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Charles Krauthammer on Debt Debate Drama Gripping D.C.

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 26, 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: As I mentioned earlier this week, I am not going to get caught up in the "he said, she said" of the debt debate. Things are changing every 10 seconds, a very disturbing situation, as you know. Today, Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry challenged White House spokesman Jay Carney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: What was the point of giving a prime-time address to the nation without an Obama plan and say neither of these other plans can work? Where is his plan?

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I understand the idea that there is not an Obama plan is like…

HENRY: There is not one on paper.

(CROSSTALK)

CARNEY: …that is point No. 1 on the talking points issued by the Republican Party. I get it. OK.

HENRY: No, no, no. This is not a talking point. No, no. Show us the plan. It's not a talking point. That's unfair.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Joining us now from Washington with his take on the political madness, Charles Krauthammer. So, let's look ahead here. I mean, you saw Ed Henry, the new guy at the White House for us. He asked a valid question. I mean, President Obama goes on nationwide TV prime-time, disturbs some people out of their slumber, and he doesn't have any plan. I was just saying to myself: Is this as absurd as it seems? Is it? Is it "The Twilight Zone"?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think the Obama administration, just that Jay Carney remark tells you how detached from reality they are. Here is Henry asking a perfectly logical question. You ask for time on national TV, you do that when you are launching an invasion or the Cuban missile crisis and then what do you do? You give a campaign speech and you don't offer a plan. And Carney's response is, "Oh, that's a political attack. It's a talking point." It's a logical question. The president has portrayed himself as the grown-up in the room and all these children are squabbling. He summons the members -- the leaders of Congress to the White House on the tantrum he gave on Friday night, very imperiously as if he is the only one who's acting in the national interest. Yet through all of this, through months and months of argument and debate and counter-argument, no plan. He doesn't have a plan.

O'REILLY: Well, what do you think is going to happen in the next couple of days? Because we have about a week to go before the deadline of the debt ceiling, and I figure something is going to happen. That's what all these pinheads say.

KRAUTHAMMER: Something has got to happen because otherwise we are going to go over a cliff. That is, it may not be August the 2nd. It could be August the 5th. At some point when you have a government that is borrowing 40 cents on every dollar it spends, if you withdraw the credit card, all hell breaks loose. It's not going to be a default. I mean, we are going to be paying our creditors, no question about that. Everybody understands that. But it means we are going to have to have a lot of triage inside the country as to who gets what. Something is going to happen. I have been agitating for weeks in my column, on "Special Report," for the Republicans to offer and pass a plan in the House.

O'REILLY: They can't. They can't pass it. It seems that Boehner is being criticized.

KRAUTHAMMER: I'm not sure.

O'REILLY: It's close.

KRAUTHAMMER: He is getting criticism. I think this is a life or death decision by the Republicans. I think it would be catastrophic if Republicans were not to go with the Boehner plan.

O'REILLY: Let me ask you a question because I should have asked you this weeks ago.

KRAUTHAMMER: OK.

O'REILLY: When you hear a Michele Bachmann, who we like here. We think Mrs. Bachmann is very responsible. When you hear her say, "You know what? I'm not voting for the debt ceiling rise no matter what. I don't care if they cut $40 trillion out of it, I'm not voting for it." What drives that?

KRAUTHAMMER: I'm not going to be the psychiatrist other than to say that it is unbelievably irresponsible and even only from the point of view of this: If you are a conservative, you know that we're overspending. We're going into debt. The government is expanding at an alarming rate. It's destroying everything around us. How do you stop it? The only way to stop it in our constitutional system is if you control the White House and the Congress. You cannot governor from one house of the Congress. You can't even govern from one branch. All the Republicans and conservatives control now is half a branch. Under our system, you have got to have it all. That can only happen if you persuade the country next year in the election that we need smaller, more constitutional government. The case is strong. Obama is weak. The economy's on the rocks.

(CROSSTALK)

KRAUTHAMMER: Why would you want to kill the Boehner plan, send us into a crisis and then share the economy with Obama? It makes no sense whatsoever even in the narrowest political sense.

O'REILLY: I'm sure you get the same kind of mail I get from Tea Party people and very conservative people. We don't care. We don't care if the country goes into default. We don't care if Moody's downgrades the bonds. We need to wipe out this whole system and start over again. And I'm saying to myself exactly what you are saying. We are compadres on this issue. That the big battle comes in the presidential election, not now. So that you have to appear to the independents who will hold sway, all right, appear to be reasonable.

KRAUTHAMMER: We are the…

O'REILLY: Mrs. Bachmann is not a dumb woman. She is a smart woman. And a lot of the Tea Party people are very smart. Yet, they don't see it.

KRAUTHAMMER: All right. I respect how principled they are. But I have a problem with how perceptive they are. Look, it was Lincoln who is said to have said I hope to have God on my side but I must have Kentucky. Conservatives don't have Kentucky. They don't have the Senate, and they don't have the House. I respect what they want to do. I share what they want to do. Shrink the government. You cannot do it at the point of a gun from half of the Congress. It cannot be done under our system. All of us respect the Constitution. It sort of defines the new conservatism. If you believe in it, if that's what you really want, then respect the Constitution, understand its restraints, accept them and win the election in November.

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

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