The O'Reilly Factor
A daily summary of segments aired on The O'Reilly Factor. A preview of the evening's rundown is posted before the show airs each weeknight.
Monday, February 7, 2011
The Factor Rundown
Talking Points Memo
Top Story
Impact Segment
The Hume Zone Segment
Weekdays with Bernie Segment
Back of Book Segment
Factor Mail
Pinheads and Patriots
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Obama interview: Pinheaded or patriotic?
"As predicted, reaction to my interview with President Obama on Super Bowl Sunday was all over the place. Some people loved it, others hated it, and the assessment wasn't always along ideological lines. One of the more interesting aspects of the talk was when I asked the President how he reacts to people who hate him. Apparently that exchange offended some on the left like Nancy Pelosi, who said 'we shouldn't ever use the word hate.' So now there's another word banned from conversation? Somehow I don't remember Nancy Pelosi objecting when I asked President Bush the same question. The uber-left British newspaper The Guardian said I was 'rude and blustery,' the Los Angeles Times called the chat a 'freewheeling exchange,' and the New York Times called me 'conservative' twice in four sentences. Here's my take: Many Americans bring preconceived ideas to any political exposition and rate interviews according to their ideology. But among less intense Americans, I think the consensus is that I got my questions in, the President answered some and dodged some, but the back-and-forth was spirited and worthwhile. Also, I think Fox News showed the world that we are not in business to demean the President. In the end, the live interview worked for us, and we hope it worked for you."
More of Bill's interview with Pres. Obama
After the live 15-minute portion of Bill's interview with President Obama concluded, the conversation continued for another ten minutes. A few excerpts:
O'REILLY: At this point are you confident that we're going to win in Afghanistan?
OBAMA: I can say that we will defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban will not be retaking Afghanistan.
O'REILLY: You trust Karzai?
OBAMA: I trust that he cares about his country and he cares about the relationship with the United States. But I do think that he's got some big changes that he's got to make in his government to be legitimate in the eyes of the Afghan people over the long term.

O'REILLY: At the State of the Union address I did not see urgency from you about the $14+ trillion debt. Almost every economist I talk to says that if we continue to rack up debt our dollar is going to collapse and everybody's going down the drain. Why didn't I see more urgency?
OBAMA: Bill, I think there was enormous urgency. Look at what we're doing - we're proposing to cut $400 billion of spending over five years.
O'REILLY: The GOP would triple that.
OBAMA: By doing that, we will get domestic spending to the lowest level as a share of GDP since Eisenhower.
O'REILLY: That's a bit of sleight of hand because there are so many entitlements.
OBAMA: You're right that the long-term problem is entitlements - Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. What I've said to the Republicans is I want to work with you to figure out how we cut spending on that. It requires tough choices.
O'REILLY: As an American, I am tremendously worried about that. You have to put the brakes on that.

O'REILLY: You gave a great speech in Arizona on the civility factor, but I don't think people are going to respond to it. I think civility in the media and politics is going to continue to go downhill.
OBAMA: Why is that, do you think?
O'REILLY: It's because there is such division between conservatives and liberals, and there's a lot of money to be made if you can polarize people in the media. So here's my question: How much damage do you believe the media is doing by participating in this rancor, and people have accused me of that. How much damage is it doing to the country?
OBAMA: It is making it harder and harder for the sensible center to get together to solve problems, and I think that is damaging.
O'REILLY: Do you think you're being treated fairly by Fox News now?
OBAMA: I would say that the news guys try to do a good job. Let's face it, Fox News has a point of view, and there's nothing wrong with that. There's a strong history in America of all news having some point of view, and Fox News has a point of view, and I think that's part of our democracy.
O'REILLY: Do you respect it?
OBAMA: Absolutely.
Wide-ranging reactions to Obama interview
Fox News analysts Mary Katharine Ham and Juan Williams assessed the Obama-O'Reilly interview. "You were able to hold him to account," Williams said, "without allowing him to filibuster, and you got him to say that Fox News is a legitimate organization for which he has respect. You made it clear that the President watches Bill O'Reilly and respects the audience." Ham gave the overall conversation a mixed review. "Getting him to talk about some of the things that are uncomfortable for the left to hear about, like Afghanistan and Karzai and Fox News, was very entertaining. I would have liked to hear more from him about why he didn't endorse his own deficit commission's report." The Factor explained why the conversation turned to Fox News: "I was representing the entire Fox News organization, which has been demonized by the left-wing press. I truly believe that we are the most powerful news agency in the country right now and I wanted to get President Obama's feeling on that."
Brit Hume on Obama-care waivers
The Factor also invited Brit Hume to evaluate Sunday's interview. "There were some revelations," Hume said, "particularly on Iraq and Afghanistan. He was saying things that George W. Bush could have said about these places. I also thought it was interesting when you asked him about a lack of urgency about spending and debt and he contended there is urgency." Hume expressed the difficulty of questioning a sitting president. "You have to walk a fine line between not allowing the President to filibuster the time away and, at the same time, you have to be more respectful of him than almost anyone else you'll ever interview."
Bernie's thoughts on the Obama interview
Fox News analyst Bernie Goldberg assessed the media's reaction to the pre-Super Bowl interview. "I was troubled by some of the coverage of the interview," Goldberg said. "Some people talked about this as if it were a battle between Godzilla and Rodan to see who scored more points. These people consider themselves serious journalists and they don't like the culture that has become 'too polarized,' yet they're talking about the interview in terms of who scored more points. They wanted polarization, they wanted confrontation, and I just find it a little hypocritical. Some of these people were so desperate to say Obama 'won.'"
Highlights from the Obama interview
The Factor wrapped up Monday's program with a few of the more memorable exchanges from the live portion of Sunday's interview:
O'REILLY: Mubarak, is he going to leave soon?
OBAMA: Only he knows what he's going to do. But here's what we know: is that Egypt is not going to go back to what it was. The Egyptian people want freedom. They want free and fair elections. They want a representative government. They want a responsive government.
O'REILLY: The Muslim Brotherhood, a great concern to a lot of people. Are they a threat to the USA?
OBAMA: I think that the Muslim Brotherhood is one faction in Egypt. They don't have majority support in Egypt, but they are well-organized and there are strains of their ideology that are anti-U.S. There's no doubt about it. But here's the thing that we have to understand, there are a whole bunch of secular folks in Egypt, there are a whole bunch of educators and civil society in Egypt that wants to come to the fore as well. And it's important for us not the say that our only two options are either the Muslim Brotherhood or a suppressed Egyptian people.
O'REILLY: But you don't want the Muslim Brotherhood.
OBAMA: What I want a representative government in Egypt. And I have confidence that if Egypt moves in an orderly transition process, that we will have a government in Egypt that we can work with together as a partner.

O'REILLY: A federal judge in Florida said your health care law is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court may follow on that, it's going to be very close. Are you prepared for that law to go down?
OBAMA: Well, I think the judge in Florida was wrong. Keep in mind that we've had 12 judges that just threw this case out.
O'REILLY: My question is, are you prepared if it gets thrown out? What are you going to do?
OBAMA: Here's what I'm not prepared to do, I'm not prepared to go back to a day when the American people if you have got a pre-existing condition, if you had a heart attack then you can't get help.

O'REILLY: Here's what the Wall Street Journal said, I want you to react to this. 'Mr. Obama is a determined man of the left whose goal is to redistribute much larger levels of income across society. He may give tactical ground when he has to, as he did on taxes to avoid a middle class tax increase, but he will resist to his last day any major changes to Obamacare and the other load-bearing walls of the entitlement state.' Do you deny the assessment? Do you deny that you are a man who wants to redistribute wealth?
OBAMA: Absolutely.
O'REILLY: You deny that?
OBAMA: Absolutely. I didn't raise taxes once, I lowered taxes over the last two years.
O'REILLY: But the entitlements that you championed do redistribute wealth in the sense that they provide insurance coverage for 40 million people that don't have it.
OBAMA: What is absolutely true is I think in this country, there's no reason why, if you get sick you should go bankrupt. What we said was, if you have health care that you like, you keep it.

O'REILLY: What's the worst, absolute worst part of being president of the United States?
OBAMA: Worst part of the job is, first of all, I've got a jacket on Super Bowl Sunday. The biggest problem for me is being in the bubble. It's very hard to escape. You know, you can't go to the corner.
O'REILLY: Everybody watching every move you make.
OBAMA: Every move you make. And over time, you know, what happens is you feel like you're not able to just have a spontaneous conversation with folks. And that's a loss. That's a big loss.
Viewers sound off
Factor Words of the Day
Joe Farnia, Edison,NJ: "Bill, I didn't realize you pitched soft ball! You threw the President some nice fat ones."

Larry Hansford, New Carlisle, OH: "Mr. O'Reilly, every time Mr. Obama tried to answer your questions with talking points, you asked another tough question to prevent him from doing that. Great approach."

Rein Virkmaa, New York, NY: "Congratulations on a probing interview with Mr. Obama. Your questions brought out his arrogance."

Jack Brandmahl, Myrtle Beach, SC: "O'Reilly, your interview with Obama was unremarkable. Why didn't you ask him why the health care negotiations weren't on C-Span?"
You decide who's who!
Monday's Patriots or Pinheads: The Black Eyed Peas, who performed during halftime at the Super Bowl. Was their set pinheaded or patriotic? You make the call here on