August 16, 2009

What would the poor little old insurance companies do without the likes of Sean Hannity and his panel to rush to their defense? After claiming that the protests at these town halls are a grass roots movement, and not one being fueled by groups taking money from the insurance and health care industries, Hannity and Carlson staunchly defend the insurance industry.

HANNITY: And tonight we're launching a new Friday night panel that we call "The Sleep-in Sunday Panel." And we're going to give you all the hard-hitting political news on Friday night so you can enjoy the weekend, get a few more hours sleep Sunday morning.

And joining us tonight, he has been a campaign consultant for over 30 years. Democratic pollster Doug Schoen is back.

He is a FOX News contributor. The one and only Tucker Carlson is here, without a bowtie.

And she's the national security and Pentagon correspondent for the Washington Times. Sarah Carter is with us.

And you gave up the bowtie a couple years ago.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Many years ago. I joined the mainstream.

HANNITY: OK. Is that right?

Well, guys, good to see you. Thank you for being with us.

All right. Let's start with the president's town hall. By the way, if they would have had the confetti and the balloons, it would have been, you know, a convention. I mean, everybody standing. One guy mentions the NRA. Three people clapped in Montana.

But let's watch him, again, attack -- attack FOX News.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe in our Constitution, and it's a very important thing. I also get my news from the cable networks, because I don't like the spin that comes from them other places.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, you got to be careful about those cable networks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't tell us how you're going to pay for this. You're saving here; you're saving over there; you're going to take a little money here; you're going to take a little money there. But you have no money. The only way you're going to get that money is to raise our taxes. You said you wouldn't.

OBAMA: Look, you are absolutely right that I can't cover another 46 million people for free. You're right. I can't do that.


HANNITY: Well, that was one truth. Can we all agree on the panel? Does anyone disagree that this was a well choreographed, you know, ticketed event? They handed it out to their supporters. You agree?

DOUG SCHOEN, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Absolutely. It was well- choreographed. They were on message. And they managed to lower the volume for today.

But as you heard, Sean, the president didn't have a good answer to that question. And what's driving public opinion is not outrage and venom, but it's rational people with real concerns about the role of government and the cost of government.

HANNITY: Then why, Doug -- we've been friends a long time, and I think you've been trying to warn your fellow Democrats. Why are they referring to people showing up at these meetings as political terrorists and mobsters and, you know, Nazis and swastikas and Brownshirts and...?

SCHOEN: It is tragic. I will give the president credit for this. He is at least trying to lower the tone and the rhetorical excess. Because bottom line, Sean, it's un-American to engage in that kind of division and hate; because we are all Americans and we want to work together to solve problems.

HANNITY: It's little old ladies and veterans, Tucker, you know, being called un-American by Nancy Pelosi.

CARLSON: Well, the conspiracy theories that arise are the ones that amuse me most, that -- two. One, that this is all -- these town-hall meetings are somehow being infiltrated by industry, opponents to the plan, and their shills, basically, working on behalf of trade groups, most of which actually support the plan or have remained mum on it. So that's absurd.

Or, it's the Republican Party, which all of a sudden has become incredibly organized. A party that couldn't organize my eighth-grader's birthday party, all of a sudden is able to, you know, rally these unseen forces to derail the health-care plan. I mean, it's absurd. This is a real grass-roots movement.

HANNITY: It's organic. This is real.

SARAH CARTER, WASHINGTON TIMES: This is a grass-roots movement. Town-hall meetings have occurred in this country since the founding of this country. And it's insulting.

And I think the American people are insulted when -- when they're attacked and when they're treated like -- like they don't understand what's going on.

Look, the American people want to know the truth. They want the president to answer their questions. And I think there's nothing wrong with that. And we have a right, as people, to understand what the government is doing with our health care. I mean, this is a very serious issue.

HANNITY: There were two great questions. One was by the NRA guy, and what we just saw: how are we going to pay for this?

And the other question was, why did you start attacking the insurance industry? And it was asked by a guy that worked for the insurance industry.

Now Elmendorf and the CBO said, "Hey, look, all this preventive care money we're going to spend," he says, quote, they find it's going to add costs.

SCHOEN: And the problem is the president basically said, "I only vilify the insurance companies because they're," quote, "not constructive. They're not supporting my policies."

And bottom line is he's not able to work with them, so he attacks them. And he's making them his bogey man, because he's unable to sell his plan.

HANNITY: Isn't this something we see, Tucker, a lot as we stand back and watch elections? Democrats, you know, we can predict with certainty every election years, Democrats will often run ads that divide this country on race -- race lines, rich versus poor, old versus young. This seems to be a tried and true tactic.

They've attacked FOX, talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity. Now it's the health-care industry, banks, and big business. This is -- they always need somebody to hate, it seems.

CARLSON: Campaign politics is about -- no one wants to say it, but it's about division, in my view, having covered a lot of campaigns. I think the question is, "Who do you make your enemies?"

And in the end, you need the insurance companies. Without them, you don't have a health-care system. Obama's plan, it seems very clear to me - - no one says this. We'll make it impossible for insurance companies to turn a profit.

And so you have at that point two options. They go out of business. Can't have that. Or the federal government ends up supporting them through tax dollars. That's going to happen.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.