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Neil Cavuto Giddy About Tim Johnson's "Stroke"

Reported by Melanie - December 13, 2006 -

At 4:10 p.m. EDT today (December 13, 2006) Neil Cavuto interrupted his "business news" show with this:

Alright. I just want to bring in this alert that's come into our newsroom right now. U.S. Senator Tim Johnson, he's a Democrat of South Dakota, has, we're getting reports that he had a stroke at his office today and is being hospitalized. That's all we know at this point. Nor do we know the 59 year old's condition. This happened just today.
Keep in mind that the new senate takes over on January 4 and it's right now 49 Democrats, 49 Republicans and 2 Independents, but ostensibly it will be a Democratic body.

We don't know how the fallout from all of this or, again, the severity of Senator Johnson's condition. We'll keep you posted.

At 4:14 p.m. EDT Fox aired the FOX NEWS ALERT graphic and Cavuto said:

Alright. We are getting some updates now that South Dakota Senator Jim Johnson, a Democrat, has checked out at a hospital -- was in a hospital -- after suffering a possible stroke. That's all we know at this point.

This always takes on some added urgency with the new senate taking over in ah, January 4. That will be a senate as close to evenly divided as you can get, 49 Democrats, 49 Republicans, 2 Independents, who will essentially vote as Democrats, thereby the Democratic body. But keep in mind that if this situation with the senator were to worsen, the governor of South Dakota is a Republican, Michael Rounds and could, in an extreme case, appoint someone of his choosing within his party so this could even be a succession issue in the senate.

But, for now, let's not ponder that, more the senator's own health which we hope is good. He has suffered an apparent stroke. He is being checked out as we speak.

Fox aired another FOX NEWS ALERT at 4:23 p.m. EDT and Cavuto continued:

Alright. Just before the new senate is to take hold one of its key members has apparently had a stroke. That's the indications [sic] we're getting from the Associated Press that Senator Tim Johnson, a Democrat of South Dakota, was taken to a George Washington University Hospital suffering from a possible stroke. That is all we know.

You know that as close as the senate, the new senate is, with 49 Democrats, 49 Republicans and 2 Independents who ostensibly will be voting along the Democratic side, that this is close as a tick to anything, anything that hints that that could possibly be changed, [inaudible] the health condition of any one of 100 members gets overly scrutinized, perhaps here as well.

Um, again, keep in mind as well that the Governor of South Dakota is a Republican, Michael Round. Should the senator's condition worsen, ah it will be up to the Governor to find a replacement. We're not nearly at that stage. I only raise the issue because this senate is that close and these things are that important. Reaction now from former congressman Tom DeLay. Congressman, what do you make of this?

(Cavuto's emphasis.)

DeLay was on to do a segment about how Hillary Clinton will definitely run for president in 2008, but even he wasn't prepared to go as far as Cavuto:

Well, Neil, let's, let's make sure that Senator Johnson is in trouble. I mean, this is a pretty mean town and you're right; I am not saying you're being mean. Ah, let's just keep him in our prayers and hope that he's going to be alright.

At 4:44 p.m. EDT, Cavuto asked guest Jon Kyl (R-AZ) (on to bash Ben Nelson (R-FL) for meeting with Syria's President, Bashar Al-Assad) whether he could "add anything or any insights," and, like DeLay, Kyl wasn't ready to declare Johnson incapacitated or dead quite yet:

I certainly can't add anything except my prayers for Tim. Tim and I served together in the House. We've been together in the Senate now for a decade and I certainly hope he's alright and I'll be saying a prayer for him.

Comment: Can you imagine the uproar that would emanate from the right if a member of the "liberal media" reacted this way just hours after a Republican senator suffered a possible stroke? We'd be hearing about it for weeks. Not only that, but Cavuto was particularly coldhearted given that he has survived cancer and how suffers from multiple sclerosis, which, one would think, would endow him with special empathy for people suffering serious medical emergencies. The right has become so ruthless that it has apparently jettisoned compassion much less good old fashioned manners.

UPDATE, 7:42 p.m. EDT: Johnson did not have a stroke.