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Hannity Tries To Push Huckabee Into Quitting The Campaign

Reported by Ellen - January 30, 2008 -

Sean Hannity turned his bullyboy muscle on one of his own last night (1/29/08) as he publicly, on the nationally televised Hannity & Colmes show no less, leaned on a Mike Huckabee spokesperson to push the candidate into quitting the race. Hannity framed the not-so-subtle hint as possibly the only means of preventing a John McCain win. It was another boundary of professional ethics crossed by Hannity. I don’t think any are left. With video.

Huckabee campaign advisor and former Arkansas senator Tim Hutchinson came on the special post-Florida Primary show to discuss Huckabee’s standing in the race. After an interview with Alan Colmes in which Hutchinson insisted that the campaign would go on and was still competitive, Hannity took his turn. He never directly said he wanted Huckabee to quit but his intent could not have been plainer.

Hannity’s first question in the interview was, “See if you can follow my analysis and whether you agree with this here. You have, you have Mayor Giuliani getting out. He’ll be endorsing Senator McCain. That would seem to me to leave open for Senator McCain, give him an opportunity to seek out the independent, moderate, liberal vote of the Party. And then you have Governor Romney, who’s clearly courting conservatives in the Republican Party, competing with Mike Huckabee, who wants the evangelical vote, generally considered conservative. It seems to me it might be the perfect storm for Senator McCain as the conservative vote gets split. The independent, moderate, liberal vote will go to McCain solely. Is that a possible scenario that would benefit Senator McCain?

It was pretty clear to me that Hutchinson knew just what Hannity was up to. Hutchinson gave a quick laugh and said, “I think there’s a lot of plotting and planning there that I’m not sure I could follow all of that.” He went on to talk up Huckabee a bit more.

But Hannity interrupted. “Let me say it another way.”

Hutchinson laughed again.

Hannity jabbed his finger in the air and said, “Alright, will Governor Romney, who’s clearly courting the conservative vote, and Mike Huckabee whose base is the evangelical vote, generally the conservative wing of the Party - will they split their vote and leave the liberal, moderate, independent vote open for McCain and then pave the way for him?”

“I’m trying to avoid being critical. This is a great night for Senator McCain,” Hutchinson said.

In a further bout of unprofessionalism, Hannity said, “No, we want you to be critical. It makes for a much better show. Go right ahead.” Then with his boyish grin, Hannity added, I’m teasing.”

“Governor Huckabee is the genuine, authentic conservative. He hasn’t changed positions. He knows what he believes. He’s been there from Day One. That’s what’s going to resonate. That’s what is connecting,” Hutchinson said.

“Right,” Hannity said. And maybe it was just me but I thought his voice sounded a little downhearted. He changed the subject, sort of, by asking how Huckabee was going to have the finances to stay in the race.

Hutchinson answered that it was thanks to good budgeting.

And then, as the interview ended, there was no doubt Hannity sounded resigned.