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Hannity & Colmes Overlooks Republican Audience’s Anti-War, Pro-Gay Marriage Sentiment In Post-Debate Coverage

Reported by Ellen - September 6, 2007 -

There were some surprising moments in the Republican presidential candidates’ debate last night (9/5/07). On at least two occasions, the Republican audience very vocally contradicted the GOP talking points: First, by booing Senator Sam Brownback’s proposal to ban gay marriage, then cheering Congressman Ron Paul as he asked why we should believe those who say there will be a bloodbath if we leave Iraq when they are the same ones who predicted the war would be a cakewalk. But neither of those moments made it into the post-debate analysis on Hannity & Colmes. With video.

As Think Progress reported, reporter Carl Cameron asked a New Hampshire woman during the debate whether she wanted gay marriage banned. “Absolutely not,” she replied to loud cheers from the debate audience. Then the audience booed as Brownback said there should be a Constitutional ban on gay marriage.

But clearly, the liveliest, most interesting part of the debate came when Paul was asked about his position on leaving Iraq. “The people who say there will be a bloodbath are the ones who said it would be a cakewalk, it would be a slam dunk and that it would be paid for by oil. Why believe them? They’ve been wrong on everything they’ve said.” The audience erupted into cheers and applause. “So why not ask the people who advised not to go into the region and into the war? The war has not gone well one bit.” He went on to say that threatening Iran was a terrible idea, too. “We need a new foreign policy that said we ought to mind our own business, bring our troops home, defend this country, defend our borders.”

But during Hannity & Colmes, Frank Luntz called “the single most interesting” moment a later clip of Paul sparring with Governor Mike Huckabee over withdrawal. Luntz put up a graphic showing audience approval for Huckabee saying that we must put up a united front in Iraq because “We are not the Divided States of America” and disapproval for Paul saying that “when we make a mistake, it is the obligation of the people through their representatives to correct the mistake.” It turned out to be the only clip Luntz highlighted.

“Clearly Mike Huckabee was the winner and Ron Paul was the loser,” Luntz declared, without mentioning, much less showing a graphic, audience approval for Paul’s earlier criticism of the war.

After the debate, each candidate visited the show. Surprisingly, most of the interviews were decent and not the usual softball questions I have come to expect of Hannity & Colmes interviews with Republicans. But nobody questioned Brownback (or any of the other candidates, for that matter) about the support for gay marriage coming from the New Hampshire Republicans and nobody brought up the positive reception Paul’s anti-war message received. Sean Hannity argued with him about Iran and while Alan Colmes voiced support for the position, he never commented on the audience reaction. Instead, he spent a lot of time harping on Paul’s unelectability.

Paul won the FOX News viewer poll by a handy margin. Hannity groaned that they had been spammed.