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In Concert With McCain, FOX News Goes After The Jewish Vote

Reported by Ellen - June 7, 2008 -

What a coincidence that two days after USA Today reported that Jewish voters could tip the election in several key battlegound states, Hannity & Colmes’ top story last night (6/6/08) was about Barack Obama’s alleged flip-flops on the future of Jerusalem. With video.

The stock market plunged almost 400 points yesterday, the price of oil shot up more than $11 in one day but FOX News producers thought the most important issue was Obama’s "clarification" of his position on the future of Jerusalem. Even if you agree with FOX News’ accusation that he was backtracking, you have to wonder why this was considered so important. It’s not as though Hannity & Colmes has covered the subject extensively. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen a single other discussion on the subject of Jerusalem, past, present or future.

My television missed the beginning of Alan Colmes’ scripted introduction for the segment but after saying that Reuters had reported Obama’s remarks as a flip-flop and noting that Obama’s campaign denies that characterization, Colmes’ script continued with this gratuitous swipe at Obama’s Jewish cred: “Obama’s relationship with Jewish voters is something that has been questioned recently and probably won’t be helped by the endorsement of British Member of Parliament George Galloway who said in the past that Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization.” That got a separate discussion later in the show (post to come) with none other than right-wing zionist Daniel Pipes as the sole guest.

In the Jerusalem segment, Colmes and the Democratic guest, Steve McMahon, started the discussion by noting that John McCain has made so many flip-flops that, as Colmes put it, it’s a wash.

Republican Kellyanne Conway responded by immediately going back to the Jewish-voter message: “I don’t think that Jewish voters across America will think that there is much of a wash.” She went on to say, “The whole lock that the Democratic Party thinks they have on the Jewish vote is not true.”

During the segment, the lower third of the screen showed a rotating group of banners that just happened to help further the message: Obama accused of flip-flopping on future of Jerusalem; Obama backtracks on a united Jerusalem; Barack Obama flips his stance on the future status of Jerusalem.

Chris Cilizza, from washingtonpost.com, seemed either not to realize what was afoot here or else to endorse it. “For Obama, it does fit into a larger narrative,” Cilizza obligingly said. “He has had trouble courting Jewish voters, winning their votes. It’s one of the reasons Senator Clinton was so overwhelmingly favored in Florida... It fits into an overall narrative that is not beneficial to Barack Obama.” That’s fair to mention, of course, but Cilizza should have also mentioned that while Obama may have lost the Jewish Democratic primary voters to Clinton, that does not mean he’d lose them to McCain. In fact, according to a Gallup Poll last month, Obama is currently beating McCain 61-32% with the Jewish vote. Interestingly, the USA Today article notes, “McCain's supporters believe the Arizona senator can do better.” It’s too bad Cilizza didn’t seem to consider how neatly this segment fit into that strategy.

Instead, Cilizza sounded like he was making a nominal effort to give Obama's side by adding, “He’s still learning as he goes.”

Predictably, that earned jeers from Sean Hannity and Conway.

Hannity also wasted no time getting right to what he clearly thought would be the hearts of Jewish voters. He asked McMahon, “(Obama) said he’d negotiate with Ahmadinejad and Iran without preconditions... What’s the first question you ask the Holocaust denier? What’s the first question you ask the guy that wants to blow Israel off the map?”

Conway asked venomously, “Just like Iraq, when is the last time Barack Obama set foot in Israel?”

Actually, the answer is that Obama visited Israel in January, 2006. George Bush, on the other hand, did not visit Israel until the eighth and last year of his presidency. Unfortunately, neither Cilizza nor McMahon seemed to know that.

The ever-sneering Conway added, “This is someone who wants to be the Commander-in-Chief. I think, Sean, he realizes that he may not get a great warm reception in Iraq from our troops the way he gets when he goes into Berkley or Madison, places like that... If you want to be Commander-in-Chief, you can’t do that sitting in an ivory tower somewhere in Washington, D.C.”

Actually, Conway ought to know that our troops would never be impolite to any visiting dignitary. Another fact the supposedly impartial Cilizza overlooked.