On Tuesday’s Hannity and Colmes program top Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs displayed the latest example of the Democratic campaign attempting to whitewash their opponents. When co-host Sean Hannity asked him about Obama’s connections to William Ayers, Gibbs shot back, "Are you anti-Semitic?" He then changed the entire subject of the discussion to whether Hannity was anti-Semitic for recently interviewing Andy Martin, who in 2000, accused George W. Bush of using cocaine, has been a candidate for various offices in several states, and is accused by the Washington Post of starting the rumor that Obama is a Muslim.
This charge by Gibbs caused a three-plus minute back-and-forth argument in which the Obama spokesman continued to charge that Hannity was anti-Semitic, and also asked at one point, "Why am I not to believe that everyone who works for the network is anti-Semitic because Sean Hannity gave a platform to a man who thinks Jews are slimy?" The argument was finally stopped by co-host Alan Colmes, who defended Hannity as "not anti-Semitic" [see video at right; direct link to video here].
This kind of shout-down-your-opponent-to-shut-him-up strategy by the Obama campaign has been used on at least two other occasions. Just over a month ago on August 27, 2008, the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago got word of an upcoming interview of Stanley Kurtz, a critic of the Illinois senator, on a local talk radio program. They first refused an offer by the radio station, WGN, for equal time on the program. The headquarters then sent out a flash e-mail to their supporters asking them to call and "[t]ell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse" and to "[t]hen report back on your call" on a link on the Obama campaign website. In effect, the Obama campaign and their supporters tried to shout down WGN and Kurt in order to shut them up. They attempted to do the same thing when "The Case Against Barack Obama" author David Freddoso appeared on the same WGN program over two weeks later on September 15.
The relevant portion of the exchange between Sean Hannity and Robert Gibbs, which began at the bottom-half of the 11 pm Eastern hour of Tuesday’s Hannity and Colmes program on Fox News Channel:
SEAN HANNITY: Why would you sit on a board -- would you sit on a board with a guy who bombed the Pentagon [William Ayers] and wasn't sorry about it?
ROBERT GIBBS: He sat on a charitable board and a board that funded by a conservative Republican and a friend of Ronald Reagan.
HANNITY: Was that poor judgment?
GIBBS: That was Walter Annenberg.
HANNITY: I didn't ask you -- was that poor judgment on Obama's part?
GIBBS: I don't think that was poor judgment at all. I think what Barack Obama has done throughout his career is talk about the big issues that are important to him --
HANNITY: All right, you're giving me spin now. I'm asking you --
GIBBS: Okay -- let me ask you one question.
HANNITY: All right. You ask me a question.
GIBBS: Okay. Are you anti-Semitic?
HANNITY: Not at all.
GIBBS: Okay. On your show on Sunday --
HANNITY: Uh-huh --
GIBBS: You -- the show that is named after you, right? The show with -- the centerpiece of that show was a guy named Andy Martin -- right?
HANNITY: No -- I know you're reading your talking points regarding --
GIBBS: No, no --
HANNITY: When I interviewed -- hang on one second. Let me answer your question.
GIBBS: No, no. I don't have talking points --
HANNITY: When I interviewed Malik Shabazz; when I interviewed Al Sharpton --
HANNITY: When I interviewed all of these controversial figures -- you see on Fox, we actually interview people of all points of view, whether we agree or disagree.
GIBBS: So --
HANNITY: I -- the statement you're about to read --
GIBBS: Yeah, Andy Martin --
HANNITY: I -- I totally, completely --
GIBBS: Called a judge a crooked, slimy Jew, who has a history of lying and theiving -- comments (unintelligible) --
HANNITY: Here's my answer to you --
GIBBS: Martin went on to write that he understood better why -- better why the Holocaust took place, given that Jews [sic] survivors are operating as a wolf pack (unintelligible) --
HANNITY: Here's my answer to you. I find those comments despicable. But wait a minute --
GIBBS: You put him on your show!
HANNITY: We put Malik Shabazz on the show --
GIBBS: It's the Hannity -- it's the Hannity show!
HANNITY: I put Khalid Muhammad on my show. I put --
GIBSS: Why am I not to believe that you're anti-Semitic?
HANNITY: Let me -- here's the answer --
GIBBS: Why am I not to believe that everyone who works for the network is anti-Semitic --
HANNITY: Here's the -- here's the --
GIBBS: Because Sean Hannity gave a platform to a man who thinks -- who thinks Jews are slimy?
HANNITY: Mr. Gibbs -- Mr. Gibbs -- Mr. Gibbs -- I's a journalist who interviews people that I disagree with all of the time, that give their opinion. Fox has all points of view. We're allowing you on the program, and I do not agree with hardly anything that Obama says.
GIBBS: (Laughs) Well --
HANNITY: So let me answer -- no, no, no --
GIBBS: How can you give a platform to virulent anti-Semites --
HANNITY: Here's -- I will tell you this --
GIBBS: who can't even get a law license in Illinois?
HANNITY: That I -- I'll make a deal with you. If Barack Obama admits that what he did by sitting on a board with -- giving speeches with -- having Ayers -- going over to Ayers' house --
GIBBS: You'll admit you're anti-Semitic?
HANNITY: No, no. I'll admit to you that -- I will tell you that Barack Obama wants to be president. It's poor judgment. It is irresponsible --
GIBBS: (Laughs) Well --
HANNITY: And it's reckless to -- no, let me finish -- to be friends with a guy that bombed our Pentagon, was at war with our country, whose motto was to kill our children and kill your parents.
GIBBS: Well, I think it's deplorable that you had some on TV that's anti-Semitic --
HANNITY: And it's deplorable that your candidate for president has not been honest with the American people.
GIBBS: That calls Jews slimy, and understands the Holocaust better because of the way he views --
HANNITY: I'm explaining --
COLMES: (unintelligible) We have a short time here --
HANNITY: Let me finish first. Let me finish (to Alan Colmes). I'm explaining to you --
GIBBS: I can't believe you would give a platform --
HANNITY: So you do not want to want me to interview anybody I agree, dis[agree] -- I can only -- I can only interview people you disagree with?
GIBBS: You put the whole show around him, Sean!
HANNITY: Barack Obama --
GIBBS: You had to believe only that you agree with each and everything that Andy Martin says.
HANNITY: Listen -- Barack Obama, the president [sic] sat in the pew of Jeremiah Wright for 20 years, a guy who hates America.
GIBBS: I think -- I think you're changing the subject -- will you do me a favor?
HANNITY: Barack Obama -- Barack Obama is friends with William [sic] Pfleger --
GIBBS: Will you do me a favor?
HANNITY: I have one last question.
HANNITY: Did Barack Obama ever sit and meet with Louis Farrakhan? Has he ever met with Louis Farrakhan?
GIBBS: I don't -- I don't know the answer to that.
HANNITY: Will you give us an answer by tomorrow?
GIBBS: Will you get back to me on whether you're anti-Semitic?
HANNITY: Ah, I'm not anti-Semitic. I am the biggest supporter of Israel.
HANNITY: Benjamin Netanyahu blurbed my book.
GIBBS: Let me tell you -- I don't think -- I don't think your Jewish viewers are going to take it very well when you had someone like that on your show.
HANNITY: Excuse me. Excuse me. I am the biggest supporter of Israel --
GIBBS: I think it's bad that you gave him a platform.
HANNITY: And I've got a 30 year history of -- on the record of it.
GIBBS: Well, ask them and their friends about what Andy Martin said. You used that guest --
HANNITY: And listen -- I am not friends with a guy that bombed the Pentagon. I'm not friends with a guy that bombed the Capitol --
GIBBS: Here, you take this (hands Hannity a card) -- take that.
COLMES: Well, let me jump in for a second, Robert.
HANNITY: Your candidate is friends with him, not me.
GIBBS: You're friends with someone who is a virulent anti-Semite. Ask someone -- ask Benjamin Netanyahu about that!
HANNITY: Your candidate is friends with a terrorist!
GIBBS: That's not true.
COLMES: Hey guys --
HANNITY: He sits on a board with a terrorist.
COLMES: Guys, stop it. First of all, he's not anti-Semitic.
HANNITY: Thank you very much.
GIBBS: Well, (unintelligible) --