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Bulls and Oh, Brother

Reported by Judy - October 29, 2005

Some blog somewhere must be running a contest for the most ridiculous Republican comment in the wake of the five-county felony indictment handed up by a federal grand jury against Lewis Libby, the first such indictment of a White House official while on the job in 130 years. If so, this comment by Charles Payne on Fox New's channel's "Bulls and Bears" is my entry.

Payne, CEO of Wall Street Strategies, was asked during Saturday's show (October 29, 2005) by host Brenda Butner if Friday's stock market rally after only Libby, and not Bush chief of staff Karl Rove, was indicted meant that the worst is over for the White House and that big things are ahead for Wall Street.

Payne: "Absolutely. I mean this is incredible news. Rove is probably more popular than Bush. You know, if Bush was indicted, the market would have gone down less than if Rove was indicted. But obviously the market embraced the news. It was fantastic. Also, coming on the heels of Harriet Miers, we can't leave that out. Bush has a chance to go back and do what he should have did the first time. This was a huge week for him. Perhaps the biggest week for him snce the election. Remember, the election started last year's 4th quarter rally. This could be the same type of thing."

A huge week for Bush? Gee, I wish we'd have 51 more such huge weeks. If indicting somebody in the White House makes the stock market go up, let's indict a couple more next week and the week after. We all win.

As Payne spewed his nonsense, Fox News showed a split screen image of Libby on the left and a graphic of a big green arrow pointing up, with the words "Dow 172 points Friday" over the arrow. Its banner at the bottom of the screen read, "Rove Does Not Go Down. Stocks Go Way Up!"

Fortunately, Butner has more than one guest each week. She turned to Gary B. Smith of realmoney.com for comment.

Gary B. Smith: "I don't know if Charles is accurate. Maybe, you know, Wall Street was hoping for more indictments. We got 35 points per indictment, I think. Maybe if we got ten indictments the market would have been up 350 points. But I think actually, I take kind of the contrarian view. I think the market looks at this and then it moves on to the next thing. I think between the Miers thing and this, you could have gone up one day on the Miers and down on this. I think the market says, look, we're interested in the hurricane, we're interested in oil, in inflation, who the new Fed chief is. This is not going to affect earnings, God forbid I use that awful word. I think the market has moved on and we're on to the next thing, unless it blows up."

The show's liberal guest, Democratic strategist Bob Beckel, joined Gary B. Smith in trying to erase Payne's shameful and dishonest spin.

Beckel: "First of all, if that's the reason the market does up, then it is sort of the Land of Oz. Charles, let me just say one thing. If Karl Rove is more popular than George Bush, that means he's at 40 percent, as opposed to 38 percent. That's really good. But in good times and bad, you stick with this dog, I'll say that. Let me tell you something.... I think this bated breath waiting for all these indictments is kind of sad actually. We forget this guy's got a family. But I believe this story is not over by a long shot. I will bet you in three months Libby turns state's evidence and there's going to be more indictments, #1. Number 2, George Bush is facing a contrarian Congress right now that wants to cut the budget and it's going to hurt Republicans running in marginal seats. There's a big divide there. And think about this, In January of next year, you're going to have Tom Delay on trial, the SEC ruling on Bill Frist's 20-20 vision blind trust, and you're going to have a Supreme Court nomination battle. It ain't all that good."

Payne also got little support from the rest of the panelists, who stressed that interest rates, oil prices, earnings results, and so on mean more than the ups and downs of George Bush. But the panelists did express concern about what the administration's troubles mean for its agenda of extending the tax cuts. Beckel predicted the "Paris Hilton inheritance" tax cuts won't be extended. Pat Dorsey of morningstarresearch.com agreed.

Payne's comments show why individuals should beware of relying on Fox News' financial shows for financial advice. Their agenda is not to help the viewer, but to help George Bush.

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