Interviews

How Will Bin Laden Death Affect Obama?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 2, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Campaign '12" segment tonight: President Obama could not have received better news than the death of Usama bin Laden.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think we can all agree this is a good day for America. Our country has kept its commitment to see that justice is done. The world is safer. It is a better place because of the death of Usama bin Laden.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: The question: How will this affect the president's standing, which has been quite shaky with the American people? Joining us now from Washington, Fox News chief political analyst Brit Hume. So he's got to get a bump in the polls, you would think, this week from this situation.

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, I think so, Bill. I think he might get a significant bump in the polls, much as President Bush 41 got a big boost in the polls, you may recall, after the successful conclusion of the Gulf War, which was a bigger undertaking in terms of the number of troops, in terms of the potential for failure, in terms of all that went into it and it was a big route, lasted for four or five days. It was a huge deal, and he looked politically invincible. However, it -- the bump from that faded in the face of conditions that people of the country found disagreeable, the economy and so on. And I suspect that whatever boost the president gets out of this will prove temporary as well.

O'REILLY: OK, so short-term. But, you know, you can't really get him, if you're a Republican, on national security and things like that. I mean, this certainly bolsters his resume in those areas. If you're going to call him soft on national security or soft on terrorism, he can look at you and go, "Hey. Yes." Correct?

HUME: Well, I think that's true. And I think he -- well, to some extent, I think that's true, Bill. I mean, he will certainly get credit for making a very shrewd calculation in deciding to do this by commando raid instead of a bombing run, which made for the identification of bin Laden. It also meant that you didn't have a lot of other people killed in the raid, a lot of damage in the neighborhood and all of that that would have been a problem. And all -- and that was -- and that was meant that -- look, you know, you drop a bomb from a distance, you don't have any casualties except perhaps some Pakistanis, and it's not as dangerous. This was a dangerous mission. It could have failed. If it had, it would have been a big embarrassment. Remember Carter in the desert.

O'REILLY: Absolutely.

HUME: He took a risk. He gets credit for that, I think, in the mind of any reasonable person. However, there's an awful lot else going on in the world and in the Middle East that requires the United States' participation and management.

O'REILLY: Sure.

HUME: These things will go on. We're going to have Libya and the situation in Syria. We're going to have all these. They may turn out well for the president and for his administration. But they may not, and that will be on people's minds, as well.

O'REILLY: We also want to point out that by doing that raid, they got all this intel. I mean, they just stripped the place bare of all the machines and all the papers, and that's got to help them in their fight against Al Qaeda.

HUME: Can't hurt.

O'REILLY: Now, the left, it's interesting how the American left is seeing the death of bin Laden. And what better way to chronicle that than by listening to the ladies on "The View"? Roll the tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST, ABC'S "THE VIEW": Great credit to this president.

JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, ABC'S "THE VIEW": We love our president. We love him.

BRIAN ROSS, ABC NEWS: And he made a choice not to drop bombs there.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, ABC'S "THE VIEW": Yes, he did.

ROSS: Because he was afraid it would obliterate any evidence they killed him. So he made the choice to send in the U.S. Navy SEALs.

BEHAR: And he would have hurt other people probably. This way, it was very...

ROSS: A risky move paid off.

WALTERS: I would hate now to be a Republican candidate thinking of running.

ELISABETH HASSELBECK, CO-HOST, ABC'S "THE VIEW": I think it's insane to politicize this event right now, and I refuse to partake in that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: OK. So they're whooping it up over there because it's a big victory for their guy, President Obama. Which is, I guess, legitimate, no?

HUME: Well, yes, of course. I mean, the president deserves real credit for this. However, he was not in trouble with the American people because of his handling of the search for bin Laden. He was in trouble because of the condition of the economy, the size of the deficits and debt, the emerging growth of the price of the products that people buy every day, food and fuel, most conspicuous among them, and certain other things that people were worried about.

Now, this is a short-term thing that will last for a little while. But these things, these other problems must be overcome. He needs to do better on all of them. And if he does, he may be re-elected handily. If he doesn't, I don't think the capture or the killing of Usama bin Laden will save him.

O'REILLY: OK. Going forward, I think President Obama has a problem with Pakistan because I think people are going to agree with me and Col. Peters and Michael Scheuer that they knew, Pakistan did, where bin Laden was. And we're sending them $3.4 billion, and they're hosing us. And I think the president has got to explain that, and Hillary Clinton going out there going that, nobody is believing that.

HUME: Well, I think you're right about the public's impatience with Pakistan. Pakistan is a very treacherous place, and our relationship with Pakistan post-9/11 has been very complex. The Pakistanis have at once been very helpful at times and very unhelpful at times. It is Hillary Clinton's job as secretary of State to try to manage that relationship so that it tilts toward cooperation and away from trouble. That is why you heard her trying so hard today to cast the Pakistanis as an ally.

O'REILLY: But who bought that? Who bought that?

HUME: I don't think she's doing that to be nice. I think there are concrete reasons to do that. We do not want Pakistan to be a hostile country across the board. Pakistani leaders must play a double game. It is a place -- it's a hot bed of militant Islam. It's not an easy place to govern or rule, and it is not an easy place to have an alliance with the West. So I think a little impatience is probably in order in that relationship. It will not be easier after -- in the face of the discovery of bin Laden living lavishly in a suburb of Islamabad.

O'REILLY: And 100 yards away from an army base.

HUME: Exactly.

O'REILLY: I know why Secretary of State Clinton did it, but does she think we're all morons here? I mean, you know, we're looking at her going like, "You're not telling us the truth." It's never good for your domestic audience, the USA audience, not to tell you. Now, maybe there's a guy named Mohammed over there who helped us out and that's who she is referring to. I'll give you the last word.

HUME: Well, look, what I would say about this is at this point we're not going to know all there is to know about the complexities of that relationship. But, I -- you know, I'm hesitant to say that we ought to cut all ties with Afghanistan and cut off the aid that some want to do because of this.

O'REILLY: I don't think we need any rash things, but I think we should call them out. I think we should call them out.

HUME: I think they've been called out.

O'REILLY: Well, they will be on this program. Brit, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

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