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Tim Russert Agrees With Hannity: Bloggers Have Pushed The Democrats So Far To The Left, They’ll Have Trouble Moving Center

Reported by Ellen - June 14, 2007 -

Tim Russert appeared on Hannity & Colmes last night (6/13/07) for three segments of mutual fawning. The Democratic presidential candidates, however, were not part of the love fest. Russert wholeheartedly agreed with Sean Hannity that bloggers have “really gotten” to the Democratic candidates and that “they’re gonna have a very difficult time moving center.” Russert never disputed Hannity’s characterization that Democrats “are willing to accept a defeat” in Iraq and he mischaracterized their refusal to participate in a FOX News debate as fear. With video.

A little more than one minute into the interview, Hannity said to Russert, “I think the Democrats have gone further left than anybody would have anticipated. I think these bloggers have really gotten to them. I think they’re really positioning themselves that they’re gonna have a very difficult time moving center. Do you see that?”

“Absolutely,” Russert replied. As proof, he cited the fact that the “major candidates were very reluctant to consider cutting off funding a year ago.” He further stated that three Democratic senators elected in 2006 voted against cutting the funding (Webb, Tester, Brown), unlike Clinton and Obama. Unless the majority of Americans who say they want an end to the war are also bloggers, the assertion is ridiculous. Last I checked, elected officials were supposed to listen to the will of the electorate. Russert should have known better and he should have had the spine to say so. Ironically, he bragged during a part of the interview not in the video below (but available on FOXNews.com) that he asks tough questions of everyone... everyone but Sean Hannity, apparently.

Hannity went on to say that he sums up the Democratic positions as “they’re willing to accept a defeat right now in Iraq, they’re all on record supporting higher taxes and nationalizing our health care system.”

Russert’s response to that outrageous statement? He collegially said, “They’d disagree with your characterization, obviously.”

“Where would they disagree?” Hannity asked.

“They feel they’re on very secure ground on the war on terror” because approval rates of the president and the war are so low, Russert said. But he never questioned, never objected to Hannity’s dubious (at best) assertion that Democrats are accepting defeat.

Russert also let stand Hannity’s mischaracterization that Democrats want to raise taxes when, in fact, they are in favor of rolling back some of the Bush tax cuts.

Unfortunately, Alan Colmes did not correct the record, as he did later in the show during another discussion.

Colmes said that candidates of both parties should come on Hannity & Colmes (a position I wholeheartedly endorse) and then added that he thinks Democrats have made a mistake not participating in a FOX News debate.

Russert then falsely suggested that Democrats were scared to participate, as opposed to refusing on principle. “It’s a TV show. If you can’t handle TV questions, how you gonna stand up to Iran and North Korea and the rest of the world?” Gee, I wonder if Russert would characterize Bush’s refusal to talk to Iran as a situation he “can’t handle.”

By the way, if Russert was so interested in bloggers' effect on the candidates, he should have mentioned it here because the FOX Debates were one area in which they surely played a role. You can watch Brave New Film's video about the netroots' role here.

Colmes laughingly said, “That’s right. How you gonna stand up to Al Qaeda and the terrorists if you can’t face little Sean Hannity or little Alan Colmes?”

Russert said, “Amen.”

But Russert, who also bragged about how well he prepares for his own interviews, should know that there's a difference between Democrats appearing on FOX News and agreeing to let them host a Democratic candidates' debate. Both John Edwards and Bill Richardson, two of the candidates who declined to take part in the debate, HAVE appeared on FOX News as guests. In fact, both have appeared on Hannity & Colmes.