Morris and Tyrrell claimed Clinton campaign was responsible for Kerr question at GOP debate

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

On Fox News' Fox & Friends, while discussing retired Brig. Gen. Keith Kerr's question during the November 28 CNN/YouTube Republican debate, Dick Morris said, "You know, listen, let's put the blame where it's due. This is a dirty trick by the Hillary Clinton campaign." On Fox & Friends First, R. Emmett Tyrrell replied, "I think so," when Steve Doocy asked, "So, are you saying that the Clintons had something to do with CNN doing a bad job vetting these questioners?" Tyrrell later stated that "the Clintons ... have played fast and loose with ethics since day one. This is a pattern."

On the November 30 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, while discussing retired Brig. Gen. Keith Kerr's question about the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy during the November 28 CNN/YouTube Republican debate, syndicated columnist Dick Morris said, "You know, listen, let's put the blame where it's due. This is a dirty trick by the Hillary Clinton campaign," referring to the fact that Kerr is a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Americans for Hillary Clinton steering committee and a co-chairman of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) Veterans and Military Retirees for Hillary Committee. Co-host Steve Doocy then asked Morris, "How do you figure?" Morris replied: "Well, come on. The head of your veterans' steering committee asks a question about gay rights on the Republican debate and you don't think the campaign knows about it? Oh, for goodness' sakes, of course they know about it. ... And this campaign has already twice planted questions at town meetings. This ... goes back to the 1972 Richard Nixon dirty tricks."

Morris went on to claim that the Clinton campaign was responsible for a November 28 Politico article, which reported that "[a]s New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan." Morris said the story "undoubtedly, at least in my view, was a setup by Hillary." And during his appearance on Fox & Friends, the on-screen text read: "Clinton's Tactics: Is Campaign Playing Dirty?"

Earlier, on the November 30 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends First, Doocy had discussed Kerr's ties to the Clinton campaign with American Spectator founder and editor-in-chief R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., author of The Clinton Crack-Up: The Boy President's Life After the White House (Thomas Nelson, March 2007). After Tyrrell stated that the Clintons have "been fooling around with elections, fooling around with campaign finance for years," Doocy asked, "So, are you saying that the Clintons had something to do with CNN doing a bad job vetting these questioners?" Tyrrell responded, "Well, I think so," adding, "[F]irst of all, CNN is responsible for it and their behavior is reprehensible. But secondly, I mean, this Clinton supporter didn't get out there because ... he just happened to wander into the room." Co-host Greg Kelly later said to Tyrrell, "[Y]ou don't have any proof that the Clinton campaign -- the Clinton campaign denies that they actually planted this question," to which Tyrell replied: "Well, look, my proof is this. There is a pattern here. The Clintons have been political animals from day one and they have played fast and loose with ethics since day one. This is a pattern. That's pretty good proof."

The segment was accompanied by on-screen text reading: "GOP Debate Fallout: Did Hillary Plant Questioner?" and "Clinton Crack-Up: Another Planted Questioner?"

At the end of the segment, Doocy said, "Meanwhile, our question of the day, regarding the CNN 'Plant-Gate': Do you think it was some sort of vast left-wing conspiracy or simple incompetence at CNN?" As Doocy asked this question, an on-screen graphic appeared reading, "CNN 'Plant-Gate': Conspiracy Or Incompetence?"

The previous day on Fox & Friends, while discussing Kerr's question, the on-screen text read: "Hillary's Stand-In: Clinton Plants Staffer At Debate" and "Plant Media: GOP YouTube Debate." However, as Media Matters for America noted, at no point during the show did anyone note that several hours earlier, Fox News political producer Jake Gibson reported that Kerr "seems genuine that he ... was not contacted by the Clinton campaign to do this." Gibson reported this on Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron's blog, Cameron's Corner, which, after the debate, also reported the Clinton campaign's statement that Kerr "is not a campaign employee and was not acting on behalf of the campaign."

From the November 30 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

DOOCY: All right, we've been talking about this -- a Hillary supporter managed to get his question on the CNN/YouTube debate on Wednesday night. Was it an honest mistake or a dirty tactic by the Clinton camp? Dick Morris is a former Clinton adviser and author of Outrage. He's also got a great website. It's dickmorris.com. And he joins us live from West Palm Beach. Good morning to you, sir.

MORRIS: Hey. Good to be here, Steve.

DOOCY: Hey, Michelle Malkin has done some Googling and she's found something like six or seven different questioners at the CNN debate have political axes to grind with the Republicans.

MORRIS: Yeah, I mean, it was ridiculous. I saw it last night on Fox. One of them has an Edwards t-shirt on her website.

DOOCY: Aw, yeah.

MORRIS: All that stuff. It appears that not only are all the reporters on CNN Democrats, but all of the questioners at the Republican debate sponsored by CNN are Democrats.

DOOCY: Uh-huh. Interestingly enough, we're showing video of the gay general who asked the question about "don't ask, don't tell," which apparently is CNN's policy when booking guests. Now let me ask you about the actual debate itself. How do you think the candidates did?

MORRIS: But wait a sec, before we get past that --

DOOCY: Yes, sir.

MORRIS: -- gay questioner. You know, listen, let's put the blame where it's due. This is a dirty trick by the Hillary Clinton campaign. She's already been --

DOOCY: How do you figure?

MORRIS: Well, come on. The head of your veterans' steering committee asks a question about gay rights on the Republican debate and you don't think the campaign knows about it? Oh, for goodness' sakes, of course they know about it.

DOOCY: Yeah, but, Dick, don't you think it's just --

MORRIS: And this campaign has already twice planted questions at town meetings. This is -- goes back to the 1972 Richard Nixon dirty tricks. And, by the way, while we're on dirty tricks, I bet that this knock on Giuliani about the police detail also comes from Hillary's negative research machine. It was officially an FOI, freedom of information request by Politico.com, but that's a site filled with liberal Democrats, and it undoubtedly, in my view at least, was a setup by Hillary.

DOOCY: All right, so you think it was a dirty trick? Real quickly before you --

MORRIS: It was.

DOOCY: -- before you go, though, how do you think the candidates did?

MORRIS: Well, I think Romney hurt Giuliani over immigration. I think Giuliani hurt Romney over immigration. I think Thompson hurt Romney over abortion. I think everybody hurt everybody, but the guy who was sort of not touched was Huckabee. And I think he won.

DOOCY: All right. There you go. Dick Morris, joining us live from West Palm Beach. We've got to go right now, Dick, because the producers have planted a commercial straight ahead. Once again, if you want to read about -- he's got some great comments. Go to dickmorris.com.

From the November 30 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends First:

DOOCY: A Hillary Clinton supporter popped up asking tough questions at the CNN "Boob Tube" -- I mean YouTube debate on Wednesday night. Is this just a coincidence or more of the same shenanigans from, perhaps, the Clintons?

KELLY: R. Emmett Tyrrell is the author of The Clinton Crack-Up. He joins us now from Washington, D.C. And sir, in fairness, we're going to do something that CNN did not do the other night and that is, disclosure here: You've written a number of books that are very much against -- anti-Clinton -- and perhaps some folks close to the Clintons might even say, you're an enemy of the Clintons. But, having said that, we know where you're coming from.

What do you think about that question from General Carr [sic], the homosexual retired Army general, as a Clinton supporter, there asking a question but no disclosure from CNN about where he was coming from.

TYRRELL: Well, his question was about the gay policy -- the policy of "don't ask, and don't tell," and there you have CNN following the policy. They didn't ask and they didn't tell.

DOOCY: You are absolutely right. And of course, if -- you know, Emmett, if Fox did this, where they were hosting a -- we were hosting a debate and somebody filtered through and had a political agenda, it would be on Page 1 of The New York Times every day for the next month. And I'm looking at the front page of The New York Times today; I don't see anything about it. What's up with that?

TYRRELL: Well, you know, when finishing -- having finished The Clinton Crack-Up, I discovered one thing in the research of that book that I didn't expect, and that was that every single scandal the Clintons got into during the '90s and have gotten into during this election had its precursor in Arkansas. They've been fooling around with elections, fooling around with campaign finance for years. And this is nothing new. They are very political people.

DOOCY: So, are you saying that the Clintons had something to do with CNN doing a bad job vetting these questioners?

TYRRELL: Well, I think so. I mean, I wouldn't -- first of all, CNN is responsible for it and their behavior is reprehensible. But secondly, I mean, this Clinton supporter didn't get out there because they just -- she -- he just happened to wander into the room. How did -- who paid for him to get there by the way?

DOOCY: CNN.

TYRRELL: Has anyone asked that question?

KELLY: CNN paid.

DOOCY: CNN.

KELLY: Yeah, but again you don't have any proof that the Clinton campaign -- the Clinton campaign denies that they actually planted this question. And then I guess the same question would have to be asked of the Obama campaign and the Edwards campaign who also had supporters there asking questions.

TYRRELL: Well, look, my proof is this. There is a pattern here. The Clintons have been political animals from day one and they have played fast and loose with ethics since day one. This is a pattern. That's pretty good proof.

DOOCY: All right. R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., author of The Clinton Crack-Up, we thank you very much for joining us live.

TYRRELLL Nice to be with you.

DOOCY: There is his book. Meanwhile, our question of the day, regarding the CNN "Plant-Gate": Do you think it was some sort of vast left-wing conspiracy or simple incompetence at CNN?

KELLY: A or B?

DOOCY: That's right: incompetence or conspiracy?

KELLY: One of the -- gotta pick one.

DOOCY: Email us at friends@foxnews.com.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Dick Morris, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.
Show/Publication
FOX & Friends, FOX & Friends First
Stories/Interests
2008 Elections
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