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Let's Pillory Hillary

Reported by Ellen - April 12, 2005

What a coincidence that one business day after New York's GOP chairman kicked off a STOP HILLARY NOW! fund-raising effort, the lead stories on both The Big Story and The Alan Colmes Show (a FOX News radio show) were about Hillary's chances for president. I might have expected the lead stories to be about House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's continuing ethics challenges, Rumsfeld's visit to Iraq, the American contractor killed in Iraq, hearings on Bush's controversial pick for U.N. ambassador or the Bush/Sharon summit in Texas. But no, the possibility that Hillary Clinton might run for president in three years is, apparently, of such monumental significance today that FOX made it the big story on The Big Story and Alan Colmes opened his program with lightning rounds (a series of questions where callers are expected to provide brief answers) featuring two questions about Hillary's future.

The first was also the opener of the round. Question #1 was, "Should Hillary Clinton be the next president of the United States?" The fourth lightning round question (out of seven) was, "Is Hillary too conservative?" Colmes set up the first round by playing a clip of Clinton blasting conservative extremism in a speech over the weekend that, as Colmes put it, "has conservatives frothing at the mouth." Otherwise, there was no discussion of the substance of Clinton's speech. It was all about her candidacy.

The same thing happened on The Big Story. Substitute host Andrew Napolitano introduced the show and himself, then immediately asked, "President Hillary Clinton?"

From there it was a discussion between former VP candidate Geraldine Ferraro and NY GOP Chairman Stephen Minarik. Minarik just happens to be the one credited as having kicked off the STOP HILLARY NOW! campaign. Again, the conversation was all about her candidacy (senate and presidential), not about the substance of her speech or even much of what she has done as senator.

Here are some of Napolitano's questions and one of the captions that appeared on the screen:

-AN: Big Question: Can Hillary be stopped?
-(caption on screen) Big Fact: Sen Mark Dayton: Hope I'm Introducing 'Next Great Pres'
-AN: She's not kidding anybody though if she says she's just running for the senate. She's going for the president in '08, isn't she?
-AN: She thinks there should be some restraints on (abortion). Is this an effort on her part to move a little bit toward the center rather than the hard left position that the Republicans believe she has always taken?

In an AP article on FOXNews.com, Minarik's fund-raising letter is quoted as saying, "Stopping Hillary Rodham Clinton is the most important thing you and I can do as Republicans in the next two years... You could say it's our duty as Republicans." The article goes on to say that his letter "is the first to the potentially more lucrative national anti-Clinton audience." Looks to me as though FOX News is also doing its part by bringing a lot of attention to this issue to that same audience.

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