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Today's Episode Of FOX News Republican Rehab: Featuring Senator Bill Frist

Reported by Ellen - October 25, 2005

Senator Bill Frist, in political hot water and under federal investigation for suspiciously-timed stock sales, was a perfect candidate for Roger Ailes' Republican Rehab otherwise known as FOX News. What a coincidence that Frist should make an announcement today about immigration - a safe topic that doesn't include Terri Schiavo (whom he diagnosed from a video tape) or anything related to health or the sale of his Hospital Corporation of America stock just before it took a dive. What an even bigger coincidence that Frist should appear on Hannity & Colmes in what was touted as an "exclusive" interview. In fact, Frist talked to several news organizations on Tuesday. What was really exclusive about the H&C interview was that almost all potentially embarrassing questions were left out.

While it's true that immigration has been a subject to which Hannity & Colmes has paid a lot of attention, there's something a bit less compelling about Frist's announcement - that the Senate will take up the issue in early 2006 (more than two months away) - as compared to some of the other matters he is facing. Scripps Howard reports that Frist "talked Tuesday to several reporters who asked why he had suggested in 2003 that his blind trust might no longer hold stock from the hospital company founded by his father and brother, when public Senate records showed he had been notified of HCA stock activity in the trust in the previous May, November and December." According to Scripps Howard, Frist answered that "At times I could be more precise."

Hannity, of course, showed no interest in talking about the stock sale (probably because he couldn't come up with a good way to compare it to something Clinton did). Colmes finally broached the subject at the end of the nearly 20-minute segment - whether Frist wanted to stick to the statement that his stock was in a blind trust with no control or whether he wanted to amend anything he had said. Apparently, Frist thought he had been precise enough for the FOX News audience. He merely said the "query" is going "very well," that he wanted to be treated fairly and that he's confident of the outcome.

No doubt FOX News will do its best to help with its own special brand of fairness.

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