On Hannity's America, Sean Hannity asserted that “the word 'president-elect' was mentioned ... 44 times” in the criminal complaint against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, which, Hannity said, “is a pretty high, high number.” Hannity had previously described the number of mentions of the word “president-elect” in the complaint as “pretty troubling.” In fact, with one exception, none of the 44 instances in which “president-elect” was used in the complaint actually mentioned any alleged conduct or statement by President-elect Barack Obama, much less any conduct or statement amounting to wrongdoing. The one exception was an allegation that Blagojevich complained that Obama would not give him anything other than “appreciation.”
On the December 14 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America, discussing prosecutor and U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's December 9 press conference on the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), host Sean Hannity stated that “what [Fitzgerald] said was, 'There's no allegation in the complaint that the president-elect was aware,' ” adding, “I found that as sort of almost like a parsing of words.” As evidence, Hannity asserted that “the word 'president-elect' was mentioned -- what -- I think some 44 times” in the criminal complaint against Blagojevich, and said that “is a pretty high, high number.” His comments followed an assertion he made on the December 9 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, that “the word 'president-elect' is mentioned 44 times in the document. Pretty troubling.”
In fact, with one exception, none of the 44 instances in which “president-elect” was used in the complaint actually mentions any alleged conduct or statement by President-elect Barack Obama, much less any conduct or statement amounting to wrongdoing. The one exception consisted of an allegation that Blagojevich complained that Obama would not give him anything other than “appreciation.” In every other instance, the complaint mentioned “president-elect” in the context of Blagojevich's alleged desires, expectations, or plans for extracting favors in return for the Senate seat; in the context of the president-elect's victory having created an open Senate seat; or in the context of, as in one mention, “media reports indicat[ing] that Senate Candidate 1, an advisor to the President-elect, was interested in the Senate seat if it became vacant, and was likely to be supported by the President-elect.”
From the December 14 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America:
HANNITY: Well, Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney -- and I read a story about him, that when he's involved in a case, this guy won't take a break, won't even take a day off until the case is finished. So he's fairly relentless as he goes forward here. Now, I watched his statement the other day very, very closely when this all came out, and what he said was, “There's no allegation in the complaint that the president-elect was aware.”
I found that as sort of almost like a parsing of words, because the word “president-elect” was mentioned -- what -- I think some 44 times, Karl, which I think is a pretty high, high number. You've got to think there's going to be some problems in terms of the time, the energy, the resources, and attention given to this. Do you think it'll be a distraction?
ROVE: Well, it'll certainly be a distraction. It's not -- you don't want an old political ally, whose campaign you were involved in and who was involved in your campaign, to be going through this kind of stuff as you yourself are getting ready to become president. But I -- look, I don't think -- I respectfully disagree. I think Fitzgerald -- and I've had a little personal experience with the man -- is relentless, but I think he was very precise and deliberate in what he said. And what I read from him was, was that this was Blagojevich talking to other people, but not Obama. That Obama was not part and parcel of these things --
ROVE: -- and I think that's probably accurate. But it's nonetheless a reminder of the roots of our president-elect. And look, right now we've got William Jefferson, the congressman, the nine-term Democrat congressman from Louisiana, defeated a week ago in the Louisiana special runoffs. We've got Blagojevich being, you know, dragged out of his house and sent to -- and charged. We've got [Rep.] Charlie Rangel [D-NY] with deepening difficulties in the ethics committee. What happened to this new tone that we were going to have from the --
ROVE: -- Democrats of a new, fresh kind of clean politics?
NOTE: This item has been revised from the original.