Ignoring study of McCain's 2007 votes, O'Reilly criticized Obama ad for using McCain's 2003 statement that he voted with Bush "90 percent of the time"

››› ››› LILY YAN

On his radio and television shows, Bill O'Reilly criticized an Obama campaign ad for including a May 2003 statement from Sen. John McCain, in which McCain said that "there was a recent study that showed that I voted with the president 90 percent of the time." O'Reilly asserted that the "country was in a far different place" when McCain made those comments. In fact, according to a vote analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Quarterly, McCain was the administration's most reliable supporter in 2007.

On the August 6 editions of his radio and television shows, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly criticized an ad by the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama titled "Original" for including a May 22, 2003, statement from Sen. John McCain, in which McCain said: "The president and I agree on most issues. There was a recent study that showed that I voted with the president 90 percent of the time." O'Reilly asserted on his radio show that the "country was in a far different place" when McCain made those comments. However, O'Reilly did not note that, according to a 2008 study by Congressional Quarterly, a nonpartisan publication that tracks legislators' votes, McCain voted with the president 95 percent of the time in 2007. In a January 13 article (accessed via Nexis), Congressional Quarterly reported that "McCain's 95 percent support [for Bush] score for last year was the highest in the chamber." CQ found that McCain voted with President Bush 90 percent of the time in 2002.

On The Radio Factor, O'Reilly said: "In that campaign ad -- and we're gonna play it for you tonight on television -- when Obama says that McCain voted -- uses the sound bite that McCain says, 'I voted with Bush 90 percent of the time.' " He added, "That's from 2003, when the country was in a far different place. That's not right. That's not right." O'Reilly again referred to the ad later in the program, saying that it was "foolish" to use the 2003 McCain quote because "the McCain people could go back and get Obama statements that are five years old and turn them around and club him with them." On Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor later that day, O'Reilly aired the ad and said: "Now, you may have noticed the McCain statement about Bush was made more than five years ago, when the country was a far different place."

O'Reilly also said of the Obama ad on his radio show: "Now, Obama, tax cuts for millionaires -- that's just bunk. Tax cuts for millionaires -- it's just bull. So everybody knows that's bull." But according to the Tax Policy Center's "Updated Analysis of the 2008 Presidential Candidates' Tax Plans," "In contrast [to Obama's proposed tax plan], the McCain plan would provide virtually no benefit to households in the bottom quintile, and very modest benefits to those in the next three quintiles. The top quintile would receive a tax cut of more than 3 percent of after-tax income. Within the top quintile, the richest 1 percent of households would receive an average tax cut of 3.7 percent. That figure rises to almost 4.7 percent for the top 0.1 percent of the income distribution." According to the report, the top 0.1 percent is made up of filers making over $2.8 million.

From the August 6 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: Now, as soon as that ad came out, Obama has an answer -- an answer ad. You know, it doesn't take these people long to get these ads up and running, by the way. Roll the tape on that.

[begin audio clip]

ANNOUNCER: He's the original maverick.

McCAIN: The president and I agree on most issues. There was a recent study that showed that I voted with the president over 90 percent of the time.

ANNOUNCER: John McCain supports Bush's tax cuts for millionaires, but nothing for 100 million households. He's for billions in new oil company giveaways while gas prices soar, and for tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas: the original maverick or just more of the same?

OBAMA: I'm Barack Obama and I approve this message.

[end audio clip]

O'REILLY: OK, so he's got the McCain sound bite in there. Let's try to find out where that sound bite came from. I don't know where that sound bite -- let's try -- tell the brain room to track that down, and when it was.

So, Obama's ad basically says, look, you know, McCain is Bush -- third Bush term. Now, if I'm McCain, I don't do this. Number one, you're not gonna win this game. What I do -- and I said this yesterday -- is every time Obama tries to link me with Bush, I link Obama with [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi [D-CA]. That's how I play that game.

Now, Obama's, you know, tax cuts for millionaires -- that's just bunk. All right, it's just bunk. Tax cuts for millionaires -- it's just bull. So everybody knows that's bull. I don't know what he's talking about -- billions in new oil company giveaways? I don't know what that is. So, again, Barack Obama is a generalist. I'd like to know what that is 'cause, as you know, I'm not a big oil company guy.

[...]

O'REILLY: Now, you -- I was surprised because I don't -- oh, by the way, I want to, you know -- did you hear that ad where McCain -- the Obama ad where McCain says, "I voted with Bush 90 percent of the time"?

LARRY SABATO (professor of politics at the University of Virginia): Yeah.

O'REILLY: Do you know when that was made?

SABATO: I believe that was when Bush endorsed McCain. I'm not 100 percent sure.

O'REILLY: May 22nd, 2003.

SABATO: Oh, it was 2003. OK.

O'REILLY: Two thousand and three. Five years ago. Now, would you say that's deceptive?

SABATO: Oh, yeah. I mean --

O'REILLY: OK.

SABATO: -- most things about political ads are.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, I'm gonna have to whack Obama tonight right over the head with that --

SABATO: Sure.

O'REILLY: -- because I'm not going to -- deception is not gonna stand.

SABATO: Right.

O'REILLY: It's not gonna stand.

[...]

O'REILLY: In that campaign ad -- and we're gonna play it for you tonight on television -- when Obama says that McCain voted -- uses the sound bite that McCain says, "I voted with Bush 90 percent of the time." That's from 2003, when the country was in a far different place. That's not right. That's not right. And those are the things that you learn here that you won't learn anywhere else.

[...]

O'REILLY: OK, tonight on the TV side, Dick Morris is gonna come in and analyze the Bush-Maverick ad and the Obama reply. I must correct the record a little bit. On the Obama thing, where they quote Bush saying that he voted with -- they quote McCain that he voted with Bush 90 percent of the time, they do have for what -- two seconds on the screen -- 2003. So, we didn't see that. We just heard it. But they did put it on there and that's to, of course, blunt any criticism that the, you know, that statement is five years old. But still, foolish to do that because they could certainly -- the McCain people could go back and get Obama statements that are five years old and turn them around and club him with them. So, let's be fair about it. Manu, Fairhaven, Massachusetts. What's going on?

From the August 6 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Now, in reply, Obama put this out.

[begin video clip]

ANNOUNCER: He's the original maverick.

McCAIN: The president and I agree on most issues. There was a recent study that showed that I voted with the president over 90 percent of the time.

ANNOUNCER: John McCain supports Bush's tax cuts for millionaires, but nothing for 100 million households. He's for billions in new oil company giveaways while gas prices soar, and for tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas: the original maverick or just more of the same?

OBAMA: I'm Barack Obama and I approve this message.

[end video clip]

O'REILLY: Now, you may have noticed the McCain statement about Bush was made more than five years ago, when the country was a far different place. Of course, it wasn't exactly fair for Obama to use that cold clip, but that's politics in America.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, Westwood One
Person
Bill O'Reilly
Show/Publication
The Radio Factor, The O'Reilly Factor
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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