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After the Airline Bomb Scare, Is It Time to Start Ethnic Profiling at Airports?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 28, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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ERIC BOLLING, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: In the "unresolved problem" segment tonight, is political correctness to blame for allowing that would-be bomber from Nigeria on the Northwest Airlines plane? Think about it. The guy was on a watch list. He paid cash for his ticket. He had no luggage. Meantime, elderly grandmothers are getting stripped searched before they can board. Is it time to start profiling passengers?

Joining us now is Ann Coulter, author of the book "Guilty: Liberal Victims and their assault in America" now in paperback. And from L.A., Matthew Littman, a former senior advisor for the Obama campaign.

Ann, I'm going to start with you. Boy, you know, so what if we profile? They're trying to kill us. Jihadists are doing whatever they can, pulling things out of the book trying to kill us. And it's like we're fighting with one or two hands behind our back. Profiling, good or bad?

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ANN COULTER, ANNCOULTER.COM: No, I've been a big proponent of it for quite some time. I mean, we should have started 20 years ago with the Pan Am flight 103 that went down over Lockerbie. We certainly should have started after 9/11. And instead, as always happens when there is a terrorist attack like this, there are a billion inconvenient procedures put on two million passengers a day only in the United States. Think of this. For seven years, we've been opening our computers, turning over lip gloss, taking off sweaters and jackets. And this guy gets through? And now they have more useless procedures they're coming up with, not allowing passengers to go to the bathroom for the last hour of the flight. Well, okay. Blow it up two hours before the flight lands. Ending the in flight entertainment. Allowing no one to have anything on a lap during that last hour. It's just - it's - it is the perfect solution from politicians who don't have to fly commercial air and let the rest of us be treated like sheep for no purpose whatsoever.

BOLLING: Right. Matthew, what about it? So what if I profile a guy who is really, you know, I mean, let's face it. There are Islamism jihadists out there. I don't hear the Christian groups looking to blow planes up over Yemen.

MATTHEW LITTMAN, FORMER OBAMA CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: Right.

BOLLING: Why is that such a bad thing?

LITTMAN: Well, first, I actually am surprised myself. I did agree with some of what Ann said, which shocks me. But I think in this case, it's just a question of more competence rather than profiling. I mean, this guy was on a list of a few hundred thousand people as a potential terrorist. So he is somebody who should have been stopped at the airport, fully searched and not allowed to fly into the United States. We don't need anybody on that list to fly into the United States.

So, I don't think it's necessarily an issue of profiling. I think it's an issue of competence. And right now, look, Ann is right. For seven years, we've had to take off our shoes at the airport. Can't go to the bathroom for the last hour of a flight. You know, we keep getting lucky with some of these terrorists that they're incompetent that the guy chose not to blow up the plane from the bathroom, but went to his seat. I have no idea why. Maybe to make a bigger deal out of it, but we're lucky in that they're incompetent. We're not always going to be lucky.

BOLLING: Ann.

LITTMAN: We have to be able to - I'm sorry.

BOLLING: Well, no, let me throw it over to Ann real quick. You know, we have three Navy Seals in January, who are going to go to trial and try not to be court martialed for trying to get some information out of a man...

COULTER: Right.

BOLLING: ...who killed four people in Iraq. So, again. Go ahead, go ahead.

COULTER: I mean, we also have, you know, the Army doctor at Fort Hood, who had been talking about how we need to cut - it's his religious duty to cut off the heads of infidels and pour hot oil down their throats. And the war on terrorism is a war on Islam.

The problem is, I mean, it isn't just competence. Once you start down the line of saying we not only will not consider whether the Army doctor is a crazed radical Islamist, or whether the passenger who bought his ticket with cash in Nigeria and who's own father has warned us, it's -- once you start (INAUDIBLE) will not consider whether the person is an Islamic radical, you inevitably end up with the situation we're in now.

And I also would like say, especially with a former Obama advisor on the program, I mean, this is - this was part of the selling point of for Obama liberal. Andrew Sullivan pointed out, you know, what are these radical Islamists going to do when they look and see the president of the great Satan. And you know, he has brown skin. And he attended madrassas. And he talks about how he's so moved by the call to prayer five times a day. He used to hear in Indonesia. If anyone can say we're going to look for radical Islamists, it ought to be President Obama. If he does that, if he institutes racial profiling at the airports, I'll vote for him.

BOLLING: Matthew, would it be so bad?

LITTMAN: Let me address.

BOLLING: Go ahead. You want to address that? Go ahead.

LITTMAN: First of all, Ann is the first person to identify Andrew Sullivan as a liberal. That's number one. Number two, yes, it's true that...

COULTER: That's not true.

LITTMAN: ...there would be potential -- yes, it is. It's true that there'll be potential terrorist attacks, even if the world loves Barack Obama. There are still those people who want to kill us.

Now, Barack Obama may be doing a better job of putting a good face for the United States out there in the world. But there is no doubt that there are terrorists, who are going to want to come to the United States, blow up planes, blow up buildings. And we can't rest. We have to do a better job.

BOLLING: Well, Matthew, let me follow that up. Would it be such a bad thing if we profile Islamists? I mean, you know, there's a line for Islamists and there's a line for everyone else at the airport security. Is that a terrible thing?

LITTMAN: Yeah. Well, I understand why. I mean, there's no doubt about it. The last few years it's all Islamist terrorists. I mean, it's absolutely true. It does make me nervous to profile - to have a separate line, yes, for one group of people. What I would like to see is we have the machines now to do full body searches. Why don't we use those machines more frequently?

COULTER: Oh...

LITTMAN: There are many ways of doing this...

BOLLING: Go ahead, Ann.

LITTMAN: ...that would be, that would make this much.

COULTER: The full body searches are -- allow these government employees to see, as I say, two million passengers per day in the United States, nearly a trillion per year to see them completely naked. And, oh, yes, we're promised by the government don't worry these images will be safe. This is worse than having to sit in your seat for one hour before landing. Liberals keep claiming they're so interested in civil liberties, but you're willing to violate the civil liberties of two million Americans a day.

LITTMAN: I don't think of it as violating civil liberties.

COULTER: So as not to upset Muslims. As opposed - oh, yes, but...

LITTMAN: It's an X-ray machine. It's an X-ray machine.

COULTER: A guy from Nigeria to go through an extra check.

LITTMAN: I'm for it.

COULTER: When the (INAUDIBLE) father warned us.

BOLLING: All right.

LITTMAN: I'm for it.

COULTER: That's violating someone's civil liberties.

LITTMAN: I'm for that.

BOLLING: We're going to keep you two here.

LITTMAN: No, and actually, I'm for that.

BOLLING: We're going to break right now.

LITTMAN: (INAUDIBLE) I said I was for that.

BOLLING: Ann and Matthew, you guys are coming back.

COULTER: Well, then we don't need.

BOLLING: Hold on to the thought, Ann. All right. We're going to bring them back to talk health care and the Democratic plan that might alienate their own base.

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