December 15, 2003 Monday
GUESTS: John Kerry
BYLINE: Bill O'Reilly
O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly.
In THE FACTOR "Follow-Up" Segment tonight, it looks to us like Joseph Lieberman and Richard Gephardt came out on top after Saddam was captured because they have been supportive of removing him on the Democratic side.
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry voted yes on the war but no on more money for Iraq last month. The senator joins us now from Chicago.
I've got some rapid-fire questions here. No question President Bush is helped today by this, right?
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I don't know what you mean by that, Bill. I think America is helped by this, and I think that Iraqis are helped by this. What happens in the long-term politically is really premature and who knows?
O'REILLY: OK. But, at the top of the program, he defined his reelection campaign by saying, look, I'm going to talk about security. That's it. I'm not going to answer...
O'REILLY: ... any specific questions about how I screwed up, weapons of mass destruction. I'm not going to do that. What I'm going to say is I'm the guy to keep you safe, and you're going hear for a thousand times between now and next November.
KERRY: And that is precisely why I'm the best candidate to lead the Democratic Party and to challenge George Bush because I have the credentials and I have the record and the history to point out that George Bush has not, in fact, overall on a global basis, conducted this war on terror in a way that, in fact, makes the United States as safe as we could be, Bill.
We could do a better...
KERRY: ... job with respect to proliferation in Russia, we could do a better job with North Korea, we could do a better job in building alliances, and I believe I can make America safer than George Bush is.
O'REILLY: And I know you believe that. And I know you believe that. But perception is reality.
KERRY: I know I can do it.
O'REILLY: But perception is reality. Now President Bush is going to get a 60-percent approval next week when the new polls come out. He's going to get a bump on...
KERRY: That's fine.
O'REILLY: He's going to be-he's going to in the 60s, and I-and I might point out I've known you for a long time and you beat Governor Weld for the Senate up there. A lot of people thought Weld was going to beat you, so I don't count you out on this.
But I will say the-two things. Number one, this is a defining moment for Howard Dean, all right? You-I don't think you're going to beat Dean in New Hampshire no matter what you do. But he could start to slip back. He didn't look good today on his foreign policy deal.
And if Saddam Hussein starts to give up WMDs and links to al Qaeda, Dean's through. Now they're going to come after you then, Senator, and say, look, you weren't going to give us any more money here to administrate, and now we know...
KERRY: That's not true.
O'REILLY: ... X, Y, and Z.
KERRY: Yes. But that's not true, bill. You see, I said specifically I'm prepared to do whatever is necessary to support the troops, but I want to get it right.
George Bush at that time was unwilling to do what's necessary to try to take the target off of American troops, to try to reduce the risk to Americans and reduce the cost to Americans. There's no excuse for Americans having to pay for this all alone. This is inexcusable, adding to the deficit, running a fiscally irresponsible policy.
We could have had other countries sharing this burden. We should have had other countries sharing this burden.
O'REILLY: Come on, Senator. You can't-you don't-you can't sit there and tell me you're going to convince France, Germany, and Russia to kick in because they're in bed with Saddam. They're not going to kick in!
KERRY: I beg to differ with you, Bill. I spent time at the Security Council before the vote. I've talked with leaders of those countries. I'm telling you they are prepared to do what's necessary if we behave in the way that I think is important to bringing people to the table. But when you just say here's my way, do it my way...
O'REILLY: You think that you-you are more...
KERRY: ... I think you've got a real problem.
O'REILLY: Look, Colin Powell is about as diplomatic as they come. I mean he's Mr. Smooth.
KERRY: It's not a question of whether or not Colin Powell's diplomatic, Bill. It's a question of what you put on the table.
O'REILLY: What would you give France?
KERRY: Look at this memorandum...
O'REILLY: What would you them? Would you give them the contracts?
KERRY: Look at-look at this-if they were willing to put troops on the ground, yes.
O'REILLY: Well, if they were willing...
KERRY: If they were willing to put troops on the ground...
O'REILLY: ... on the ground now, you'd-you'd let them bid on a contract. So you'd give them a contract.
KERRY: You bet I would.
O'REILLY: You're almost bribing them, though, to do it.
KERRY: Oh, come on, Bill. What's the-I mean Halliburton has a no- bid contract, and they're overcharging...
O'REILLY: They're the only company in the U.S. that can do it because nobody else can do what they do.
KERRY: Bill, one of the great mistakes is approaching something like Iraq and believing that you're better off just doing it, the United States, all by yourself.
There are a of families I've been meeting around this country whose kids are over there now who would love to see us share this responsibility with other countries, and good diplomacy would reach out to those countries in an effective way and bring them to the table.
O'REILLY: All right. Well, maybe you're right.
KERRY: I know there's a way to do it.
O'REILLY: Maybe you're right.
KERRY: I know there's a way to do it.
O'REILLY: Well, we may or may not see.
Why did Gore endorse Dean? Do you have any clue why he did that?
KERRY: You have to ask him. The people are going to decide this, not individual...
O'REILLY: I know, but you-you know these guys.
KERRY: ... endorsements.
O'REILLY: You know-everybody knows everybody. You have no theory on why he did it?
KERRY: I don't bother spending my time with that. I'm out-I've just come from Iowa. I'm in Chicago now. I'm going back to Iowa tonight. I'm meeting the people who are going to make this decision...
O'REILLY: All right. Any...
KERRY: ... and those are the ones...
O'REILLY: Any theory on-Hillary Clinton keeps buzzing around-bzzzz-all over the place? I mean what's she doing? Do you-what's she doing? You know?
KERRY: I think she's speaking out. I think she's speaking out. She has no intention of getting into this race, Bill.
KERRY: This race is between Howard Dean, myself, Dick Gephardt, and the people who are there now.
O'REILLY: All right. Now, look, you're probably going to come in second in New Hampshire. Iowa...
KERRY: Well, thank you, Bill. I appreciate you're making that decision today.
O'REILLY: No. You know, I-you know me. I'm a big mouth, all right?
If you beat Dean, that will be amazing because Dean's got the left and that's a radicalized state. You know that. New Hampshire primary on both sides, it's left and right, far.
But can you get anywhere in South Carolina and Arizona? I mean those are southern states and you're a Massachusetts liberal.
KERRY: Wrong, Bill. I have a very strong organization in those states. I have a strong appeal. I'm a veteran. I'm a prosecutor. I've been fiscally responsible. I have reached out to people on the basis of common sense.
And I have a terrific team on the ground in South Carolina, a strong team on the ground in Arizona, and the reason I beat Weld is because I think I offered a reasonable alternative for how we are fiscally responsible, how we educate our kids, how we changed the culture of welfare back then. That was an argument.
Today, I think people...
O'REILLY: Yes. Well, you're not...
KERRY: ... are looking...
O'REILLY: I'll tell the folks...
KERRY: Today, people are looking for leadership.
O'REILLY: You're not a liberal, guy. You're liberal on some issues, conservative on others.
KERRY: That's right.
O'REILLY: You-you can't type you.
KERRY: That's right.
O'REILLY: I've known you for a long time, and you beat Weld, and Weld never thought he was going to get beat, I'll tell you that. But you've got a big uphill climb, Senator, and we're going to watch you. You're welcome on this program any time.
KERRY: Well, Bill, let me tell you something. I'm a fighter and I'm ready for this fight, and I'm ready to lead America and make us safer and stronger, and I can put people back to work and, I think, build a much stronger economy than George Bush has.
O'REILLY: All right. OK, Senator. We appreciate your time tonight.
When we come right back, New York Yankee Manager Joe Torre is looking out for the kids. He's created a domestic abuse foundation because he was the victim of domestic abuse. He'll be here just ahead.
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