Bill O'Reilly: The best debate so far
By: StaffJanuary 18, 2012
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By Bill O'Reilly

Lots of action last night in Myrtle Beach as the Republican guys brought a sense of urgency to the floor. Everybody knows Mitt Romney is building a commanding lead so his challengers had to make some points and to some extent they did.

So let's run it down. Frontrunner Mitt Romney had a so-so night. Not making any dramatic statements or breaking any new ground. He was very complimentary to the other candidates going out of his way to agree with them on certain issues. The Governor portraying himself as the elder statesmen, trying to build coalitions wherever he can. His toughest moment last night was this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor, will you release your income tax records?

ROMNEY: I hadn't planned on releasing tax records because the law requires us to release all of our assets, all of the things we own. That I've already released. It's a pretty full disclosure. But -- but you know if -- if that's been the tradition, and I'm not opposed to doing that time will tell.


O'REILLY: Not a good answer for the Governor. Time will not tell anything. Romney should release his tax returns now or it looks like he is hiding something. Today he said he would make his returns public in the spring and admitted that most of his income was taxed at 15 percent, the long-term cap gains rate.

Romney well understands that he will be branded as under taxed but that's a myth. Long-term cap gains is taxed at a lower rate than salary for a reason. The government wants to promote investment and savings. Romney has nothing to be ashamed of. He's paying what the law requires and it's a smart law.

What liberal Americans do not seem to realize is that risk reward. You invest, you might lose. If your winnings are taxed at a higher rate, fewer people will invest. Are we all getting this? Even you Warren Buffett?

There must be incentives to invest. Or the economy will crumble. Paging common sense, please report to the progressive movement.

But back to Romney. "Talking Points" believes the Governor is waffling because he doesn't want to disrupt the South Carolina and Florida votes with the tax return issue. Understandable. But again, the folks deserve the information.

As far as Newt Gingrich is concerned, he had a good night because he challenged liberal orthodoxy.


JUAN WILLIAMS: My e-mail account, my Twitter account has been inundated with people of all races who are asking if your comments are not intended to belittle the poor and racial minority. You saw some of this during your visit to a black church in South Carolina where a woman asked you why you refer to President Obama as the food stamp President. It sounds as if you are seeking to belittle people.

NEWT GINGRICH: Well -- first of all, Juan, the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.

Now, I know among the politically correct you are not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable.


O'REILLY: Well the Associated Press checked the Speaker's facts and it is true that more Americans are using food stamps than ever before. Right now more than 46 million folks are getting that welfare entitlement. But the Obama Administration can make the case that in a severe recession food stamps are vital. So the voter will have to decide who is right.

Ron Paul? Well, there's more of the same. He continues to believe that the USA brought the 9/11 attacks on itself.


RON PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We endlessly bomb these countries and then we wonder -- wonder why they get upset with us? And yet, it continues on and on.


O'REILLY: Speaking as an American, not a pundit, I would not feel safe with Congressman Paul protecting me. Also, I fundamentally disagree with Paul on crime.


PAUL: Blacks and minorities who are involved with drugs are arrested disproportionately. They are tried, they're imprisoned disproportionately. Sometimes people can use drugs and arrested three times and never committed a violent act and they can go to prison for life.


O'REILLY: Well the fact is that dealing hard drugs like heroin, meth and cocaine is a violent crime, Congressman. Those narcotics sometimes kill people, often enslave them. And drug-involved parents often abuse and neglect their children. The social problems caused by addiction are enormous. And have cost this country dearly.

And Paul is feeling sorry for these drug predators? Give me a break. If drug dealing isn't a violent crime, nothing is.

And on the subject of crime, Rick Santorum made a big deal out of allowing felons to vote after they fulfill their sentences.


RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you believe that felons who have served their time, gone through probation and parole, exhausted their entire sentence should they be given the right to have a vote? The bill I voted on was the Martin Luther King Voting Rights Bill. And this was a provision that said, particularly targeted African-Americans and I voted to allow -- to allow them to have their voting rights back once they completed their sentence.

BRET BAIER: Governor, you have 30 seconds to respond.

MITT ROMNEY: Yes, I don't think people who have committed violent crimes should be allowed to vote again. That's my own view.


O'REILLY: Now I agree with Governor Romney. If an American commits a violent, a violent crime against another person, he or she should never be allowed to vote again. That's because the victim never recovers from the violence. It's always with them. Their life is altered forever. Violence is simply unacceptable and is far too often condoned in this country. Now I understand Senator Santorum's point of view; I just respectfully disagree.

As for Governor Perry, he was a minor player last night but he scored with this.


JUAN WILLIAMS: Governor Perry, are you suggesting on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day that the federal government has no business scrutinizing the voting laws of states where minorities were once denied the right to vote?

RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm saying that the state of Texas is under assault by federal government. I am saying also that South Carolina is at war with this federal government and with this administration.


O'REILLY: Now that was a smart play by Perry. South Carolina fought hard with the feds over the Boeing Corporation controversy where the labor relations people in D.C. tried to prevent Boeing from moving to South Carolina because it's not a union state. The case was settled and Boeing is moving to the Palmetto State but it was a nasty fight. South Carolinians know the feds tried to intrude on their economy so Perry was shrewd to make that point.

But in the end the Governor of Texas really has no chance to get the Republican nomination, neither does Ron Paul. After Saturday's vote it is likely to come down to a race between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, with Rick Santorum a very long shot. And the Florida vote on January 31st will likely nail down the Republican candidate once and for all.

And that's "The Memo."

"Pinheads & Patriots."

One of the hottest actresses on TV these days is Sofia -- and I'm going to roll the "R" here -- Vergara, who's in the sitcom "Modern Family." Very glamorous woman who went against type on the "Ellen" program.


ELLEN DEGENERES, TALK SHOW HOST: What I'm going to do is I'm going to be her arms, and I'm going apply the makeup.

SOFIA VERGARA, ACTRESS: That's not my mouth! Now you can fill everything with some powder. Let me take a look in the mirror. Well, I can see how easy, breezy beautiful.


O'REILLY: I don't know why, but every time I see her I think of Ricky Ricardo. "Lucy!" Don't you guys think? A little old reference, but we believe that Ms. Vergara is a patriot for doing that against type. But we'd probably say the same thing no matter what she did.

— You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads & Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel and any time on Send your comments to:

Transcript Date: 
Tue, 01/17/2012
Transcript Show Name: 
O'Reilly Factor