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While Discussing McCain's MLK Speech, North And Luntz Ignored The Boos

Reported by Ellen - April 5, 2008 -

Republican pollster Frank Luntz visited Hannity & Colmes last night (4/4/08), to discuss, of all things, "reaction to the breaking news of the Clinton tax return release." As Alan Colmes pointed out, there has not been any polling yet; the returns were just released earlier in the day. But that didn't stop Luntz, whose partisan ties were not disclosed, from taking swipes at the Clintons. Conversely, when substitute co-host Oliver North asked about reaction to John McCain's speech commemorating Martin Luther King's death, Luntz ignored the heckling McCain received from the audience and confidently stated that the voters would appreciate his candor. There was no other commemoration of King's death on the show. With video.

There was lots of talk on the show about the Clintons' tax returns (I hope to post more about it over the weekend). And even though nobody could find anything objectionable or discrediting, a slew of conservative guests smeared with innuendos. In his segment, Luntz said, "If (Clinton) were a Republican, she'd actually go up in the polls… because people assume that Republicans are wealthier than Democrats."

Later, North transitioned away from the Clintons. North said to Luntz, "John McCain today made a speech at the site where Martin Luther King was assassinated, apologized for standing up against a Martin Luther King national holiday. Good thing or bad thing with the general electorate?"

Just as Clinton got smeared, McCain got glorified. Luntz said, "The more that you are candid, the more that you look people straight in the eye and say what you mean and mean what you say, the more the voters will trust you, the more that they'll feel comfortable with you… Republicans just don't get African American voters. They don't get their votes and they don't really understand them but McCain's candor will be appreciated and I think that's gonna be very important."

You have to admire Luntz' craftiness here. Luntz quickly implied that McCain's candor was well received. It would be easy to miss that Luntz was speaking about the future reaction to McCain, not the one that actually happened. Then without informing the audience that McCain had been booed during that speech, Luntz slyly glided over and whitewashed it by saying that Republicans and African Americans just "don't get" each other. If you hadn't known in advance that McCain had been booed, you certainly wouldn't now. And if you had, Luntz was predicting – but stating it as a fact – that the future would hold a more positive verdict.

Luntz went on to acknowledge that McCain has "a tremendous uphill battle" in the upcoming election. "But that candor is unique, it's special and there's no one else out there like him."

In fact, there's not even a McCain out there like the one Luntz put forth. As Media Matters has documented, "McCain has made contradictory statements or otherwise equivocated on a variety of issues, such as the Iraq war, Christian conservatives, ethanol, tax cuts for the wealthy, the Confederate flag, and abortion rights."