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Gingrich Discusses The Importance Of Not Appearing Racist Or Sexist While Smearing Obama And Clinton

Reported by Ellen - March 8, 2008 -

Newt Gingrich was on Hannity & Colmes last night (3/7/08) as the sole guest over two segments to discuss the presidential campaign. Given that all the news was about the contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, you might think that a network that bragged about being “fair and balanced,” as FOX News does, would want a Democratic guest for such a discussion. But no, they didn’t. In Part 2, Gingrich defended the Republican National Committee for commissioning a study to determine the ways Republicans can attack Clinton and Obama without seeming sexist and racist. In response, Hannity advocated for the use of smear tactics, in general. With video.

Alan Colmes began the segment by citing a recent story from Politico reporting that the RNC has commissioned polling and focus groups “to determine the boundaries of attacking a minority or female candidate… The secretive effort underscores the enormous risk senior GOP operatives see for a party often criticized for its insensitivity to minorities in campaigns dating back to the 1960s.”

Gingrich pretended to be dubious about whether or not Republicans “are gonna be really attacking them in the personality sense.” Then, he added, “Frankly, (Republicans would) be professionally irresponsible if they didn’t ask the two obvious questions which is (sic), ‘If Senator Obama ends up as the nominee, how do you deal with a candidate of African American background.'” Of course, what he really meant was, “How do you attack an African American candidate without looking like a racist?”

Gingrich added, “And if Senator Clinton ends up as the nominee, how do you attack deal with a woman in that kind of race? If they’re not studying that and asking that, they’re being totally irresponsible professionally.”

Colmes asked, “Why even bring up the issue of race or gender? Why even introduce that as an item to discuss in terms of what boundaries one can have when the best thing to do would be not to bring those issues up at all in a decent campaign?”

And I’d add, why would anyone need to ask such a question? Unless someone is racially insensitive, wouldn’t he or she already know what’s appropriate?

Gingrich told Colmes that in a decent campaign, “You’d better think through the body language and the approach necessary in dealing with a woman candidate… I think there are things you can do to a male candidate you can’t do to a female candidate… It’s not about trying to figure some clever device to defeat them. It’s trying to figure out what’s the best way, in this setting, with this candidate, to run our campaign.”

Translation: How can we attack a woman without looking like a male chauvinist pig?

Hannity started his (lengthier) go-round with Gingrich by saying, “Can’t we say we learned a lot from the mistakes of the Hillary campaign?” Then, in a two-for-one of slurs, Hannity used that as an excuse to catalogue the recently publicized attacks against Obama while fingering the Clinton campaign as the culprit.

Next Hannity touted his upcoming Sunday night solo show which promises to be an Obama attack-fest “expanding the narrative about who Barack Obama is.” Yet, as Hannity described it, this “expansion” was going to be more like a re-tread of Hannity’s previous smears: Obama’s "controversial pastor" and his “friendly relationship” with former 60’s radical William Ayers. These are issues that have been discussed ad nauseum already on Hannity & Colmes. One suspects that what Hannity really looked forward to was the chance to smear Obama without any interference from Colmes.

Hannity made it clear he thought McCain should take the high ground and let the likes of Hannity take the low road. He said that McCain “should focus entirely on issues.” But, he added, “But I also think there’s a role in – we examined, for example, in 2004, at length, with specificity, we interviewed the Swift Boat Vets for Truth and they told a very interesting story about Senator Kerry. We went back and listened to his attacks, accusing his fellow soldiers in Viet Nam… So I think these issues are important, but I don’t really think the campaign should be involved in ‘em. I think that’s something that we should be doing.”

Gingrich completely agreed. “Look, the news media, whether they’re left or right, the news media has an obligation to thoroughly investigate any person who’s on the edge of becoming president,” he said.

I wonder if Hannity or Gingrich has been privy to the RNC study.