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After Joining In The False “Madrassah” Smear, Now Hannity’s A Fan Of Obama’s

Reported by Ellen - February 22, 2007 -

Less than a month ago, Sean Hannity had the phony story about Barack Obama going to a Muslim “madrassah” school posted on his website, even after it had been debunked. But now that Obama’s campaign got into a contretemps with Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Hannity couldn’t say enough admiring things about Obama. So adoring was Obama’s newest fan, that he could hardly stand to allow Colmes the time to talk about anything else during a double segment on last night’s (2/21/07) Hannity & Colmes. Updated with video.

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I could not help but think that Hannity’s new-found affection might have a teensy-weensy bit to do with the fact that he figures Obama has the potential to wreck Clinton’s presidential bid. At least that’s how Hannity and FOX News seemed to be trying to frame the two-part discussion over what even Republican Karen Hanretty, never one to miss an opportunity to bash a Democrat, called a non-story. Nevertheless, I’ll grant that Hannity’s enthusiasm for Obama seemed genuine.

“Campaign” Carl Cameron was also on hand to report on what he called the “incredibly harsh rhetoric back and forth” between the Clinton and Obama camps. The hype arose from an Obama fundraiser by Hollywood mogul and former Clinton supporter, David Geffen. Cameron not only quoted Geffen’s criticisms of the Clintons, FOX News put them up on the screen for special emphasis. “Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it’s troubling… I don’t think that another incredibly polarizing figure, no matter how smart she is and no matter how ambitious she is – can bring the country together.”

According to Cameron, “Hillary fired back.” We saw a clip of her saying, “I want to run a very positive campaign. I sure don’t want Democrats or the supporters of Democrats to be engaging in the politics of personal destruction.” That’s firing back? It sounds almost conciliatory to me.

Nevertheless, a Clinton campaign spokesperson did get exercised, according to Cameron, and said Obama should denounce Geffen’s remarks, remove him from the campaign and return his money because of the “vicious” attack against Clinton.

“No apologies from the Obama campaign,” Cameron said gleefully. Another quote appeared on the screen saying, “It is ironic that the Clintons had no problem with David Geffen when he was raising them $18 million and sleeping at their invitation in the Lincoln bedroom.”

Cameron continued, “They even brought race into it today, saying that Senator Clinton is fully willing to accept today the support of South Carolina State Senator Robert Ford who said if Obama were to win the nomination, he’d drag down the rest of the Democratic Party because he’s black.”

Unlike Hannity, Cameron was an equal-opportunity Democrat-basher. He added that two other candidates, Bill Richardson and Tom Vilsack said Obama should apologize for Geffen’s remarks.

Guest Juan Williams could have used his time to point out that Democrats are not the only ones sniping and that Vice President Dick Cheney’s request that Senator John McCain apologize for calling Donald Rumsfeld one of the worst secretaries of defense in history is a lot more significant than what David Geffen says about Hillary Clinton being polarizing. Instead, Williams jumped on the Clinton-bashing bandwagon. He said that another state senator on Clinton’s payroll has “ganged up” with Ford against Obama. He added that Obama “fired back” by saying, “That’s the kind of person who, during the 50’s and 60’s said black people shouldn’t sit at the lunch counter, shouldn’t try to establish themselves as equal citizens.”

Colmes had been arguing that Robert Ford was black and, therefore, not against Obama for racist reasons but because of concerns that he could not win.

But Hannity broke in, even though Colmes had only gotten about one and a half minutes to what would be nearly three minutes for Hannity. “I think the Obama camp has a pretty good point here. Why is Hillary accepting the support of a guy that would say something like that?” Hannity asked.

Williams said, “In all fairness” to Hillary, she called those comments “reprehensible.” But, Williams added, “(her campaign) didn’t cut ties with them.”

In a night of role reversals, it was Republican Karen Hanretty who said, “I think this Hollywood story is really being overblown.” She dismissed “the idea that Hollywood now supports Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton because 600 people attend Geffen’s fundraiser.” Hanretty thought it more likely the 600 people were interested in getting jobs from Geffen than they were in supporting Obama.

In Part 2, we got more of that so-called “incredibly harsh rhetoric” with a clip of Clinton saying the candidates should focus “on what we’re gonna do for America.”

Hannity said, with what sounded like real admiration, “I thought Obama’s campaign hit back and hit back hard… Good for Barack Obama. He’s ready for, you know, prime time.”

Williams was still going after Clinton. He brought up some new criticism by Geffen of Clinton, that she’s overproduced and overscripted. “I thought that was the tag that’s really sticking to Hillary early.”

Hannity didn’t even follow that anti-Hillary lead given to him, as he likes to say, on a silver platter. “Barack Obama hit back and hit back hard and I give this round to Barack Obama by a long shot,” Hannity said.

That left Cameron to do the Democrat-smearing. “If they overreact at this point (meaning early in the campaign), they run the risk of looking thin-skinned… The Hillary organization here may have goaded the Obama people into reacting a little too brittlely… And this type of sparring is just the kind of stuff that people like John Edwards salivate over."

Colmes broke in to take his final turn. “So does Hannity, by the way. I think he’s salivating here tonight.”

Hannity interrupted. “I admire Obama’s camp for doing this. I thought it was a great play on their part.”

Colmes said he thinks Americans will be focused on the economy, health care, the Iraq war. “Who’s gonna clean up the mess George Bush left?” Colmes said. “Not who raised money for whom and who sniped at whom in February of 2007.”

Surprisingly, Hanretty agreed. “This story is such a nothing story. No one’s going to remember it a week from now.”

Before Hanretty had finished speaking, and even though Colmes had, essentially, asked only one question and had gotten a little over one minute of time to Hannity’s almost two and a half minutes, Hannity interrupted to end the discussion. “We’ve gotta run,” he said. But not before he grabbed a little more time to say, “Hillary DID overreact and the Obama camp sent a message, ‘We’ll hit back.’”