Interviews

Bill Maher Enters the No Spin Zone, Part 1

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 29, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

 

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BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: And, in the "Impact Statement" tonight as we've been reporting President Obama is mounting a counteroffensive to try to boost the standing in the job approval polls. Of course, Obama's support is all over the country are rooting for him. And, one of those supporters is Bill Maher whom I talked with yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

O'REILLY: So, Maher why do you think President Obama is having so much trouble in the job approval polls? What's driving him down?

BILL MAHER, HOST OF HBO'S "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": Well, first of all, he's not having that much trouble historically. He's about where Clinton and Reagan where a little higher than where they were in their first administration. But, it's partly the fault of the opposition. There's a lot of disinformation out there. I'm not saying where it comes from. And, the lion's share of the fault goes to the Democrats. They do not brag about their accomplishments.

O'REILLY: But, there's something more in play here, I think, and I just wondered if you had noticed anything about the president's presentation or the way he goes about his job that you might point to.

MAHER: Well, obviously, people think he's a little bloodless. I happened to like that in a president. I like a president that uses his brain and not his faith or his heart or his gut as the former president did. I kind of like that in our president. But, you know, again, they don't brag about their accomplishments and when you downplay the economy, all of the dissatisfaction with him is about the economy. Because a lot of it is racially --

O'REILLY: You think it's racially? You're on that bandwagon of if you don't like him, you're a racist -- you can't be there. Maher, that's not you. You can't be there.

MAHER: So, you don't think it's racially involved at all?

OREILLY: Of course not. You know, he was elected by 53 percent of the public. And, when he took office, his approval was over 70 percent. Come on. Come on!

MAHER: But, Bill -- but Bill, just for example, I mean the teabaggers. They're the ones, who are so upset about the debt. Most of the debt came from Bush. That's just a fact. Under Bush, Cheney said it, "Deficits don't matter." Nobody was angry about the deficit when it was President Bush.

O'REILLY: Because they didn't know about it. Look, President Obama has spent more money --

MAHER: They didn't know about it?

O'REILLY: No, they didn't. It wasn't a big issue as it is now. He's the biggest spending president in the history of the republic, Maher. You got to know that, man!

MAHER: Of course -- well, first of all, that's not -- that's not a true statement. He's not the biggest spender. Bush was the biggest spender.

O'REILLY: No, Obama is the biggest -- his budget is bigger than Bush's budget --

MAHER: Most -- most of the money that has been sent has been trying to dig us out of the hole that Bush put us in.

O'REILLY: We're running up trillion dollars of debt. We got "Obamacare" that's going to add more to that, and I'm not any better off and the economy is not any better off, so it's all a waste. He's not doing it. And I'm not saying that's the right point of view. I'm saying that's what's inside many Americans' brains.

MAHER: People are impatient, of course. Economies take a while to turn around and no president could do it overnight. Not this one, not the former one, not Ronald Reagan.

O'REILLY: But, the reality of the situation now, you have a president that you like. I think you support Obama still, OK? We have him on the rocks now. He's going to lose the House probably -- maybe lose the Senate. Therefore, he's going to lose his power except for veto. And there's a reason why. It's not that Americans are racist. It's not that Americans are impatient. It's that they want, after almost two years, some improvement, and we haven't seen it.

MAHER: Well, we've seen a lot of improvement. We stopped torturing people. We can have stem cell research again. Health care, you know, people can't be thrown out of a hospital. Kids can stay on their parents' rolls until they're 26.

O'REILLY: All right. And those --

MAHER: You can't throw a child off for pre-existing conditions.

O'REILLY: I'm not saying there haven't been any good things that president has done, but you're wrong about the torture deal, by the way. The Obama administration does practice rendition and you know that people - -

MAHER: Yes, they do. You're right.

O'REILLY: OK. That's off the charts. OK, let's go into the final part of the argument here. Do you believe that conservative individuals are just bad people? Are they just nasty people? Racist people? The Tea Party all terrible? I mean is that what your -- is that your outlook?

MAHER: No, not entirely. People are individuals. But, I think in general, yes, they're more selfish and they're more likely to advocate policies that serve their own interest and don't think anybody else.

O'REILLY: You were -- when I first met you and you're doing the ABC show, not nearly as liberal as you are today. How did that happen?

MAHER: Well, the -- the country changed.

O'REILLY: You didn't change. The country changed.

MAHER: The people who were -- Basically, yes. I mean, at some point in the last 20 years, the left moved to the center and the right moved into a mental institution. I mean, there used to be ideological differences that were understandable and there used to be moderate Republicans. That has gone away. I mean, the Republican Party now is just a bunch of religious lunatics, flat earthers and civil war re-enactors, so I don't think it was me that changed so much.

(LAUGHTER)

O'REILLY: All right. So, you're in with the All-American crew, who like Michael Moore and these guys, who just love their country and -- come on, look. If you can't see the extremism on both sides, I'm flabbergasted.

MAHER: There really isn't extremism on both sides. That's a canard - -

O'REILLY: There's isn't? There is no extremism on the left?

MAHER: There's not that much extremism -- There is some but not -- nothing to talk about. Not really. There's no movement like the Tea Party movement.

O'REILLY: All right. So, MoveOn -- MoveOn at L.A., The Daily Kos, those people there are just normal kind of people and --

MAHER: Yes. They are normal kind of people.

O'REILLY: All right.

MAHER: Why? You think liberals are not normal people?

O'REILLY: No. I didn't say liberals. That's the far-left crew.

(END VIDEOTAPE)