Cavuto falsely claimed Edwards "used" Hilton sentence to make "class argument"
Research ››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER
On Your World, Neil Cavuto falsely asserted that John Edwards had "used" Paris Hilton "in part of his campaign comments, talking about the dichotomy between the rich and the poor." In fact, when asked at a press conference to comment on Hilton, Edwards responded that he was "gonna stay out of the Paris Hilton story."
On the June 8 edition of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto falsely asserted that Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards had "used" the controversy surrounding celebrity heiress Paris Hilton's recent jail sentence "in part of his campaign comments, talking about the dichotomy between the rich and the poor." Cavuto then asked his guest, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, "What do you make of that?" O'Reilly responded: "He's the biggest phony in the world." Later, Cavuto similarly stated that Edwards had used Hilton "in his class argument on the campaign." O'Reilly asked, "He wanted her in jail, Edwards did?" Cavuto answered, "Right." O'Reilly added: "[H]e doesn't really want to chase down the bad guys in Iraq, but he wants to put Paris Hilton in jail. Is that what you're telling me John Edwards wants?" Cavuto responded: "That's effectively what he's saying." But contrary to Cavuto's claim that Edwards "used" Hilton" in "his campaign comments," Edwards was asked at a June 7 press conference to comment on the message of the Hilton story as it pertains to the class divide in America -- one of his signature campaign issues. Edwards responded that he was "gonna stay out of the Paris Hilton story" and went on to note his goal of "clos[ing] the gap that exists in America today between those who are doing well and everything else." Further, Edwards offered no judgment regarding Hilton's jail sentence, contrary to Cavuto's claim.
From a transcript of the June 7 press conference posted on the New York Times political blog The Caucus:
Reporter: Senator, you speak all the time about two Americas, can you just tell us briefly, you know, what you think the message sends that Paris Hilton got out of jail after three days, when she was originally supposed to spend 45 days in jail?
Mr. Edwards: Um, I'm gonna stay out of the Paris Hilton story. Although I saw it seems to be completely dominating the news, I had the television on just before I came down. Uh, I still do believe, without regard to Paris Hilton, that, uh, we have two Americas and I think what's important is, it's obvious that the problem exists.
The issue is what are we going to do to create one America with universal health care, with more economic equality, having, raising the minimum wage, access to decent housing, access to college for kids who can't afford it? Those are the tools, some of the tools, that allow us to close the gap that exists in America today between those who are doing well and everything else. I think the next president of the United States is going to have a huge responsibility. Last. It's not healthy for our economy, it's not healthy for our democracy, and I think we need to do something about it -- without regard to Paris Hilton.
From the June 8 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
CAVUTO: Let me ask you: John Edwards, who you've been saying some pretty strong things about --
O'REILLY: Is he in jail with her?
CAVUTO: He has used her, as you know, in part of his campaign comments, talking about the dichotomy between the rich and the poor --
O'REILLY: John Edwards has.
CAVUTO: -- and that Paris gets special breaks like the rich.
O'REILLY: The guy with the 30,000-square-foot home?
CAVUTO: Four hundred dollar haircut.
O'REILLY: Yeah. This is the guy who's -- the disparity?
CAVUTO: Yes. What do you make of that?
O'REILLY: He's the biggest phony in the world. John Edwards? And you know me, I don't endorse candidates, and I don't really care about them, and I actually admire people who run for president because they have to go through hell. And they're all patriots on both sides. But this guy, this guy Edwards, he's a phony. This guy's a phony. We went out -- the "Factor" went out to -- across the street, there's a trailer park from his 30,000-square-foot mansion. And we interviewed the guys and the gals in the trailer park. They hate him. He won't talk to them. He goes jogging, and he doesn't even pay attention to them.
CAVUTO: So when he uses Paris Hilton to insert it into his class argument on the campaign, what do you think of that?
O'REILLY: What does he want? To give Paris Hilton 10 years? What does he want to do?
CAVUTO: Well, he's -- this was the first, when it looked like she was going to escape prison.
O'REILLY: He wanted her in jail, Edwards did?
O'REILLY: So he doesn't really want to chase down the bad guys in Iraq, but he wants to put Paris Hilton in jail. Is that what you're telling me John Edwards wants?
CAVUTO What do you think of that? That's effectively what he's saying.
O'REILLY: I think he's a phony. I think he's ridiculous. I think the Republicans would be the luckiest party in the history of the republic if he got the Democratic nomination. That's who they want. The Republicans would love to run against John Edwards because it would be like [1972 Democratic presidential nominee George] McGovern. He'd get slaughtered. Because Americans know that this guy is a phony.