Barney Frank Retires: What Pundits and Politicos Are Saying
Barney Frank, the Democratic U.S. Representative from Massachusetts, announced during a Monday press conference that he would not campaign for reelection in 2012.
One of the most prominent gay politicians in American history and a 16-term veteran of Congress, he attributed his somewhat surprising news to redistricting, conservative opposition, his desire to not spend the entire year on the campaign trail and ambitions to focus more on writing.
He insists that the retirement is from elected office and not all of politics, but the news obviously gained attention from those in the political world.
With cable news outlets breaking into the day's coverage to air Frank's 1:00 p.m. ET conference, the ensuing dialogue on television and online reflected on his long tenure -- with some of the most subjective commentary coming from his detractors.
Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, fresh off her divisive pepper spray comments, had National Review editor Rich Lowrey on her show to discuss the news.
"I think it's a sign that Barney Frank sees the writing on the wall and realizes he's very unlikely to wield meaningful power again," said Lowrey. "He's very smart -- even his fiercest critics acknowledge that. He's very sharp-tongued and witty. But he's also very arrogant, very ideological and very partisan."
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Fox News personalities seemed to have the most to say about Frank.
Monica Crowley, the Fox contributor, radio host and regular panelist on The McLaughlin Group, chimed in on Twitter, with her own take on the news. "Barney Frank not running for re-election," she wrote. "Even the biggest rats are jumping ship. He leaves a lot of leftist destruction in his wake."
Fox host Sean Hannity didn't lay out his thoughts in any specific terms, but he did post a telling retweet from conservative commentator Ann Coulter: "Housing market destroyed. Unemployment 9%. $15 trillion nation debt. Massive recession. "My work here is done" - Barney Frank."
CNN contributor CNN contributor Ari Fleischer, who served half a term as White House Press Secretary under George W. Bush, shared his own diplomatic thoughts on Frank. "I'll miss Barney Frank," he wrote. "I disagree with him about everything, but the guy is funny, and fast with a quip."
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It's some of those quips that have been the most highly cited in the hours after Frank's news. Most networks were quick to replay footage from a town hall meeting in which a protestor, addressing Frank, compared President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.
"On what planet do you spend most of your time?" he asked her.