On Special Report, Juan Williams cited Sen. John McCain's record on immigration as evidence of a willingness to “work across party lines,” without noting that McCain has said he no longer supports his own bipartisan bill. Williams then claimed that Sen. Barack Obama “doesn't have a record” of “working across party lines.” In fact, Obama has co-sponsored bills with Republican Sens. Tom Coburn and Richard Lugar that have been signed into law.
During the May 7 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, White House correspondent James Rosen aired a clip of Fox News analyst and NPR contributor Juan Williams claiming: “You think about everything from campaign finance to immigration and on, and there's John McCain, working across party lines.” Williams did not note that McCain now says that he would no longer support his own bill if it came up for a vote in the Senate. Additionally, McCain has reversed himself on the issue of border security; he now says that “we've got to secure the borders first” -- a position at odds with his prior assertion that border security could not be disaggregated from other aspects of comprehensive immigration reform without being rendered ineffective.
Williams also said: “Senator Obama doesn't have a record. Now, he can make the claim and he can hold himself up as pure and trying to reach to a new generation of post-partisan politics, but he has to do so largely based on rhetoric and wishful thinking because he doesn't have the record.” Similarly, during the May 7 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News analyst Karl Rove stated of Obama: “His campaign is built on two foundations: that he will be a bipartisan, post-partisan president who will bring Republicans and Democrats together. There is, however, no evidence that he has done this in the Senate.” But neither Williams nor Rove noted that, as Media Matters for America has documented, Obama was a key co-sponsor of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S.2590) with the bill's primary sponsor, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn (OK). In a press release upon Senate passage of the bill, Coburn himself referred to the legislation as the “Coburn-Obama Bill.” Obama also worked with Republican Sen. Richard Lugar (IN) to produce the “Lugar-Obama proliferation and threat reduction initiative,” which President Bush signed into law on January 11, 2007, and which received funding on June 28 of that year. The initiative, according to Obama's Senate website, “expands U.S. cooperation to destroy conventional weapons. It also expands the State Department's ability to detect and interdict weapons and materials of mass destruction.”
Moreover, during the Special Report segment, Rosen referred to McCain as “the maverick senator.” Media Matters has documented numerous others in the broadcast and print media using the term “maverick” when discussing McCain despite his growing list of falsehoods and his rightward shift on immigration as well as on taxes and the religious right.
From the May 7 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:
ROSEN: Where during the Republican primaries the maverick senator courted the GOP base and made scant mention of his alliances with liberal Democrats, McCain now has his eye on the fall and capturing blue-collar Democrats and other swing voters, and is accordingly playing up his ability to unite Americans. This shift came just hours after Senator Barack Obama, also with his eye on the fall campaign, cast McCain without naming him explicitly as a mean-spirited divider.
OBAMA: Yes, we know what's coming. I'm not naive. [video break] The attempts to play on our fears and exploit our differences, to turn us against each other for political gain, to slice and dice this country into red states and blue states.
ROSEN: The McCain campaign responded last night with a spokesman statement saying, quote, “With no record of bipartisan success, how is Barack Obama going to deliver the meaningful change America needs?” If the fall race shapes up as a battle for the mantle of bi- or post-partisanship, analysts suggest the two candidates will resort to familiar and competing themes, touting experience versus freshness.
WILLIAMS: You think about everything from campaign finance to immigration and on, and there's John McCain, working across party lines. Senator Obama doesn't have a record. Now, he can make the claim and he can hold himself up as pure and trying to reach to a new generation of post-partisan politics, but he has to do so largely based on rhetoric and wishful thinking because he doesn't have the record.
[end video clip]
ROSEN: The Democrats may be right to worry about McCain's crossover appeal. His campaign cited polling data today showing that at this stage of the race four years ago, President Bush was pulling away only 9 percent of Democrats, but that if McCain's opponent is Obama, that Democratic defection rate doubles to 18 percent. In Washington, James Rosen, Fox News.
From the May 7 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
BILL O'REILLY (host): OK, so we go forward now. And Barack Obama then becomes the nominee sometime after June 3. They have a big conclave, and then they both come out and say for the good of the party, this is what's going to happen. So then you have two months -- let's see, July, August -- almost three months before the conventions. What should Barack Obama then do? I mean, he's got to take a vacation. The guy's, like, shell-shocked here.
ROVE: Sure. Yeah, he's got to recharge personally. That's an important part of this.
O'REILLY: Right. And then what?
ROVE: I think there are two things that he needs to do, and he may want to think about starting to do them sooner rather than later. First is, he needs to add substance to his arguments. His campaign is built on two foundations: that he will be a bipartisan, post-partisan president who will bring Republicans and Democrats together. There is, however, no evidence that he has done this in the Senate. So, if I were him, I'd be finding something in the Senate that -- where he could work with Republicans and say, “This is an example of how I'm going to do it.” He ought to be talking about how he's going to bring Republicans into his administration and appoint them to the Cabinet, and hopefully get one or two prominent Republicans to say they would serve in the administration.
O'REILLY: He could probably get Colin Powell to do that.
ROVE: I don't know if he could or not. Colin's a -- Secretary Powell is a very cautious person.