On Hannity & Colmes, Mike Huckabee and Howard Wolfson both disagreed with Sean Hannity's claim that Sen. Barack Obama was "talking about [Gov.] Sarah Palin" when he made his "lipstick on a pig" comment. Wolfson asserted: "[T]here's no question that he was referring to [Sen.] John McCain, not Sarah Palin, and I think anything to the contrary is ridiculous."
During the September 9 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Fox News contributors Mike Huckabee and Howard Wolfson both disagreed with co-host Sean Hannity's baseless claim that Sen. Barack Obama was "talking about [Gov.] Sarah Palin" when he said, "[Y]ou know, you can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig." Earlier during the program, Huckabee said of Obama's comment: "It's an old expression, and I'm going to have to cut Obama some slack on that one. I do not think he was referring to Sarah Palin." Similarly, Wolfson asserted: "[T]here's no question that he was referring to [Sen.] John McCain, not Sarah Palin, and I think anything to the contrary is ridiculous."
As Media Matters for America documented, like Hannity, The Wall Street Journal's Amy Chozick baselessly claimed that Obama was referring to Palin with his "lipstick on a pig" statement, when, in fact, Obama was alluding to McCain's policy platform in those comments. Moreover, the expression Obama used is common in political rhetoric; McCain used the same expression while discussing Sen. Hillary Clinton's health-care proposal in October 2007.
From the September 9 edition Fox News' of Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY: And welcome to Hannity & Colmes. There is a developing story tonight. This is Governor Palin from last week in St. Paul.
PALIN [video clip]: I love those hockey moms. You know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull -- lipstick.
HANNITY: And this is Senator Obama just a few hours ago at a campaign stop in New Hampshire.
OBAMA [video clip]: John McCain says he's about change, too, except -- and so, I guess his whole angle is, "Watch out, George Bush. Except for economic policy, health-care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy, and Karl Rove-style politics, we're really going to shake things up in Washington." That's not change; that's just calling some -- the same thing -- something different. But you know, you can -- you know, you can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig.
HANNITY: Now, wow. We're going to have more on that in just a few minutes.
HANNITY: And joining us tonight with reaction and analysis is former presidential candidate, Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee.
Governor, before we get to the issue of me -- I'll respond to this later -- I want to -- you to get your reaction -- "[Y]ou can put lipstick on a pig; but it's still a pig."
HUCKABEE: It's an old expression, and I'm going to have to cut Obama some slack on that one. I do not think he was referring to Sarah Palin. He didn't reference her -- if you take the two sound bites together, it may sound like it, but I've been a guy at the podium many times, and you say something that's maybe a part of an old joke and then somebody ties it in. So, I'm going to have to cut him slack.
Now, what he said about you, I don't cut him any slack, because everybody knows, Sean, you're an Irish pussycat, and a gentleman, a scholar, and a breeder of fine horses.
HANNITY: All right, fair. Let me --
HUCKABEE: There's no way he should be attacking you, but you should be thrilled. We have a saying that says this in the South: Just be glad when you're getting kicked from the rear 'cause it means you're still out front. So, Sean, take -- take some comfort in that.
HANNITY: I have my response coming up later, but I think this -- I disagree with you in large part. We have -- and I'm going to give a long setup here because there's information we need to share with our audience.
HANNITY: And joining us now, former Clinton communications director, Fox News contributor Howard Wolfson. Howard, it may surprise you, I read your blog.
WOLFSON: I appreciate that.
HANNITY: Well, and actually, it's very well written, and you're very honest on the blog, and you talked about the internal debate that you had in your campaign about raising the issue of sexism used by the Obama campaign. Now, Bill Clinton, we know, accused the Obama campaign of playing the race card, but you said that, in fact, that it had been reported correctly that we engaged in endless internal debates about whether to raise the issue of sexism, but never did, but in retrospect, there is broad agreement that Hillary Clinton was treated differently, in part, because she's a woman.
WOLFSON: Right. Let me just --
WOLFSON: Let me just correct you for one thing -- by the press, not by Senator Obama. By the press.
WOLFSON: Bill Clinton said that -- but what I wrote today was that there's now broad agreement, and Sean, I think even you would agree that the press treated Senator Clinton differently because she was a woman, and we did have a real debate almost throughout all of 2008 whether or not we should do something in a big way about that, and we decided not to.
WOLFSON: Eighteen million.
HANNITY: But when Joe Biden said that Palin would be a backward step for women, when he's introduced by a congressman and says there's no way you can dress up that record, even with a lot of lipstick, I'm going to play this cut again, you know, Barack Obama.
Now, watch the crowd behind him. Even the AP reports that the crowd started laughing as soon as he said -- they broke out with laughter -- "you can put lipstick on a pig, but, you know, it's still a pig." Watch the crowd in the background here as we re-air this.
WOLFSON: No. No, no, no, no. And I'm glad that you played the full bite at the top of the show, because it's clear that he's not talking about Sarah Palin. He doesn't even mention Sarah Palin's name; he's talking about John McCain.
WOLFSON: No, no, no. Look, I've watched an awful lot in this campaign. I think I have a pretty good antenna when it comes to sexism and I think that -- as I've said before on your show --
WOLFSON: I am, but I --
ALAN COLMES (co-host): He was talking about change, Howard. That's what he was talking.
WOLFSON: Exactly. And there's no question that he was referring to John McCain, not Sarah Palin, and I think anything to the contrary is ridiculous.