Olbermann: Hannity & Limbaugh ‘Haven’t Called [Obama] the N-Word ... Yet’

On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann attacked Sean Hannity for his recent declaration on FNC's Hannity's America that Obama "can’t point to a single instance in which President Bush or McCain or Karl Rove or Sean Hannity or talk radio or any other major Republican has made an issue of Obama’s race." Missing Hannity’s point that conservatives are not attacking Obama for being black or suggesting voters should be afraid to vote for him because he is black, Olbermann cited quotes from Hannity and Rush Limbaugh which, in the MSNBC host’s mind, proved Hannity wrong, and that "short-term memory is often the first thing to go right after ethics." Olbermann mocked Hannity and Limbaugh by concluding that, "What Hannity means when he says nobody has made an issue of Obama’s race is: He and Limbaugh haven’t called him the ‘N’ word." After a brief pause, Olbermann added: "Yet." Olbermann, who has a history of distorting the words of conservatives, read quotes from Hannity from the past about Obama and the race issue without conveying the context that Hannity was referring to Obama’s links to the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan, who are known for espousing racist views. (Transcripts follow)

Presumably picking up on an article from the liberal Media Matters for America, Olbermann went after Hannity and Limbaugh during his Countdown show’s regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, dishonoring Hannity with the third place "bronze" distinction. Imitating the FNC host’s voice, Olbermann read Hannity’s recent contention that Obama "can’t point to a single instance in which President Bush or McCain or Karl Rove or Sean Hannity or talk radio or any other major Republican has made an issue of Obama’s race."

After suggesting that Hannity was lacking "short-term memory" and "ethics," Olbermann read portions of quotes from the FNC host, which can be found in the Media Matters article, without conveying to viewers that Hannity was talking about Obama’s links to Wright and Farrakhan. Olbermann: "March 2nd of this year, Hannity said: ‘It seems that the change candidate has all the same problems with race as those before him.’ And then he said, ‘It’s only fair to ask do the Obama’s have a race problem of their own?’"

Olbermann did not read the below comments, from the March 2 Hannity's America on FNC, that would have clarified Hannity’s meaning:

SEAN HANNITY: For both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, this has been one of the ugliest primary seasons in recent memory. Both sides have been accused of using the race card, turning what could have been a season of coming together for the Democrats into a nasty free-for-all. And while much of the attention for racial politics has been focused on the Clinton campaign, Barack Obama has waded into his own problems.

As more is learned about Barack Obama's positions, his past, and his affiliations, it seems that the "change" candidate has all the same problems with race as those before him. Let's start off with the recent endorsement given to Barack Obama by the Nation of Islam's head, Louis Farrakhan. Now, while Obama has refused Farrakhan's support and has condemned his past anti-Semitic statements, it wasn't until Tuesday night's debate that he went as far as some would have liked in distancing himself from the man who once referred to Judaism as a gutter religion.

BARACK OBAMA: I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments. I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible. I did not solicit this support.

HANNITY: And, of course, we can't forget the connection that Farrakhan has to Obama's own Trinity United Church of Christ. Their minister and Obama's spiritual adviser, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, honored Farrakhan for lifetime achievement saying, quote, "He truly epitomized greatness." Now, that's in reference to the same Louis Farrakhan who once referred to the white man as the skunk of the planet Earth. So how can someone who has verbally expressed such hate for others receive such an honor? Now, this wasn't a problem created by a nasty campaign ad. Barack Obama did this to himself."

After reading a few short quotes from Limbaugh, Olbermann concluded: "What Hannity means when he says nobody has made an issue of Obama’s race is: He and Limbaugh haven’t called him the ‘N’ word – yet."

Below is a complete transcript of Olbermann’s comments from the Monday, August 11, Countdown on MSNBC:

KEITH OLBERMANN: But first, time for Countdown’s number two story, tonight’s "Worst Persons in the World." The bronze, to radio’s Sean Hannity. Says Barack Obama, quote, "can’t point to a single instance in which President Bush or McCain or Karl Rove or Sean Hannity or talk radio or any other major Republican has made an issue of Obama’s race."

Short-term memory is often the first thing to go right after the ethics. March 2nd of this year, Hannity said: "It seems that the change candidate has all the same problems with race as those before him." And then he said, "It’s only fair to ask do the Obama’s have a race problem of their own?"

And this skips comedian Rush Limbaugh’s June description of Obama, quote, "His only chance of winning is that he’s black." His May description began, "If he were Caucasian-" And a year ago in January, started calling him a "Halfrican-American."

What Hannity means when he says nobody has made an issue of Obama’s race is: He and Limbaugh haven’t called him the ‘N’ word – yet.