During the October 9 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy asked Republican pollster Frank Luntz: “What do you think of [Democratic presidential candidate] John Edwards -- the guy with the $400 haircut -- yesterday, saying, 'Hey, don't be so fast to pick [Sen.] Hillary [Rodham Clinton (D-NY)]. Remember [former Vermont Gov.] Howard Dean [D].' ” As Luntz responded, "[Y]es, remember how Howard Dean went up, and remember how Howard Dean came down," Fox News aired an audio clip of Dean's exclamation during his 2004 concession speech after the Iowa Democratic presidential primary. After Doocy replied, “That's like a cackle,” Fox News aired part of an audio clip of Clinton laughing during a September 23 interview on Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday.
As Media Matters for America documented, following Clinton's appearance on all five Sunday political talk shows on September 23, the Republican National Committee highlighted audio and video clips of Clinton's laughter. Since then, there has been intense media coverage of Clinton's laugh, with some media figures characterizing it as a “cackle.”
From the October 9 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
DOOCY: We talked about this yesterday, a heated exchange with an Iowa voter who now says she won't vote on, for, him, her, based on that exchange. How does she look? Look who is here, national pollster and author of Words That Work, Frank Luntz. Good morning to you, Frank.
LUNTZ: Good morning. How are you?
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Is that a big deal?
DOOCY: Why not?
LUNTZ: It really isn't, because any other person who had that kind of exchange, it wouldn't even have made it on air. With her, every potential misstep gets brought into the discussion.
It's far more dangerous for her -- this so-called cackle is a much greater threat for her, because it shows that someone is rehearsed, that she is fake.
DOOCY: You're talking about that laugh she used with Chris Wallace. I don't know if we have it, but this would be a good place to play it.
[audio clip of Clinton laughing]
DOOCY: That one? That cackle?
LUNTZ: Yeah. I can't do it. I mean, I can't laugh like that.
KILMEADE: [CBS Face the Nation host] Bob Schieffer, she did it with everyone.
KILMEADE: It seemed.
KILMEADE: You know what is so strange about it? It just didn't seem to fit, Frank. It just didn't seem -- not that it seemed as fake, for me anyway. It didn't seem like it was a fake laugh, it just seemed inappropriate. And what's funny about those situations which she was laughing at?
LUNTZ: Someone taught her, or told her, that you laugh that way and that diffuses the question and also gives her a moment to respond. It makes her look human. Here is the problem, when you do it every single time at every tough question.
LUNTZ: She has Dan Quayled herself. She is now in danger of being the focus of ridicule by late-night comedians and every time she laughs, people will remember --
LUNTZ: -- when she did it last time. It's too rehearsed. It's not fake. This kind of exchange she had with that voter, candidates have that all the time. It's no big deal.
DOOCY: OK, well, speaking of fodder for the late-night comics, look at Sandy Berger. Apparently he's one of her unofficial advisers. We were talking about this yesterday when the news broke. It seems extraordinary that she would have an unofficial adviser on the team, a guy who admits, “Yeah I took all that secret stuff, and I threw it away.”
LUNTZ: But how great is that? She now has an official shredder. Anything that she doesn't want, “Sandy. Psst. Come on over here.”
KILMEADE: It does show bad judgment. And if you are Edwards and [Sen. Barack] Obama [D-IL], you welcome this? What do you do with this?
LUNTZ: Actually, if I'm one of them, I wouldn't say anything because Berger is a very smart man. He does know his stuff. He knows history. He knows geopolitics. He knows global affairs. He behaved in a bad way, but in terms of intellect, I don't think she made the wrong decision by going to him. I think that she made the wrong decision by allowing it to get out.
DOOCY: What do you think of John Edwards -- the guy with the $400 haircut -- yesterday, saying, “Hey don't be so fast to pick Hillary. Remember Howard Dean.”
LUNTZ: Well, Howard Dean -- yes, remember how Howard Dean went up, and remember how Howard Dean came down.
DEAN [audio clip]: Yeaaaahh!
LUNTZ: The issue for Edwards --
DOOCY: That's like a cackle.
CLINTON [audio clip]: (laughing)
LUNTZ: Wow, you have a very -- you know, you're supposed to stop drinking by the time you get on the show in the morning.
KILMEADE: Frank is actually -- you're a little thrown by this.
LUNTZ: Yeah, I'm surprised.