This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 6, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight, the White House understands that if it doesn't do everything the Iraq study group recommends, the media will hammer it. So how do you handle that?
Joining us now from the White House, presidential spokesperson Tony Snow.
Before we get to the obvious press trap, and I'm sure you know about what they're going to do, we had a very interesting discussion right before you with Edwin Meese and Leon Panetta.
And the consensus of the report is that we're going to give the Iraqis one more chance to step up and fight their own battles. And we're going to assist in the training and have, you know, striker brigades to go in and help them when they need it.
But the Iraqi people have got to rise up. And they haven't so far. Does the president hold that point of view as well?
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: Well, let me put it this way. The president believes that ultimately the Iraqis are going to have to be in control of their country and so does the prime minister, Nouri al Maliki.
What's interesting, Bill, is that even since they finished up the report last week before the ink had dried, you saw some evidence that the Iraqi government understands the problem and is dealing with it.
The prime minister yesterday gave a speech. And he went through a whole series of things that are listed as essentials in this report, including political reconciliation, trying to figure out how to divvy up oil and gas revenues, reaching out to neighbors on a diplomatic initiative, dealing with job creation and economic problems. It's all in there.
So, I think the good news is the Iraqis also understand that this is a situation where you get a government that's been in power now all of sixth months. And that government has been busy trying to sort of find its way. They're trying to clean up corruption. They're going after corrupt police. They're going to have a government shake up.
I mean, all those are signs of a government that's vigorous and engaged. So yes, we understand that the Iraqis have to stand up. And well, so do the Iraqis.
O'REILLY: All right. And it's, you know, anybody's guess whether they will or not. Al Gore on "The Today Show" said this is the worst foreign policy debacle in the history of the United States. What say you?
SNOW: I think he's wrong. Look, let's see, this is what's happened in Iraq. You've got an Iraq where right now, there's a trial going on of Saddam Hussein for the killing of — you ready for this — 185,000 people in Kurdistan, in one section of the country, 185,000 people.
There was carnage aplenty in Iraq before we got there. And interestingly enough, talking this week, the president had a meeting with the leader of the largest Shi'ia political party who lost 60 members of his family to Saddam Hussein.
And what's fascinating is a lot of people are all ready to lay down their bitterness and rancor over all that, and to try to find out a way forward.
This is a time where opponents of democracy are going to try to do everything they can to blow it up literally.
But on the other hand, what you're starting to see is the coalescence of some moderate forces from all across the spectrum in terms of Sunni, Shi'ia, Kurd. And that is a heartening thing.
So understand that it's a tough situation. But we also understand, like I said before, the Iraqis are getting pretty serious about it. And that's good.
O'REILLY: But yes, that may be good, but when you have a powerful country like Iran on your flank, OK? And they're doing everything they can. They're buying people off, they're inciting people, they're training people, they're supplying them with the bombs to blow up Americans, when you have that, that's not going to stop.
And I don't see how our forces can neutralize the Iran factor. I said in my "Talking Points", this should have been the Iran study group. Without Iran doing it, I think the Iraqis might be well on their way to democracy.
With Iran in the equation, I don't know how you overcome that.
SNOW: Well, you know what? Iran's going to have plenty of things to worry about.
Here's the thing — the Iraqis know the problem. And the idea that somehow the Iranians can sort of march over the border and somehow be seen as liberators, that's not true.
The Iranians are Persians. The Iraqis are Arabs. And trust me, that's a distinct difference.
O'REILLY: It is, but they can exert influence through proxies. And you know it.
SNOW: Well, we — I understand that. And that is laid out in part of the report. And we have no delusions about the role Iran is playing. And we have been pretty clear that they need to stop it.
I'm not going to try to lay out tactics.
SNOW: But let me put it this way. We're absolutely aware of the problem and so is the government, including Shi'ia leaders like the one whom met with the president earlier this week.
O'REILLY: Well, I hope you guys can pull it out, because I think that's the big evil in the world.
Final question, the press trap, and you saw it today. You don't do everything that the Iraq Study Group said you're going to get hammered. You know that. Are you ready for that? How come you didn't do this? No, how come you didn't do that? And you know it's coming.
SNOW: You know, first let us take a look through the report. But one of the interesting things is there's been all this talk about well, how do you read it? I don't know, you know, but there are some people during the past political campaign that said get out.
Well, this particular report says, no, no, no, no, you don't do what they call a precipitous withdrawal. How about partitioning the country? That was rejected as well.
What you have is a conversation about something this administration believes in, which is figuring out ways to train up Iraqis so they can gain control of their own security apparatus, so they handle the political problems, so they handle the economic problems.
We want more boots on the ground. We want them to be Iraqi boots.
O'REILLY: Yes, well, good luck.
O'REILLY: All I can say is I think most Americans want it to go our way. And we're praying for you. And good luck, Tony. Thanks very much for coming on, as always.
SNOW: Thanks, Bill.
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