While discussing state Sen. Robert Ford's racially charged comments about why he is supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination over Sen. Barack Obama, Fox News' Carl Cameron attributed Ford's comments to the "Clinton campaign." But Cameron did not present, nor could Media Matters for America find, any evidence showing that Ford is either a paid consultant or a staff member of Clinton's presidential campaign, and Clinton's campaign has disavowed Ford's comments.
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On the February 21 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron claimed that "the Clinton campaign" raised questions about Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), including "whether or not the Democratic Party will accept an African-American nominee." Cameron was referring to a statement by Democratic South Carolina state Sen. Robert Ford (an African-American), who recently stated that he is supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) bid for the Democratic presidential nomination over Obama, because "[e]very Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose because [Obama's] black and he's top of the ticket. We'd lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything." But, contrary to Cameron's suggestion that Ford is a member of the "Clinton campaign," Cameron did not present, nor could Media Matters for America find, any evidence showing that Ford is either a paid consultant or a staff member of Clinton's presidential campaign. Further, Cameron made his comments despite the fact that, earlier in the segment, National Public Radio senior correspondent and Fox News contributor Juan Williams had noted that the Clinton campaign disavowed Ford's comments.
On February 14, the Associated Press reported that Ford said: "It's a slim possibility for him [Obama] to get the nomination, but then everybody else is doomed. ... Every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose because he's black and he's top of the ticket. We'd lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything." Ford reportedly went on to say: "I'm a gambling man. I love Obama. ... But I'm not going to kill myself."
The AP further reported that Ford later apologized: "If I caused anybody -- including myself -- any pain about the comments I made earlier, then I want to apologize to myself and to Senator Obama and any of his supporters." The AP added that the Clinton campaign "said it welcomed the lawmakers' support, but disagreed with Ford's contention that Obama could harm a Democratic ticket. 'I think it's just flat-out wrong,' said spokesman Mo Elleithee."
From the February 21 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY: I want to go exactly to what this supporter of Hillary said and what Obama's press release addressed, because it said that he would drag down the rest of the entire Democratic Party because he's black.
I think the Obama camp has a pretty good point here, and that is: Why is Hillary accepting the support of a guy that would say something like that?
WILLIAMS: Well, now, in all fairness to Hillary Clinton's campaign, they came out and said that those were terrible, reprehensible comments, but they didn't cut ties with them.
WILLIAMS: And I think it's a little extreme to think that they were going to cut ties with guys who have a track record. Those are people who delivered. Remember, John Edwards won in South Carolina in 2004, and they were his big supporters.
HANNITY: But that's insulting. Carl Cameron -- and add this to the other controversy where Hillary Clinton paid a consulting fee of what will amount to $10,000 a month, about a total of $210,000, for critical support of an African-American leader [state Sen. Darrell Jackson (D)] in South Carolina.
CAMERON: And a state lawmaker.
HANNITY: State lawmaker.
CAMERON: It's not uncommon for -- yeah, it's not uncommon for consultants to get, you know -- for people to get paid for helping out a campaign. It is uncommon for that consultant also --
HANNITY: Six days after the contract, though.
CAMERON: -- to be an elected political official. Sure. But the other thing about this is -- and we shouldn't forget it -- when the Clinton campaign raises questions about Barack Obama's ability to win over black votes, and whether or not the Democratic Party will accept an African-American nominee, it kind of overlooks one of the big liabilities of Hillary Clinton, particularly in the South.
And that is: There are an awful lot of white voters -- Democrats -- who say if Hillary is the nominee, they'll lose the South. So, it tends to sort of benefit Hillary, because it focuses on Barack Obama's problems with the African-American vote and completely ignores the fact that Hillary has a problem with the white vote in the South.