Ignoring numerous speeches and statements, Hannity claims to "never hear" Obama discuss "how great this country is"

››› ››› TOM ALLISON & MARK BOCHKIS

On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity asserted of Sen. Barack Obama: "I never hear the inspiring -- where is the inspiring rhetoric about how great this country is? I never hear him talk about that." In fact, Obama has regularly talked about "how great this country is"; during a speech in Iowa in January, Obama said: "Hope is the bedrock of this nation -- the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be."

On the August 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, while discussing Sen. Barack Obama's comments during a campaign event the previous day, co-host Sean Hannity asserted: "I never hear the inspiring -- where is the inspiring rhetoric about how great this country is? I never hear him talk about that." In fact, Obama has regularly talked about "how great this country is" in his speeches and writing, including in stating that his personal background is "a story that could only happen in the United States of America," describing America as "a magical place" that has "shone as a beacon of freedom and opportunity," and commenting on "the fundamental decency of the American people." Hannity's false suggestion that Obama "never" discusses "how great this country is" occurred just days after he made several other false generalizations concerning Obama -- that no "prominent Republican" has "said that [Obama] is not patriotic, or that he's got a funny name," and that "Obama can't point to a single instance in which ... Sean Hannity or talk radio" has "made an issue of Obama's race."

Obama has frequently praised this country:

  • In his July 24 speech in Berlin, Germany, Obama said: "But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived -- at great cost and great sacrifice -- to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world."
  • While discussing energy in Dayton, Ohio, on July 11, Obama said:

In the last century, during the days that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor, the American people were asked, almost overnight, to transform a peacetime economy that was still climbing out of the depths of the great depression into an arsenal of democracy that could wage war across three continents.

And many doubted whether this could be achieved in time, or even at all. And Franklin Roosevelt's own advisers told him that his goals for wartime production were unrealistic and impossible to meet. But FDR simply waved them off, saying, "Believe me, the production people can do it if they really try." That was FDR's attitude: Don't tell me we can't do it. Yes, we can.

Today, the challenges we face from our energy dependence are great. Meeting it will take time, and it won't be easy, but if we're willing to work at it, and invest in it, and sacrifice for it; if we're willing to summon the same spirit of optimism and possibility that has defined this country's greatest progress, then I believe that we, too, can do it if we really try.

  • In a January 3 speech in Iowa, Obama said: "Hope -- hope is what led me here today -- with a father from Kenya, a mother from Kansas, and a story that could only happen in the United States of America. Hope is the bedrock of this nation -- the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be."
  • In a December 5, 2007, speech, Obama characterized Americans as heirs to "the legacy of a band of unlikely patriots who overthrew the tyranny of a King."

  • In his July 27, 2004, keynote address to the Democratic National Convention, Obama stated:

But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance, my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place: America, which shone as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before.

[...]

In the end, that is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation; a belief in things not seen; a belief that there are better days ahead. I believe that we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity. I believe we can provide jobs to the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair. I believe that ... as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices, and meet the challenges that face us.

  • On Page 8 of his book, The Audacity of Hope (Crown, 2005), Obama writes:

This book grows directly out of those conversations on the campaign trail. Not only did my encounters with voters confirm the fundamental decency of the American people, they also reminded me that at the core of the American experience are a set of ideals that continue to stir our collective conscience; a common set of values that bind us together despite our differences; a running thread of hope that makes our improbable experiment in democracy work. These values and ideals find expression not just in the marble slabs of monuments or in the recitation of history books. They remain alive in the hears and minds of most Americans -- and can inspire us to pride, duty, and sacrifice.

Obama concludes the book as follows:

And in that place [the National Mall in Washington, D.C.], I think about America and those who built it. This nation's founders, who somehow rose above petty ambitions and narrow calculations to imagine a nation unfurling across a continent. And those like Lincoln and King, who ultimately laid down their lives in the service of perfecting an imperfect union. And all the faceless, nameless men and women, slaves and soldiers and tailors and butchers, constructing lives for themselves and their children and grandchildren, brick by brick, rail by rail, calloused hand by calloused hand, to fill in the landscape of our collective dreams.

It is that process I wish to be a part of.

My heart is filled with love for this country. [Pages 361-362]

Media Matters has previously documented examples of media figures falsely claiming that Obama "dodg[es] the word and concept of patriotism" or that his focus on patriotism is new.

From the August 7 edition of Hannity & Colmes:

COLMES: Do you think he hates America? Does Obama hate America?

HANNITY: "G-d America."

COLMES: Does Obama hate America?

HANNITY: William Ayers, who bombed the Pentagon.

HUCKABEE: I don't think Obama hates America, but I think Obama's --

HANNITY: He said it's France.

HUCKABEE: -- got to clarify -- he's got to clarify that what he loves about America is the fact that he has broken a lot of barriers to be the nominee. And it's really hard --

HANNITY: All right. I want to --

HUCKABEE: -- for me or anyone else to say, "Boy, America has really been really tough on Barack Obama." I think America's been pretty darn good to Barack Obama, and he ought to acknowledge that.

HANNITY: But he doesn't say it. And that's the point. This comment to this young girl, "Oh, America is no longer what it could be -- what it once was," first of all contradicts what his wife said that she'd never been proud of her country, and America is a downright mean country, so, obviously, the Obamas are having a little conflict within their own family about what -- the state of the country.

It -- I never hear the inspiring -- where is the inspiring rhetoric about how great this country is? I never hear him talk about that.

HUCKABEE: I think one of the reasons this race is tightening up is because Barack Obama is not the same candidate that he was during the primary when he would read the prompter and he would give glowing speeches of where we're going to do great things. He's now telling a 7-year-old that this isn't all that great a country, and you don't tell 7-year-olds that.

HANNITY: I want to talk about the prompter versus his extemporaneous speaking. It seems he gets away from the prompter, he's in trouble.

HUCKABEE: He's very good scripted, and he struggles when he's having to be extemporaneous. And I think that's one of the reasons that he has not been willing to go to the town hall format with John McCain. You know what? I'm not sure that I blame him because John McCain handles that format beautifully.

HANNITY: And he doesn't speak as well on the prompter. It's just the opposite.

HUCKABEE: No, he's not a prompter guy.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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