This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 26, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight, the American Red Cross has received close to a billion dollars in gifts and pledges to hurricane relief efforts so far. Close to $700 million of that has already been spent or allocated. But as you'd expect, there are criticisms of the Red Cross's performance.

Joining us now from Washington to answer some of the complaints is Joe Becker, Red Cross Senior Vice President for Preparedness and Response. Now, I'm happy you came on. And I don't know the validity of these complaints. I have not been able to investigate them myself. I will throw them out to you, and you can say whatever you want and then I'll follow up.

JOE BECKER, AMERICAN RED CROSS: OK.

O'REILLY: According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, DeKalb County, Georgia, booted the Red Cross out of the county because the performance was too slow, and the Salvation Army has now taken over, seeing to the needs of the evacuees. True? What happened?

BECKER: There were a couple specifics in that situation where we were put in a position where felt like we had no option but to leave. The demands that were made upon the Red Cross by county management were such that we didn't think we'd be good stewards of a donated dollar to stay in that facility. So our role, at that point, was to get financial assistance into the hands of the people who needed it, and we felt like we have other ways we can do that. So we did. We went into other locations, and what we've done is put about 35,000 - 36,000 families have received financial assistance in that geographic area. We didn't need to use that facility and felt like it would have been a bad decision...

O'REILLY: All right...

BECKER: ... for us to stay there.

O'REILLY: Let me — let me get this straight. They were asking you to give cash out, you didn't want to give the cash out. Is that correct?

BECKER: No, that's not correct. Our role was to give financial assistance to the family, depending on the family size, to buy the next set of clothes, to buy the shoes...

O'REILLY: OK, OK...

BECKER: ... to buy the things that they need.

O'REILLY: But what was the contention between you and the county?

BECKER: There were some issues that the county felt were important from a financial standpoint that we needed to...

O'REILLY: Can you give me an example, Mr. Becker? Because I don't know what you're talking about.

BECKER: Well, I think that might be more appropriate to ask the county management what...

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: All right. I'm just telling you, I'm trying to help you out here, and you're not telling me what it's all about and I don't know. All right. Hancock County, Mississippi, they're mad at you, too. A woman named Betty Brunner (ph), 36-year veteran of the Red Cross, quit because she said your response was too slow and didn't go into the real poor areas. How do you respond to that?

BECKER: Hancock County is a very — was a very tough situation. Think about the task that we have here. The devastated area was 90,000 square miles. That's the size of Great Britain. It wasn't like one of the storms last fall that hits part of Florida, and the next storm hits the next part of Florida. You got a four-state operation. We opened a shelter in Hancock County, north of the area that we knew would be in the surge zone or in the wind area. And then after the storm, frankly, I wish we could have been quicker to move back in further south with our people because there was need there, and we took too many days to get there...

O'REILLY: OK...

BECKER: ... on the scale that I think they needed us to.

O'REILLY: All right. And that happens...

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Look, it's a huge operation. If you're not there quickly, people are going to get teed off at you, and you know the game. All right. So the persistent problem — and I have, like, 10 others, but I'm not going to go over all of them tonight. The persistent problem that we — that I keep reading about is cash, is that cash — some people want the Red Cross to hand them bucks. You're hesitant to do that. Is that true?

BECKER: What we're doing with cash, if you say that, Bill, we're trying to provide for that — that emergency needs of the people who have true disaster-caused needs. And so we're looking in each community to make sure that the people who need that can get it. We have given over 530,000 families financial assistance since the storm. That's over a million-and- a-half people. The hour you're going to be on this show tonight, we'll give it to another thousand people while you're talking tonight. We won't rest until those people who have financial need...

O'REILLY: All right, but...

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: You want to check them out and make sure you're not ripped off. I mean...

BECKER: Sure.

O'REILLY: Right. And you have a fiduciary responsibility to do that, and a moral responsibility for the people who gave you money. All right, Mr. Becker. Look, you guys are stand-up guys. You come in. I don't know what the DeKalb situation is. You might want to rethink that and tell me what it is. But it's up to you. Thank you for coming on.

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