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Hannity & Colmes State Of The Union Coverage Leaves Out Democrat Response

Reported by Ellen - February 1, 2006

"Fair and balanced" FOX News completely ignored Democrat Timothy Kaine's response in its State Of The Union analysis on Hannity & Colmes. But if you can overlook that - a big if, I know - the coverage wasn't bad. The unbalanced array of guests (four Republicans, three Democrats) was made up for by the decent Democratic representation and good questions from both hosts. Sean Hannity must have been in a good mood from watching his hero (or maybe he successfully lobbied to shut out Kaine) because he toned down his speechifying and did some real interviewing. The result was an interesting show that I actually enjoyed watching.

I found the Republicans’ praise somewhat lukewarm while the Democrats were rather feisty in their criticisms. Every Republican seemed to think the best thing about the speech was that Bush stuck to his guns. Hannity said “It was George Bush being George Bush.” Rudy Giuliani commended Bush for being “willing to set forth positions and stick with them.”

A few highlights: Alan Colmes, who I thought was at the top of his game, asked Giuliani, “I don’t know if you and I heard the exact same speech… What did you hear that was bold or visionary or new or different?”

Giuliani’s rather unconvincing answer: “Did you ever expect to hear Bush say that we’re addicted to oil?”

Colmes’ response: “You know who’s addicted to oil? I think the Republicans and their lobbyists are addicted to the oil money.”

Senator Bob Menendez, whom I have never seen on the show before, was softspoken but good enough to consider for Top Dog status. Here’s an excerpt from what he had to say: “There’s a difference between blind support for whatever the president’s actions are (referring to domestic spying) and legitimate questioning of the president’s actions. On Homeland Security, the president talks tough but the 9/11 Commission has given this Administration a lot of D’s and F’s on their report card.”

Hannity, who obviously didn’t do his homework on Menendez, asked in a sullen, challenging tone what legislation HE had put forth on national security. Menendez then hit him with a list of initiatives, including increased border security which the Republicans refused to fund. Hannity even admitted that he was with Menendez on that one. I can’t remember ever seeing Hannity admit to agreeing with a Democrat before, unless they sided with Bush.

But agreeing with a Democrat must have frightened Hannity because in the next moment, he went back on the attack, using some of his favorite lies yet again. “How can (the 9/11 Commission) have any credibility when it ignored, for example Able Danger? How could it have any credibility when we know Bill Clinton was offered from the Sudan, Osama bin Laden on a silver platter? Bill Clinton admitted it in a speech and they wouldn’t even listen to the tape, the 9/11 Commission wouldn’t… They ignored some very key things though, Senator.”

Mendendez was quiet and calm but his answer blew Hannity away: “Listen, so did President Bush when we had bin Laden in the hills of Tora Bora and what did we take? Instead of taking the most sophisticated, well-trained, technologically advanced army in the world, we turned it over to the warlords and we got double (unintelligible) by them.”

Oops, time up. Hannity seemed a bit more vitriolic toward the next guest, Gen. Wesley Clark.

At the end of the show, Hannity told Colmes, “In my view the president did what he does best and tonight he stood up for his core values…” Then, in his fatherly tone, Hannity offered Colmes a piece of unsolicited advice. “Speaking as objectively as I possibly can, I think what’s missing from (the Democratic Party) is… you don’t have a party that has core beliefs.” Moments later, however, Hannity moved right into an attack on Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, calling them “unhinged” because they stood up for THEIR core values in attempting to filibuster the confirmation of Judge Alito.

In a soft voice that was meant to convey the exalted nature of his revelation, Hannity said, “I believe through the prism of history, we’re gonna look back at George W. Bush and we’re gonna see this shift towards freedom, liberty and democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world and he will be viewed as a great visionary in spite of all the criticism and all the undermining of all your friends.”

We'll see about that!

For an excellent reivew of Bush's speech, point by point, check out Think Progress.

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