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Beckel Blusters But Overlooks Romney Hypocrisy In Hannity & Colmes Interview

Reported by Ellen - August 15, 2007 -

There was a double-length interview with Mitt Romney on last night’s (8/14/07) Hannity & Colmes. Substitute co-host Bob Beckel got in Romney’s face over his remark that Barack Obama’s comments about Pakistan and Afghanistan helped the enemy but, in the end, Beckel threw in his own gratuitous criticism of Obama and changed the subject. Meanwhile, Beckel overlooked many of Romney’s hypocrisies and inconsistencies, including the fact that while criticizing Obama, Romney has essentially agreed with him. With video.

Romney complained about Obama’s recent statements on Pakistan and Afghanistan. “I think in some respects he’s shown that he just hasn’t given his words careful enough thought,” Romney said. This, from the man who called himself a lifelong hunter even though his campaign acknowledged that he has only been on two hunting trips. Then, when trying to explain the discrepancy called himself a “varmint hunter.”

As Media Matters has noted, Romney’s own comments about Pakistan substantively agree with Obama’s. But Beckel either didn’t know that or didn’t think it worth mentioning.

Romney claimed that the reason neither Clinton, Obama nor Edwards will win is because, “America is not going to turn left.” In reality, America IS left, another fact Beckel didn’t bring up.

Romney continued, “The only people who say things like (what Obama said) are people on the other side of this issue.”

Finally, Beckel offered a response. With theatrical outrage, Beckel asked, “Are you suggesting Barack Obama is on the other side of the United States on this war?”

Romney insisted he wasn’t, then went on to say, in so many words, exactly that. Romney claimed “the other side” meant the other side of the aisle. Then he attacked Democrats for doing that which Romney had just said he had not blamed Obama. “Consistently, the Democrats are saying things which are playing into the hands of those who oppose our interests in the world.”

Beckel replied, “In other words, you’re suggesting that we’re aiding and abetting the enemy? Is that what you’re saying?”

Romney denied it again, then added that Obama’s comments “do not help us in Pakistan and in fact those people that are enemies of (Pakistan President) Musharraf’s respond as you might imagine.”

Beckel noted that Romney’s implication was clear, that “those of us who oppose the war are somehow less of Americans.”

But Beckel never defended Obama, never noted that Obama’s statement about Pakistan (that we should act unilaterally if Musharraf doesn’t go after terrorists in Pakistan) was in concert with Romney's policy and even started to move on to a new topic until Romney stopped him. “Of course people who oppose the war are great Americans and patriots,” Romney insisted. What he meant, he claimed, was that Barack Obama’s comments were “counter productive… do not help our effort, do not support our men and women.”

In other words, it's not everyone against the war who's aiding and abetting the enemy, just Obama and the Democrats in Congress. But Beckel never followed up on that, never brought up the Bush administration’s less-than-stellar record of supporting the troops (except with platitudes) and took his own gratuitous swipe at Obama at the beginning of the next segment. “By the way, I agree with you. I think Obama wishes he had those words back," Beckel said.

In Part 2, Beckel did get into some of Romney’s record, particularly regarding his comments on Guantanamo Bay and health care but spent the most time gushing over the health insurance plan instituted in Massachusetts while Romney was governor.

But Beckel never confronted Romney with any of his inconsistencies or hypocrisies such as:

His past support for same sex unions contrasted with his current claim of being a “champion of traditional marriage.”

His recent criticism of Hillary Clinton’s statement that “it takes a village” to raise a child, even though he had stated in 1998 that she was right. His subsequent “explanation” is even less credible.

Taking a hardline stance on illegal immigration while employing for a decade a landscape company that relies on undocumented Guatamalans.

Last, but definitely not least, Romney spoke sanctimoniously about the “surge of sacrifice being made by American families right now to support their families in Iraq. We need to have a surge of support by our leaders, by our citizens.”

Beckel never noted Romney’s heroic five sons who have eschewed the cushy route of service in Iraq or Afghanistan and instead have opted to sacrifice for their country by campaigning for their father.