Hannity ignored McCain's step back on 'No new taxes,' distorted Clinton's health care plan

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

On Fox News, Sean Hannity said to Sen. John McCain, "You've said three times in the last week or week and a half that you promised no new taxes. You mean none." In response, McCain said, "None." However, in a Wall Street Journal interview, McCain did not rule out raising taxes. Later in the Fox News interview, Hannity suggested that Sen. Hillary Clinton's health care proposal would "nationalize health care," and McCain replied, "We tried this. We've seen this movie before back in 1993, OK? And it is a government takeover." In fact, Clinton's proposal would not "nationalize health care" or seek a "government takeover" of it.

During an interview with Sen. John McCain on the March 13 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity said to McCain, "You've said three times in the last week or week and a half that you promised no new taxes. You mean none." In response, McCain said, "None." Hannity then said, "Throughout your presidency." McCain replied, "No. And look, here we are, Americans are hurting, you know that, I know that. These are tough economic times. Do we want to raise their taxes and have the government take more of their money right now when they're facing these challenges?" However, in a March 3 Wall Street Journal interview, McCain did not rule out raising taxes. He was asked, "On ABC's 'This Week' on Feb. 17, in response to a question, 'Are you a 'read my lips' candidate, no new taxes?' you replied, 'No new taxes.' Did you mean that literally?" McCain responded, "I'm not making a 'read my lips' statement in that I will not raise taxes. But I'm not saying I can envision a scenario where I would, OK? But I'm not making it a centerpiece in my campaign."

Later in the Hannity & Colmes interview, Hannity and McCain both mischaracterized Sen. Hillary Clinton's health care proposal. Hannity asserted that if McCain is elected president, "We don't get Hillary-care. You're not gonna nationalize health care. You'd look for free-market solutions." McCain replied, "We tried this. We've seen this movie before back in 1993, OK? And it is a government takeover." In fact, Clinton's proposal would not "nationalize health care" or seek a "government takeover" of it. While the Clinton plan provides the option of government-managed health insurance, the plan does not provide for government-run health care. Indeed, in the speech announcing her plan, Clinton said:

Now I know my Republican opponents will try to equate health care for all Americans with government-run health care. Well don't let them fool us again. This is not government run. There will be no new bureaucracy. You can keep the doctors you know and trust. You keep the insurance you have if you like it. But this plan expands personal choice and increases competition to keep costs down.

According to a Clinton campaign summary of her health care program, "In addition to the broad array of private options that Americans can choose from, they will be offered the choice of a public plan option similar to Medicare." The Washington Post's Fact Checker blog reported on October 24, 2007, that "the Clinton plan does not force Americans to accept 'government insurance.' It offers people a choice. If they are happy with their present health plan, they can keep it. Otherwise, they can switch to the plans offered to members of Congress, or a government-run plan similar to Medicare."

From the interview published in the March 3 Wall Street Journal:

Q: On ABC's "This Week" on Feb. 17, in response to a question, "Are you a 'read my lips' candidate, no new taxes?" you replied, "No new taxes." Did you mean that literally?

A: I'm not making a "read my lips" statement in that I will not raise taxes. But I'm not saying I can envision a scenario where I would, OK? But I'm not making it a centerpiece in my campaign.

I want lower taxes. I want the family to keep more of their money.

From the March 13 edition of Fox News' Hannity and Colmes:

HANNITY: Let's look at the things that -- the areas where I know conservatives agree with you --

McCAIN: Sure, sure.

HANNITY: That we've gotta win the war --

McCAIN: That's a good beginning.

HANNITY: -- we gotta win the war in Iraq. We can't create a safe haven for Al Qaeda or [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. I think all conservatives agree on that. And win the war. You have promised that you're gonna eliminate all earmarks.

McCAIN: Yes.

HANNITY: You've said three times in the last week or week and a half that you promised no new taxes. You mean none.

McCAIN: None.

HANNITY: Throughout your presidency.

McCAIN: No. And look, here we are, Americans are hurting, you know that, I know that. These are tough economic times. Do we want to raise their taxes and have the government take more of their money right now when they're facing these challenges?

I look forward to this debate between myself and Senator Clinton or Senator Obama. I will be respectful, but it'll be vigorous. And one of them is taxes. We can't raise people's taxes, particularly at this particular time.

And if you don't make the present tax cuts permanent, then you are gonna -- every family and business in America is gonna experience a tax increase. That's what this permanency of the tax cuts is all about.

[...]

HANNITY: Staying on the areas where you agree, where conservatives agree with you, you will not national --

McCAIN: OK, let's keep it up.

HANNITY: We don't get Hillary-care. You're not gonna nationalize health care. You'd look for free-market solutions.

McCAIN: We tried this. We've seen this movie before back in 1993, OK? And it is a government takeover and there is nothing -- it's one of my -- it's not an original line but it's a great one. Nothing is gonna be more expensive for America than free health care. OK? And we can make the highest-quality health care in the world affordable and available. And it's not the quality, it's the cost. And we can put in a lot of incentives that bring costs down and make it affordable and available, and let families make the choices of health care of their families, rather than the government.

Posted In
Economy, Taxes, Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes
Stories/Interests
John McCain, Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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