O'Reilly suggested "fix is in" for Franken on MN recount, despite report that Coleman campaign approved of recount panel

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

Bill O'Reilly claimed that Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (D) was "actively rooting for Al Franken" in the Senate race between Franken and incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R) and that "the fix is in." But O'Reilly did not note that Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty approved of the composition of the canvassing board Ritchie named to certify the vote and oversee the recount or that a lawyer for Coleman's campaign reportedly said that the "state should feel good about who's on the panel."

During the November 13 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly claimed that Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (D) was "actively rooting for Al Franken" in the Senate race between Franken and incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R) and that "the fix is in." But O'Reilly did not note that Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty approved of the composition of the canvassing board Ritchie named to certify the vote and oversee the recount or that a lawyer for Coleman's campaign reportedly said that the "state should feel good about who's on the panel."

During the show, O'Reilly also falsely claimed that "since Election Day, Coleman didn't get -- they didn't find one vote for Coleman." In fact, while Franken has netted more votes during the statewide audit of unofficial election returns, election officials reportedly have tallied additional votes for Coleman during the certification process as well. O'Reilly also repeated the discredited suggestion that election officials may have tampered with votes in an effort to benefit Franken by mishandling 32 absentee ballots from Minneapolis.

Previewing an upcoming discussion with Fox News analyst Laura Ingraham, O'Reilly claimed, "The man in charge of the vote count in Minnesota is actively rooting for Al Franken." During the subsequent discussion, O'Reilly claimed, "[I]f the fix is in -- and you just heard the secretary of state -- the fix is in. What does Coleman do?" However, at no point during the discussion did O'Reilly or Ingraham point out that the five-member canvassing board includes two judges appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court by Pawlenty, or that during the November 12 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Pawlenty said, "Those folks were named today. The four judges that were named -- two of them I appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Two others have good reputations in Minnesota, so I think it's gonna be a fair system." Moreover, the Associated Press reported on November 13 that "Fritz Knaak, Coleman's lead lawyer, said he was comfortable with the board's makeup. 'The people of this state should feel good about who's on the panel,' he said."

During the discussion, O'Reilly further claimed of Ritchie, "[T]his guy is the secretary of state. He's in charge of overseeing this thing, and now we've been investigating it. Do you realize that since Election Day -- do you know, that since Election Day, Coleman didn't get -- they didn't find one vote for Coleman. He lost 47 or 67 votes." He later asked Ingraham, "You're not finding any votes for the Republican guy? None?" Ingraham responded, "No, of course not." But while the statewide audit of unofficial election results has resulted in a net narrowing of Coleman's lead, a November 11 Minneapolis Star Tribune article reported that Coleman has received additional votes in some counties as a result of the audit:

Monday was the deadline for counties to certify their results. Depending on the unknown number that may not have yet reported them to the state, that 206 figure could still change before the state Canvassing Board meets next week to certify the official total. Only then will the recount begin.

Officials with Hennepin County forwarded their tally Monday to the secretary of state's office, showing that, since initial results Wednesday, Franken's total had increased by 55 votes and Coleman's by 27 in the state's largest county.

Adjustments in the vote tallies because of misplaced figures and other errors have been limited to 22 of the state's 87 counties, according to an analysis of the fluctuations from Wednesday to Monday.

Since the preliminary Election Day numbers, Franken's biggest gains were in Lake County, where he added 246 votes, and in Pine and St. Louis counties, where he picked up 100 in each.

Coleman's biggest gain was in Ramsey County, 29 votes, but that was more than canceled out by an additional 41 votes there for Franken. Coleman's biggest drop was 124 votes in Anoka County, where Franken also lost 90 votes.

Moreover, O'Reilly claimed that "they're finding votes all over the place -- in the trunks of cars, you know, up in the tree" for Franken, forwarding the discredited rumor that 32 absentee ballots from Minneapolis were mishandled. As Media Matters for America has documented, on November 8 Knaak reportedly said, "We were actually told ballots had been riding around in [Minneapolis director of elections Cindy Reichert's] car for several days, which raised all kinds of integrity questions." However, Knaak reportedly said later on November 8 that he was assured the ballots weren't tampered with, and also reportedly said on November 10 that "[i]t does not appear that there was any ballot-tampering, and that was our concern." Further, Hennepin County officials have repeatedly said the ballots were sealed and held in a secure location, and Reichert has reportedly said that the claim that the ballots were in her car was false, as was the claim that the ballots sat in a car for days.

From the November 13 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

[begin video clip]

CONTESSA BREWER (MSNBC anchor): Do you understand why the Coleman campaign is now questioning the integrity of the vote counting?

RITCHIE: That's part of their job of trying to win at any price.

[end video clip]

O'REILLY: The man in charge of the vote count in Minnesota is actively rooting for Al Franken, and now there are charges of election fraud. Laura Ingraham will analyze.

[...]

O'REILLY: Next on the rundown, Laura Ingraham will react to our discussion and also analyze possible voter fraud in the intense Minnesota Senate race.

[...]

O'REILLY: But this guy is the secretary of state. He's in charge of overseeing this thing, and now we've been investigating it. Do you realize that since Election Day -- do you know, that since Election Day, Coleman didn't get -- they didn't find one vote for Coleman. He lost 47 or 67 votes. The other guy, Franken, they're finding votes all over the place -- in the trunks of cars --

INGRAHAM: Well, you know --

O'REILLY: -- you know, up in the tree. You know, and, I mean, everybody's watching this, so I don't know, can you -- do you think they can get away with it?

INGRAHAM: This is vote counting by David Copperfield. I mean, this is like a David Blaine illusionist finding votes everywhere.

Look, this is my rule of thumb, Bill. Anytime a Republican in a race like this is only winning by, let's say, a thousand votes or less, then you can bet that that Republican's going to end up losing that seat. It just always seems to work out this way, that -- that the election officials in the state where there's, you know, some type of dispute, always get into this kind of gray area, and -- and we find now that these votes -- these 504 votes -- came from three precincts -- just three precincts out of the whole state. That's staggering.

And as John Lott pointed out, Bill, in a great column he wrote that was in today's New York Post, the -- the numbers of votes they found -- found for -- for Cole -- for Franken, excuse me, since Election Day outpace the number they found for Obama by 2.5, OK? Two-point-nine times as many votes were found for all Democratic officials statewide.

O'REILLY: Well, but -- but here's the deal. Here's the deal.

INGRAHAM: Something doesn't add up there. It's very strange.

O'REILLY: Everything doesn't add up, not something. Everything doesn't add up. You're not finding any votes for the Republican guy? None?

INGRAHAM: No, of course not.

O'REILLY: You're taking votes away from the guy? And then, all of a sudden, as you pointed out, three -- and what are there, a thousand precincts? More than a thousand. Three, all right, heavily Democratic, they're kicking votes in like this. But here's the deal. If Franken gets in, that puts the Democrats over the 60 magic number. So, that -- that means it's every American, because this is a far-left loon we're looking at right here -- not Bill Clinton, Al Franken. He's a loon, OK? So, if he gets in, every American, every single person in this country is gonna be impacted. And I just -- see, I don't know what you do here.

If -- if the fix is in -- and you just heard the secretary of state -- the fix is in. What does Coleman do? Does he take it to the federal level? What does he do?

From the November 12 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

SEAN HANNITY (co-host): All right. Now, now -- but we have a problem with the secretary of state, Mark Ritchie, do we not? He's a liberal partisan secretary of state. When you look through his record, he has ties to this controversial group we discuss a lot, ACORN. He attended the 2008 Democratic Convention.

How much faith and hope and confidence do you have in Ritchie, considering his radical relationships and partisanship -- even connected to MoveOn.org?

PAWLENTY: Well, all secretary of states are elected, and they have partisan backgrounds of one party or the other. In this case, the final decisions are made by a canvassing board of five people. It consists of the secretary of state plus four judges.

Those folks were named today. The four judges that were named -- two of them I appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

HANNITY: All right.

PAWLENTY: Two others have good reputations in Minnesota, so I think it's gonna be a fair system.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Bill O'Reilly
Show/Publication
The O'Reilly Factor
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