Interviews

Hillary and Immigration

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 23, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight, two other views on this. Joining us from Philadelphia, Dr. Larry Chapp, a theology professor at DeSales University. And here in the studio, FOX News political analyst Kirsten Powers.

Am I making a mistake here on this analysis?

KIRSTEN POWERS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, if she's trying to appeal to the left with Jesus, she's really going down the wrong path.

O'REILLY: Really, why?

POWERS: Yes. Because that is much more of a mainstream Democrat viewpoint. There are lots of Democrats in this country who are religious, who go to church, who believe in God, all that kind of stuff and would agree with what she said.

The far left does not like any kind of intersection between religion and politics. And they're very clear on that. So for her to go out...

O'REILLY: So they don't even want a reference of...

POWERS: I think that they don't think that it's necessary to reference things like that.

O'REILLY: Drag Jesus into the debate.

POWERS: Yes, that you can make your point without invoking the Bible, or Jesus, or any other religion.

O'REILLY: Do you think they'd be angry?

POWERS: I wouldn't be surprised if there are some people that are upset. Yes.

O'REILLY: Really?

POWERS: Yes. Yes, because I think that it's just not — the far left really feels that it should not be in the public square.

POWERS: What should not be in public square?

POWERS: Well, she shouldn't be bringing up necessarily religion into it.

O'REILLY: So Jesus should be out of all political...

POWERS: Well, it's not just Jesus. It's any kind of religion.

O'REILLY: All right, Buddha, anybody.

POWERS: Yes.

O'REILLY: OK.

POWERS: And so I think that — all I'm saying is I don't know that she's going to be in trouble. I just don't think it's a way to pander to the left.

O'REILLY: What do you think, doctor?

LARRY CHAPP, PH.D., DESALES UNIVERSITY THEOLOGY PROFESSOR: Well, as I said on the radio today, I think this is just further evidence of what in my opinion is why Hillary Clinton is one of the most despicable politicians that is out there right now, in the sense that she's absolutely chameleon-like.

When she is pandering to the left, she wants nothing to do with religion. She sounds like the ACLU. You know, when she's voting against partial-birth abortion, I don't see her invoking the name of Jesus there, because I'm sure she can't picture Jesus doing something like that. And she also knows that it doesn't play with her far-left base.

But now she wants to pander to the center. And so she starts invoking the name of Jesus. And as a Christian, I'm offended by the use of Jesus for what I see is her very, very self-interested political partisan ambition.

O'REILLY: Now do you think she even thinks about that though? Do you think that Senator Clinton says to herself in a private moment, you know, Jesus wouldn't like my vote on partial-birth abortion, or he wouldn't like my stance on keeping religion out of the public square, whatever, whatever the issue may be? Do you think she really knows that? Or isn't she just shooting from the hip here?

CHAPP: I think she's shooting from the hip. I know she was raised a Christian. And so I don't want to make any un-Christian moral evaluative judgments about what she thinks in private.

I'm just going to judge her based on her public stands as a politician. And I think partial birth abortion is an absolutely abhorrent and morally barbaric practice, that the AMA itself says never has any medically sufficient reason for it.

She voted for that and I didn't see her invoking any Christian principles there.

I think this is simply a craven attempt to use the name of Jesus for political purpose.

You know, Republicans do the same thing. I mean, you listen to Republicans, Jesus is a gun- toting, union-busting capitalist sometimes. You know, and both sides of the aisle have been doing this of late. And I think it's got to stop.

O'REILLY: You want to reply to the doctor, Kirsten?

CHAPP: Using Jesus as a political football.

POWERS: Well, I was glad that he brought this up, because I was going to say, you know, we had "Justice Sunday" where you had, you know, members of Congress going and basically invoking God around the Terry Schiavo situation. So this is something that both sides do. And I don't disagree. I think it can be a little bit.

O'REILLY: But the doctor is saying that it's craven and that she is despicable?

POWERS: No, it's despicable. I absolutely — I don't think that's true. And I don't think that. I think that...

O'REILLY: Well, what do you mean you don't think it's true?

POWERS: I...

O'REILLY: I mean, look, let's just deal with the record. Certainly Mrs. Clinton supports things that most Christians do not, i.e. partial-birth abortion. OK?

POWERS: Well, by that, you could also say that there are Republicans who support the death penalty which the Catholic church is against.

O'REILLY: Look, we don't do the justifying bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior here.

The topic is she brought up Jesus in the immigration debate. The doctor, and rightly so, says she's selectively using Jesus here, while Jesus would be appalled at some of other her actions. What say you?

POWERS: I think that she's a deeply religious person.

O'REILLY: Do you really?

POWERS: Yes, absolutely.

O'REILLY: Based on what?

POWERS: And I think — based on everything that I've ever heard about her. And I think she's a person who grew up a Christian. She's a person who still practices her faith. Bill Clinton's very religious. So I don't think it's fair to sit in judgment and say, you know, Hillary Clinton's a bad person because this person doesn't agree with something that she did. I mean, she's...

O'REILLY: Oh, I would agree with you. I'm not saying that she's a bad person, or a non-religious person, or a hypocrite. I am not saying that. I would not say that.

But I am saying that doctor's strongest point is she's selectively using, all right, an icon, a religious icon that appeals to most Americans, over 80 percent are Christian, selectively using it. The doctor thinks it's deplorable to do that. Do you?

POWERS: No, I don't think it is because I agree with her. I don't think that Jesus would be criminalizing immigrants.

O'REILLY: All right. Well, let me, well, that's not what this does in a sense that they're not immigrants. They are people who are breaking the law. They're not criminalizing immigrants. They are criminalizing people who are breaking the law. Render to Caesar. You got the last word doctor. Go.

CHAPP: Well, that's an important point. I mean, to demonize either side of the immigration issue by invoking the name of Jesus, I think, is precisely the point. This is an issue of prudential judgment that reasonable people can disagree about. You're weighing competing values. Humanitarian values verses values of national sovereignty in an age of terrorism.

O'REILLY: And security.

CHAPP: Neither side of this debate has the moral corner or the moral high ground. Both sides have good points to make. And to demonize the other side.

O'REILLY: All right, so let's just leave Jesus out of it then.

CHAPP: Exactly.

O'REILLY: I think that's the best thing to do. Kirsten, always a pleasure. Thank you.

Doctor, as always.

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