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FOX News Declares Hillary Clinton Winner Of Popular Vote Without Noting It’s Disputable

Reported by Ellen - June 4, 2008 -

During last night’s primary coverage on FOX News, Brit Hume took a swipe at Obama’s clinching of the Democratic presidential nomination by saying that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. He did not qualify his statement by pointing out that popular vote totals are debatable and include caucus results where final tallies can only be esimated. With video.

Hume announced, “(Obama’s victory), of course, has to go along tonight with the victory that (Hillary Clinton) achieved in the primary in South Dakota, a reminder, if any were needed to Barack Obama, that he has backed into the final triumph in this race, a remarkable achievement indeed, but one which came with him having a rough go of it from her in the final 15 or so primaries, of which she won more than half and ended up as the winner, despite his nomination or his evident nomination, as the winner of the popular vote.”

In reality, it’s not clear that Clinton did win the popular vote. As The Washington Post pointed out in an article the day before, “Clinton surpasses Obama in the popular vote only if none of the "uncommitted" ballots cast in Michigan count toward his total and all of the votes in Michigan are counted toward hers. That is problematic, especially after Clinton adviser Harold Ickes acknowledged at the DNC meeting on Saturday that the Michigan contest was flawed.” Furthermore, there were many caucuses that Obama won where a precise vote tally was never taken and can only be estimated.

I heard the “Clinton won the popular vote” repeated several times during FOX News’ coverage of the primary last night and never with the caveat that the count is open to interpretation.

Hume could easily have said that the final numbers were so close that by some counts Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. But it’s no surprise that he didn’t.