Jimmie 'J.J.' Walker enters No Spin Zone

'Good Times' sitcom legend discusses memoir and why he does not support President Obama


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 11, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Personal Story" segment tonight, you may remember Jimmie J.J. Walker, who hit it big in the TV sit-com "Good Times." Mr. Walker currently has a book out called "Dyn-o-mite," his signature phrase. We spoke a few days ago.


O'REILLY: In studying your rise from a poor kid, all right, to national TV, "Good Times," it was interesting to see that you made it on your own. You're an icon. Everybody knows "Good Times."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At least you're not a greeter girl.

JIMMIE J. WALKER, ACTOR: You know, I'm known as the sultan of smooth.


O'REILLY: And you separate then from many, many African-Americans who support Barack Obama. You're not a real big supporter of his. How did that happen?

WALKER: Barack Obama is more like a Tony Roberts -- Tony Roberts type of guy. You feel real good and you're happy and everything. And then you go home, and you realize there's a foreclosure sign on your door. And you just go, "Wait a minute. I just had this great meeting with this guy, and he made me feel real good."

And I don't think he's a bad guy. I don't think he's a good guy for the job we have to do.

O'REILLY: When you say that, other African-Americans are, you know, "Hey, come on."

WALKER: You just can't blindly vote for somebody just because they are your -- sometimes even a brother, you have to let him go and he's not doing the gig.

O'REILLY: Did you vote for him first time around?

WALKER: I never voted for him.

O'REILLY: Now, when African-Americans say to you, "Hey, you're betraying your race" or -- because you know, there's a lot of racial stuff around President Obama. You say?

WALKER: I say let's look at the job that he's done. And I go back be to the old Reagan slogan, "Are you doing better now than you were four years ago?"

O'REILLY: You just keep it policy.

WALKER: I keep it policy. I just think that he is not the guy.

O'REILLY: OK. Jay Leno. I've been on the program a dozen times or so. I don't really know Jay, but he's been respectful to me, nice to me.

WALKER: Great guy.

O'REILLY: He does -- he does a fine program. But you feel that he's changed a bit?

WALKER: He's changed. He's let us down. We all started literally within the last -- you know, same five-year period.


WALKER: Thirty million people are not out of work. Thirty million people are just in between jobs. That's like a lifeguard saying to a guy that's drowning, "You're not drowning. You're just in between land."


O'REILLY: You came up with Leno.

WALKER: Yes. And then Jay worked for me as a writer, along with David Letterman and many others: Louis Anderson, a lot of other people.

O'REILLY: Where were you when he was writing for you?

WALKER: I was on our show in Los Angeles.

O'REILLY: OK. So they were writing one-liners for you.


WALKER: Criminals now have their own TV show, "America's Most Wanted." Criminals are watching themselves every weekend like, "Look, there's Bubba."


O'REILLY: So how did Leno change?

WALKER: He changed in terms of bringing on new talent, which is that spot which is Johnny Carson, Jack Parr, Steve Allen. He has not broken in his 20-something years on the air, he has not broken one major act.

O'REILLY: But, you know, it's a different time now and the ratings pressure is so intense that a lot of times...

WALKER: Jay is No. 1 and Jay can do whatever he wants.


JAY LENO, HOST, NBC'S "TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Bon Jovi is riding in Air Force One with the president. That's pretty cool. Joe Biden, he had to drive up in a van with the guys who sang "Who Let the Dogs Out?"


WALKER: So if you can tell me that ten minutes a week is going to destroy your whole career, I'm not buying that.

What I say to Jay Leno is, do what was done for you. That's all. And Jay used to come on every five to six weeks on the Letterman show. I got him on the Merv Griffin show a billion times. And that's what happens.

It doesn't hurt you to bring in the new guy, because people want to see somebody new. And you have talent people and you have all that kind of stuff. You pick out the people that you like.

When Johnny Carson was the host we didn't know Johnny Carson. He was the high, exalted Vatican leader. But when Jay Leno took over it was one of us, and we said, "OK, our guy is in! Yay!" And it would be like Bill Clinton getting in and closing the door to James Carville.


WALKER: That's the way we felt.

O'REILLY: The author of "Dyn-o-mite: Good Times, Bad Times, Our Times," a memoir. Jimmie, thanks for coming in.

WALKER: Thank you.

O'REILLY: We appreciate it.

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