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O'Reilly vs. Ingraham on the Tea Party

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 21, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: Now for "Top Story" tonight, let's bring in Miss Laura Ingraham. And see what she thinks, Laura is the author of the brand new best seller, "Of Thee I Zing." And she joins us now from Washington.

Ok, am I going wrong here once again?

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you seem, Bill, to be kind of buying into the elite "Talking Points" on the Tea Party Movement. And I hate to say this, but the idea that the Tea Party is being radical or unreasonable merely because the Tea Party believes that the government should live within its means and that we should have visible, real and meaningful cuts to spending now, not in years from now but now, I -- I don't -- I don't think that jives with reality, Bill.

I mean, the Tea Party is the reason that were even discussing raising the debt ceiling in conjunction with cuts --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: All right, well we've got to get the debt deal and the debt deal isn't going to happen unless there is a compromise and 38 Tea Party Congresspeople have signed a pledge that they will not vote for a compromise unless there is a constitutional amendment that says you have to balance the budget.

Now, I support a constitutional amendment that says that. But it's not going to happen for years because the Democrats are blocking and as you know --

(CROSSTALK)

INGRAHAM: Right but it -- right.

O'REILLY: Two thirds of the states have to ratify such a constitutional amendment. It'll take years. So these people are basically saying they are not going to vote for a compromise no matter what it is. Unless --

(CROSSTALK)

INGRAHAM: Well -- no, now, yes look.

O'REILLY: Go ahead.

INGRAHAM: I think -- I think you make a good point in that. Look, there is something -- there are some things so far in this quote, "Gang of Six", I hate the whole word "gang". I mean, I think we can get away from that. But --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: I never use it -- I never use it.

INGRAHAM: Yes I know but this whole -- the whole terminology is tedious. But -- look, there are a couple things in this as far as we know; we know very few details about something that's supposed to be this wonderful, grand idea, very bare bone details.

But one of the things we do know is that it would drop rates. So the highest rate would go from 35 to 29, get rid with a bunch of other exemptions.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: All right, but we don't want to talk about that because we don't know what they're going to put on the table.

INGRAHAM: And I think that's -- yes, but I think that's interesting. Look Bill if it, no but I know, but -- you're -- you're saying it's important to talk about that, with all due respect. You're saying the Tea Party Movement is being unreasonable. And even radical. You're comparing them to the yippies of the 60's, which was quite a threat.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: I'm saying that if the American public perceives them to be unreasonable and none -- and will not compromise, they are done.

(CROSSTALK)

INGRAHAM: Well, the "New York Times," does -- the "New York Times" -- you're absolutely right -- thinks the Tea Party Movement is radical and outside the mainstream.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: All right, I don't care what the "New York Times" says. I don't do my evaluations from them.

(CROSSTALK)

INGRAHAM: Well, that's what the lead thinks.

O'REILLY: I do my evaluations -- look, as I said, when Tom Coburn comes forth and he is one the six senators that are discussing this compromise --

(CROSSTALK)

INGRAHAM: He's not infallible.

O'REILLY: It doesn't matter if he's infallible or not. The guy is -- you can't get more conservative and more fiscally angry than him.

(CROSSTALK)

INGRAHAM: Well, Bill there's no -- right.

O'REILLY: And if he says that a compromise is needed and you still say it isn't, then you are extremist.

(CROSSTALK)

INGRAHAM: Bill you just said -- Bill -- Bill you just said you don't want to talk about the details. I think that's where the rub is here. We don't know what is in the so-called "Gang of Six" proposal.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Nobody is saying --

(CROSSTALK)

INGRAHAM: And we're talking about the need to --

O'REILLY: Look Laura.

INGRAHAM: -- to -- Bill, to glob on -- glom on to this.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: I don't know why you don't understand this.

(CROSSTALK)

INGRAHAM: Ok. I guess I'm not as smart as you. Go ahead.

O'REILLY: Well, maybe you're not on this issue, Laura. And that's quite possible.

INGRAHAM: Ok. Ok.

O'REILLY: Thirty-eight sitting congressman people say they are not going to vote for any compromise, Laura. Nothing. Not going to do it ever! That's an extremist position.

(CROSSTALK)

INGRAHAM: Well maybe -- maybe -- maybe Bill.

Ok, Bill if they believe that they campaigned on a principle and they were elected on fulfilling and living up to that principle. I would not say that was radical. I would actually say that was honest, ok.

O'REILLY: All right.

INGRAHAM: And you're -- you're right there are different ways to approach this. I'm not saying there's any one path but for -- for them for -- for you to say it's radical, a CNN poll, ok go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Yes, it's a CNN poll, Laura. It's a poll.

INGRAHAM: Yes, there are a lot of polls out there.

O'REILLY: 66 percent of Americans want a compromise. If a Tea Party blocks a compromise, if they succeed in doing it, and I don't think they will -- the Tea Party is done, finished, over. It's going to be branded as it already is unfairly. It's already branded unfairly, ok?

(CROSSTALK)

INGRAHAM: Yes because -- that's exactly what they said --

O'REILLY: And I fought against that, and I fought against that.

INGRAHAM: Yes, that's right. I understand that but that's --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: But if they block the compromise and this economy goes south, all right, no more Tea Party. It's gone.

INGRAHAM: Ok. Well, I'm not disagreeing with you necessarily about the fact that people don't need to move on the issue. But I think the way you're framing it is, is really unfair to these people who got elected on a pledge and a promise.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: No it's not. I've been absolutely fair. I'm telling you the facts. I'm giving you the facts.

INGRAHAM: Ok, you know I want to talk about the details of what they're even thinking about. I mean the cut, cap and balance.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Because we don't know what the details are, when the details come out, then, we'll debate the details, there's a thousand different scenarios.

(CROSSTALK)

INGRAHAM: So how can we talk about a compromise? Bill, we can't talk about a compromise until we know what to --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: No, you can't put in stone. Look, Michele Bachmann made a major mistake by saying she's not going to vote to raise the debt ceiling no matter what. No matter what, that was a major mistake.

(CROSSTALK)

INGRAHAM: I'm not, I'm not, right, I'm defending what she did. I'm - - I'm defending a broad brush approach to describing the, quote, "Tea Party candidates" out there. And I would say if you match their views on fiscal issues, you probably go down the list, they are pretty -- pretty much mainstream as compared to where the left-wing part of the Democratic Party and so I think the Tea Party is much more in line with the people.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: I hope you are right -- I hope you are right because I like the Tea Party and I would like to see the Tea Party instead of 19 percent have 29 percent, 39 percent.

(CROSSTALK)

INGRAHAM: Yes.

O'REILLY: Because we want people to have power in their own states and communities and that's what the Tea Party is about.

Look. I'm doing the Tea Party a favor here by telling them what's going to happen if they're perceived by 66 percent of the country --

(CROSSTALK)

INGRAHAM: Yes, they were going to -- I agree with you. They will be branded, yes. They will be branded by certain people and certain organizations.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: All right. See we found common ground, if you and I can compromise, then certainly they can.