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McCain Reaches Over Hannity And Limbaugh To Reach Out To Conservatives

Reported by Ellen - March 14, 2008 -

Last night (3/13/08), Sean Hannity spent the full hour of Hannity & Colmes interviewing John McCain without any questions from or participation by Alan Colmes. Who was the cowardly party so afraid of the possibility that Colmes might subvert a conservative agenda that they couldn’t allow him even a single question or moment of input? My money is on Hannity and/or “fair and balanced” FOX News. Despite their efforts, McCain seemed unlikely to be genuflecting at Hannity’s or FOX News' or Limbaugh's altar anytime soon. With video.

During the second half of the hour, Hannity brought up one of the complaints of his like-minded conservatives: that McCain is too bi-partisan. “What about conservatives that are worried when you reach across the aisle with Russ Feingold, Ted Kennedy… Can you reach across the aisle to the conservative base? Can you reach across to people that have been critical of you: Rush Limbaugh, James Dobson and people that have been critical?”

Mitt Romney would have started singing the praises of Limbaugh, et al. But McCain said, “I’m willing to talk with anyone who wants to talk with me.” He added, “The people of Arizona sent me to the Senate to get things done and I believe that I was able to get a lot of things done… Am I a strong, conservative, republican voice? Yes. But I know that people want us to get things done. And one of the reasons why they think so little of us is they think that all we do is fight in Washington and not address issues.”

In the second clip part of the video below, McCain failed to jump on the opportunity Hannity presented to make political hay out of Barack Obama’s pastor’s embrace of Louis Farrakhan.

McCain said, “I think that when people support you, it doesn’t mean you support everything they say… I don’t believe that Senator Obama would support any of those…”

Hannity interrupted to say, “But he’s been going to the church for 20 years, his pastor – his church gave a lifetime achievement award to one of the biggest racists and anti-Semites in the country, Louis Farrakhan. Would you go to a church that, your pastor supported Louis Farrakhan?”

McCain sighed loudly. “Obviously, that would not be my choice,” he said. “But I do know Senator Obama. He does not share those views.”

But Hannity pressed on with smearing Obama. Hannity brought up “one other emerging controversy we’ve dealt with a lot on Hannity & Colmes and my Sunday show,” meaning of course Obama’s “association” with William Ayers, a member of the Weather Underground 40 years ago and now an upstanding member of society. (Sort of like another Hannity pal, admitted traitor David Horowitz. Funny how Hannity never seems to care a fig about that history!) “Should that be an issue in the campaign?” Hannity asked hopefully.

McCain was obviously not interested in going down that road. “My life has been one of reconciliation,” he said. “If people want to put their past behind them, to apologize, to say look we’ve made mistakes in the past but we want to move forward, I respect that and embrace it. Because all of us have made serious mistakes in our lives and I certainly am one of them. But if this person is still proud of that kind of activity…”

Hannity interrupted to say, “In 2001, (Ayers) said, ‘I regret not doing more.’”

McCain said, “Then, obviously, a person like that has to be repudiated.”

Hannity said that Ayers should be declared as a terrorist. Naturally, Hannity didn’t mention that while Ayers may be unrepentant, he has been living a respectable life for decades. Nor did Hannity mention that Politico.com recently characterized Obama’s “association” with Ayers by saying, “There’s no evidence their relationship is more than the casual friendship of two men who occupy overlapping Chicago political circles and who served together on the board of a Chicago foundation.”

Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for Hannity to denounce his fformer pal, the white supremacist, neo-Nazi, Hal Turner who has recently advocated for the assassination of Obama. That’s a whole lot worse than anything either Farrakhan or Obama’s pastor has done. And the connection between Hannity and Turner is a lot closer than that of Obama and Farrakhan.

Still, it was clear that McCain had no appetite for the kind of attacks that are Hannity’s stock in trade as well as those of his like-minded media mouthpieces: Limbaugh, Levin, Coulter, etc.

Finally, near the end of the interview, Hannity asked, “What do you say to conservatives like – and we have a minute – Rush Limbaugh, James Dobson, Tom Delay, Rick Santorum, that have been pretty strong in their opposition against you.”

McCain responded, “Well, I respect their views. I will continue to reach out to all parts of our Party. If anyone would like to talk with me, I’d love to have the opportunity to talk with them.”

“Would you go on Rush’s show?” Hannity asked.

McCain hesitated. “Well, if he, if he wanted to talk with me, I would be glad to talk to him. Honestly, I will not ask to speak to him. His views and others’ have been made very clear. But my job is to unite the Party and to energize it and try and get as many people engaged and involved. And, remember, we’ve got a big job ahead of us, including the independents, including the old Reagan Democrats. But I am proud of my conservative, Republican credentials and record.”

I’ve long suspected that a large part (if not the whole enchilada) of Hannity's and his hate-mongering cohorts’ animosity toward McCain is due to his failure to cozy up to them. I don’t think this interview will have changed that dynamic.