Hannity falsely claimed Bill Clinton wrote op-ed criticizing Bush days before 2001 inauguration
Research ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG
Sean Hannity falsely claimed that President Clinton "had an op-ed in January 15th, before George Bush was sworn in, criticizing George Bush." In fact, Clinton referred to the incoming Bush administration in his op-ed only when he urged it "to appoint a nonpartisan presidential commission on electoral reform."
Addressing "all this talk" that former President Bush "needs to be quiet," Sean Hannity falsely claimed on the June 18 edition of his Fox News program that former President Bill Clinton "had an op-ed in January 15th, before George Bush was sworn in, criticizing George Bush." In fact, in his op-ed, published by The New York Times on January 14, 2001, Clinton did not criticize Bush; rather, he outlined a series of recommendations he would make on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to advance the "struggle for equal justice in America." The only instance in which Clinton even referred to the incoming Bush administration in the op-ed was when he wrote, "I urge the new administration to appoint a nonpartisan presidential commission on electoral reform," after noting that "[i]n the presidential election of 2000, too many people felt the votes they cast were not counted, and some felt there were organized efforts to keep them from the polls."
From Clinton's January 14, 2001, New York Times op-ed, "Erasing America's Color Lines":
My message to Congress makes recommendations in a number of areas. For example, there is perhaps no area today in which perceptions of fairness differ so greatly, depending on one's race, than the administration of criminal justice.
If you are white, you most likely believe the system is fair. If you belong to a minority group, you most likely feel the opposite. If we want to keep crime coming down, we need to instill trust in our criminal justice system.
We can begin by ending the practice of racial profiling. We know racial profiling exists. We know it is wrong. And it should be illegal, everywhere. As we continue our efforts to document the extent of the problem, we should pass a federal law banning the practice of racial profiling.
We should also re-examine our federal sentencing policies, particularly mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders. We should immediately reduce the disparity between crack and powder-cocaine sentences. And we should pass legislation to provide greater access to DNA testing and competent counsel for defendants in death penalty cases.
The struggle for equal justice in America also includes the struggle for voting rights. In the presidential election of 2000, too many people felt the votes they cast were not counted, and some felt there were organized efforts to keep them from the polls.
We must do more to ensure that more people vote and that every vote is counted. To that end, I urge the new administration to appoint a nonpartisan presidential commission on electoral reform, headed by distinguished citizens like former presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. Such a commission should gather facts and determine the causes -- in every state -- of voting disparities, including those involving race, class and ethnicity. It should make recommendations to Congress about how to achieve fair, inclusive and uniform standards for voting and vote counting. It should also work to prevent voter suppression and intimidation and to increase voter participation.
Here are two places to start: We should make Election Day a national holiday. And it is long past time to give back the right to vote to ex-offenders who have paid their debts to society.
From the June 18 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
HANNITY: President Bush has now spoken out on a lot of issues: on enhanced interrogations; he spoke out about the economy, and he said it's going to be the private sector that leads the country out of the current economic crisis.
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (Fox News host and legal analyst): Right.
HANNITY: You can't - you can spend your money better than the government. It's resonating.
GUILFOYLE: It's true.
HANNITY: It is true.
GUILFOYLE: It's a fact that's supported by historical evidence, so why are we going to go backwards, OK, to the horse and buggy era when we should be moving forward with innovative ideas and following the best practices that have actually resulted in improvements in the lives of the American people? Hello?
S.E. CUPP (columnist): That's right. I mean, and President Bush doesn't really have anything to lose or gain here. He's not running for office again.
CUPP: I think he believes that this is sincerely the best way to fix the country. And by the way, can we just say, what a classy guy.
CUPP: What a class act. Barack Obama --
GUILFOYLE: A gentleman.
CUPP: -- is still on the "Blame Bush Express."
CUPP: He needs to get off the campaign trail and take some responsibility --
GUILFOYLE: The "BBE."
CUPP: -- for the stuff that he's doing right now.
HANNITY: I went back -- Bill Clinton, before George Bush ever became president, had an op-ed in January 15th, before George Bush was sworn in, criticizing George Bush. You know, for all this talk, "Oh, George Bush needs to be quiet" -- now he defended enhanced interrogations. He said it was lawful. He did it to protect this country. He said he wasn't going to sell out this country for short-term political gain. That --
CUPP: It's -- you know, it's perfectly within his purview and his right to defend his policies and criticize the current policies. I think that's completely within his right. I don't think he was slighting Obama.
CUPP: You know, he's a class act.
GUILFOYLE: He's a gentleman and a class act. He always has been, he always will be, and he should never apologize for protecting Americans.
CUPP: That's right.