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Hannity & Colmes Still Blaming Clinton, Not Talking About Bush

Reported by Ellen - October 8, 2005

Hannity & Colmes held another discussion last night (10/7/05) about Louis Freeh's allegations that former President Bill Clinton solicited donations for his presidential library from the Saudis. Substititue co-host Rich Lowry and Michael Reagan were just as snidely supercilious as Sean Hannity and Newt Gingrich were the night before. Alan Colmes and Democratic strategist Todd Webster did a good job of knocking them down several pegs. But once again there was only a brief mention of the latest Republican scandals and only as part of the defense against Freeh. Don't they deserve at least one discussion of their own?

Rich Lowry opened the discussion by pulling a third-rate Hannity trick designed only to trap Webster. Lowry asked Webster if Freeh perjured himself in his accusations against Clinton.

Webster didn't fall for it. He avoided the perjury question and attacked Freeh, questioning his Republican ties and saying that he's trying to sell books. Later, Webster quoted the 9/11Commission report as saying that Freeh's preparation was "woefully inadequate," that he "never completed an assessment of the overall terrorist threat to the United States homeland."

Colmes made most of the same points he made the night before so successfully with Gingrich, that there are much more serious security breaches going on in the current White House, such as a possible spy recently discovered. "I know you'd rather talk about something Clinton may or may not have done eight or nine years ago." Colmes added that Freeh was not at the meetings at which he reported that Clinton solicited funds from the Saudis and that the Saudi donations were made six years after the alleged request.

Michael Reagan had no real argument other than to say that Bill Clinton lied under oath. Colmes obviously thought that was a ridiculous way to "prove" Freeh's claims. Turning to Webster, Colmes said, "The current White House scandals, Todd, are much more serious... much more of a threat to the republic than what we're talking about that Clinton may or may not have done 8 or 9 years ago."

Webster called it "a great diversion" from the "ethical cesspool" that Washington has become. "In no other time in history do you have a House Republican leader who has been indicted, a Senate Republican leader who is under the SEC investigation, the top aide in the White House who is about to be indicted, the top government procurement officer in the country has been arrested and accused of conspiracy... This is a convenient diversion. It gives the right wing radio talk show hosts something fun to talk about to beat up Bill Clinton who's been out of office for five years. At some point, it's no longer Bill Clinton's fault."

Reagan was heard yelling in the background, "Stop! Stop!"

While H&C finds this story so important that it deserves two prime time discussions, there was no real discussion, other than the brief mentions, above, of the spy in the White House that Colmes referenced, no discussion about the investigation into Bill Frist's stock dealings (compare that with the ad nauseum coverage of Martha Stewart in 2004), no discussion about Karl Rove's likely indictment and no discussion about the latest charges against Tom DeLay.

And there was absolutely no mention of the latest AP poll showing,

Evangelicals, Republican women, Southerners and other critical groups in President Bush's political coalition are worried about the direction the nation is headed and disappointed with his performance, an AP-Ipsos poll found.

That unease could be a troubling sign for a White House already struggling to keep the Republican Party base from slipping over Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, Gulf Coast spending projects, immigration and other issues.

"Politically, this is very serious for the president," said James Thurber, a political scientist at American University. "If the base of his party has lost faith, that could spell trouble for his policy agenda and for the party generally."

Sentiment about the nation's direction has sunk to new depths at a time people are anxious about Iraq, the economy, gas prices and the management of billions of dollars being spent for recovery from the nation's worst natural disaster.

Only 28 percent say the country is headed in the right direction while two-thirds, 66 percent, say it is on the wrong track, the poll found.

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