or revealing of the spirit of the times. The quotes aren’t necessarily the most eloquent or admirable.

Ms. O’Donnell, who lost the Senate race to Democrat Chris Coons, also made the list for questioning, during a debate in October, whether the First Amendment includes the language “separation of church and state.”

She was not the only tea-party candidate on the list. Sharron Angle, who lost the Senate race in Nevada to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, also made the list.

“I hope that’s not where we’re going, but you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies. They’re saying: My goodness, what can we do to turn this country around?” Ms. Angle said in January.

Republican Sarah Palin’s tweet “Don’t retreat. Instead — reload!” also made the list.

“The quotes become perhaps stronger, harsher, more unconventional every year,” Mr. Shapiro said.

On the Democratic side, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the list when she spoke in March to the National Association of Counties. “We have to pass the (health care) bill so you can find out what is in it,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

Here’s the list:

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