This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 1, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight: we continue our conversation with Senator Hillary Clinton, opening with the vital War on Terror issue.
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: You believe we're in the middle of a shooting War on Terror. You believe that?
HILLARY CLINTON, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, absolutely.
CLINTON: Absolutely. You and I are from New York.
O'REILLY: You bet.
CLINTON: We lived through the horrors of 9/11.
O'REILLY: Dozens of people in my town died.
CLINTON: Every single day, I or my office is doing something to help somebody...
CLINTON: ...who is suffering, who was a victim.
O'REILLY: So you're buying into the War on Terror. Now, Iran, I believe, is the most dangerous country vis-a-vis the United States. Do you believe that?
CLINTON: I believe it's one of the dangers. But I think it's a significant danger. And it is...
O'REILLY: But it's not the most?
CLINTON: Well, I think it is in combination with the other threats we face, because clearly if Iran were to ever obtain a nuclear weapon, that would be unbelievably bad for us and the world.
CLINTON: And I'm going to do everything I can to prevent that from ever happening.
O'REILLY: Well, I hope so, because we can't let Iran have a nuclear weapon.
CLINTON: We cannot.
CLINTON: And I have said that over and over again.
O'REILLY: Right, we can't. Now...
CLINTON: And I have been very tough about what I would do with Iran.
O'REILLY: Here's the deal. You start pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq — and Iraq's a mess. Everybody knows.
O'REILLY: Iran's going to like that. That's good for Iran. And Iran wants to dominate Iraq for a number of reasons. How are you going to stop it?
CLINTON: First of all, I believe that our military has fulfilled all their military missions. They got rid of Saddam Hussein. They gave the Iraqis free and fair elections. They gave the Iraqi government the space and time to make the decisions that only the Iraqis can make for themselves.
There is no military solution to what we face in Iraq, which is unprecedented. It is dangerous; it is unstable. I have said that I will begin withdrawing our troops because I believe two things. No. 1, because there is no military solution, we have got to emphasize the political and the diplomatic. And because as we withdraw them, that's the only way to focus the Iraqi government on what they must do for themselves.
I think it's somewhat open to debate as to whether Iran really wants to see us withdraw, and here's why. They have been an equal opportunity supporter of the militias, of the insurgents, of anybody who would pick up arms against the United States. They would have to begin to pick sides. That will, I believe, catalyze Iraqi nationalism.
Remember, we have a Persian state, the Iranians; an Arab state, the Iraqis. There will be a lot of conflict between the Iranians and the Iraqis moving forward if the United States is on the sidelines instead of in the middle.
O'REILLY: The weakness of your argument is twofold. No. 1, any withdrawal of American troops will be seen as weakness by Iran and Al Qaeda. No. 2, if Iran decides it wants to dominate Iraq, which I believe it will — and I could be wrong — you can't stop them if you draw our troops out, and Iraq can't stop them.
Then you've got a problem with Saudi Arabia. If Iran decides to dominate Iraq, oil prices will double from now. So you're looking at $7, $8 a gallon for Americans, OK? That's what's going to happen. The speculators will drive them up.
CLINTON: Well, the speculators are driving them up now.
CLINTON: But here's the fallacy in your argument. You're acting as though there is only one choice to deal with the...
O'REILLY: No, no, I'm just telling you what...
CLINTON: ...potential turmoil...
O'REILLY: ...unintended consequences of your withdrawal could be catastrophic.
CLINTON: Well, can I say that we know for a fact that our remaining in Iraq undermines our capacity to deal with all of our other problems. See, my shorthand is we need to end the war in Iraq and win the war in Afghanistan. I still believe that is the principal threat, because it is the haven of the terrorists against us. There...
O'REILLY: Let's go to Afghanistan.
CLINTON: ...is a network that is still in place. It has gotten stronger.
O'REILLY: Let's go to Afghanistan. I was there in November. And I'm going to give you a quiz question. Don't answer it if you don't want to. It's not fair really, but I'm going to do it because I think it's interesting. Do you know where the primary haven is for the Taliban right now?
CLINTON: It's in Pakistan.
CLINTON: Well, it's along the border. And there are a couple of different places. It's not just one place. You know...
O'REILLY: But there's a command and control. Do you know where it is?
CLINTON: Well, where do you say it is?
O'REILLY: It's in Quetta, OK? That's where it is.
CLINTON: But that's not the only place.
O'REILLY: No, but its command and control. The Pakistani government even under Musharraf knew that.
Now Quetta's not up in the mountains. You can go and drive right through it tomorrow. The Pakistani government knows it, allows the Taliban openly, openly to operate out of Quetta, to go across the border to kill our guys and other NATO forces, and to come back. How are you going to solve it?
CLINTON: Well, first of all, Bill, I think there may be a concentration of Taliban in Quetta.
O'REILLY: That's the leadership.
CLINTON: But because they are primarily Pashtuns, they are all through that area.
O'REILLY: You know, I'm talking the big guys.
CLINTON: Well, the big guys move. Let's just take it from this perspective. If you had more troops committed so that we could prevent the infiltration and their being able to carry out their missions inside Afghanistan, if we were able to make a stronger case to the newly elected government in Pakistan that their livelihoods and lives depended upon us working together to take out Al Qaeda and the Taliban, we didn't make that argument.
We supported Musharraf through thick and through thin. I've met with Musharraf over and over again. He said all the right things. You just never got the follow-through.
We should have been supporting the pro-democracy movement. They just had an election where the Islamist party lost. Why? Because the Pakistani people do not want to have this creeping terrorism and extremism.
O'REILLY: All right. I agree with you that Afghanistan is very vital. I think Iran is more dangerous, but I agree. And I agree that NATO has got to step up, and I hope the next president can make that happen and all of that.
But unless the Pakistani government takes action against the Taliban inside Pakistan, no matter how many troops you put in there, you're going to have bombs going off.
CLINTON: Oh, I agree.
O'REILLY: And you're going to have the same thing going on.
CLINTON: I agree with that, but what is the best way to persuade them to do that?
O'REILLY: Cut off all our aid if they don't. That's the best way.
CLINTON: Well, but we now have a new government there. We have got to make it clear to the new government in Pakistan that we will stand with them, we will support democracy. We have not put all our eggs into Musharraf's basket.
O'REILLY: OK. The diplomatic thing, it may or may not work.
CLINTON: It is a diplomatic thing.
O'REILLY: It may or may not work.
CLINTON: But it is in their self-interest. It's not just us coming and saying...
O'REILLY: Maybe they're afraid of them...
CLINTON: But the military in Pakistan does have the potential, as you know, to go after them and...
O'REILLY: They can wipe them out tomorrow.
CLINTON: ...wipe them out. But they've got to do it for reasons that are their interest, not ours.
O'REILLY: All right.
CLINTON: And we haven't made the case to them that we should have.
O'REILLY: All right. In a moment, I ask Senator Clinton why she's against water-boarding when it might have saved thousands of lives, and the intense criminal illegal alien problem here in the USA. That is next.
O'REILLY: Continuing now with our interview the whole world is talking about, my sit-down with Senator Hillary Clinton. Roll it.
O'REILLY: Last line of questioning. That's good, right?
O'REILLY: I believe the Bush administration has done a good job in protecting Americans after 9/11. I believe they've hurt Al Qaeda, and I'm not saying this from any partisan point of view. I believe the Bush administration has damaged them, Al Qaeda, hard. I believe we've got them in a box. They've got them on the run. And they've protected us. And they've done so in a very aggressive manner, Guantanamo, water-boarding three times, and other things, OK?
If we get an Al Qaeda big shot who won't talk, I'll dunk him into water if we believe — our intelligence agency believes there is an imminent attack. You won't dunk him in the water. You won't, I will. Why am I wrong?
CLINTON: Well, for two reasons. If you actually talk to interrogators, people with a lot of experience...
O'REILLY: I have.
CLINTON: Well, so have I. And...
O'REILLY: I mean, I went to the top.
CLINTON: Well, I've...
O'REILLY: You know, Tenet sat right where you're sitting.
CLINTON: But if you actually talked to the people who were in the rooms with these guys, what they will tell me is that you do not get the high quality...
O'REILLY: That's bull.
CLINTON: Well, it's...
O'REILLY: It's just bull. Michael Scheuer, who was the head of the bin Laden unit, sat there and said we broke these guys by water-boarding. It's bull.
CLINTON: Well, you know, we can have an impassioned debate about it, but I do not think the United States government sanctioning torture is in our best interests. And I do not...
O'REILLY: No matter what? No matter how many lives are at stake?
CLINTON: I do not believe that there is credible evidence that you can really point to as opposed to anecdotes from folks who were on the front lines trying to thrash their...
O'REILLY: These are big guys.
O'REILLY: Tenet and Scheuer are big guys.
CLINTON: Well, look...
O'REILLY: Don't get bigger.
CLINTON: What we've got to do is make sure that we protect and defend the United States of America, which I am 100 percent committed to. I have been strongly in favor of an aggressive effort against Al Qaeda. In fact, I think we should have been more aggressive. We shouldn't have taken our eyes off the ball in Afghanistan. I will do whatever it takes...
O'REILLY: But not water-boarding.
CLINTON: ...to go after them. I do not think torture works.
O'REILLY: What I want is the president of the United States, whether it's you or McCain or Obama, to have the ability to use water-boarding, just you, as an executive privilege when you feel American lives are in danger, all right? That's all I want. And I think most Americans agree with me. Let the commander in chief have the option, if there is a nuclear danger or something like that, so that we can get information that we've gotten three out of three times. I don't think that's unreasonable.
CLINTON: Well, Bill, first of all, of the three of us who are running for president, each of us has decided we will not...
O'REILLY: I know that.
CLINTON: ...condone and sanction torture. Obviously Senator McCain knows a whole lot more about this than both of us put together. I know from firsthand discussions with people who have responsibilities for extracting information and getting good intelligence out of those who are our enemies that torture doesn't work. They'll say anything. So when you talk about breaking somebody, it's pretty hard to really point to that. And I think we can be strong and we can be incredibly effective by following our laws, by setting the example and by going after these guys where they are, like in Afghanistan.
O'REILLY: All right. We'll have a gentlewoman's disagreement here, all right?
O'REILLY: All right? The feminist that I am.
CLINTON: Yes, I've heard that about you.
O'REILLY: That is true. I'm Mr. Phil Donahue.
CLINTON: Uh-huh. Exactly.
O'REILLY: All right. Last question. Sanctuary cities are angering, angering many Americans. San Francisco, Los Angeles, other cities, won't cooperate with federal immigration law. Are you going to crack down on those sanctuary cities?
CLINTON: I'm going to try to get us to where we have a...
O'REILLY: Are you going to crack down on the sanctuary cities?
CLINTON: No, I'm not. And I'll tell you why.
CLINTON: I'm not, I'm not because the reason why a lot of those folks do it — in New York, why do police officers turn a blind eye?
O'REILLY: Because they want them to report crimes.
CLINTON: They want them to report crimes. Because...
O'REILLY: Doesn't override.
CLINTON: …the — well, sometimes you have two competing values. You want to report crime, you want to protect people and the violence spills way beyond whatever community...
O'REILLY: So why have the federal law? Abolish the immigration law. Abolish it.
CLINTON: No, we've got to fix it. No, we've got to fix it. It isn't working. It's broken. I share the frustration. I have voted for tougher border controls. I've voted to put more money, more personnel, even a physical barrier where appropriate. I'm 100 percent in favor of tightening our borders, of enforcing the laws against employers, of going after the kind of abuses that we see in the job market. We have a broken immigration system that has gotten caught up in this political partisan wrangling.
O'REILLY: You have anarchy...
CLINTON: That is not solving the problem.
O'REILLY: ...when you have a sergeant serving in Iraq, son, 18 years old in Los Angeles, shot dead by a criminal illegal alien that was let out of an L.A. jail...
CLINTON: Well, that's the problem...
O'REILLY: ...because they won't obey...
CLINTON: Well, no, no, no...
O'REILLY: Well, they won't obey the federal law, Los Angeles.
CLINTON: Well, look, if somebody is picked up, if somebody is in jail, it is perfectly appropriate to look...
O'REILLY: That's what sanctuary cities are...
CLINTON: No, no, no, no.
O'REILLY: Yes, they will report it.
CLINTON: No, no, because that is not — sanctuary city goes much further than that. I believe...
O'REILLY: That's part of the equation.
CLINTON: Well, but I believe thoroughly that, just like states are trying to protect themselves if they pick somebody up — if they've committed a crime in this country or elsewhere, they should be deported, no questions asked, or tried for the crime.
O'REILLY: Well, that's what those sanctuary cities are doing.
CLINTON: But we do not — well, we do not want to have what some people are advocating, which is that literally you have deputized law enforcement officials going door-to-door, businesses, homes...
CLINTON: I don't think Americans would put up with that for a nanosecond.
O'REILLY: Americans are reasonable.
CLINTON: Yes, we are.
O'REILLY: They don't like sanctuary cities. They want the laws enforced.
CLINTON: And they don't like a broken immigration system.
O'REILLY: No. Fix it.
CLINTON: And frankly, they don't like demagogues either. They want this to be solved, not be turned into some political football. And that's what I would do.
O'REILLY: All right. But you saw what happened when the McCain-Kennedy bill came up. The American people said no!
CLINTON: President Bush waited too long.
O'REILLY: No, no. That was a populist thing. Bush was behind it.
CLINTON: Oh no, he waited too long. He was behind it, but he didn't have any real presidential power left. You've got to say what we're going to do with the 12 to 14 million people who are here. They're not going to come out of the shadows. If we say come on out, we'll round them up.
O'REILLY: You've got to evaluate them. I want them to get a fair shot.
CLINTON: You've got to evaluate them, you've got to register them.
CLINTON: I don't think we disagree on this one.
O'REILLY: No, we don't.
CLINTON: We need to move toward a sensible, comprehensive resolution.
O'REILLY: We disagree on sanctuary cities.
O'REILLY: That's where we disagree.
CLINTON: ...if you're defining it as letting people out of jail who've been arrested, then I disagree with it.
O'REILLY: That's part of the equation.
CLINTON: But if you're defining it as, you know, we need the police to be going out and trying to round up folks...
O'REILLY: No, locals don't have to enforce it, but they have to cooperate.
CLINTON: OK. Well, we can reach a balance, a fair and balanced approach...
CLINTON: ...toward this to protect people from those kinds of violent acts.
O'REILLY: I've got to let you go, because I have to go out and campaign.
CLINTON: What are you running for?
O'REILLY: I'm running for my life. This is the most fun interview you've ever done, I know it is. I can just tell.
CLINTON: I was going to say it's the most fun interview you've ever done.
O'REILLY: It is. Well, I don't know about that.
CLINTON: Come on. Get on the record.
O'REILLY: No, I interviewed Cher one time, and that was just a blast.
CLINTON: That must have been really fun.
O'REILLY: That was great.
O'REILLY: Senator, thanks for taking the time. We really appreciate it.
CLINTON: Thanks a lot, Bill.
O'REILLY: All right. Once again, we'd like to thank the senator and her campaign. We're looking forward to talking with Senator McCain next week. We hope Senator Obama will join us as well.
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