On the August 17 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity echoed three Republican talking points distorting Senator John Kerry's (D-MA) record on the war on terrorism. Hannity's most recent parroting comes despite his previous denial that he uses "any party talking points."
Hannity claimed that by voting for and then against the $87 billion appropriations bill to support U.S. troops in Iraq, Kerry showed that he "won't fund the people that he voted to send into war." He also erroneously asserted that Kerry claimed to be "the anti-war president" and mischaracterized the senator's call for a "more thoughtful and sensitive war on terror."
Hannity's accusation that Kerry "won't fund" the troops that "he voted to send into war" echoes a Bush-Cheney '04 talking point. In fact, Kerry voted against the $87 billion appropriations bill on October 17, 2003 -- the day after he clearly stated that his vote would not be a vote against funding American troops' efforts in Iraq, but instead would be a vote "to hold the president accountable and force him finally to develop a real plan that secures the safety of our troops and stabilizes Iraq." In addition, Daily Howler editor Bob Somerby has noted: "Six days after Kerry voted 'no' -- rejecting a form of the bill he disfavored -- [President George W.] Bush said he would veto the bill if it included provisions which he didn't like."
Hannity's false claim that Kerry described himself as "the anti-war president" echoed statements by RNC chairman Ed Gillespie, Vice President Dick Cheney, and President Bush, among others. It also echoed an RNC attack ad that attempted to back up the erroneous claim by using misleading editing to skew comments Kerry made during a January broadcast of MSNBC's Hardball. Hardball host Chris Matthews corrected the record on August 16, saying that Kerry -- responding to a question from Matthews -- had in fact said he considered himself an "anti-war candidate" only "in the sense" that he opposed the way the Bush administration "took us to war."
Finally, Hannity's verbal attack on Kerry's "sensitive" remark echoed Vice President Dick Cheney's ridicule of comments Kerry made in an August 5 speech. Hannity did not mention the fact that Bush, Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Attorney General John Ashcroft have all used the word "sensitive" to describe foreign policy on numerous occasions and in a variety of contexts -- including how the United States should fight the war on terrorism.