Hannity repeats earmark falsehood to smear Obama

Sean Hannity and Karl Rove falsely claimed that President Obama made a campaign promise of “no earmarks.” In fact, Obama actually promised to reform the earmark process and cut wasteful spending, not to end all earmarks.

On the July 1 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity again falsely claimed that Obama made a campaign promise of “no earmarks.” Fox News contributor Karl Rove responded: “And, again, he broke that one.” In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, during his presidential campaign, Obama actually promised to reform the earmark process and cut wasteful spending, not to end all earmarks.

Hannity has repeatedly made the false claim that Obama promised to ban all earmarks. On March 6, for instance, Hannity aired a clip of Obama stating, “We are going to ban all earmarks, the process by which individual members insert pet projects without review.” However, in those comments, which were taken from a January 6 media availability -- not during the presidential campaign, as Hannity suggested -- Obama was actually referring to his desire to “ban all earmarks” from his “recovery and reinvestment plan,” which he specifically distinguished from “the overall budget process.”

Numerous other media figures have also misrepresented Obama's statements regarding earmarks to accuse Obama of breaking a promise.

From the July 1 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

ROVE: How many times have we in the, like, last couple of months, have we seen him break these solemn promises that he made in the campaign? Now some of the promises I'm glad he broke. You know, I'm -- you know, his thing about “I'm not going to hold terrorists indefinitely in Gitmo.”

Well, he broke that just literally last Friday by having an executive order that said he would hold them indefinitely. But we're going to see on a whole wide range of fronts that he's going to break his promises. Remember, he had --

HANNITY: All right. But let's go through this. He said he wouldn't --

ROVE: Yeah.

HANNITY: He said he wouldn't Mirandize. He's doing it. The one you just mentioned.

ROVE: Doing it.

HANNITY: He said no lobbyists in my administration. He broke that early.

ROVE: Lobbyists in the administration.

HANNITY: He said no earmarks, right? That was another one of his.

ROVE: And, again, he broke that one.

HANNITY: All right. So, well, these seem like major promises. What does that tell us about him? Is he dishonest?

ROVE: Well, look, he's a cold, calculating, ambitious politician who feels very comfortable saying one thing in the campaign and doing something entirely different. Whatever was necessary in order to get elected he was willing to say it.

-- L.Y.