Hannity falsely claimed Clinton called herself the "JFK of 2008," baselessly blamed her for Giuliani YouTube video

››› ››› KATHLEEN HENEHAN

Sean Hannity falsely asserted that "Hillary Clinton is claiming she is the JFK of 2008," referring to a speech she gave in New Hampshire. Hannity and Dick Morris also suggested without evidence that Clinton's presidential campaign was behind the posting on YouTube of a 1989 video of Rudy Giuliani expressing support for Medicaid-funded abortions and revived the much-repeated falsehood that Clinton announced her allegiance to the New York Yankees only upon deciding to run for Senate.

On the March 12 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity falsely asserted that "Hillary Clinton is claiming she is the JFK of 2008," referring to a March 10 speech Sen. Clinton gave in New Hampshire. The segment on Clinton's remarks featured an on-screen graphic reading: "I'm JFK"; later, during an interview with Fox News political analyst Dick Morris, the following text appeared on screen: "Hillary Says She Is the JFK of 2008." As co-host Alan Colmes later said, "[S]he never said she was JFK. She was talking about breaking barriers much like JFK broke the Catholic barrier."

Later in the program, Hannity and Fox News political analyst Dick Morris revived the much-repeated falsehood that Clinton announced her allegiance to the New York Yankees only upon deciding to run for Senate. Hannity and Morris also suggested -- offering no evidence -- that Clinton's presidential campaign was behind the posting on YouTube of a 1989 video of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani [R] expressing support for Medicaid-funded abortions.

On March 11, the New York Post published an article with the headline "Hill: I'm the JFK of 2008." Matt Drudge posted the New York Post headline on the Drudge Report, linking to the Post article. The Post reported that Clinton "invoked the campaign of the nation's lone Catholic president, John Kennedy, last night as she talked about her challenge in becoming the first female commander-in-chief."

Fox screengrab

Following is the portion of Clinton's March 10 speech during which she addressed Kennedy:

A lot of people back then [during former President Kennedy's 1960 campaign] said, "Well, you know America will never elect a Catholic as president," but those who gathered here almost half a century ago knew better. ... So when people tell me, or when one of the pundits says that "I don't think a woman can be elected president," I say, "We'll never know unless we try."

Following Hannity's false assertions regarding Clinton's JFK reference, Colmes stated, "She never claimed -- and what I heard her say -- that she was JFK or likened herself. It's the kind of a candidacy we're talking about."

Nonetheless, both Morris and Hannity went on to advance several other falsehoods regarding Clinton. Morris referenced the JFK comment by stating, "[I]n New Hampshire she's Catholic." Hannity added, "And in Chicago, she was a Cubs fan, and in New York she's a Yankees fan."

As Media Matters for America has noted (here and here), Picture 40 of her autobiography Living History (Scribner, 2004) shows Clinton wearing a New York Yankees hat in 1992 -- eight years before her Senate campaign. And in a September 12, 1994, article, The Washington Post reported, "Mrs. Clinton ... as a kid was a 'big-time' fan of the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees and 'understudied' Ernie Banks and Mickey Mantle."

Later, the discussion turned to a 1989 video clip of Rudy Giuliani stating, "There must be public funding for abortions for poor women." Both Morris and Hannity baselessly claimed that it was the Clinton campaign that recently posted the clip to YouTube.com. Hannity stated: "[C]hances are overwhelming that it was Hillary Clinton's campaign [that released the video]."

Media Matters noted (here, here, here, and here) multiple instances of both Hannity and Morris, who has stated he's "leaving the country" if a Clinton-Obama ticket wins, attempting to smear Sen. Clinton. These include:

  • Morris has reportedly planned to "Swift-Boat" Sen. Clinton. In his January 20 column, nationally syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak wrote that Morris is "asking for a contribution between $25 and $100 or more to finance a critical film documentary" of Clinton.
  • Morris has claimed that "somebody close" to Clinton's "war room" "indeed planted" the discredited accusation with InsightMag.com that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) attended a madrassa in his youth. ABC News reported that the accusation that Clinton is responsible for the smear "remains unproven and unsubstantiated." Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said of the smear, "We have no connection to this story." Similarly, Obama strategist David Axelrod said he did not "believe ... for a second" the allegation that Clinton's camp was behind the story. In addition, Media Matters has documented instances (here and here) in which Morris has baselessly suggested Clinton smear Obama using falsehoods concocted by Morris himself.
  • Sean Hannity and syndicated columnist Robert Novak suggested that "dirty political tricks" by Clinton were behind the January 2007 "leaking" of Obama's admission that he had used cocaine to The Washington Post -- despite the fact that in his 1995 memoir Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (Three Rivers Press), Obama admitted to using drugs when he was younger.

From the March 12 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: First, our top story tonight: Hillary Clinton is claiming she is the JFK of 2008. Oh, really?

CLINTON [video clip]: People in New Hampshire came together to offer their support for a presidential candidate who came from just south of here. He was smart, he was dynamic, he was inspiring, and he was Catholic.

And a lot of people back then said: "Well, you know, America will never elect a Catholic as president." But those who gathered here almost half a century ago knew better. They believed America was bigger than that and that Americans would give Senator John F. Kennedy a fair shake. And the rest, as they say, is history.

HANNITY: And joining us now with more, former Clinton adviser -- if it's Mondays, it's Dick Morris -- and don't forget, by the way, go to DickMorris.com. You can get Dick's latest columns and newsletters. By the way, it's absolutely free, right?

MORRIS: Yeah, but let me start --

HANNITY: You're no JFK, I know. You're --

MORRIS: Let me start with that Hillary thing. When she ran for senator -- when she ran in Arkansas, she announced that she was basically Southern.

HANNITY: Right.

MORRIS: When she ran in New York, she said her great -- her grandfather, step-grandfather was Jewish. When she went to Selma, she said that she was being lifted up by Martin Luther King and the blacks to be able to run for president.

HANNITY: The year before she supported Goldwater, yeah.

MORRIS: And now, in New Hampshire, she's Catholic.

HANNITY: Yeah, and she was -- in Chicago, she was a Cubs fan, and in New York, she's a Yankees fan.

MORRIS: I mean --

HANNITY: There's something that is --

MORRIS: Come on, lady. Who do you think -- how stupid do you think we are?

[...]

COLMES: Well, let me ask you about the JFK remark. First of all, she never said she was JFK. She was talking about breaking barriers much like JFK broke the Catholic barrier; she would break another important barrier. She never claimed -- and what I heard her say -- that she was JFK or likened herself. It's the kind of a candidacy we're talking about.

MORRIS: Nor did she say she was black in Selma; nor did she say she was Jewish in New York --

COLMES: It was Toni Morrison who said [former President Bill] Clinton was black.

MORRIS: -- nor did she say she was Southern in Arkansas.

COLMES: She lived in Arkansas.

MORRIS: But in all cases, she tried to blend into the environment and appear that way. And it's this basic point that I made about Hillary the last week when I was on this show, that she is so insecure about who she really is that she tries to become things she really isn't.

COLMES: Look, either, she can be tone-deaf to her environment or she can actually try to blend into the environment, whether it's a Chicago person going to Arkansas, then going to D.C., then going into New York. This is someone who adapts to all these issues.

[...]

MORRIS: Yeah, I know, but I think that you'd have Rudy basically nominating conservative judges. And also I think it probably reflects a feeling that, certainly at the judicial level and the legislative level, most of those abortion-related issues are settled --

HANNITY: There's a bigger question.

MORRIS: -- and the others are just state issues. But he's dancing around it.

HANNITY: There's a bigger question though. Now, that tape is nearly 19 years old that we just played here.

MORRIS: Yeah, he still had his hair.

HANNITY: Oh, well, yeah, right. But I'm --

MORRIS: Whenever.

HANNITY: I'm going to interview Mitt Romney in a minute, and one of the questions I'm going to ask him is about -- you know, he's changed on abortion. But I guess the bigger question I have is, that tape didn't just show up miraculously on YouTube. And I have my suspicion where it came from. A lot of people say, well, did it come in the primary from McCain or Romney or one of the other, you know, third-tier candidates?

MORRIS: I can never prove that that or the potential outing of Gingrich for the affair during Whitewater, I can't prove that it came from the Clintons, but given their track record with secret police, it's always a rebuttable presumption.

HANNITY: It really is, though. You believe -- chances are overwhelming that it was Hillary Clinton's campaign.

MORRIS: Chances are good. I mean, she --

HANNITY: Why would they go after him now? Did they not want him --

MORRIS: Because Romney --

HANNITY: -- in this general election?

MORRIS: Exactly. Romney -- because Giuliani --

HANNITY: The preferred candidate is not Rudy.

MORRIS: Giuliani is the only candidate that really could defeat Hillary.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity, Dick Morris
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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