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On the April 24 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity attacked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for his remark during an April 19 press conference that "the [Iraq] war is lost." Hannity said to former Republican vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp: "I think [Reid is] a propaganda minister for our enemies. He's emboldening our enemies, and he's taking away the morale of our troops. They're out there fighting that war, and he said it's lost." Kemp replied: "[T]here's got to be a penalty for saying dumb things," adding: "You know, talk is cheap. But once you say something, you can't buy it back." Neither Hannity nor Kemp noted Reid's subsequent statement during the press conference that "the war, at this stage, can only be won diplomatically, politically, and economically." As Media Matters for America has noted, numerous media outlets have similarly ignored this portion of Reid's remarks while highlighting his assertion that "the war is lost."
On the April 23 edition of the program, Hannity also claimed that Reid is "serving as a propaganda minister for America's enemies" and selectively cited his statement that "the war is lost." Hannity further argued that Reid "should resign for this -- for emboldening our enemies in this particular case, for demoralizing the American soldiers there."
As Media Matters documented, following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) trip to Syria in early April, Hannity repeatedly claimed that she had "allow[ed] herself to be used for propaganda purposes" by meeting with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus.
From the April 24 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY: Here we're at war. Harry Reid and his friends send these guys to war. He declares to our enemies that we've lost the war. I don't know what it could do to the morale of the troops. What do you think of that?
KEMP: I was in Congress when Vietnam War was going on, and this is exactly what happened in early 1970s. They cut off -- they cut the legs off from underneath the troops in the mission.
I think, having sent General [David] Petraeus into Iraq with a mission, the surge of troops, I believe, to bring pacification to Baghdad and Anbar province so we can work out some political solutions, some diplomatic solutions that I think [former Reagan foreign policy adviser] Jeane Kirkpatrick would have supported. This totally negates that. And I think Vice President Cheney was exactly right in saying it's going to be vetoed. It should be vetoed, and it's the wrong course at the wrong time.
HANNITY: It is pretty disgraceful. I mean, I actually think Republicans should demand he resign. 'Cause -- and tell me if I'm wrong. I think he's a propaganda minister for our enemies. He's emboldening our enemies, and he's taking away the morale of our troops. They're out there fighting that war, and he said it's lost.
KEMP: You know, in a democracy, he can say anything he wants on the floor of the Senate. And I wouldn't call on him to resign. I would call on people in Nevada to --
HANNITY: They could force him.
KEMP: -- not to force him to resign. But there's got to be a penalty for saying dumb things. You know, talk is cheap. But once you say something, you can't buy it back.
From the April 23 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
KAREN HANRETTY (Republican strategist): Harry Reid -- Harry Reid has a responsibility legislatively that these other men do not. They have not been elected to office. He has a responsibility for ushering through a bill that is either going to provide funding or not provide funding. And that is the sole distinction --
JANE FLEMING (Democratic strategist): We're providing funding, Karen.
HANNITY: Hang on. Let me -- let me explain.
HANRETTY: But why? Why, Jane? Why are you providing funding if the war is lost?
HANNITY: Hang on a second.
FLEMING: We are providing funding --
HANNITY: No, they're not.
FLEMING: What we're saying is that we are providing funding for the troops. We put every dime in there that the president has asked for. What we're also saying is that we want --
HANRETTY: But why? You don't believe in the president. You think he's a liar. You think he's disingenuous.
HANNITY: All right. Hang on a second, Karen. Let me get in here --
HANRETTY: You've always thought that --
FLEMING: I think President Bush hasn't listened --
HANNITY: Let me explain the difference here, Jane Flem --
HANRETTY: You think he's a liar --
HANNITY: Let me explain --
HANRETTY: and yet you're playing politics with him.
HANNITY: Karen, help me out here. Let me explain the difference -- is that Harry Reid is the No. 1 Democrat in the United States Senate, who voted to send these troops into harm's way. And he's serving --by saying that America lost while these troops are still fighting here. He's serving as a propaganda minister for America's enemies here.
FLEMING: No, he's not.
HANNITY: -- and Harry Reid should resign for this, for emboldening our enemies in this particular case, for demoralizing the American soldiers there --
FLEMING: Sean, give us some examples of how this is emboldening our enemies.
HANRETTY: Well, maybe -- maybe this --
FLEMING: -- always says that, and you always say in this emboldens the enemy --
HANNITY: That's right.
FLEMING: -- and it demoralizes our troops.
HANNITY: That's right.
FLEMING: Give us some concrete examples of that.
HANNITY: If you're -- imagine -- put aside your liberal talking points for five seconds --
FLEMING: No. You put aside your talking points, Sean. You always say it.
HANNITY: Put aside your liberal talking points --
FLEMING: Just because you say it doesn't make it true.