In a discussion with Newt Gingrich on Fox News, Sean Hannity mischaracterized Sen. Barack Obama's comments about taking unilateral action against terrorism targets in Pakistan, if necessary, suggesting that Obama advocated "invading Pakistan." Rather, in an August 2007 speech, Obama said: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets [in Pakistan] and President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will." Further, just two days earlier on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Gingrich himself spoke in favor of taking action against terrorists in Pakistan.
Sean Hannity falsely suggested that federal areas legally available for leasing by oil companies contain no oil. In fact, federal agencies have estimated that more oil exists on the tens of millions of acres of federal areas currently legally available for drilling than there is in the areas currently off limits to drilling.
On his radio program, Sean Hannity falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama's proposal "for rescinding the Bush tax cuts" would result in "families of four that make $50,000 a year ... paying another $2,000 in taxes a year." In fact, Obama has proposed cutting taxes for middle-class families and rolling back President Bush's tax cuts only on people who are making $250,000 a year or more.
On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity aired a deceptively cropped statement from Bill Clinton's remarks at the Aspen Ideas Festival in asserting that Clinton was "obviously taking a shot at Senator [John] McCain," omitting the context showing that Clinton was discussing what Nelson Mandela means to him. Hannity also falsely asserted that Clinton's statement and recent comments by Wesley Clark were part of "a series of attacks on Senator McCain's military record."
On his radio show, Fox News' Sean Hannity touted a Washington Examiner blog post claiming that Sen. Barack Obama got a "discount" and a "Countrywide-like sweetheart mortgage deal" from Northern Trust for the purchase of his house. But the Examiner's only source for that claim in the blog post was a Washington Post article that did not cite any evidence that the interest rate Obama received was in any way out of the ordinary or in any way the result of preferential treatment.
On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity criticized the purchase of credits to offset one's "carbon footprint," asserting, "Those offsets -- that is the biggest hoax in the world. ... You know what it's like? You go cheat on your wife, and then say, 'Honey, but don't worry. I bought an offset.' Good luck." Hannity has yet to address the pledge by News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch "to be carbon neutral, across all our businesses" -- which includes Fox News -- "by 2010."
On Fox News, Dick Morris asserted that as president, Sen. Barack Obama "would double the capital gains tax. That means that you get far less when you sell your home, or your 401(k) or your stock plan," and added, "[H]e would increase the limit on Social Security taxes, which means instead of paying 12 1/2 percent of the first $100,000, you pay it on everything that you're making." Morris' claims are false or highly misleading.
On Hannity & Colmes, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, co-host of ABC's The View, asserted of Sen. Barack Obama: "[I]t bothered me that he seemed for a while more willing to give the fist bump to [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad than our own General [David] Petraeus."
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Sean Hannity claimed on his radio show, "[W]e've got China, you know, joining with Cuba, they're drilling 60 miles off our shores of Florida." But Vice President Dick Cheney has reportedly issued a correction for making the same claim, as has George Will, whom Cheney cited as the source of his claim.
On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity twice called Sen. Barack Obama the "No. 1 radical liberal in the Senate," failing to note that the National Journal vote ranking to which he was referring -- which said nothing about Obama being "radical" -- was based on a subjective selection of Senate votes by the magazine's staff, or that a more comprehensive examination of Senate votes produced a different result.
On his radio show, Sean Hannity asked, "Did Obama know at the time that Rezko was saving him three hundred grand on the purchase of his home?" On Fox News, Dick Morris asserted: "Rezko paid market price for his property. He [Obama] didn't pay market price for his and they came from the same seller. Who is to say that that wasn't a switch?" But Hannity and Morris provided no support for the claim -- which has reportedly been refuted by the seller -- that Antoin Rezko's purchase of the adjacent property enabled Sen. Barack Obama to purchase his house at a discounted price.
On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity asserted that Sen. Barack Obama said he would "maybe invade an ally like Pakistan." In fact, during an August 2007 speech, Obama did not say he would "invade an ally like Pakistan"; rather, Obama stated: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [Pakistani] President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will."
On Countdown, Keith Olbermann awarded Sean Hannity the "runner-up" in his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment for failing to challenge a guest's suggestion that Sen. Barack Obama has "not condemn[ed] the actions" of William Ayers. As Olbermann noted, "Hannity, of course, never pointed out to the victim that Obama did condemn them -- the words he used were 'deplore' and 'detestable.'"
On Hannity's America, discussing what host Sean Hannity said was Sen. Barack Obama's "friendly relationship" with Weather Underground member William Ayers, retired New York City Police detective Paul Ragonese, who survived a 1970 bombing attack by the Weather Underground, stated, "I can't understand why somebody who wants to be president of the United States, I'll be perfectly honest with you, would want to associate or not condemn the actions of people in the past." Hannity did not note that, in fact, Obama has condemned Ayers' "detestable acts."
During the April 16 debate, George Stephanopoulos asked Sen. Barack Obama to explain his "relationship" with former Weather Underground Organization member William Ayers and to "explain to Democrats why it won't be a problem." The previous day, Stephanopoulos appeared on The Sean Hannity Show and New York radio station WOR's The Steve Malzberg Show, where both Hannity and Malzberg suggested to Stephanopoulos that he ask Obama about Ayers.