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John McCain Thwarts Hannity

Reported by Ellen - June 29, 2005

John McCain came on Hannity & Colmes last night to discuss President Bush's speech. I didn't hear the speech but I suspect it didn't go too well because whenever his side is in trouble, Sean Hannity changes the subject and goes on the attack. Last night, Hannity didn't say much about the speech and instead used the occasion to try to push McCain into bashing Democrats. McCain kept to the higher ground.

The discussion with McCain started off with Alan Colmes asking if Bush did what needed to be done to overcome his "sinking poll numbers." McCain said he believed so. Colmes disagreed, noting that Bush once again tried to tie Saddam Hussein to September 11, "something that has been pretty much disproven and discredited."

McCain defended Bush but also distanced himself at the same time. Colmes pointed out that there have been inconsistencies in what Bush has told the American people, citing, for example, the fact that we were told prior to the war that the oil would pay for Iraq's reconstruction.

McCain responded, "I pointed out quite often that mistakes have been made in this war. Mistakes have been made in every war." He said that if Saddam Hussein had been left in power, he would be now "trying to acquire WMD's" (Comment: but would he have succeeded?) and using them against us. He repeated that mistakes have been made, that progress has been terribly slow, but that we can't cut and run, that democracy will have an enormously beneficial effect in the region.

Meanwhile, during this exchange, the following happy Iraq "FOX Facts" appeared on the screen:

June 2004: 1.2 mil Iraqis have telephone service
May 2005: Apx 3.2 mil Iraqis have telephone service
June 2004: 59,000 Iraqis have internet service
May 2005: Apx 150,000 Iraqis have internet service
June: 2004: There were 13 commercial Iraqi tv stations
May 2005: There were 23 commercial Iraqi tv stations
May 2005: There were 170 newspapers and magazines in Iraq

Then it was Hannity's turn. He started off by decrying the politicization of war, then did exactly that. (Comment: I suspect the vitriol of Hannity's comments is directly proportionate to the weakness of Bush's speech.)

Hannity: You know as well as anybody, Senator, the danger of politicizing a war. From the very beginning Ted Kennedy said our president concocted a war for political gain. He and his colleagues in the senate - your colleagues - have repeatedly called the president a liar. The rhetoric has even become more shrill now... Do you ever call on your Democratic colleagues to stop the mean-spirited rhetoric?" (Comment: Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!)

McCain answered, "It's a free country, Sean." He added that most Americans are worried and concerned, the president did "a very good job" but we need to show more progress, and that we will.

Hannity turned up the heat a notch: Do statements by Senator Durbin... embolden the enemy? Do they offer propaganda for those predisposed to hating America already?

McCain said Durbin hurt his own party but that he has apologized and that the rhetoric is "way too overheated." He tried to go back to the subject he was supposedly there to discuss by saying that Bush laid out "an articulate vision for victory in Iraq."

Hannity, perhaps sensing that there would be no Democratic roadkill regarding Iraq, moved on to the Senate filibuster deal McCain helped negotiate. He asked McCain if he felt betrayed by the John Bolton "filibuster."

McCain neatly sidestepped that one, saying that Bolton had nothing to do with the filibuster deal, that six judges were confirmed who had been held up for four years and that he views it as "a great success." He said he's confident the president will consult on a Supreme Court nominee who will be a "strong conservative."

Hannity, still looking for roadkill, asked if the spirit of the deal had been broken.

McCain: Of course not. Not in the slightest.

No roadkill tonight.

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