FOX's Linda Chavez: "I misspoke"

››› ››› GABE WILDAU

Appearing on Al Franken's radio show on May 4, FOX News contributor Linda Chavez admitted that she "misspoke" when she denied having called Senator John Kerry a "communist apologist." Chavez denied having called Kerry a "communist apologist" during an interview on FOX & Friends on May 2, just four days after her nationally syndicated column calling Senator John Kerry a "communist apologist" appeared in newspapers and on The Heritage Foundation's website Townhall.com. Chavez appeared on The O'Franken Factor in response to a May 3 Media Matters for America report titled "FOX's Chavez called Kerry a 'communist apologist' -- and then lied about it."

Chavez quickly sought to turn her own admission into yet another attack on Kerry and on former President Bill Clinton. Then she denounced liberal "name-calling":

FRANKEN: My first question: Do you yourself write your columns?

CHAVEZ: I absolutely write my column, and let me say right off the bat that unlike John Kerry, who sometimes takes 33 years to correct the record, I misspoke.

FRANKEN: OK, that's what I want to ask you, now just answer the question ...

CHAVEZ: I misspoke. I absolutely, I misspoke. And you know, I could go into an explanation, Al, I could tell you that, well, you know, we could parse this and I said, he fell into the role, et cetera. But that would be too Clintonesqe.

FRAKEN: OK, what does misspoke ...

CHAVEZ: I'm not going to do that. I'm just going to tell you I misspoke.

FRANKEN: What does that mean though? Because, in my book...

CHAVEZ: It's not a lie. Let's make this...

FRANKEN: OK, in my book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, I do document a lot of lies on ...

CHAVEZ: Absolutely. But let me, let me stop you right there, Al. Because I think this is something that is very important. And it's something that disturbs me greatly about the political debate we've gotten into in this country. And that is the name-calling. And when I was asked that question, I was focused on the fact that I had had on my program, on the Linda Chavez program, Steven Morris, who is a, you know, an academic, he's at Johns Hopkins University, and he has talked about and written about John Kerry's role after he came back from Vietnam. And one of the things that he said on my program when he was a guest, was he described Kerry as somebody who was sympathetic to the communist cause. And that, frankly, when I was asked that question, in my mind, and you know what it's like when you go on TV, you're sort of trying to remember, did I say that, or was that Morris who said that ...

FRANKEN: OK, well, you wrote it three times in a column four days previous.

CHAVEZ: Look...

FRANKEN: And I want to ask you though, when you're talking about name-calling, OK, and you said that that's what your worry is ...

CHAVEZ: Let's talk about ...

FRANKEN: Well, let me finish my thought. When you say that's what you worry about in this dialogue that we have today, and then you accuse somebody of being an apologist for the communists.

CHAVEZ: Well, let me, let's talk about what I accuse. And if you wanted to call me a liar because you said I made up things that John Kerry said, then we would have ...

FRANKEN: No, no, no. What I ...

CHAVEZ: Then we would have, you know, then you'd have, some legitimate, a complaint.

FRANKEN: No, what I wanted to respond to was your saying ...

CHAVEZ: I said he fell into that ...

FRANKEN: Your saying name-calling.

CHAVEZ: I said he fell into that role, because of what he said. And one of the things that I find fascinating about this conversation and also fascinating about the, David Brock's web site, none of you have focused on what it is that John Kerry said and did, and that's what I went on Fox News to talk about. John Kerry said that most people in Vietnam did not know the difference between democracy and communism. He said lots of very troubling things ...

When Media Matters for America's report appeared on May 3, Atrios reported on his blog, Eschaton, that Chavez had previously been caught dissembling by Slate.com's Timothy Noah in a "Whopper of the Week" item in Noah's "Chatterbox" column.

Media Matters for America President and CEO David Brock will confront Chavez as a guest on Chavez's radio show this Friday, May 7, at 10:15 a.m. (ET). To listen live, click here.

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