It begins with the candidate, to camera, announcing to voters that she, Christine O'Donnell, is not a witch. One's temptation at this point would be to stop right here and begin to laugh like a hyena at a comedy show featuring the Dave Chappelle of hyenas. Your average media personality or political consultant might hearken back to Richard Nixon's "I am not a crook" press conference declaration and say that candidates should never use negative language in television ads, because it presumes the candidate isn't telling you what he or she IS.
Conventional wisdom about denials in ads is true in most cases. It wouldn't be good for David Vitter to deny that he visited prostitutes, or for Charles Rangel to deny on camera that he abused power.
But Christine O'Donnell is not an ordinary candidate. Democrats and media elites (and plenty of Republicans) have thrown everything at O'Donnell, some of it fair, and some of it silly. O'Donnell is obviously not a witch; indeed, the claim against her is one that she brought up, albeit years ago, on Bill Maher's show: she dabbled in witchcraft. To my secular ears, that sounds hilarious. To O'Donnell, it was a religious indiscretion, part of her journey into Christendom. Whatever it is, it's out there. It makes O'Donnell look silly. So O'Donnell's concession in the ad defuses some of the tension about her witchcraft experimentation, and it might help inoculate her against some of the more valid charges, like her propensity to fudge her resume, or maybe even her opposition to masturbation.