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Talking Points

Bill O'Reilly: How 'The Factor' Will Cover the Presidential Sweepstakes

By Bill O'Reilly

There is no question that this program will play a major role in a presidential race this year. We are by far the most watched news show in prime time, tripling our opposition and many "Factor" viewers watch us because they want straight talk.

We're not rooting for anybody. We're not in the business of promoting any candidate. And we are tough on everybody.

Now, that alienates some Americans who want their candidate to be coddled. Let's take Rick Santorum who was on the program last night. The central point of the interview with the former senator was that he will now become a target because the media will portray him as a right-wing extremist. There is no doubt that will happen.

So I asked Mr. Santorum about his positions and he did answer the questions. But some Santorum supporters didn't like those questions. Laura Luke who lives in Milford, Michigan, "Bill, I was stunned by the hit- and-run interview you did with Santorum. You finally gave him five minutes and spent the time on issues most Americans don't care about. You owe him an apology".

Well, here are the facts Laura. The interview with Senator Santorum lasted seven minutes, 45 seconds. He ran as a social conservative and did well in Iowa based on that. We framed the interview that way and it was fair.

Mary Syren in St. Louis, "Bill, I am furious with you. You interrupted Rick Santorum big time".

Mr. Santorum spoke for 60 percent... 60 percent of the nearly eight minute interview. It's my job to ask as many questions as possible and keep the conversation pithy. No campaign speeches are allowed on "The Factor." You know that.

Doris, I'm withholding her last name, Lewiston, Idaho. "Bill, why is it that you bully all the conservatives and lavish praise on all your liberal friends?"

Doris, that's just lunacy, as Dick Morris said last night, Kool-Aid drinking cuts both ways. The point here is that we have been remarkably consistent for more than 15 years about asking tough questions. But we have also sharpened our focus recently.

All Americans seeking power will be scrutinized on the program, which is why some of them are too frightened to come on. We don't care much about party politics here. We care a lot about looking out for you.

One more letter about Santorum and we'll have more mail later on. This one from Deborah Mullins, Manakin-Sabot, Virginia. "O'Reilly you were a little soft on Mr. Santorum. You let him off on questions about birth control and gay marriage. It was obvious he did not anticipate those questions."

The Senator answered my questions pretty directly, Deborah. I told you that the interview was not a debate over his social positions. It was to allow Rick Santorum to further define what he has said during the campaign in Iowa. He did that. So I did my job.

And isn't it interesting that one viewer thinks I gave Santorum a pass, while another thinks I hammered him. When analyzing this very important presidential race, you have to put emotion aside. I mean I have to put it aside. You can be as emotional as you want. Just don't go crazy like Doris in Idaho.

Let's take President Obama, for example. As you know, I gave him the benefit of the doubt when he first took office and began trying to federalize the economy. I didn't think that was going to work, but I watched the scenario play out because I'm not an economist. Over the past three years, the economy has remained pretty much stagnant, while the national debt at $15 trillion, is now near the bankruptcy level.

So it is fair to say that Mr. Obama's economic strategy has not worked. That's not a personal shot at him. That's just the fact of the matter. Alan Colmes and other devoted liberals will tell you the President needs more time and incredibly should spend even more money to stimulate the economy.

Well, recently the coaches of the St. Louis Rams and the Tampa Bay Bucks were fired because they could not produce winners after three years. Politics is like sports. You have to produce. But Democrat partisans don't care about performance. If you have a "D" after your name, they like you, period. They don't care. Of course, the same holds true for Republican partisans and I'm fine with that on both fronts.

If your political philosophy trumps performance, that's on you. But I live in an entirely different world. The mandate of "The Factor" means we have to be skeptical about all of those seeking power. We have to challenge them and I hope that's why you watch.

Much of our political analysis is based on facts, such as polling we trust from folks like Rasmussen and Gallup. Rasmussen now has Romney at 29 percent among likely Republican voters nationwide; Santorum 21; Gingrich 16, Ron Paul 12.

In the head-to-head matchup, Romney versus Obama, it's tied at 42 percent each. In New Hampshire a Suffolk University tracking poll of likely GOP voters has Romney at 41; Paul 18; Santorum, 8; Gingrich, 7; Huntsman, 7.

Now, there are two debates this weekend, but Saturday is up against an NFL playoff game, so that will be muted and then Sunday's morning is in a debate... Sunday's debate is in the morning I should say. On Monday's "Factor", we'll have the most important parts of those expositions, again, without any favoritism or spin.

Finally let's talk about what this election really means. Let's cut through it. President Obama is no hypocrite. He wants to fundamentally change the country, putting social justice as a top priority. In 2008, he told us he'd do that.

Mr. Obama has been tougher on the terrorists than I thought he'd be. He has largely kept the Bush-Cheney policies in place and the brutally effective drone attacks have angered the ACLU and other far left people. So the President is no phony. He does what he believes is right.

The problem is, the problem, though, is federal spending. Mr. Obama doesn't seem to understand the danger he is courting. He simply does not want to stop the madness despite the massive debt. I mean, these pinheads in Washington are set to approve another $1.5 trillion in debt. That's simply insane.

The truth is, America can't afford national health care right now. We can increase health insurance competition, but we can't pick up the tab for 30 million Americans. No matter what the left believes, no matter how high you raise taxes. And we can no longer afford Medicare and Social Security in the way the programs are set up. They must be modified somewhat for Americans under the age of 40.

The social and financial contract between Washington and we the people has to be changed or the United States will go the way of Greece. As a citizen, I don't understand why President Obama doesn't understand. And that dilemma will be spotlighted on "The Factor" until we do understand.

On the Republican front here is the reality, even though the economy is shaky, 42 percent of Americans would still vote for the President as it stands today. Even with the dangerous debt, even with Solyndra, cap and trade, health care mandate, even with all of that, Mr. Obama remains competitive. He's not Jimmy Carter. The GOP better understand that and the party had better put together a cogent message based upon spending limitations, along with entitlement and tax reform.

Ideology will not... I repeat... will not defeat Barack Obama. His left-wing ideologues match the right-wing folks. If Washington continues to spend more than it takes in, doesn't reform the tax code and entitlements, this nation will go into steep decline. That's what's in play this year 2012. And that's what "The Factor" will be covering in a tough, blunt, no spin way, guaranteed to tee off a lot of folks.

And that's "The Memo."

"Pinheads & Patriots,"

As you know, Denver quarterback Tim Tebow often prays on the sidelines, and that is angering some NFL players.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRELL SUGGS, BALTIMORE RAVENS LINEBACKER: Give me a shot. Create my own offense. And the kicker can nail a 62-yarder, bail me out a few times. Jesus shows up. You know, they say the prayers are the right of (UNINTELLIGIBLE). That boy be praying on that sideline. I don't -- I don't feel comfortable -- I don't feel comfortable. I got to pray every fourth quarter. Like oh, my God, please come save me again." Just go out there and win the game.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Well, that man, Terrell Suggs, has had trouble with the law in the past and once again, the whole thing is absurd. Tim Tebow wants to pray on the sidelines. He has a perfect right to do that. And pinheads like Suggs can watch.