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Congressman Maurice Hinchey to Sean Hannity: You Just Don't Get It

Reported by Ellen - October 26, 2005

I just love it when somebody outwits Sean Hannity. Admittedly, it's not very hard because, as I have written before, Hannity is a one-trick pony. He almost never debates an issue but prefers to ambush his opponent with a trick "gotcha" question that changes the subject. It's as predictable as a George Bush vacation yet well-meaning and otherwise well-spoken Democrats repeatedly find themselves caught unaware. So it was a rare treat to watch Congressman Maurice HInchey (D-NY) not only walk right past the trap with his clear, concise argument but also confront Hannity on his histrionics.

It wasn't just the Hannity part of the interview that was worth watching. Hinchey started off with Alan Colmes who announced that a coalition of members of congress want special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to expand his investigation to include the false and fraudulent claims made by Bush Administration officials about Iraq's so-called weapons of mass destruction. HInchey is the head of the coalition.

Both Colmes and Hinchey gave no-nonsense, cogent explanations about the broader context of the CIA leak investigation in relation to the run-up to the war in Iraq. Colmes said the Bush Administration wanted to discredit Wilson for “blowing the whistle on some of the lies they were telling on the lead up to the war.”

Hinchey said the real question is "Why are we involved in a war based upon false information?" He said that Wilson was sent to Niger by the CIA because it “was being urged by people in the administration to find things that weren’t there.,” that when the CIA said it couldn’t find any evidence of WMD’s or nuclear weapons program, it was told go back and look again.

Hinchey also told Colmes that “The Administration did provide false information to Congress… It was done by the Secretary of Defense. It was done by the Vice President. It was done by the National Security Director (sic) at that time, now the Secretary of State, Ms. Rice. It was done repeatedly. False information was given and it’s against the law.” As he spoke, Sean Hannity was heard talking over him, saying “No,” in the background. Like a spoiled child who can't sit still, Hannity could not contain himself until it was his turn.

Hannity started his portion of the interview by asking if Bush purposely lied to the country when he said “Saddam’s nuclear threats are a real grave danger to America and Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction are a threat to America.”

Hinchey answered that whoever wrote that speech gave false information to the Congress and that he’s not sure if the president knew it when he gave the speech.

Hannity wagged his pen at Hinchey as he revealed that “John Kerry said that to America. You voted for John Kerry! Now I’ll ask you, did John Kerry give false information to America?”

Hinchey, unruffled, said he thought Kerry made a mistake.

Hannity chuckled with gleeful pride over his trickier than usual one-trick. “You have just proven yourself to be pure partisan.”

But Hinchey wasn’t going to be fooled so easily. “You’re the one who’s a pure partisan.”

“Can’t you even see your own hypocrisy, your own bitter partisanship?”

"You’re just unwilling to face the facts. You’re a propaganda artist."

“I’m a propaganda artist? Because I just nailed you on your hypocrisy."

"You have nailed me on nothing."

Hannity recapped his “triumph” and added that not just Kerry but Al Gore and the UN said the same thing and that Hinchey didn’t have “the intellectual honesty” to admit it.

"Sean, you don’t get it,” Hinchey said. “You just don’t get it… When the executive branch misleads the legislative branch, that’s a crime.”

Hannity, still gloating with pride, said sarcastically, “Ooohhh, OK. So George Bush is guilty of a crime now? So when Bill Clinton said he had weapons of mass destruction, it’s not a lie…”

Hinchey repeated that when the people in the administration mislead the congress, that’s a lie.

“So only when Republicans say that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction is it a lie... John Kerry said...”

HInchey said Kerry was buying into what the administration said, not trying to get the congress to pass a resolution.

Comment: Hannity evidently thought he won the argument because he tricked Hinchey into believing that Kerry's words were Bush's. But Hannity's inability or stubborn refusal (I'm still not sure which) to address Hinchey's points except by fooling him into dragging John Kerry into the conversation only served to make Hannity look foolish, childish and bereft of any substantive defense of the Bush Administration.

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