Discussing an attack ad on Sen. Barack Obama that Sen. John McCain has denounced, Fox & Friends co-host Andrew Napolitano asserted: "John McCain, for his whole career, has tried to stay above this kind of a fray. Why should he change now?" Napolitano did not point out that this is the latest example of a pattern in which McCain denounces smears against his opponents, while also benefiting from them. Moreover, in asserting that McCain has "tried to stay above this kind of a fray," Napolitano seemingly ignored several instances in which McCain has misrepresented the statements or positions of his opponents.
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During the April 24 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy noted a recent ad produced by the North Carolina Republican Party that attacks Sen. Barack Obama for his relationship with his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. After co-host Gretchen Carlson read from Sen. John McCain's statement criticizing the ad, co-host Andrew Napolitano asserted, "John McCain, for his whole career, has tried to stay above this kind of a fray. Why should he change now?" However, neither Napolitano, Doocy, nor co-host Gretchen Carlson pointed out McCain's pattern of denouncing smears against his opponents while benefiting from them. Further, none of the three co-hosts pointed out that McCain has promulgated numerous falsehoods about his opponents during the campaign, to challenge the notion that McCain "has tried to stay above this kind of a fray."
For example, McCain has: falsely suggested that Obama had said that Al Qaeda is not currently in Iraq; falsely suggested that Obama has only "in the last few days" proposed that a "strike force" remain in Iraq after the United States withdraws most troops; and falsely suggested that Obama "once suggested bombing our ally, Pakistan." McCain also falsely asserted that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, his rival in the Republican presidential race at the time, "disparage[d] the service and courage of an American hero" with his statement that former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) is "probably the last person I would have wanted to have write a letter for me."
Additionally, none of the three co-hosts noted that McCain -- contrary to Napolitano's claim that McCain, "for his whole career, has tried to stay above this kind of a fray" -- has a documented history of negative campaigning, even as he has denounced it.
From the April 24 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
DOOCY: All right, let's talk a little bit about politics. And down in North Carolina there is a political storm brewing. There are a number of Democrats facing off against Republicans for the governor job down there, right? Well, two of the Democrats have come out and have supported Barack Obama.
Well, the GOP down in North Carolina has taken some of Barack Obama's past -- in particular, his longtime relationship with Reverend Wright -- and turned it into an ad not against Barack Obama and John McCain, but against these guys who are running for governor. Listen to this. Take a look. Here's the ad from North Carolina.
[begin video clip]
NARRATOR: For 20 years, Barack Obama sat in his pew listening to his pastor.
WRIGHT: And then wants us to sing "God Bless America." No, no, no, not "God bless America," God [bleep] America.
NARRATOR: Now Bev Perdue and Richard Moore endorse Barack Obama. They should know better. He's just too extreme for North Carolina.
LINDA DAVES (North Carolina Republican Party chair): The North Carolina Republican Party sponsored this ad opposing Bev Purdue and Richard Moore for North Carolina governor.
[end video clip]
CARLSON: She looks very nice.
NAPOLITANO: She looks like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth, and she's the center of this controversy now. John McCain does not want the Republican Party of North Carolina to run that ad, because he doesn't want the blowback that they're engaging in racial politics.
DOOCY: Plus he says he's trying to elevate the whole thing, and we've got a statement from John McCain.
CARLSON: We do. He calls the ad offensive, saying, "The television advertisement you are planning to air degrades our civics and distracts us from the very real differences we have with the Democrats." He continues, "In the strongest terms, I implore you to not run this advertisement."
We were talking to the Beltway Boys earlier in our broadcast today, and they basically -- you know, Fred [Barnes] was saying, you know, why shouldn't they run this ad? Mort [Kondracke] was saying, though, that John McCain was taking this tact, you know, immediately so that he would not be called out for the race issue, which I think -- I think I'm going to side with Mort on this one.
NAPOLITANO: Well, I am as well. First of all, John McCain, for his whole career, has tried to stay above this kind of a fray. Why should he change now?
NAPOLITANO: And secondly, he's anticipating that his opponent may be Barack Obama --
NAPOLITANO: -- and he doesn't even want a whiff --
NAPOLITANO: -- of racism in that campaign.