Hannity repeated distortions of Kerry record even after conceding similar attacks on McCain were "not fair"May 14, 2004 5:35 PM EDT ››› ANDREW SEIFTER
Even after conceding on the May 12 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes that attacks on Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) voting record -- which were similar to a claim made by co-host Sean Hannity earlier in the show about Senator John Kerry's record -- were "not fair," Hannity repeated the same distorted claim about Kerry's voting record on the May 13 Hannity & Colmes. Specifically, Hannity repeated that "[Kerry is] a guy that voted against every major weapons system."
The editor of The Daily Howler website, Bob Somerby, reported on May 13 that, during Hannity's discussion with guest McCain on the May 12 Hannity & Colmes, Hannity again accused Kerry of "vot[ing] against every major weapons system we now have." As Somerby noted, McCain recalled how his own votes against a defense appropriations bill had been distorted in the past. McCain explained that he "was accused of voting against breast cancer research because that was on a defense appropriations bill" that he voted against.
Somerby concluded his piece by asking readers if anyone could confirm whether he was right in thinking that he had heard Hannity concede that attacks on McCain's record had been unfair. Media Matters for America reports that Hannity did, indeed, concede that such treatment of McCain was "not fair." From the May 12 Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY: You know, Senator, when Reagan was winning the Cold War, John Kerry wanted a nuclear freeze. When he could have voted for the death penalty for terrorists in '89, he didn't do it, the ones that kill Americans. He voted -- After the first World Trade Center bombing, he had he Kerry Amendment. Ted Kennedy couldn't ever vote for it. It would have cut $6 billion from our intelligence community. He's voted against just about every major weapons system we now have.
He is -- and he's the most liberal senator. He could be your friend, but he's the most liberal senator, according to the "National Journal." He is what he is, and to point this out in his record is a fair thing to do, isn't it?
MCCAIN: He'll have to defend his own record.
I would be accused of voting against numerous weapon systems, because I voted against defense appropriations bills because they're loaded down with pork. And they're obscene today with all of the pork-barrel spending and multi-trillion dollar deficits. I'll probably vote against the defense appropriations bill this year. I was accused of voting against breast cancer research because that was on a defense appropriations bill that I voted against, so...
HANNITY: But on defense issues, the most important issue of our time, that your guy is George W. Bush, right?
MCCAIN: He is my guy. I'm campaigning for him. I'm supporting his re-election. I want him to be re-elected. I believe he has led this nation with moral clarity. But I was also subjected to allegations of being against things like breast cancer research, which was on a defense appropriations bill.
HANNITY: I remember. That's not fair. I understand.
MCCAIN: So he'll have to defend and explain his own record.
Notwithstanding his May 12 exchange with McCain, on the May 13 Hannity & Colmes, Hannity repeated his claim that Kerry "voted against every major weapons system."