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Fox Focuses On Political Aspects Of Sanford Affair, Overlooks Unanswered Questions

Reported by Ellen - June 25, 2009 -

Co-authored by Brian

Neil Cavuto’s interview yesterday (6/24/09) with Rudy Giuliani about Gov. Mark Sanford’s (R-SC) disappearance and subsequent admission that he was having an extramarital affair was typical of the kind of coverage I saw on Fox last night: long on “what does this mean to Republicans?” and short on details about Sanford’s mysterious behavior. The bizarre facts behind his disappearance (when his aides said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail while he was actually in Argentina), his failure to appoint anyone else in charge during his absence at the same time that he seemed to have been completely incommunicado, how he was apparently having an affair with this woman for a year while positioning himself to run for president in 2012 and his hypocrisy at having voted for 3 out of 4 articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton while in Congress. Instead, Cavuto called on Rudy Giuliani, a guy who knows a thing or two about cheating on a wife, for brief comments during an interview about Iran and other matters. Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich must have been unavailable. With video.

The entire discussion was just a brief part of the Giuliani interview, as it was also during the following interview with Rep. John Boehner.

"This has happened just as often in the Democratic Party,” Giuliani dubiously claimed while opining that the incident would only “momentarily” affect the Republican Party. “These problems of romance, sexuality, etc. are not confined to Democrats or Republicans or Independents. It's kind of equal responsibility all over the place for this. You have as many examples on one side as the other.”

Let’s see, for the Dems, there’s John Edwards (Hannity & Colmes spent one whole show on his affair, even though the news broke after he'd dropped out of the 2008 presidential race), Gary Hart, Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Gary Condit, Gerry Studds. That’s all we can think of. For Republicans: There are Giuliani and Sanford, of course, John McCain, Mark Foley, David Vitter, Larry Craig, Henry Hyde, Bob Livingston, Newt Gingrich, Vito Fossella and John Ensign come immediately to mind. There's a longer list with lesser known Republican officials here. Besides, it’s not just the cheating, it’s the hypocrisy since these are the guys who supposedly stand for “family values.”

Cavuto said, "Well, you personally had to deal with that. And you know what it's like to be the focus and the spotlight for this kind of stuff. How would you advise him? What would you say?”

Giuliani said, "Tell the truth. Just tell the truth. You're human. You make terrible mistakes. You committ sins.Think of it in a religious point of view, the religious man. The whole Christian religion is about salvation and about redemption... He's got to make this up."

“Do you think that... that hurt you, politically, in the presidential run?” Cavuto asked.

“It doesn’t help,” Giuliani said, before adding that he didn’t think it was “the critical factor.” He said that it’s more harmful in the present than “years later... Because then people put in the context of their own lives. It happens to them. It happens to their children.”

Then after Giuliani stressed that Sanford, whom Giuliani described as a friend, is “a very good governor,” (Cavuto agreed), the two wished him the best.