Hannity misquoted Obama to falsely accuse him of breaking promise

››› ››› HANNAH DREIER

On his Fox News program, Sean Hannity misquoted President Obama in falsely claiming that Obama, "in the [presidential] debate with [Sen.] John McCain, said, 'I'm going to go line by line. I'm going to eliminate all the earmarks.' " In fact, during the second presidential debate, Obama said that he wanted "to go line by line through every item in the federal budget and eliminate programs that don't work and make sure that those that do work, work better and cheaper." Indeed, during his presidential campaign, Obama actually promised to reform the earmark process and cut wasteful spending, not eliminate earmarks altogether.

On the March 11 edition of his Fox News program, Sean Hannity misquoted President Obama in falsely claiming that Obama "promised the American people" to "eliminate all earmarks." Hannity claimed that "in the debate with [Sen.] John McCain, [Obama] said, 'I'm going to go line by line. I'm going to eliminate all the earmarks.' " Hannity went on to say that Obama "had a golden opportunity to stand up to his party and say, 'I'm a man of my word, I promised the American people, and I'm going to keep it.' " He added, "If you say, 'I'm going to go line by line, I'm gonna eliminate bad programs, I'm gonna eliminate all earmarks,' that seems to me like a broken promise." In fact, during the second presidential debate, Obama said that he wanted "to go line by line through every item in the federal budget and eliminate programs that don't work and make sure that those that do work, work better and cheaper," not that he wanted to "eliminate all earmarks" [emphasis added]. Indeed, as PolitiFact.com and Media Matters for America have noted, during his presidential campaign, Obama actually promised to reform the earmark process and cut wasteful spending.

Later in the program, Hannity said: "[I]s it petty if Barack Obama says, 'I am going to go line by line and eliminate earmarks,' and the first bill he signs -- 50 days into his administration -- he signs a bill with 9,000 earmarks? That's a broken pledge."

As Media Matters documented, on his March 6 Fox News show, Hannity made the false claim that Obama made a "campaign promise" to allow "no earmarks." Hannity then aired a clip of Obama stating his desire to "ban all earmarks" from the economic recovery package, falsely suggesting that Obama was referring to banning all earmarks in general. Numerous other media figures have similarly misrepresented Obama's statements regarding earmarks to accuse Obama of breaking a promise.

From the March 11 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

ALEXIS GLICK (Fox Business News anchor): The president doesn't have a leg to stand on on this. This is why he stood behind closed door and signed off on it. Because you cannot stand there and say that corporations cannot go out and have conferences with their executives or fly on corporate jets or do all these things if you're not going to live up yourself and say to both Republicans and Democrats, "No pork allowed." I'm tired of hearing, "Well, it was the last administration's bill, and therefore we're just going to let this one pass through, and then we're gonna change the rules."

HANNITY: All right. You know what? I'm now getting to the point -- I'm going to have to give you a pass. Because that is very well said, and I am in full and complete agreement --

GLICK: [unintelligible] working on me.

HANNITY: -- with Alexis Glick. All right. But Barack Obama, in the debate with John McCain, said, "I'm going to go line by line. I'm going to eliminate all the earmarks." Now, I think politically speaking, Barack Obama had a golden opportunity to stand up to his party and say, "I'm a man of my word, I promised the American people, and I'm going to keep it." He didn't do that. Was that a big mistake?

BIANNA GOLODRYGA (financial correspondent for ABC's Good Morning America): Well, let me tell you. The people I talk to on Wall Street, of course -- because, you know, Washington, D.C., has now become the financial capital of the world -- and they care about taxes, they care about regulation. That's what they're really focused on right now. And the people I talk to are actually kind of relieved that Obama did this because they want pragmatic leadership. They want a leader that can change if he needs to, and not this idealistic symbolism that he ran on, you know, last year in his campaign.

HANNITY: Pragmatic, but this isn't exactly symbolic. If you say, "I'm going to go line by line, I'm gonna eliminate bad programs, I'm gonna eliminate all earmarks," that seems to me like a broken promise.

[...]

KIRSTEN POWERS (columnist and Fox News political analyst): I think that the thing that people have the biggest problem with is the bickering over stupid things. So maybe it's if you are, in fact, bickering over whether to go to war, that's one thing. But I think when you start to get -- I think a lot of times --

HANNITY: Wait -- hey, let me just add one little point to this.

POWERS: -- people don't like to be hearing little things that seem petty or insider-y.

HANNITY: So, wait. But is it petty if Barack Obama says, "I am going to go line by line and eliminate earmarks," and the first bill he signs -- 50 days into his administration -- he signs a bill with 9,000 earmarks? That's a broken pledge. I doubt [former NBA player] Karl Malone's -- did you say your father or your grandfather?

MALONE: My grandfather [unintelligible].

HANNITY: I doubt his grandfather would have broken that promise.

Posted In
Economy, Budget
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity
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