By Bill O'Reilly
Boy, do I have a story to tell you about the presidential vote, so perk up. Here we go.
I thought Mitt Romney was a good choice to run against President Obama because of his economic experience. Also the Governor is a free market capitalist and offered a stark contrast to the President who wants the federal government to drive the economy.
The campaign unfolded slowly as most Americans did not know Romney. And with all the high tech gizmos these days, it's difficult to get the attention of the folks. So I knew very early that the polling was insignificant and the debates would be the real test.
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BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: As I said, these polls are interesting but they are not vital because of the debates, the three debates I think really going to tell the tale.
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Do you remember Bill, I told you earlier this year when you were saying debates are going to be all important. I said the history shows that they are not. Well the first debate prove me wrong about that...
O'REILLY: Well I mean, I'm so happy that you brought that up. Can I just... can I paraphrase Barack Obama? In the last debate? Can I do that?
HUME: Yes of course.
O'REILLY: All right, "Can you say that a bit louder, Brit?"
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Well, that's why I like Hume, he's an honest man.
As we all know the first debate was a major victory for Governor Romney and instantly made him competitive. But he did not exactly seize the day. His campaign played it conservative, managing Romney's appearances tightly scripting his media response.
Then in the third debate, the Governor made a big mistake.
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O'REILLY: Now, the key question is, why did Governor Romney avoid asking President Obama about the chaotic Libyan situation? I hope I get to ask the Governor that as we are seeking an interview with him and also with President Obama.
My guess is that Mr. Romney wanted to appear benign in the debate in order to court single women voters.
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O'REILLY: The reason Mitt Romney should have confronted the President over Libya is that after the debate, the media would have been forced to cover the story, which is a major embarrassment to the President and speaks to his overall leadership. It's not just about Libya. It's about honest representation in the Oval Office. And it's about effective anti-terror measures.
Romney should have made that issue center stage. Because he did not, the press and the voters basically ignored it. Still, still, after the third debate, Romney had some momentum. But it was suddenly blown away by Hurricane Sandy.
That disaster took Romney off the front pages for five days while President Obama dominated the news cycle and gained credibility after he was praised by conservative New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Obama supporters were delirious with joy after Sandy.
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CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: I'm so glad we had that storm last week because I think the storm was one of those things. No, politically I should say, not in terms of hurting people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
MATTHEWS: The storm brought in possibilities for good politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Exit polling yesterday showed 42 percent of those who voted, 42 percent said President Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy was an important part of their decision. Also, nine percent of those voting yesterday said their decision was made at the last minute. And the storm was fresh in everybody's mind.
But Sandy did not directly re-elect President Obama. Hispanic Americans did -- breaking 71 percent for the President.
Despite all of that, Mitt Romney could have won the election had he recaptured momentum last weekend. It's like a sporting event. The team with the mo in the last few minutes of the game usually wins.
But the Romney campaign did nothing -- zero -- nothing in the last few days to jump start the Governor. Local campaigning is never enough. If Mitt Romney had a guy as smart as Obama's chief strategist David Axelrod, the Governor would be celebrating, I should say, tonight.
"Talking Points" believes that by not emerging aggressively after Sandy, Romney cost himself the presidency. And if the election had been held eight days earlier, the Governor would have defeated Barack Obama.
Now, going forward, some folks are despairing today. Mike Ballinger who lives in West Hartford, Connecticut wrote, "We have lost our American way of life." There is some truth to what Mike believes. Dennis Miller has a similar take coming up.
But the truth is the USA is a rapidly changing country. And the Republican Party has to rethink strategy. In hindsight, Senator Marco Rubio would have been the best choice to run with Mitt Romney. It's not a knock on Congressman Paul Ryan, he did very well. It's just that the GOP needs to send a powerful signal to Hispanic voters that the party respects them. Hispanic American voters cast approximately 11 million ballots yesterday, 11 million. Obama beat Romney by less than three million in the popular vote.
The good news for the Republicans is that the pressure is now on President Obama and the Democrats. If the economy doesn't improve dramatically over the next four years, the Democratic Party will evaporate -- as simple as that.
What is more complicated is the mindset of the American people. As I reported last night during the election coverage about half of all American homes are now receiving some kind of government entitlement -- some earned, some not.
So any effort to reform or cut back on entitlements is a tough sell. But it's going to have to be done. President Obama won because he effectively put together a coalition of the willing, voters who had something to gain by keeping him in office.
But with the nation heading towards financial insolvency, possible bankruptcy, that kind of "where's mine" attitude will eventually bring economic ruin. If Mitt Romney had forcefully made that case, he might have prevailed. This year it was not enough to say what you would do to defeat the Obama machine. You had to convince voters there's danger in the President's policies.
Mitt Romney could not convince enough Independent voters of that. The Governor needed to overwhelm the electorate with points of doom because they are real. He needed to bring an urgency to his presentation. He did not. Preferring to campaign the old fashioned way.
And by the way, stock market tanked today, down 313 points in response to the vote. Wall Street worried about Obama economics going forward.
As far as moving the Republican Party further into the conservative precincts, the numbers simply aren't there. Exit polling found that 35 percent of voters described themselves as conservative right now; 25 percent liberal; 41 percent moderate.
So while the right is still powerful, ideology is not going to win the national election any longer. The President is indeed a liberal guy. But he ran as a populist who wants to give working Americans a break. His acolytes pushed the far left nonsense. He didn't.
However, behind the scenes Mr. Obama has embraced just about every far-left cause. And that is cause for concern. Because in his final term, only the House of Representatives stands between Barack Obama and a far left ideological administration. Thank God for that check and balance.
On a personal note, Americans who voted for Mitt Romney are understandably disappointed tonight. But should accept the situation setting themselves up as the loyal opposition. That's the way it's always been in America.
I believe things happen for a reason. And that fate swings hard and in unexpected ways. President Obama won fair and square, to use a cliche, and we should all respect the vote.
What's very important to me is that you, whom I'm sworn to look out for, were satisfied with The Factor's election coverage. About 40,000 of you voted in our BillO'Reilly.com poll; and 80 percent believe we were fair while 20 percent dissent. I will read some of those dissenting letters at the end of the broadcast.
But even more impressive was that more than seven million Americans watched this program, The Factor, on Monday evening the night before the vote. By far, the largest audience of any prime time news program. The reason? We tell it straight, fact-based and nothing hidden. You may not agree with me on everything but what we do here is fair, bold and sometimes fresh and not beholden to anyone.
And that's the way elections should be covered.
And that's "The Memo."
- You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.