Rob Lowe Discusses Politics in Hollywood

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 6, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: Not much reaction from the Hollywood liberal community about the death of bin Laden. We sincerely hope they know about it. And one liberal actor who has moved to the center recently is Rob Lowe. He is the author of the brand-new bestseller "Stories I Only Tell My Friends." I spoke with him earlier this week.


O'REILLY: You say in your book that Hollywood is a one-party town. We all know that. It's a liberal Democrat town. Is there a reason for that?

ROB LOWE, ACTOR: I think that -- and I don't know what it says, it's not meant to be a judgment -- but it seems to me like creative people end up being Democrats. I think it's been that way forever.

O'REILLY: Is that because they feel sorry for the downtrodden or something? I consider myself a creative person. I'm kind of more of a traditional guy than a liberal guy.

LOWE: Look, let's face it. I think that Democrats are very long on empathy.

O'REILLY: Right.

LOWE: Artists have to be long on empathy. Republicans are long on logic, in my view.

O'REILLY: OK. That might be a little oversimplifying it.

LOWE: But no, I was trying to simplify.

O'REILLY: I just think there is a peer pressure kind of thing out there that when you get into the business, everybody is one way, that pretty much you have got to go that way.

LOWE: Well, listen, everybody can relate to growing up at the kitchen table and hearing your parents talk only one view.

O'REILLY: You did work for Dukakis…

LOWE: I did.

O'REILLY: …when you were 24.

LOWE: Right.

O'REILLY: Dukakis was an OK guy, but he was a very liberal guy and he got his butt kicked, as you know. Was that because you were working for him, by the way?

LOWE: I can pick them, but I also worked for Schwarzenegger and he won.

O'REILLY: What happened to him?

LOWE: He took on the entrenched party system in California.

O'REILLY: And got his butt kicked. He got terminated by them. They killed him. Look, I don't think Arnold knew what he was getting into. I really don't. I think he tried, but I don't…

LOWE: I disagree. I have never met a person who can't -- who is less good or better at bringing people together than Arnold. He is amazing at it.

O'REILLY: He can bring it together, but he left office with a 25 percent approval rating. It was just you guys that liked him.

LOWE: I'm the 25 percent? Just me?

O'REILLY: You and your pals out there, Lowe. Come on.

LOWE: It's a very divisive state. They say if you are a centrist in California, you get run over.

O'REILLY: Yes, that's for sure.

LOWE: By the way, that's too bad. Because I think in the center is where we should be because all of us agree on a lot.

O'REILLY: Now, one of the fascinating points in your book is your relationship with guys like Sean Penn and Charlie Sheen. But Penn and Sheen are two of the most flamboyant, crazy, controversial guys. Were they that way as kids growing up? Did you know they were going…

LOWE: That's what makes them great. That's part of what makes them who they are.

O'REILLY: But look, Sheen is self-destructing. Don't you feel bad for him?

LOWE: I have a particular perspective. I have known him since he was 13. It's like talking about one of your true childhood…

O'REILLY: Were you close friends with him?

LOWE: Very close.

O'REILLY: Are you still close friends with him?

LOWE: I still consider myself close. We don't talk as much as we have in the past.

O'REILLY: You kicked the addiction thing, right? You were a boozer, right?

LOWE: Twenty one years this…

O'REILLY: Good for you. But he seems to embrace that kind of a culture still.

LOWE: Yes.

O'REILLY: Do you talk to him about that?

LOWE: I do. He is not interested in recovery, which worked for me. It's worked for millions of people.

O'REILLY: Did it take you a long time to get there, where you wanted to be cured?

LOWE: I was ready when I was ready. That was my blessing.

O'REILLY: So maybe that will happen to Sheen? Maybe he'll wise up.

LOWE: He's not ready.

O'REILLY: Now, Penn is a very left-wing guy. He was at the correspondents' dinner on Saturday night. He wouldn't put his hand over his heart during the "Star Spangled Banner."

LOWE: Really? Come on.

O'REILLY: He wouldn't.

LOWE: You are making that up.

O'REILLY: No, I'm not. I would never make anything up on this program. Never. I tell you the truth and you know that. You watch. Was he that way when he was a kid? Did he have that anti-American chip on his shoulder?

LOWE: The Sean that I know is hilarious, really, really smart and gets the joke, and is arguably our best actor.

O'REILLY: But he's intense though, very intense guy when it comes to politics, very far left.

LOWE: He's very, very much occupies that space.

O'REILLY: Do you talk politics with Penn?


O'REILLY: That's a good thing, right? You don't want to get into that.

LOWE: I'm a centrist. I don't want to get run over.

O'REILLY: When people read this book, what do you want them to think about you when they are finished with the book?

LOWE: What I wanted to do with the book was just try to make it emblematic of who I am and people can take away what they want.

O'REILLY: Have you become more conservative as you get older?

LOWE: Without a doubt. I mean, I am a centrist. My son, who is studying politics in high school, had me take some online very complicated poll. You couldn't have put me more in the middle than where I ended up, and I don't know what that says about me, but that's where I ended up.

O'REILLY: One thing it says about you is that you are very wise not to talk politics with Sean Penn. Thanks for coming in here, Mr. Lowe. Good to meet you.

LOWE: Thank you. You, too.


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