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Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison tangles with Sean Hannity on Fox News

  • Article by: RACHEL E. STASSEN-BERGER
  • Star Tribune
  • February 27, 2013 - 8:48 PM

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., began a Tuesday night interview on Fox News by telling host Sean Hannity that he was guilty of “inaccurate” and “yellow journalism” and was “the worst excuse for a journalist I’ve ever seen.”

The interview went downhill from there.

Clips show Hannity introducing the spot by saying President Obama is “more concerned with fearmongering” on the automatic spending cuts due this week than on finding a solution and suggesting Ellison could provide some insight. Ellison said Hannity was misleading people on Obama’s remarks. “I was here,” Ellison said. “Everything the president said is absolutely true. For you to make people think it isn’t is a breach on your part. The president was truthful, the president was honest.”

The two then tangled over whether Hannity is a Republican. Ellison called Hannity a “shill for the Republican Party.” Hannity said “I am not a Republican,” adding he was a “registered conservative.”

Ellison attacked Republicans and defended Obama on the looming sequester. Hannity attempted to ask a question, saying to Ellison, “I gave you three minutes to rant. Calm down. ... ”

“This is a First Amendment issue,” Ellison said. “I’m going to say what I think is right.”

Hannity: “Why are you so angry?”

Ellison: “Why are you so angry?”

Hannity: “I’m not angry, I’m laughing at you because I think this is actually comical.”

Ellison: “I’m laughing at you, and it’s not the first time.”

When Hannity attempted to ask Ellison about the national debt, Ellison repeatedly interrupted him and each called the other “a broken record.”

Hannity later started another question about the debt: “Is it immoral to put 16 and 1/2 ... ”

Before Hannity could finish, Ellison jumped in: “You are immoral. ... You tell lies.”

Hannity finally ended the interview by saying: “Congressman, you are a total waste of time. I’m moving on because our audience deserves better. ... I tried to give you a fair shot.”

Ellison retorted: “No, you didn’t.”

The interview enraged Republicans, who said Ellison has showed a pattern of behavior unworthy of the office he holds.

But DFL Party Chair Ken Martin weighed in Wednesday, saying in a statement that Ellison deserved thanks for “standing up for working families and defending the president’s record.”

“The Republicans are choosing to protect giveaways for oil companies and hedge fund managers and give pink slips to teachers and cops,” Martin said in a statement. “Washington needs more leaders like Rep. Ellison who are willing to fight passionately for Minnesota families.”

RACHEL E. STASSEN-BERGER

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