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Presidential Leadership and the Interrogation Controversy

As you may know, we have been fair to President Obama. We don't demean or nitpick the man. In fact, we praised the president for saying that a witch hunt into the Bush administration's interrogation orders would be harmful to the country. That is absolutely correct.

But now Mr. Obama may be backtracking and caving in to uber-liberals like Senator Patrick Leahy, who's hell-bent on a show trial for the Bush people but is willing to give the CIA agents a pass:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, D-VT.: I am probably as concerned about going after them as I am the people who knew they were misstating the law, who knew they were giving the wrong directions, who were willing to set the White House and those around the White House as being above the law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

So Leahy wants to "go after" those who prevented any further attacks after 9/11. By the way, Patrick Leahy is afraid to come on "The Factor," even though we promised not to water-board him.

If President Obama gives in to Leahy, The New York Times and NBC News, he will damage his administration, perhaps beyond repair. Let's look at the facts.

First, the harsh interrogation methods were used after 9/11 when the Bush administration feared another attack was imminent. The tough methods worked. On April 16, Obama's director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, issued this directive:

"High value information came from interrogations in which (harsh) methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the Al Qaeda organization that was attacking this country ... I do not fault those who made the decisions at the time ..."

Again, that's from Obama's top intel guy. Just that statement alone should be enough for the president to drop the matter, but there's more.

According to a new FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll, most Americans want tough interrogations of top terror killers. When asked if they would support using torture on Usama bin Laden to get information, 56 percent say they favor doing that, including 42 percent of the Democrats polled. Thirty-nine percent oppose.

So there is little doubt that most Americans believe, in rare cases, tough interrogation is necessary.

If President Bush had ordered suspects interrogated by using Army Field Manual rules, as Mr. Obama has done, and we suffered another attack after 9/11, I believe the president would have been impeached. And Patrick Leahy would have led the charge.

This whole deal is a ghastly charade, with The New York Times throwing around words like gruesome and brutal to describe water-boarding and cold rooms. The dishonesty is staggering.

So it is time for President Obama to stand up and show some leadership. No witch hunts, Mr. President. You have enough to do keeping us safe from another attack and fixing the economy. If you don't stand up to the far-left lunacy, this country will be gravely damaged.

And that's the "Talking Points Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

As you may know, after Miss California made her gay marriage statement, she came in second place in the Miss USA contest. The winner is Miss North Carolina, 22-year-old Kristen Dalton, a psychology and Spanish major at East Carolina University. And of course she's being asked about the controversy:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KRISTEN DALTON, MISS USA: The beauty of America is that we all have a right to our own opinion, and I'm proud of her for speaking from her heart and being passionate in what she believes in. And she's proud of herself, so that's all I can say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

That was a good answer, so we believe Ms. Dalton is a patriot.

Click here to watch "Pinheads & Patriots"!

On the pinhead front, another "you make the call situation." A recent ad campaign supporting traditional marriage has spawned a number of pro-gay marriage spoof videos in reply, this one starring Alicia Silverstone:

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ALICIA SILVERSTONE, ACTRESS: I'm a Massachusetts mother helplessly standing by as the schools teach my children that gay marriage is OK. I also have an issue with their hot lunch program.

SARAH CHALKE, ACTRESS: There's a storm gathering.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why there are these clouds behind me. They represent a storm that's gathering.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it's gathering fast.

SILVERSTONE: And I am afraid, because I have a fear of storms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Pinhead? You make the call.

You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads & Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com

Bill O'Reilly currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The O'Reilly Factor (weekdays 8PM/ET), the most watched cable news show for the past 13 years. He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York. Click here for more information on Bill O'Reilly