The Factor Rundown
Talking Points Memo & Factor Follow Up Segment
Scott McClellan on his new book
began with Scott McClellan, the former White House spokesman whose new book is harshly critical of the Bush administration. McClellan entered the No Spin Zone for an extended interview. Some excerpts:
O'REILLY: You say the press wasn't aggressive enough during the run-up to the Iraq war. But the director of the CIA believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, British intelligence believed it, John Kerry believed it, and President Clinton believed it.
McCLELLAN: The intelligence was wrong, and the question is how the intelligence was used to make the case. My view is that it was packaged together to make it look more grave and more urgent than it was. The war may have been justified, but I don't believe it was necessary.
O'REILLY: But the central theme of your book is wrong. You built this book, Scott, on Iraq propaganda. You're saying the press wasn't aggressive enough, and I'm saying you're crazy. Everyone thought Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.
McCLELLAN: The central theme is that we have to change this permanent campaign culture in Washington. The White House Iraq Group was set up as a marketing arm to sell the war because the president had a driving motivation to transform the Middle East.
O'REILLY: That's not propaganda then.
McCLELLAN: It is when you package it together and oversell it and overstate it to the American people.
O'REILLY: You put the worst possible spin on all of this.
McCLELLAN: I'm speaking the truth from my perspective.
The focus shifted to McClellan's publicity tour to promote his book.
O'REILLY: You have a lot of affection for President Bush, yet you sat down with people who are pure Bush-haters to sell your book.
McCLELLAN: I have a lot of personal affection for him, but I think he made some wrong judgments.
O'REILLY: I think he made wrong judgments and every president who has ever served has made bad judgments. The hate-Bush press is using you to humiliate the man and to imply to the world that the man is dishonest. Ari Fleischer said flat-out that your editor 'tweaked' some things and 'wrote a lot of it.' Did your publisher make you go back in and change some things?
McCLELLAN: No. It's crazy when you're going back and forth with your editor trying to finish it up on time because I wanted to make sure I got it exactly right.
O'REILLY: When you come to the realization that your book is being used by people who absolutely want the worst for this country and the administration, doesn't that give you pause?
McCLELLAN: The whole thing about the book is that we've got to get rid of the venom and the hatred on both sides and find out how we can come together, and maybe in some small way this book will contribute to that.
O'REILLY: You sat there while these people at NBC and CNN just raped the president verbally. You should have challenged the people who are using your book to kill him.
The interview concluded with an overview of McClellan's book and the media reaction.
O'REILLY: I believe the Iraq war was an optional war, and if we had a time machine we shouldn't have done it. I also believe we're turning it around right now and I'm hoping we win the war. You're hoping we win the war?
McCLELLAN: I'm for success. If we win and the president is vindicated by history, I welcome that.
O'REILLY: Secondly, I don't think there was any propaganda in the run-up to the war. I believe Bush felt they had to remove Saddam Hussein, and the reasons were there.
McCLELLAN: We didn't talk about the uncertainties or caveats to the intelligence. We should have been clear with the American people on what the driving motivation was and what the uncertainties were.
O'REILLY: People who hate President Bush, who want the world to see America as an oppressive and bad country, have seized upon your book to say, "even Scott McClellan says he's an incompetent jerk." They're using you.
McCLELLAN: All I can do is say what I believe, and I believe it was important to speak up. I was as loyal as anyone else, and I want to share what I learned with people.
O'REILLY: Are you angry that you're being used?
McCLELLAN: I just don't view it that way, Bill. Both sides are using this for their own purposes. The book has a very civil message, it criticizes left and right.
O'REILLY: I think you're na�ve. The publisher used you and the Bush-haters are using you.
Obama resigns from Trinity Church
"There's no question that Barack Obama has associated with radical left-wing people in order to build his power base. That's almost a necessity in Chicago if you're a Democrat. For whatever reason, the Windy City is filled with windy anti-American far-left loons who control political donations and some votes. The problem for Barack Obama now is twofold - his past associations are on the record and will be used by Republicans, and he has not really explained why he kept an active friendship with people like Wright and Pfleger, who are so extreme. Barack Obama does not hate America, but for whatever reason he embraced a number of America-haters, and that is not a resume-booster for any presidential candidate. That is the story here - judgment and associations. And of course voters will make their judgment in November."News Link: Obama resigns from churchThe Factor
was joined by FNC's Juan Williams and Mary Katharine Ham, who analyzed Barack Obama's decision to quit his church. "He had a twenty year association with this church," Williams said, "which calls his judgment into question. Republicans are sure to ask voters if they're willing to take a risk on this young man when you know his friends in the past have been Father Pfleger and Reverend Wright. This is a real threat to Barack Obama's campaign." Ham agreed that Obama's reputation has suffered greatly. "His pitch sounded like, 'I've had really bad judgment for twenty years, but give me four more years as your president.' He lectures us on race and says he doesn't need to disconnect himself from Reverend Wright, but then when it became politically expedient he backtracked. It shows he's an old-style politician and not a very good one."News Link: Video: Pfleger says America 'greatest sin against God'
An embarrassing moment for Al Franken
Body language expert Tonya Reiman did an instant analysis of The Factor's
sometimes-contentious interview with Scott McClellan. "He held his own," Reiman said, "and he kept right up with you. You leaned forward, he leaned forward. You pointed, he pointed. He was not going to be pushed back, and one of the things he did was bring his chin down, which is a 'tough guy' move." Reiman also watched tape of comic-turned-candidate Al Franken defending a sexually graphic article he once wrote for Playboy magazine. "You can see that he recognizes that with his comedic background he's going to have an uphill battle. I see that with the fidgeting. He didn't lean forward, he didn't maintain eye contact."News Link: Video: Stuart Smalley defends Playboy article
PFC Ross McGinnis & Woody Harrelson
: 19-year old PFC Ross McGinnis, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for falling on a grenade in Iraq and saving the lives of his colleagues. And the Pinhead
: Actor Woody Harrelson, who says he's going to fast for forty days on a remote island. Nominate a Pinhead or a Patriot by sending an email to email@example.com
.News Link: Medal of Honor awarded to Iraq vetNews Link: Woody Harrelson plans 40 day fast
Viewers sound off
A sampling of your weekend e-mails:
Jean Jones, Spring, TX: "Bill, you have been way too easy on Senator O. He sat in his church for far too long listening to racist stuff."
Florence Rivers, Tucson, AZ: "It is fair to hold Obama accountable for these radical preachers. How many does it take to show poor judgment?"
Bernadette Harney, Brick, NJ: "I hear that Susan Sarandon will leave the country to go to Italy or Canada if John McCain is elected. I'm still waiting for Alec Baldwin to leave."
Randy Nicholson, Boise, ID: "Can I drive her to the airport?"
Ira Marcotte, Marksville, LA: "Can she take some of her Hollywood friends with her?"