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Hannity Overlooks Palin's Family Travel Expenses While Attacking Obama's

Reported by Ellen - June 9, 2009 -

Watch out, Greta Van Susteren. Sean Hannity is giving you competition for the Fox-News-Host-Chummiest-With-Sarah-Palin award. During a headlining interview that just happened to coincide with Republican efforts to placate Palin's ruffled feathers over a Republican fundraising dinner, Hannity said he wanted to visit the Palins in Alaska (so long as they promised to make moose chili) and go moose hunting with Todd Palin as Sarah Palin urged him to bring the kids along. That was just before they raved about how much fun it is to go to ballgames with “Rudy” (presumably, Giuliani). During the interview, Hannity accepted without question a number of dubious statements from Palin. But in a hilarious moment that was somehow left out of the broadcast interview (but available on line), Hannity “forgot” about the thousands of dollars Palin had to reimburse the State of Alaska over improper travel expenses for her family and tried to push her into taking a shot at Obama over flying to NYC for a date with his wife. With video.

Hannity's fawning would have been a lot less objectionable if he weren't constantly carping about other news media being too much in the tank for Obama. He whined again about it minutes after the Palin interview aired.

Hannity helpfully brought up some of the highlights of Palin's conservative cred: "You actually gave every citizen in Alaska a check (comparing that to New York's 10 % tax rate)” and “You and a couple of other governors, but you in particular, pointed out that this stimulus money from Washington comes with a lot of strings attached.”

He did not question any of her reasoning in vetoing “a bucket of the money” she claimed was “tied to universal energy building codes for Alaska, kinduva one size fits all building code that isn't going to work up there in Alaska and really, it prohibits opportunity to build and to develop and just wasn't going to work up there in Alaska.”

In fact, as Newsminer points out (H/T Think Progress), no universal energy code is required. But Hannity either didn't know or didn't care.

The old familiar Palin syntax was intact. In describing her thoughts on the economy and the deficit, she said, “It defies any, any sensible economic policy that any of us ever learned going through college (or in Palin's case colleges – she attended 6 of them before graduating). Defies economy – um, practices and principles that tell ya, ya gotta quit diggin' that hole when you are in that financial hole. America's digging a deeper hole.”

Hannity smiled indulgently as she insisted that even though 85% of her state budget is based on “the price of a barrel of oil,” she was not glad the price of oil is going up, “I say, NO! The fewer dollars that the State of Alaska government has, the fewer dollars we spend, and that's good for our families and for the private sector.” It's a ridiculous statement, one that suggests she has no control over the budget and no choice but to spend money when the coffers are flush, like some kind of Debtors Anonymous candidate. Maybe that's how she justifies the dramatic increase in state spending she presided over in the two years before becoming a vice presidential candidate. But Hannity just kept smiling, nodding and looking at his notes as she spoke.

Near the end, Hannity said, “Good thing you didn't take your airplane, or a state airplane, by the way, on a trip to New York to a broadway show. Why do I think that would have been a bigger deal if you did it?”

Um, maybe because it wasn't. Palin had a much longer, less justifiable record of transporting her family and putting them up in hotels at taxpayer expense. And that's not counting the per diem travel charges she stuck to the state for nights she was actually at home. As a matter of fact, FoxNews.com reported on Friday that Palin must reimburse the state for about $10,000 in travel costs that were found to be of questionable state interest such as having daughter Bristol Palin accompanying her mother to New York for Newsweek's Third Annual Women and Leadership Conference in October 2007. It's a lot farther from Alaska to New York than from DC, by the way. But somehow Hannity “forgot” about that, even though Palin discussed her family's travel charges with him last October. Gal pal Greta also managed to “forget” about the issue during a recent fawning session interview with Palin.

Rather than own up to the controversy, Palin suggested she agreed with the attacks on Obama by replying to Hannity, “Yeah! You know that date night stuff!

As the interview wound down, Hannity threw out all pretext of detachment as he and Palin chatted about getting together in Alaska and palling around with Rudy Giuliani.

“You need to get up there (to Alaska)” Palin told Hannity.

He promised to come if she promised to make moose hot dogs and moose chili.

“And bring your kids up there,” Palin suggested.

“I want to go fishing,” Hannity said. After asking if her husband would take him moose hunting, Hannity offered, “Maybe we can play a little ice hockey.”

Then they moved on to talk about going to Yankee games with “Rudy." Apparently, Palin had had a grand time going to a game with Giuliani while she visited New York. She added, “Rudy says he's taking your son to a game!”

Hannity said, “I've been to a game with Rudy. It's fun to go to a game with Rudy.” One gets the impression that was not the only socializing they've done together.

So in response to Hannity's bullyboy bellyaching about the media being too soft on Obama, let's ask him, what's his excuse?

You can write his show at hannity@foxnews.com.