Bill Maher

Delaware's Republican senatorial candidate, Christine O'Donnell, canceled two TV appearances over the weekend after clips of her discussing a past brush with witchcraft on Politically Incorrect turned up on YouTube — and on Bill Maher's new show.

The atheist-libertarian kicked off the new season of his HBO political talk/comedy show Real Time by noting that she had been a guest 22 times on Politically Incorrect.

The Tea Party-backed, Sarah Palin-endorsed GOP hopeful backed out of Sunday appearances on Fox News Sunday and CBS' Face the Nation. Her campaign cited scheduling conflicts, The New York Times reported.

On Real Time, Maher said he would show an old clip every week until O'Donnell agrees to appear on his show. "It's like a hostage crisis," he cracked. "Every week you don't show up, I'm going to throw a body out."

In a 1999 clip, O'Donnell said she had "dabbled into witchcraft."

Maher called O'Donnell "an unemployed, anti-masturbation activist ... and a close friend of mine." He expressed affection for O'Donnell while also saying, "I created her."

Bob Schieffer of CBS noted that the timing of the cancellation coincided with the Real Time segment on her "witchcraft" comment, and broadcast her remark about going on a date at a satanic altar.

Chris Wallace of Fox said he got two different explanations for her cancellation.

A campaign spokesman initially said O'Donnell was opting out because she was "exhausted." Then, O'Donnell called Wallace to say, "I got triple-booked. I had been invited to go to church and then a picnic. I have to keep my priorities to Delaware voters."

At a Republican picnic Sunday, O'Connell tried to laugh off talk of witchcraft, Politico reported.

"How many of you didn't hang out with questionable folks in high school?" she asked. "There's been no witchcraft since. If there was, Karl Rove would be a supporter now."