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Gingrich: Obama Probably Less Inclined To Say Anti-American Things Than Dick Durbin

Reported by Ellen - March 19, 2008 -

More from the Obama hate-fest on the 3/18/08 Hannity & Colmes. Newt Gingrich was the sole guest for the top two segments, presumably to offer some kind of detached analysis on the only topic discussed, Barack Obama’s speech earlier in the day. But Gingrich quickly jumped onto the Obama hate-wagon in an overtly partisan way by distorting what Obama said and then attacking him for being anti-American, albeit less anti-American than Dick Durbin. The Democratic co-host, Kirsten Powers giggled in response. With video.

Powers actually did a better job than I have ever seen her do as substitute host. In Part 1 of the Gingrich interview (not shown below), she nailed Gingrich just before the break by pointing out that conservative religious leaders have made similar remarks to Wright's, albeit in a different context, they have closer ties to Republican candidates, yet conservatives never complain about THEM being un-American. Gingrich did not have an answer for that. Fortunately for him, time was up just then.

It’s a point that Powers could have and should have, in my view, repeatedly driven home throughout the whole show. Instead, she raised it quickly at the end of one segment, then dropped it.

In Part 2 (the video below), she pointed out that Obama has written candidly about himself. “He’s never expressed a single view that is similar to these views that have been expressed by Reverend Wright. And, frankly, we’re not electing Rev. Wright. We’re looking at Barack Obama. So is it fair to say Barack Obama doesn’t believe any of this stuff?”

Obviously, it was fair to say it and Gingrich agreed. But Gingrich couldn’t let an opportunity to smear Obama and Democrats go by. So apropos of nothing related to the issue of Obama’s pastor, Gingrich said, “I believe Senator Obama is in fact a very sincere and dedicated senator who probably is less inclined to say anti-American things than his colleague in the Senate, Dick Durbin, who compared the US to Nazi Germany, Pol Pot’s Cambodia and Stalin’s Russia.” In fact, that’s a gross distortion of what Durbin said (and he apologized for the remark nonetheless).

But Powers, always ready to cozy up to conservatives, giggled and said, “Thanks for that” and moved on to her next question.

Powers did muster up enough spark to rebut Gingrich on his false assertion about Obama’s supposed proposal “to go around and talk to every dictator on the planet.”

Powers said, “He doesn’t want to talk to every dictator on the planet… You’re making it sound like he’s just gonna walk in and call ‘em up and say ‘Come on over.’”

True enough and better than saying nothing but it was hardly the kind of vigorous response an Obama lynch-fest requires.

Furthermore, what Powers missed and what Hannity and Gingrich kept misconstruing was that Obama never said he was unaware of Wright’s controversial views until this week, Obama said the soundbites played on Hannity & Colmes distorted the record of a man Obama knew to be flawed, with whom he disagreed about some things but whom he cared for.

Predictably, white supremacist sympathizer Sean Hannity immediately did his best when it was his turn to portray Obama as a black racist (an accusation that became far more overt in a later segment). Again Hannity quoted an excerpt from Obama’s first book that quoted a sermon from Wright, “Where white folks greed runs a world in need.”

“That sounds like that would be a tip off, don’t you think?” Hannity said.

Powers interrupted, and I give her points for speaking up here. “Can we at least acknowledge that there’s racism against black people?”

But Hannity, always ready to forgive white racism at the drop of an “n” word (and, in the case of Duane “Dog” Chapman, actively work to rehabilitate him) is ever concerned with black racism. His telling answer was, “There’s plenty of racism and I think some of it came from the pulpit of Jeremiah Wright.”

With hammy Hanctimony, Hannity asked, “This is an important question. Would any of us go to a church that had a pastor that bestowed a lifetime achievement award on one of the well-known racist and anti-Semites in the country, Louis Farrakhan?”

To her credit, Powers said, “I would not. But I’m also not African American.”

Gingrich again jumped in with a distortion of what Obama said. “To believe he went through 20 years and didn’t figure it out doesn’t make me very confident that he’s ready to be president.”