On July 15, co-hosts of FOX News Channel morning show FOX & Friends Steve Doocy, E.D. Hill, and Brian Kilmeade repeatedly ridiculed and distorted remarks made on the campaign trail by Senator John Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry.
First, the co-hosts addressed Heinz Kerry's remarks at a recent fund-raising concert in Boston, which were reported by ABC News Political Unit's morning news summary, The Note and in a July 15 New York Times article by Jodi Wilgoren.
From the July 15 edition of FOX News Channel's FOX & Friends:
KILMEADE: But Teresa, Teresa Kerry, is also a critic of the president, saying she wouldn't have gone to war the way the president had gone to war and also said that John Edwards is very beautiful and John Kerry, her husband, is very smart. Thanks. What is that? Oh my goodness. That's the -- that's the person introducing me? -- he, he's not a funny Irishman. He's not very good looking, he's smart. There hasn't been a good series of introductions for this family. Am I the only one embarrassed here?
HILL: You keep on mentioning though --
KILMEADE: I'm worried about these two.
According to The Note, following Heinz Kerry's remarks, “A relaxed and seemingly at ease candidate [Kerry] riffed, 'I don't know what to think. The other night in New York, Teresa saw Paul Newman and turned to me and said, 'I don't care what anybody says, he's the sexiest man alive.' And, tonight, she's calling John Edwards beautiful. I'm in trouble.'”
Following in the footsteps of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, The Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal.com editor James Taranto, and Lucianne Goldberg's right-wing website Lucianne.com, FOX & Friends continued by distorting Heinz Kerry's June 29 comments expressing grief over the loss of her first husband, Senator John Heinz (R-PA):
HILL: Because you were saying that when she was introducing him at some other point, she continued to talk about her deceased husband, who really -- he was a terrific guy. But you said that's an odd way to introduce your current husband.
KILMEADE: [Imitating Heinz Kerry] Meet my second choice.
On June 30, the Associated Press reported, "'It was a very sad day when that happened,' Heinz Kerry said, speaking of Sen. John Heinz, heir to the Heinz food fortune, who was killed in a 1991 plane crash. 'I'd rather have my husband alive than that money.'"
Next, the FOX & Friends co-hosts repeated -- for at least the third time -- the Republican talking point that Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was Kerry's first choice for vice-presidential running mate:
DOOCY: You know --
HILL: That [ “second choice” ] could be a theme.
KILMEADE: I don't think so. But you never know.
HILL: Because people are saying that McCain was -- if you were going to go that route. She's a smart lady though. She is smart.
On the morning that Senator Kerry announced his choice of Senator John Edwards (D-NC) as his vice-presidential running mate, the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign unveiled a new ad, “First Choice” which, according to a Bush-Cheney '04 campaign press release, “features John Kerry's first choice for a vice presidential running mate, United States Senator John McCain.” On July 6 and July 7, Media Matters for America noted that the conservative media -- including FOX & Friends -- were echoing the GOP talking point that McCain was Kerry's “first choice.” As Media Matters for America has noted, McCain himself stated on the July 7 broadcast of FOX News Radio's Tony Snow Show that Kerry “never offered” him the vice presidency.
Finally, the FOX & Friends co-hosts distorted Heinz Kerry's comments to a group of preschoolers, characterizing her remarks as “bizarre” :
DOOCY: She is smart, because when asked by 60 Minutes II, when asked what she would like to do if her husband is elected -- you know what she said -- she'd like to be the White House dog.
BRIAN: I don't understand that.
KILMEADE: She said I would like to be the dog.
DOOCY: I would like to be the dog.
KILMEADE: It's a bizarre answer.
DOOCY: And I believe there was some growling.
KILMEADE: It was a bizarre interview.
Heinz Kerry, while visiting with a group of preschoolers, said, “I'd like to be a dog. Wouldn't you like to be a dog? Do you know why? Wouldn't you like to be a dog? I would. Dogs are friendly.” CBS news correspondent Byron Pitts played a video clip of Heinz Kerry's remarks to the schoolchildren on CBS Evening News on June 15 to illustrate his characterization of her as “reachable.”
During a January 25 60 Minutes interview on CBS, when asked what her role would be as first lady, Heinz Kerry responded, “Keeping him honest, strong, up, when they knock him, and real humble when they praise him too much. And you know Washington. They always do that. You know, you're either a devil or you're a saint, and we -- none of us are either, or most of us are not.”