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After playing a clip of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) stating, "If anybody tells you there is no vast right-wing conspiracy, tell them that New Hampshire has proven it in court. We have the -- we have the facts, and we're going to make that a crime" on the March 13 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity immediately denounced her comments as "hate speech." Yet neither Hannity nor guest and Republican pollster Frank Luntz explained that Clinton was referring to felony convictions of a Republican National Committee regional political director, a GOP operative, and a former executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party stemming from a 2002 phone-jamming scandal that sought to immobilize Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts and, according to a May 17, 2006, Washington Post article, "helped John E. Sununu [R-NH] win his Senate seat by 51 to 47 percent, a 19,151-vote margin."
Luntz responded to Hannity's comments by saying: "We've been analyzing her [Clinton] over the past few weeks on your show. And she doesn't seem to pick up the fact that there's too much negativity. There's too much divisiveness."
However, as a March 13 Associated Press article on Clinton's comments reported, the 2002 phone-jamming scandal referenced by Clinton resulted in two Republican operatives' pleading guilty to criminal charges; a third was tried and convicted. According to the May 2006 Washington Post article, Charles McGee, former executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party, along with former Republican National Committee regional political director James Tobin and GOP consultant Allen Raymond, devised a plan to obstruct Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts on November 5, 2002, by having an Idaho telecommunications firm tie up Democratic and union phone lines. The Post further reported:
"The New Hampshire Republican Party, burden by legal bills, is virtually broke, with $733.60 in its federal and state accounts.
The Republican National Committee, in turn, has paid $3 million in legal fees in criminal and civil cases growing out of the controversy. The RNC has paid at least $2.8 million to Williams & Connolly and other firms for Tobin's defense, and about $150,000 to Covington & Burling to defend the RNC in a civil suit brought by the New Hampshire Democratic Party."
"[E]vidence filed in Tobin's trial in December shows 22 phone calls from Tobin to the White House between 11:20 a.m. Election Day, two hours after the phone jamming was shut down, and 2:17 a.m. the next day, four hours after the outcome of the election was announced."
From the March 13 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
CLINTON [video clip]: If anybody tells you there is no vast right-wing conspiracy, tell them that New Hampshire has proven it in court. We have the -- we have the facts, and we're going to make that a crime.
HANNITY: All right, it's back. That was Hillary Clinton this morning with some pretty harsh words for conservatives. So, what does her hate speech really mean?
With us, the author of Words that Work, Republican pollster Frank Luntz, is with us. All right. Frank, what does that mean?
LUNTZ: Well, I don't know why she does this, because she can be just as Democratic without having to throw back those words that she's been using for the last 10 years.
We've been analyzing her over the past few weeks on your show. And she doesn't seem to pick up the fact that there's too much negativity, there's too much divisiveness. And there's a reason why she continues to drop a point or two and why [Sen.] Barack Obama [D-IL] keeps going up. You don't want to use words from 1996 in the 2008 election.