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The O'Reilly Factor
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
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First presidential decision in Iowa tomorrow
"As we've stated, Iowa is more of a media event than anything else. Talking Points has no horse in this race at present - we're watching all the candidates, hoping one will emerge as a creative problem solver who is truly looking out for you. Only John Edwards is on our 'absurd' list, and he has once again demonstrated his unbelievable incompetence by suggesting that he would pull U.S. forces away from training Iraqi forces. How dumb is that? But it's not just Edwards who lacks vision. After the Bhutto assassination in Pakistan, did you hear any of the candidates put forth a plan to deal with that chaotic country? On the Democratic side, their big strategy is that Musharraf is corrupt and Bush is an idiot. And on the Republican side, their plan seems to be 'we have to figure out what to do.' All this Bush-bashing and general hand-wringing gets us nowhere. This country needs creative and smart leadership, and in the next few months we'll see if that emerges."

On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, The Factor asked for predictions from two leading political strategists. Democrat Regina Calcaterra forecast a victory for Barack Obama. "Obama will win, Hillary will come in second and Edwards will com in third. Obama and Hillary have organizations, they have the staff to pick up people and drive them to the polling places." Reporting from Iowa, Republican Margaret Hoover said Mitt Romney will win her party's nod. "Romney has spent $7 million dollars here, and he is too proud and too bold to lose to a Southern Baptist minister who has spent $300,000. He's spent the money and he has the organization in place." The Factor agreed that Romney will "squeak by" Huckabee in Iowa, and Obama will emerge victorious on the Democratic side.

News Link: Dem Iowa polls

News Link: GOP Iowa polls
Ron Paul supporters object to exclusion
Fox News, which is hosting a Republican forum this weekend, has excluded Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter because of their weak national poll numbers. Writer Nick Gillespie, a libertarian and Ron Paul supporter, disagreed with that decision. "Paul is pulling about 9% in Iowa," Gillespie declared, "which is better than Rudy Giuliani. This guy has pulled together punk rockers, soft rockers, strippers, evangelical Christians. He is a fascinating character and his foreign policy comes from a strict understanding of the Constitution." The Factor countered that Ron Paul is an extreme isolationist. "When you look at the totality of his positions, he's a pretty frightening guy. You know he doesn't have a chance to win the election."

News Link: Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter not invited to GOP debate
The other side of the Iraq surge strategy
The Factor was joined by author and retired Army officer Ralph Peters, who complained that the media ignored the biggest story of 2007. "Al Qaeda has suffered a strategic defeat," Peters asserted, "not only on the battlefield, but they've lost their base of support. And this is huge. Millions of Sunni Muslims decided that the 'Great Satan' America was a much better deal than Al Qaeda. The mystique of Al Qaeda is dying." The Factor reminded Peters that not everyone agrees with his assessment. "The American media does not believe what you just said. Their point of view is that we illegally invaded Iraq, then Al Qaeda came there and we really haven't defeated them."

News Link: Ralph Peters op-ed
Norm MacDonald fills in for Dennis
With Dennis Miller on vacation, The Factor was joined by Norm MacDonald - another Saturday Night Live vet - who offered some topical observations. A self-proclaimed independent, MacDonald declared his affection for Republican John McCain. "I love McCain. He was my favorite eight years ago, but he was 'the old guy' even back then. If the surge continues to be successful, McCain could actually win." MacDonald also gave Hillary Clinton a backhanded compliment. "She looks to me much more life-like and lady-like. She almost seems like a live lady now. But Obama may be unstoppable now that Dennis Kucinich has thrown his support. That's the equivalent of me throwing my delegates behind him. I think Kucinich is just behind Ahmadinejad in the polls."
Dubious sex sting by police
Legal experts Lis Wiehl and Megyn Kelly began their analysis with the tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo. Two of the victims are suing for millions, but they have been accused of taunting the tiger. "The zoo has admitted that the wall was too low," Kelly said, "but if it is true that these two guys had slingshots and they were taunting the tiger, they could be facing animal cruelty charges, and the reward they get from the zoo could be reduced as a result." Wiehl looked at another controversy in which an Ohio woman was sunbathing topless in a park. Her nakedness was legal, but a man was arrested after he sat down next to her and exposed himself. "The cops were there," Wiehl reported, "because they had heard complaints about indecent exposure. The guy claims the woman was an informant who asked him to expose himself, but she was not an informant and this was not entrapment."

News Link: Taunting involving in tiger attack

News Link: Police use topless sunbather in lewd sting
Policing the 'Net: Rosie O'Donnell's infamy
After readers of Parade Magazine picked Rosie O'Donnell as the single "most annoying" celebrity, O'Donnell immediately responded via a video on her web site. Internet expert Mary Katharine Ham said the response was predictable. "Part of her shtick is that she talks all the time, she puts up these messages on her blog. It gets her a ton of publicity, and she's expected to say outrageous things, silly things, and her fans respond to it." But The Factor pointed out that O'Donnell's reputation is a double-edged sword. "Rosie's fans are going to like her no matter what she says, but in her position she has to reach a mass audience. She's been marginalized by her kooky behavior and is not nearly as commercial as she was."

News Link: Rosie named "most annoying celeb"

News Link: Video: Rosie responds
Who's helping, and who's hurting?
Wednesday's Patriots: The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, which conducted a survey and concluded that Fox News has been the fairest of all networks this campaign season. And the Pinhead: Dallas mom Priscilla Ceballos, whose 6-year old daughter won tickets to a concert by writing a moving essay about her dad's death in Iraq. But the story, actually written by Mrs. Ceballos, was a lie and the tickets went to another child. Nominate a Pinhead or a Patriot by sending an email to pnp@billoreilly.com.

News Link: Study finds Fox News most balanced (PDF)

News Link: Mother goes too far for Hannah Montana tix
Factor Words of the Day
Viewers sound off
Many younger viewers sent in post-Christmas e-mails. Some excerpts:

Anthony Mercuri, Clarks Summit, PA: "For Christmas I got an X-box and 'Kids Are Americans Too.' I finished the book before I started with the X-box."

Faith Mohr, Dillsboro, NC: "I am 15 and think you are an awesome news anchor, Mr. O'Reilly. My house is a no-spin zone."

Samantha Schumacher, Orange Park, FL: "Mr. O, I'm a sophomore in high school and watch The Factor with my dad every night. It has brought us closer together."
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