Fox & Friends Phillips Wet Blankets War Effort, NSA Surveillance

Hubert Humphrey was known as the Happy Warrior for his cheerful approach to the political wars. In contrast, Fox & Friends Weekend's Julian Phillips, judging by his crabbiness this morning, might be dubbed the Whining Warrior.

Beyond his rain-on-the-parade words, Phillips' body language and facial expressions oozed negativity. The shot to the right is a file photo, but typifies Julian's less-than-sunny demeanor.

The show lead with news of the latest AP poll, which revealed a significant uptick in support for the Iraqi war effort among Americans, with 57% opposing immediate pull-out.

Page Hopkins is clearly the most pro-administration among the hosting triumvirate composed of herself, Kiran Chetry and Phillips. She kicked off the discussion by observing "it so interesting that a solid majority is behind staying the course in Iraq."

Even Chetry chimed in, "I think that most people realize we can't pull out immediately. The elections went off well, and more Americans are on the same page than a lot of the divisiveness that we've seen in Congress and in Washington leads us to believe."

That's when Phillips threw his wet blanket, telling his co-hosts they "had to be careful," by which he seemed to mean that widespread support for the war should not be read into the poll results.

Phillips: "There is a difference between staying the course and a gradual reduction of troops. I still think anybody, like myself, would like to see a gradual withdrawal. That does not also mean that people are necessarily for this war."

Julian was back at it a minute later. Putting on his worst prune face, he observed: "I think we should stay until we are no longer wanted. Once these elections take place and these folks say we do not need you any more then we need to get out of there."

Discussion then turned to Pres. Bush's authorization of NSA surveillance of phone lines possibly being used by Al-Qaeda.

Phillips made a clumsy effort to tie the surveillance flap to the recent Newsweek cover story about W being in a bubble.

"I think what it is with the President on this, it may not just be this one issue. For those who are critics, not everybody is [Ed.: thanks, Julian!], there have been claims against this administration it's been the most secretive presidential administration in recent memory.

"Here's just another example that critics would point to and say he's keeping things away from us, he's keeping things away from Congress, and this is just one more example. If this were isolated, perhaps he wouldn't be getting as much press as it is now, that's my feeling."

Hopkins immediately shot back: "It's a national security issue. They say it prevented that Ohio truck bomb."

Phillips was implacable: "There are people who say there's been a broad brush here, a lot of people who have been targeted."

Riposted Chetry emphatically: "There are only 36 people who have been targeted!"

Insisted Phillips: "They're saying there have been tens of thousands of people who have been targeted."

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.