New Fox-fueled Morris ad to push Matheson "bribe" smear

Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

According to a March 17 press release, the League of American Voters will begin smearing President Obama and Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) for the purportedly "suspicious timing" of Obama "hiring Matheson's brother as a federal judge. Some people might call that a bribe, Congressman."

The attack ad is being helped by incessant promotions by Fox News "political analyst" Dick Morris, who has appeared on Fox Business and the Fox News Channel numerous times in the past month imploring viewers to help get LAV ads on the air.

Morris is the chief strategist for LAV and crafts the group's ad campaigns. Earlier this month, an LAV ad reportedly was "revise[d]" after it contained incorrect facts. Not surprising, then, that LAV's latest smear is backed by no evidence. Rep. Matheson's office and the White House have called the smear "ridiculous" and "absurd," while Utah Republicans have denied there have been any "vote buying." Sen. Bob Bennett's (R-UT) spokeswoman, Tara DiJulio, released a statement saying, "Sen. Bennett has heard of all kinds of pressure being applied and offers being made to Democrats for votes on health care, but Scott Matheson's nomination is not one of those because it has been in the works for a long time."

Despite the bipartisan debunking, Morris and his Fox News colleagues have repeatedly pushed the smear. Factually-challenged Fox Business host Eric Bolling yesterday told Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN) that "it seems like these votes are being purchased. People visit the White House, the next day their brothers are offered judgeships." On March 11, Bolling said the White House "can offer big jobs, like they did with Rep. Matheson's brother, who got a big federal judgeship if his brother would just vote yes for health care." Fox & Friends, Stephen Hayes, Sean Hannity and Andrew Napolitano have also jumped on the bandwagon.

UPDATE: Michael W. McConnell, director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center and a former federal judge appointed by Bush, definitively debunks the smear in a letter to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Fox News Channel, Fox Business
Dick Morris, Eric Bolling
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