Oct. 25, 2006 — -- Conservatives came to the defense of talk radio host Rush Limbaugh over his accusation that actor Michael J. Fox's appearance in a political ad about stem cell research was "purely an act."
ABC talk radio host Sean Hannity told "Good Morning America" that Fox deserved to be criticized.
"Michael J. Fox admits now that he stopped taking his medication prior to testifying before Congress," Hannity said. "You have a right to speak up, but he also has a right to be criticized."
Fox cut a highly emotional spot for several Democratic candidates, including Missouri's Senate candidate Claire McCaskill.
Limbaugh questioned whether Fox's very real physical tremors had been faked.
"In this commercial, he is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He is moving all around and shaking. And it's purely an act," Limbaugh said.
Limbaugh apologized after his listeners clued him in that Fox was not acting, but some Democrats say the conservative radio host didn't seem sincere.
"There are some inaccuracies in the ad that need to be debated," Hannity said. "Unfortunately he wants to create an impression where Republicans don't care about the health of people. This is only about the funding of federal stem cell issues."
"Bottom line: Did Rush Limbaugh go too far? My take is that he was referring to his own admission in his own book. He didn't talk about the congressional testimony. Everybody wants Michael J. Fox to get well. It is a difficult disease," Hannity said.
"What's unfortunate and deceiving about the ad is that this is about the federal funding of embryotic stem cells," he said, alleging that congressional candidates didn't have a say in those decisions.
As for the results of the midterm elections, Hannity wasn't sure what the outcome would be.
"If I could pick those, I think I would be a pretty wealthy guy," he said. "But, I sense being on radio talking to people three hours a day, that there's been a shift."
"I think this Michael J. Fox [ad controversy] is going to backfire," he said. "I think the race ultimately is going to be decided on issues: national security, immigration, taxes. And when people focus on that, I think it benefits the Republicans."