BILL O'REILLY, HOST, "THE O'REILLY FACTOR": Mr. President, thank you very much for doing this. And I must thank you on behalf of the Fox News Channel for helping out Greg Palkot and Mr. Wiig who got roughed up in Cairo. That was you, it was Robert Gibbs and the State Department who really saved them, and we all thank you very much.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, listen, those guys showed enormous courage, as so many journalists do around the world. And so, not only was it important for us to make sure they were safe for them and their families, but to uphold the basic principle of free speech and freedom of the press. That's a universal value we cared about. And I know Fox cares about. So, I'm just glad these guys are...
O'REILLY: Those guys could have died.
O'REILLY: And I just want everybody to know that, you know, the State Department really saved them.
All right. Mubarak, is he going to leave soon?
OBAMA: Well, he's -- 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.
And so, what we've said is: you have to start a transition now. Mubarak has already decided he's not running for re-election again. His term is up this year. And what we've said is: let's make sure that you get all the groups together in Egypt, let Egyptian people make a determination on what's the process for an orderly transition, but one that is a meaningful transition and that leads to a government that's --
O'REILLY: So, you don't know when he's going to leave?
OBAMA: Well, you know, ultimately, the United States can't absolute dictate --
O'REILLY: You can't force him to leave.
OBAMA: But what we can do, Bill, is we can say that, "The time is now for you to start making a change in that country."
O'REILLY: He's already done that. But the longer he stays in, the more people are going to die. And the other problem is, Mubarak knows a lot of bad things about the United States. I'm sure you're aware of that.
OBAMA: Well, let me say this: the United States and Egypt have been a partner for a long time.
O'REILLY: Right. He's done the bad things.
OBAMA: He's been a good partner when it comes to the peace with Israel. There have been counterterrorism efforts that he's been very supported of. But we've also said consistently said to him both publicly and privately is that trying to suppress your own people is something that is not sustainable. And part of the message that I think we're seeing all around the world is, when you resort to suppression, when you resort to violence, that does not work.
O'REILLY: Yes, but it worked for 30 years. So, he had his run. But he knows a lot of bad things about us, rendition and all of that. And I'm sure you know that. So, I'm just worried that he might go off the reservation.
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. They are...
O'REILLY: Are they a threat?
OBAMA: 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 wan 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: I hope so. Those are tough boys, the Muslim Brotherhood. I wouldn't want them anywhere near that government. 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 said -- that just threw this case out -- the notion that the health care law was unconstitutional.
O'REILLY: But it goes to the Supremes now.
OBAMA: Well, it first it goes to the appellate court -- there's district court, then there are appeal courts, and then it goes to the Supreme Court. But here's the key point, Bill, and I said this in the State of the Union, I don't want to spend the next two years refighting the battles of the last two years.