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New York Times Editorial Praises Shep Smith For Joe The Plumber Smackdown

12/04/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

We do not often cheer on Fox News's coverage of politics. But we did the other day when the anchor Shepard Smith reported on an especially absurd turn in the "Joe the Plumber" saga.

At a campaign rally this week, Mr. Wurzelbacher was filmed agreeing with another McCain supporter that electing Mr. Obama would be "death to Israel."

For five painful live-on-Fox minutes the next day, Mr. Smith repeatedly asked Mr. Wurzelbacher what evidence he had to back up that charge. Mr. Wurzelbacher refused to answer. He said it was up to Mr. Smith's viewers to figure out why he, Joe the Plumber, thought Mr. Obama was a menace to Israel.

Looking incredulous, Mr. Smith gave up. He read a statement from the McCain campaign praising the plumber's "penetrating and clear analysis."

Then Mr. Smith said: "I just want to make this 100 percent perfectly clear. Barack Obama has said repeatedly and demonstrated repeatedly that Israel will always be a friend of the United States no matter what happens once he becomes president of the United States. His words."

"The rest of it," he said, "man, it just gets frightening sometimes." Yes it does.

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