O'Donnell calls extending jobless benefits a 'tragedy'

Christine O'Donnell on Tuesday compared the "tragedy" of extending unemployment benefits to Pearl Harbor and the death of Elizabeth Edwards. 

"Today marks a lot of tragedy," O'Donnell, who lost her recent bid for a Delaware Senate seat despite strong backing from the Tea Party, said Tuesday night during an appearance in Virginia. 

"Tragedy comes in threes," O'Donnell said. "Pearl Harbor, Elizabeth Edwards's passing and Barack Obama's announcement of extending the tax cuts, which is good, but also extending the unemployment benefits." 

O'Donnell continued: "The reason I say this is a tragedy is because his announcement of economic recovery was more of a potpourri of sound bytes. It's like he took a little bit of what each party wanted and put it together. It's not a solid plan constructed on sound economic principles." 

Speaking to reporters after her remarks Tuesday, O'Donnell backed off from the suggestion that the extension of benefits was a tragedy. 

"That's not what I meant at all," said O'Donnell, who went on to explain that her opposition to the extension of unemployment benefits emanates from how the extension is paid for.

"If we're going to extend the jobless benefits we have got to cut spending programs, and that's the flaw in his announcement," she said. "That's the tragedy."  

Obama reached a deal with Republicans on Monday that would extend all of the expiring Bush-era tax cuts for two years, and would also extend federal unemployment benefits for 13 months. Democrats have ripped Obama for extending tax cuts for wealthier taxpayers. Most Republicans appear to support the deal, though there have been grumbles about the unemployment benefits' extension. 

Edwards died earlier on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. O'Donnell called Edwards "a fine woman" during her comments before a gathering of Tea Party activists in Northern Virginia on Tuesday evening.

The Delaware Republican, whose failed race against Democrat Chris Coons vaulted her to national Tea Party stardom, said the across-the-board extension of Bush-era tax cuts is a positive, but that it's not worth the 13-month extension of unemployment benefits.    

—Updated at 12:21 a.m.