- Associated Press - Thursday, August 18, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Former U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell said Thursday she has no hard feelings toward CNN’s Piers Morgan after walking off his show, but has declined an invitation to return.

The Delaware Republican, invited to appear on Morgan’s prime-time show Wednesday to promote her new book, 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 the book, “Troublemaker: Let’s Do What it Takes to Make America Great Again.”

Morgan pressed on, asking her what she felt about the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy toward gays and lesbians in the U.S. military, and O’Donnell didn’t want to talk about it.

Morgan said he didn’t think he was being rude. “I think I’m being charming and respectful,” he said.

Someone said off-camera to O’Donnell that it was “time to go,” and she took off her microphone and left. Morgan later said it was his first walk-out in 25 years of conducting interviews.

Before the question about gay marriage, Morgan had asked 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 in a statement Thursday. “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 endeavors.”

CNN invited O’Donnell back on Morgan’s show Thursday, 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?” That’s a reference to O’Donnell saying several years ago that she had dabbled in witchcraft as a teenager.

There was a certain symbiosis to the walk-off: O’Donnell is seeking attention for her book, while Morgan is seeking ratings traction 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. Morgan has denied any involvement in phone hacking.

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