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O'Donnell Opponent: From 'Bearded Marxist' to Harry Reid's 'Pet

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"I'm glad he's running. I just think the world of him. He's my pet."

After a rousing win in Delaware's Republican Senatorial primary, Christine O'Donnell is preparing to battle Chris Coons, a one-time county executive with an undergraduate degree in chemistry and political science and two graduate degrees from Yale.

But while Vice President Joe Biden called Coons "well educated" yesterday, that's not the way Coons once described himself. What term did he use? "Bearded Marxist"

In the Amherst college student newspaper in 1985, Coons authored an article titled "The Making of a Bearded Marxist," which explains his transformation from the founder of the Amherst College Republicans, to someone who realized his once-held "beliefs in the miracles of free enterprise and the boundless opportunities to be had in America were largely untrue."

The change occurred after a trip to Kenya, where his website says he was studying at the University of Nairobi.

"[I]t is only too easy to return from Africa glad to be American and smugly thankful for our wealth and freedom,” Coons wrote of the experience. "Instead, Amherst had taught me to question, so in turn I questioned Amherst, and America."

In the end, however, Politico notes that while Coons "had discovered the faults of his country, he had also 'returned to loving America.'"

That's a good thing, since Coons is adored by fellow Democrats, including Harry Reid. In an interview with The Hill yesterday, Reid admitted a fondness for Coons that goes beyond simple support: "I'm going to be very honest with you -- Chris Coons, everybody knows him in the Democratic caucus. He's my pet. He's my favorite candidate."

"I'm glad he's running. I just think the world of him. He's my pet," Reid repeated.

Coons isn't the only politician to have a life-changing experience in Kenya. As Dinesh D'Souza points out in a recent Forbes article, Barack Obama returned from there a changed man too.

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