Robert Novak asserted that "[a] closed-door caucus of House Democrats" had "instructed Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call President Bush's bluff on extending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to continue eavesdropping on suspected foreign terrorists" and that "Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said there was no danger in letting the FISA legislation lapse temporarily." In fact, FISA did not lapse or expire; what expired was the Protect America Act (PAA), which amended FISA. Additionally, Novak falsely stated that "the Democratic leadership Wednesday brought up another bill simply extending FISA authority, this time for 21 days" and that most of the Democrats who voted against the bill "intuitively oppose any anti-terrorist proposal." In fact, the House voted on an extension to the PAA, not FISA, and most of the Democrats who voted against the extension have supported other bills to allow surveillance of suspected terrorists.
On The Situation Room, Dana Bash said that former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who is resigning, "presided over a politically polarizing era. He said that was his biggest regret." A November 16 Chicago Tribune article also reported that Hastert "bemoaned the 'pool of bitterness' he believes exists in the nation's capital and urged his colleagues to try and work together in civility after he is gone." But neither Bash nor the Tribune noted Hastert's own history of partisan attacks.
Echoing the false assertion in a Politico article that Democrats are "Zero for 40" on passing "bills limiting President Bush's war policy," CNN's Carol Costello reported, "Forty times Democrats have forced a vote to curtail the Iraq war and 40 times they've lost." In fact, in April, both the House and Senate passed war funding legislation that included a timetable for a U.S. troop withdrawal, which President Bush vetoed.
On The Situation Room, Tom Foreman reported, "From Iraq to domestic programs, Democrats face White House vetoes and little support from Republicans on Capitol Hill." Foreman then aired a clip of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying, "I know that Congress has low approval ratings. I don't approve of Congress because we haven't done anything." However, Foreman cut off the end of Pelosi's remarks, in which she made clear that she was referring only to Congress' not having done anything that brought an end to the Iraq war.
In a New York Daily News column, Michael Goodwin claimed that a Democratic amendment that "condemn[ed] all attacks on the honor, integrity, and patriotism of any individual who is serving or has served honorably in the United States Armed Forces, by any person or organization" was "almost identical" to an alternative Republican amendment "except that [the Democratic amendment] did not mention MoveOn." Though the Democratic amendment did not refer to MoveOn.org by name, it did specifically criticize MoveOn's ad about Gen. David Petraeus.
On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh asserted: "Three weeks ago, you had Jim Clyburn of the Congressional Black Caucus saying, 'You know, if this report is good, it presents problems for us,' meaning the Democrat [sic] Party." In fact, Clyburn did not say that good news from Iraq is bad news for Democrats in electoral terms, but rather that a recommendation from Gen. David Petraeus against withdrawal would impede Democrats' efforts to garner support in Congress for legislation to begin withdrawal. And while Limbaugh identified Clyburn merely as "of the Congressional Black Caucus," Clyburn is also House majority whip, the third-highest position in the House.