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FOX News Big Story does DeLay Talking Pointapalooza

Reported by Chrish - April 5, 2006

John Gibson on yesterday's 4/4/06 Big Story, said Tom DeLay stepped down in order to make sure a Democrat doesn't win his Congressional seat in November, and asks "but did liberals already win this battle?"

Comment: There's the war mindset again. Maybe it's all Americans who won by getting rid of a political operator who put party above country.

Brian Wilson injected partisan politics into his reporting on the truly Big Story. He said "Democrats today tried to use DeLay's decision to attack all Republicans." (His emphasis.)
From there we went to a video clip of House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying "This isn't just about Tom DeLay, although he's the ringleader. It's about the Republicans in Congress who enabled, and benefitted from, this corruption." Obviously she qualified which Republicans are under scrutiny. There was no pause between "Congress" and "who"...I listened to it multiple times.

Later in the so-called "Political Smackdown" segment the two opponents appeared in tandem rather than debating one another, with Republican Terry Holt following Democrat Terry McAuliffe, allowing Holt to comment on McAuliffe's points without giving him the same opportunity.

It started with video of DeLay calling himself the most investigated man in Washington (ahem, now would be a good time to hark back to Clinton). They have not been able to charge him, he says, because there's nothing there. The man is under indictment in Texas for money laundering and conspiracy and according to Miriam-Webster, to indict is

1 : to charge with a fault or offense
2 : to charge with a crime by the finding or presentment of a jury (as a grand jury) in due form of law

He appears to be in some serious denial.

Gibson asked former DNC chair McAuliffe if this was a victory for Democrats, and McAuliffe replied that it exemplifies the culture of corruption and incompetence of the Republican government, listing Bill Frist, Jack Abramoff, Scooter Libby, David Safavian and saying it was only the beginning. Gibson was interrupting (Terry, Terry) to smirk "didn't they just deny you a victory?" because the Republican who will run for DeLay's seat will be able to beat the Democratic challenger. McAuliffe says we'll see who they put up against Nick Lampos, and that people want a change to honest government and real security.

Gibson continues to hammer the same question - hasn't DeLay taken away a fund-raising device, a rhetorical device, hasn't he taken away from Democrats a victory? McAuliffe responded by hammering his own talking points: that people want change from the culture of corruption, and Tom DeLay has become a symbol of that corruption.

"Now to the other side" we go, where we'll see if Gibson badgers Terry Holt, former advisor to the RNC.

Gibson asked Holt if McAuliffe could extend DeLay's shelf-life into November, and of course Holt said he didn't think so. He used an interesting tactic to muddy McAuliffe's message, so transparent it's embarrassing: "They have quite a campaign slogan, this politics of (hesitates) corruption? Maybe not good enough, I can't remember it." Off camera Gibson corrects him, not once but twice: "Culture of corruption. Culture of corruption." Holt's little act backfired.

Holt accuses Democrats of engaging in a very specific campaign to hide the fact that they don't have an agenda, to personally attack and try to take down guys like Tom DeLay (said like that's a bad thing). He asserts DeLay was targeted because he was one of the most effective legislators and leaders in Congress over the last 15 years, ignoring the fact that he was effective because he operated ouside the law.

Gibson admits to having given McAuliffe a hard time but, he says, Democrats are going to have DeLay to kind of tar Republicans in Congress who were associated with him. Holt replies that they'll do that because they don't have an agenda,they have nothing to talk to the American people that they are for. Most members of Congress are going to run on their record, whether they've kept taxes low, whether they've "voted strongly" on national security, the issues that people care about at home. He assigns the "culture of corruption" theme to an inside the beltway phenomenon and says people want to know what are you going to do for me?

Gibson asks if it was important for Republicans to get DeLay out of the way? Holt says he did what was good for his party and most of us applaud him. Here Holt injects what will be talking points to come: If he was DeLay he'd be deeply angry that a bunch of rogue staffers had put him in this position. By resigning DeLay has given Republicans a chance to retain the seat and their majority, and for that they owe him a big thank you.

With those words of praise and blame-shifting ringing in viewers' ears, Gibson ends the segment.

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