On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity twice called Sen. Barack Obama the "No. 1 radical liberal in the Senate," failing to note that the National Journal vote ranking to which he was referring -- which said nothing about Obama being "radical" -- was based on a subjective selection of Senate votes by the magazine's staff, or that a more comprehensive examination of Senate votes produced a different result.
On the June 12 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity said: "[H]ere we've got Barack Obama; No. 1 radical liberal in the Senate." Hannity later added, "No. 1 radical liberal in the Senate. Wants a trillion dollars in new spending. You know, raise taxes everywhere." Hannity previously cited the National Journal for the claim that Obama is "the number one liberal ... in the United States." However, Hannity did not note that the National Journal ranking was based on 99 votes selected by the magazine's staff -- a subjective process that Obama himself criticized. By contrast, a separate study by political science professors Keith Poole and Jeff Lewis that was based on all 388 non-unanimous Senate votes during 2007 produced a different result, ranking Obama as tied for the 10th most liberal senator. In that same study, McCain was ranked the eighth most conservative senator in 2007. Additionally, the National Journal's 2007 vote ratings said nothing about Obama being "radical."
As Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented (here, here, here, here, here, and here), among the votes Obama cast that contributed to National Journal's "most liberal senator" label were those to implement the 9-11 Commission's homeland security recommendations, provide more children with health insurance, expand federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, and maintain a federal minimum wage. Obama himself, when asked by Politico editor-in-chief John F. Harris about the National Journal's 2007 vote ratings during a February 11 Politico/WJLA-TV interview, criticized the National Journal's methodology by noting that it considered "liberal" his vote for "an office of public integrity that stood outside of the Senate, and outside of Congress, to make sure that you've got an impartial eye on ethics problems inside of Congress."
Media Matters has also noted that the National Journal admitted to having used flawed methodology in the publication's previous rating of then-Democratic presidential front-runner Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) as the "most liberal senator" in 2003.
Further, despite referencing the National Journal ratings during a discussion with Carly Fiorina, senior adviser to Sen. John McCain, Hannity did not note that McCain himself "did not vote frequently enough" to receive a rating, according to the National Journal.
Additionally, contrary to Hannity's assertion that Obama wants to "raise taxes everywhere," Obama has, in fact, pledged to establish a tax credit of up to $1,000 for families, offsetting payroll taxes, and to roll back the Bush administration's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
From the June 12 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY: Hey, Carly, it's Sean Hannity. Nice to have you on the program.
FIORINA: Hi, Sean. How you doing?
HANNITY: I read about you all the time. So it's nice to finally meet you. Welcome to the program. We're glad you could be with us.
FIORINA: Nice to finally meet you, too.
HANNITY: You know, I've got to tell you, you know, Alan -- here we've got Barack Obama, No. 1 radical liberal in the Senate.
COLMES: He's not radical.
HANNITY: Do you mind?
COLMES: Yes. Yes, I do.
HANNITY: No. 1 radical liberal in the Senate. Wants a trillion dollars in new spending. You know, raise taxes everywhere. And -- and I'll be honest. As a Reagan conservative, I've been frustrated at what he mentioned earlier: McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, and McCain-Lieberman. So he -- this is -- this certainly shows a big distinction between the two candidates, doesn't it?