Interviews

Laura Ingraham on John McCain, Heath Ledger

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 1, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Week in Review" from the "Ingraham Angle" segment tonight: Laura Ingraham is dealing with the presidential election, just like the rest of us. And some of our radio callers aren't happy about what's going on. I spoke with Laura last night.

(BEGIN TAPE)

O'REILLY: There is a lot of angst around John McCain by some talk radio people. No. 1, are you one of those people? And, No. 2, how do you see the big picture?

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Guilty as charged. I'm one of those people. And it's pretty clear and easy to understand.

The pieces of legislation that John McCain became most famous for are all pieces of legislation that he co-authored with liberals, whether it's McCain-Kennedy, obviously, the amnesty bill, or it was McCain-Feingold, which was a direct curtailment of political free speech in America. They're just, on the conservative scale of 0 to 10, 0 being the least offensive, 10 being the most offensive, both of them are like 12.

O'REILLY: If you have that and you have immigration…

INGRAHAM: Carbon taxes. Failure to want the Bush tax cuts to be permanent. The list goes on.

O'REILLY: Does that disqualify him, then, from your vote and other conservative Americans if he is the choice of the Republican Party? Do you stay home and not vote at all?

INGRAHAM: Well, I haven't really decided what I'm going to do. I want to be an optimist and think that, you know, anything is possible. You can influence John McCain in a way that he's never been influenced before politically. Because more often than not, when the choice was making deals with conservatives or making them with liberals, John McCain chose the latter. That's just a fact. I mean, he doesn't want to talk about that bill at these debates.

O'REILLY: Nobody is arguing the fact. But the...

INGRAHAM: He doesn't want to talk about it.

O'REILLY: The conversation now is, look, just like Hillary Clinton is running to the left in a primary and, if she wins, she'll go back to the center, John McCain is going to go to the right in the general election to try to win back people like...

INGRAHAM: Why?

O'REILLY: To try to win back people like you.

INGRAHAM: No, he's going to go for the moderates. He's going to go for moderates and independents.

O'REILLY: You wait and see.

INGRAHAM: If he doesn't need conservatives, Bill, to win the nomination, I don't think he has to give conservatives the time of day to win the election. I really don't.

O'REILLY: I would be very surprised if he doesn't put his right-to-life cred on the line, his 83 percent conservative voting record on the line. I'd be very surprised if he doesn't.

Now, you're right in the fact that the McCain people aren't taking conservative votes for granted.

INGRAHAM: No. The McCain people won't return our phone calls.

O'REILLY: They're saying we can replace them with Hispanic-American votes, as they did in Florida. And we can get moderates and conservative Democrats. But you haven't made your mind up yet. So you're still...

INGRAHAM: About what I'm going to do? No, I'm basically, you know, hoping that common sense will prevail here and that a true conservative vision is going to emerge from this confusion. And I'm doing the best I can to figure it out. It's very complicated.

O'REILLY: I think he's going to put a conservative on the second ticket. I think it could be even McCain-Romney if Romney doesn't beat him in Super Tuesday.

INGRAHAM: That hatred they had the other night, Bill.

O'REILLY: That goes away pretty fast.

INGRAHAM: I know. Reagan and Bush H. W. didn't like each other.

O'REILLY: You know, and Romney is a — you know. But I would be very, very surprised if he didn't put a conservative on the second ticket.

INGRAHAM: Well, Huckabee is hoping for it, Bill. Come on.

O'REILLY: It's not going to happen. Huckabee won't get it because Arkansas is a small state. And McCain doesn't want to be having that religious theocracy thing around his neck, which is what the press would do.

Now, let's get to another topic, which is interesting and in the news. It seems that the Hollywood community has rallied around the late Heath Ledger, and they told Paramount, which runs "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider," two gossip shows, you better not run the video taken of Ledger at an alleged drug party a couple of years ago. And if you do, you know, you're going to be in a lot of trouble with the Hollywood community. Therefore, the two celebrity shows, "ET" and "The Insider," said, OK, we won't run it, after paying $200,000 for it.

What do you think about that? No. 1, Hollywood very rarely does stuff like that. And is that a cause to rally to? They say they don't want the Ledger family to be hurt.

INGRAHAM: Sounds something like that the Tattaglia family would do in, like, "Godfather 2." I mean, it's just like strong-arm tactics.

O'REILLY: They're strong-arm.

INGRAHAM: ...establishment. And to me, you know, Bill, I don't like any of these stories. I don't like talking about them, and I don't like the coverage of them. I think we do too much of it.

However, it's a little late for Hollywood to express this selective moral indignation: "Oh, you can't run this video." And I think part of it, Bill, is that they don't want people to get a bird's-eye view of what goes on in places like the Chateau Marmont in L.A., where you know...

O'REILLY: I think there's some truth to that, because they — it's in...

INGRAHAM: Coke party central.

O'REILLY: There are so many illegal drugs surrounding the entertainment community, and you very rarely ever hear of any arrests. I think they're protecting these people. And they have, like, 15 guards and all of that.

But here is the deal that disturbs me. I think that the death of Heath Ledger or Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin, these people, sends a message to people. It certainly sent a message to me when I was a kid, all right? When I saw these guys dropping in the '60s, one after another after another from drug use, I said, you know, "I'm not going to bother with that." I wasn't inclined to do it anyway. But it just reinforced that inclination.

And I think that when these people go from the drug overdoses or something, it's worthy to tell young Americans, "Hey, look at this. Look at this guy. Thought he was invincible? Boom!" Isn't that worthy?

INGRAHAM: Now don't you think the Lindsay and Britney coverage...

O'REILLY: They're not dead.

INGRAHAM: No. But has that really stopped, you know, the excesses among young actors and actresses in Hollywood? I don't see evidence of that. Maybe that's happening.

O'REILLY: I don't care about the people in Hollywood, excuse me, what they do. I care about the people on Long Island or the people in Alabama, the young people. Don't you think when they see Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears embarrassed and scorned and mocked, don't you think that they say, "Maybe I'm not going to do that"?

INGRAHAM: No, I really don't. I think we all become numb to it. I don't see evidence of young people, en masse, saying, "I'm not going to pick up that bottle of Miller. I'm not going to, you know, take a toke on, you know, on that joint." I don't see that that happens.

I think we're immersing ourselves in these images and this footage that, frankly, is making us numb and dumb. I've said it before on this show, and I'm going to say it again. I think the Hollywood crowd is obviously completely hypothetical in this regard, and that's a given. But is this all helping us become better people? I don't think so.

O'REILLY: OK. I do think that there is a cautionary tale to be told on these deaths.

INGRAHAM: Read about it. Read about it then.

O'REILLY: Kids don't read.

INGRAHAM: Oh great.

O'REILLY: Kids watch TV, and they do the Internet. And that's what they do.

But anyway, Laura, we appreciate your perspective as always, and we will see you next week.

INGRAHAM: All right.

(END TAPE)

O'REILLY: And today Ms. Laura announced she is supporting Governor Romney.

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