Is President Obama on Top of Libya Chaos?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 28, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight: The dictator Qaddafi continues to hang on in Libya, but his fall could come at any time. So how effectively is President Obama handling the situation?

Joining us now from Washington, Fox News analyst Karl Rove. So what I'm interested in is not a partisan, you know, you are Republican and all that, everybody knows. But President Obama must do what's best for America here; not what's best for the Libyans or the Middle East people, but what's best for America. Is he?

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Let me compliment him first on one thing. Friday night he issued an executive order that froze all the assets of Qaddafi, his family and the funds that he personally controls. And this afternoon The New York Times ran a piece on the Internet. They have already, since Friday night, frozen $30 billion of Qaddafi's money. Now, the government of Libya has even more money in Europe and the Europeans are busily freezing that, but the administration did the right thing on Friday. It is in our interest to remove this man from power.

Having said that, I agree with Bill Kristol in his editorial this weekend in The Weekly Standard in which he said the administration is dithering, that they have moved slowly, that they have been behind the curve on this, and that as a result, America has looked weak and we have an emerging situation in Libya which could result in a civil war that could be protracted, ugly and also violent with a lot of people losing their lives.

O'REILLY: All right. But when you make an accusation like Kristol did and use the word dithering, you have got to then put forth what the president should have done, which is?

ROVE: Well, for example, on Wednesday, he was asked -- at a news conference his press spokesman was asked why isn't the administration speaking out against the violence and calling for an end to the regime in Libya like our other allies are doing, like Merkel in Germany and others? And the president's flack said we will comment on that later and sometime we will issue a paper on it. Later that day they issued a paper statement ostensibly from a conversation that Obama had with the German Chancellor Merkel in which the president spoke out on the crisis in which he said we are taking every step to protect Americans. That's not a very strong statement.

There is a piece today in The Washington Post by Michael O'Hanlon, who is from the Brookings Institution and from the left, and Paul Wolfowitz, who is at the American Enterprise Institute and from the right. The two of them made a pretty good convincing case that we ought to have acted sooner because the administration wants to act through multilateral agencies and that takes a while. And they should be doing things like medical supplies and humanitarian aid into the eastern part of the country that's now been liberated from Qaddafi. Declare that we are no longer recognizing Qaddafi; break diplomatic relations. Peru did it in order to show their distaste for the regime. We haven't. Engage in a dialogue with the people in the liberated parts of the country. First to discuss the kind of conditions that we believe in the West are necessary for us to have a dialogue with them, like are you in favor of a united secular Libya. And that second of all what do they need to defend themselves and to care for their people.

There've been others. The chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee had issued a (INAUDIBLE) list. No-fly zone in order to keep them from doing in Libya what Saddam Hussein did after the Gulf War in Iraq.

You know, there are a variety of things that we should have been doing and should be doing earlier. The administration seems to wait until it got the Americans out of the country and then it took the one step that it did on Friday night.

O'REILLY: Would you have advised President Obama, say you were in the same position as you were with President Bush, to move U.S. warships off the coast of Libya?

ROVE: Sure. Or at least to have U.S. aviation assets. We have bases in Italy which could be re-fueled and kept aloft over the region in order to enforce a no-fly zone or at least to be off the coast of Libya and be a threat. And this man, look, he coughed up, started to cough up his weapons programs in 2002 because he was afraid of what might happen to him. He remembered what Ronald Reagan had done to him. He looked at how quickly the Taliban was dismantled in Afghanistan. As a result, he began to cough up his weapons programs, told us all about them and began to close them down. We got the nuclear program. We got most of the biological. I worry a little bit that there is a bunch of chemical weapon stocks that are still in the country that he could use against his own people. But he acted because of fear…

O'REILLY: Everything is about him. There is no doubt about it. Would you try him as a war criminal after this is over?

ROVE: You know, look, first, let's get him out of power. If somebody wants to take him…

O'REILLY: Well, we should take him. I mean, the Pan-Am jet was ours.

ROVE: I agree. I agree. You are right about that.

O'REILLY: All right. On the Wisconsin thing, just real quick, less than a minute. What should Walker do now? He has got to do something. Those guys aren't coming back to the state. What should he do?

ROVE: I think he is doing the right thing by waiting until this bipartisan fiscal board says he is out of time in order to handle the financing problem of the state. Then he ought to go ahead and allow people to be fired and then consider or be laid off and then he ought to consider separating these two measures so they can go ahead and give the state, the local and school districts the tool to handle their collective bargaining problems. And then let the Democrats continue to be out and they can't pass the budget repair bill but they can pass the collective bargaining piece of it and help the local…

O'REILLY: If he does lay off people, he will be blamed for that.

ROVE: No. He won't be blamed for it. The 14 legislators who've refuse to come back to the state.

O'REILLY: You think so.

ROVE: Oh, yes, absolutely.

O'REILLY: You think public opinion would be that way?

ROVE: Absolutely. I do think that. Yes.

O'REILLY: All right. Mr. Rove, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

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