Say Goodbye to Girl Scout Cookies?

Published March 01, 2007

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This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 27, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight. A monstrous attack on Girl Scout cookies. And should obese children be scrutinized by the government?

With us now, Meme Roth, president of the National Action Against Obesity organization.

All right. Now, come on, the Girl Scout cookies. I like these cookies.

MEME ROTH, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ACTION AGAINST OBESITY: I — they are delicious.

O'REILLY: Yes, and they raise $700 million a year selling these cookies because people like me like them. Now, do I look fat to you?

ROTH: I don't know, Bill. You don't look fat to me.

O'REILLY: I mean, you know...

ROTH: Are you going to put a bathing suit on?

O'REILLY: No, I can't be — Melissa Etheridge, I don't want to offend Melissa. But do I look fat to you?

ROTH: You do not look fat to me.

O'REILLY: I am not fat. All right? Thirty-six-inch waist. I eat these cookies! Come on...

ROTH: OK, OK.

O'REILLY: And I like them!

ROTH: I like them, too. But let me tell you something. America likes them much too much.

This is an era of obesity. Two in three are overweight. And it's not that they can't do a bikini contest. They're sick. And our children, one in three, overweight. We can't — just because Girl Scouts are as American as apple pie, that doesn't make them beyond reproach.

O'REILLY: OK, but what you're talking about, a fascist state that says to people you can't eat cookies, you can't have ice cream, you can't have cake. And I'm telling you that it is the parental authority that should regulate what kids eat, No. 1. And, No. 2, it's over the line.

A couple of Girl Scout cookies, even though they're loaded with sugar, not going to hurt you or anyone else.

ROTH: So you went Mussolini on me. OK. Look, we don't want a civic organization whose mission is to make the world a better place, which is what the mission statement is for the Girl Scouts — we don't want civic organizations — and that's PTAs, that's churches, synagogues, anybody — using junk food as a fundraiser. Not now. Ninety years ago, cute idea. Today, not so much.

O'REILLY: See I think cookies make the world a better place. Because they're sweet. And that's a treat.

Now, if you're going to abuse the cookies and eat the box and get fat, that's on the parent. I agree with you there. But you're trying to intrude, I think, way too much.

I don't mind the calorie count listed in the restaurant. I think they should have it. If you want to eat a Big Mac, you should have right next to it here's how many calories you're going to have and from fat. I like that. I look at the box. I do. I want all of that stuff.

But I don't want somebody telling me the Girl Scouts can't sell cookies. I don't want that. That's not America. That's not freedom of choice. Come on.

ROTH: Well, I think — I think the message is the Keebler elves' mission statement: make money selling junk food. But when you're using young children as the front to sell $700 million, 200 boxes...

O'REILLY: People know what they're buying. People know that cookies are loaded with sugar.

ROTH: Is that the right message? Is that the right message?

O'REILLY: The message is freedom. If I want a cookie, I'm going to get a cookie. I don't want some piece of tofu from the Girl Scouts. I'm not going to buy it from them!

ROTH: All right. Well, you're not alone in your thoughts.

O'REILLY: We disagree.

Now, this overweight kid in England. Let's throw him up on the screen. Now, this is a different situation. He's 218 pounds as an 8-year-old kid. All right? And the mother is obviously a loon. And I don't mind the authorities going in and checking this, because I think there could be some abuse here. Because it's four times what — you have an 8-year-old. Is it a son or a daughter?

ROTH: My son is 8, yes.

O'REILLY: So you know. This is out of control. Now, this kid may have a medical condition. But the authorities — just like if the kid was starving and underweight, the authorities should go in. I have no problem with the authorities going in and looking at this kid.

Now, the English authorities did rule the mother can keep the kid. I guess there's no father in the house. But there's going to be supervision. That's fine. You know, I see that.

ROTH: Yes, it was time for intervention. That intervention should have come at least 100 pounds ago, though. You and I both know that once you gain weight, it's nearly impossible to lose it and keep it off. Ninety-five percent...

O'REILLY: Kids can lose it.

ROTH: No, no. Are you kidding? Are you kidding? The outlook for that child is grim.

O'REILLY: I could get that weight off that kid in six months.

ROTH: Yes, but he won't be able to keep it off.

O'REILLY: Sure he would.

ROTH: No. He's — no. Absolutely. Let's wager a bet. Let's wager a bet. Five bucks...

O'REILLY: If you wanted to — if you wanted to...

ROTH: Twenty — 20 years ago from now, that child will be tremendously overweight. We should have intervened much sooner, because up until the age of 5 or 6 you are adding fat cells. And those are the same fat cells you have your entire life. You get a little bit more at puberty, but that is it. Those fat cells...

O'REILLY: I think it's a psychological thing at that age. I think that this kid, you know, for whatever reason, his mother is feeding him this stuff. And I think you're right, it's hard, but I wouldn't give up on the kid.

ROTH: But physiologically he is altered. He will have that 218 pounds screaming at him for the rest of his life to gain back.

O'REILLY: I am a little more hopeful if they can get him into some kind of program.

ROTH: Yes, absolutely. What we want to do is even if he maintains too high a weight, we want to make sure that he's exercising, moving his body, so he doesn't have as many side effects.

O'REILLY: Right. No cookies for you tonight. Thanks for coming in.

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