Time's Halperin further distorts poll results mis-cited by Hannity, attributing to "the Democrats" the view that U.S. better off if Iraq war is lost

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

In an October 30 post to his Time.com blog, "The Page," Time political analyst Mark Halperin reprinted several excerpts from former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt and Ann Romney's interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity that aired on the October 29 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, setting off segments of the interview with subheadlines he apparently wrote, including one that read, "ON THE DEMOCRATS [sic] VIEW THAT THE UNITED STATES WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF THE WAR IN IRAQ IS LOST." Halperin's headline, which included the claim that "the Democrats" hold the view "that the United States would be better off if the war in Iraq is lost," highlighted the portion of the interview in which Hannity asked the Romneys, "What do we do? This country is divided to such a large extent right now. There was a Fox News-Opinion Dynamics poll that came out. It showed that one in five Democrats think the better -- the United States would be better off if we lost in Iraq." Hannity appeared to be referring to a September 25-26 poll of 900 registered voters that found that 19 percent, not a majority, of respondents who identified themselves as Democrats said they "personally think the world [as opposed to the U.S., as Hannity and Halperin asserted] would be better off if the United States loses the war in Iraq," compared with five percent of Republican respondents and seven percent of Independent respondents. Further, in attributing the "VIEW THAT THE UNITED STATES WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF THE WAR IN IRAQ IS LOST" to "THE DEMOCRATS," Halperin further distorted the poll results, suggesting that they represented the opinion of the Democratic Party, rather than registered voters who identified themselves as Democratic when responding to the poll.

From Halperin's post:

Additionally, in uncritically publishing excerpts from Hannity's interview with the Romneys, Halperin repeated several of Romney's attacks on Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), including:

  • "You know, I'm sure she's a lovely person. I just think she would take America in a course towards Europe, which would lead us to be a weaker nation. We'd have a weaker military. I think we'd have a weaker economy. I think our family structure will be weaker on all those bases. I think America would not remain the great nation it has always been if she were the leader, and that's because this is such a critical time."
  • "Well, you know, I don't whether she's going to be able to attract voters in [Iowa and Mississippi]. I think she'll be able to get a certain portion of the Democratic base and a number of Independents."
  • "And I think the greatest drawback beyond the direction she'd take us is that she's never run anything. She's never had the occasion of being in the private sector, running a business, or, for that matter, running a state or a city. She hasn't run anything, and the government of the United States is not a place for a president to be an intern. You need to have experience actually leading and running things."
  • "And I think ultimately, she will not be successful because face to face in debates with me or whoever our Republican nominee is, people will recognize that we're not going to have a safer, stronger America if she were president."

The following is the entirety of Halperin's October 30 post, headlined "Excerpts From Romney's 'Hannity & Colmes' Interview":

Provided by Fox News Channel:

MITT ROMNEY COMPARES HILLARY CLINTON TO AN "INTERN" ON FOX NEWS CHANNEL "HANNITY & COLMES"

Romney: Senator Clinton Is "A Lovely Person" But "Fundamentally Wrong"

Mitt and Ann Romney sat down today, Monday October 29, 2007, with FOX News Channel's Sean Hannity to discuss Senator Judd Gregg's (NH-R) endorsement of Romney and what Romney thinks of Hillary Clinton. The complete interview will air on Hannity & Colmes tonight at 9PM ET.

Following are excerpts from the interview:

ON HIS THOUGHTS ON HILLARY CLINTON AS A PRESIDENT:

HANNITY: It appears Hillary is the inevitable nominee for the Democrats. I want to ask both of you this question. What do you think of Hillary Clinton?

M. ROMNEY: You know, I'm sure she's a lovely person. I just think she would take America in a course towards Europe, which would lead us to be a weaker nation.

We'd have a weaker military. I think we'd have a weaker economy. I think our family structure will be weaker on all those bases. I think America would not remain the great nation it has always been if she were the leader, and that's because this is such a critical time.

We face such unusual challenges. And despite being a very lovely person, I think she's just fundamentally wrong in the course that she would set for America.

ON CLINTON IN PRIMARIES/GENERAL ELECTION:

HANNITY: Yes. She recently said, Governor, in an article with David Yepsen in "The Des Moines Register" -- she talked about how Iowa "would be a special burden" for her, or special obstacle for her, because when you look at the numbers, how can Iowa be ranked with Mississippi, talking specifically about the numbers of women that have had -- had been elected to high office.

Is that what you have found? She since has apologized to Mississippi over this.

M. ROMNEY: Well, you know, I don't whether she's going to be able to attract voters in those states. I think she'll be able to get a certain portion of the Democratic base and a number of Independents.
But I fundamentally think the people will not vote based upon someone's gender or their race, or their religion, for that matter. I think they're going to look at what their vision is for the future of the country, where they would take it, and whether they had the experience and skills to actually lead a nation of our scale in such a critical time.

And I think the greatest drawback beyond the direction she'd take us is that she's never run anything. She's never had the occasion of being in the private sector, running a business, or, for that matter, running a state or a city. She hasn't run anything, and the government of the United States is not a place for a president to be an intern. You need to have experience actually leading and running things.

HANNITY: She says her experience makes her uniquely qualified to be president at this time.

M. ROMNEY: I'd suggest it makes her uniquely unqualified in that she is one of the few that really has not had experience in leading in a significant way an enterprise of some kind, to know how you bring teams together, how you work on key challenges, how you're able to bring together public support and pull the organization in a direction that allows it to be successful.

HANNITY: Then why is she so popular? And based on what you're saying here, why do you think she has this level of popularity? Is it just we are a star-struck culture?

ON THE DEMOCRATS VIEW THAT THE UNITED STATES WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF THE WAR IN IRAQ IS LOST:

HANNITY: Yes. What do we do? This country is divided to such a large extent right now. There was a FOX News-Opinion Dynamics poll that came out. It showed that one in five Democrats think the better -- the United States would be better off if we lost in Iraq.

A. ROMNEY: I can't believe that's even true.

HANNITY: That's an accurate poll.

M. ROMNEY: I think -- I think there needs to be a greater effort on the part of the White House and leaders in both parties to educate people as to the challenges we face. And I think people need to understand that there is a global jihadist movement. It comes in different stripes and flavors from different parts of the world and in different groups, but it is their intent to cause the collapse of all moderate nations, including ours.

And if they had their way, women would have no role in society of any significance. We would all be forced to live by the same religion or become second class citizens. It's a horrific view of what Sharia would do...

HANNITY: Sharia law.

M. ROMNEY: ... for the legal system in Islam. It's unthinkable for our nation to consider that. And I hope people recognize that if we were to walk away from this great battle, that we would put at risk our future and our potential to lead the world with democracy and freedom for ourselves, and potentially for other of God's children.

ON JUDD GREGG'S ENDORSEMENT:

"He's a remarkable senator, and his leadership in New Hampshire, as a fiscal conservative, underscores the fact that I'm a guy that wants to hold down spending and hold down taxes."

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Network/Outlet
Time Magazine
Person
Mark Halperin
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine, Polling
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