Following Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA)'s September 27 speech criticizing President George W. Bush's policies in Iraq for "not ma[king] America safer," conservative pundits almost immediately began to distort the Massachusetts senator's words and smear him.
On the September 27 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity labeled Kennedy's speech "insane." He falsely claimed that Kennedy "call[ed] the soldiers failures" and said the senator placed himself amongst "those of us who would like to cut and run [in Iraq]." Earlier that day, on ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, Hannity said Kennedy's speech worked to "undermine the war effort, undermine our soldiers on the battlefield"; he also erroneously claimed that Kennedy "believes the U.S. military is an impediment to world peace."
Here is what Kennedy actually said at The George Washington University:
KENNEDY: No issue is more important today. The battle against terrorism is a battle we must win. Even those who opposed the war in Iraq understand that we cannot cut and run, that this is an American issue. But to remain silent in the face of mounting failures by this president and this White House is to weaken our security even further, and we cannot let that happen.
KENNEDY: Our soldiers were not adequately trained for the missions thrust upon them. Month after month, our courageous troops could not get even enough armored vests of their own or enough armor for their humvees to protect themselves on patrol.
Hannity was not the only pundit to smear Kennedy on the day of his George Washington University speech.
Michael Savage, on his nationally syndicated radio show, Savage Nation, declared: "Kennedy may as well be Osama bin Laden's p.r. [public relations] man." He later said: "[I]t's one thing to disagree with Bush; it's one thing to disagree with the war; it's one thing to say we shouldn't be there, but to go to the other side, as Kennedy has done, is astonishing."
Tucker Carlson, co-hosting CNN's Crossfire, dismissed Kennedy as "discredited" and a "screamer."