Interviews

Krauthammer: Romney's Israel trip a 'triumph'

Columnist opines on Romney's overseas trip and Olympic gaffe

 

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 7, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: "Back of the Book" segment tonight, criticizing Mitt Romney. On July 25, the governor said this in London about the Olympics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's how know just how well it will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting: the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Well, after hearing that, Charles Krauthammer opined this way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: What Romney answered in that question is unbelievable. It's beyond human understanding. It's incomprehensible. I'm out of adjectives. All the man has to do is say nothing. Nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Joining us now from Washington is Mr. Krauthammer.

I've got to tell you, I don't think what Romney said was all that dopey. And I didn't think it was malicious. I didn't think it was irresponsible or any of that. I just said, "Hey, he's an expert on the Olympics. He ran one. He's seen, you know, a few possible flaws."

Now, the press is painting him a lummox, and they're pointing to you and saying, "Even Krauthammer thinks he's a" -- you know, an idiot or whatever word you want to use." You say?

KRAUTHAMMER: I say that you're obviously wrong. I didn't say that what he said -- I didn't say that what he said was wrong. And I didn't say that it was something that, you know, you could refute.

But the point of it is, he wasn't being interviewed as an Olympic expert. He was being interviewed as a presidential candidate about to head overseas on a trip to three places chosen precisely because Barack Obama had dissed each of these allies: Britain, Israel and Poland. And the point of the trip was to show solidarity and appreciation of the allies.

So when you're asked that question about the Olympics, what you do is a three-foot putt. You say, you know, "I love the Olympic spirit. I've been there, and I'm sure the Brits, with all their ingenuity and grit are going to have a wonderful Olympics."

O'REILLY: OK. Now let me challenge.

KRAUTHAMMER: End of story, Bill, and there's no story.

O'REILLY: Let me challenge. All right.

If I were Mitt Romney, I would have answered exactly the same way, because he gave an honest answer.

Now, what you're saying isn't wrong. It's not wrong. If you were a political advisor, you'd say, "Hey, Governor, no matter what they say, put on a happy face. Tell them they're great and go home."

You know, I don't like politicians like that. I want people to answer the question the way they think it should be answered. I respect candor.

Now, what you're saying is politically, strategically correct. But what I'm saying is, he didn't say anything wrong. He was honest in his assessment. And he shouldn't get hammered for it.

KRAUTHAMMER: He didn't say anything untrue, but on the eve of a visit, a foreign policy trip meant to demonstrate your solidarity with allies...

O'REILLY: Yes, and...

KRAUTHAMMER: ... you don't go and say something that ends up being the butt of a rally in London on the eve of the opening ceremony.

O'REILLY: And why -- why did it -- why would it...

KRAUTHAMMER: Hold on, Bill.

O'REILLY: ... that innocuous answer become a butt of anything? The British are very tough people. We know that. This is just totally media- contrived, driven by anti-Romney people. That's what it is.

KRAUTHAMMER: When the mayor -- when the mayor...

O'REILLY: People whine about that.

KRAUTHAMMER: The mayor of London, when he led this rally, in which he met -- he made Romney into the butt of chants about...

O'REILLY: And why did Boris Johnson do that?

KRAUTHAMMER: It wasn't the American media that made him do that. He saw a political opportunity for himself.

O'REILLY: That's right. Boris Johnson is a liberal guy, and by the way he's still suspended on that wire.

KRAUTHAMMER: He's not a liberal guy.

O'REILLY: They haven't taken him down.

KRAUTHAMMER: He's not a liberal guy. He's a conservative, Boris Johnson. Not a guy who's going after Romney ideologically.

Look, when you're going abroad, you have to calculate what you're going to say.

Look, my objection to how the trip was covered was that the president took this one gaffe, which was a gaffe, and turned it into the theme for the whole trip, whereas the two other parts of the trip, the one in Israel and Poland were a triumph. And instead of calling it that.

In Israel, Obama [SIC] was received by the prime minister, who's a man of the right and he's a hawk, and then received by the president, who's a man of the left and is a dove. He's the author of the Oslo Accords, as a kind of a conquering hero. He was given essentially the reception of a head of state.

In Poland, he was explicitly endorsed by the George Washington of that country, Lech Walesa, who was a former dissident, former president, Cold War hero, icon of Polish history. Second only to Pope John Paul.

And these are the big events of his trip.

O'REILLY: Yes, and the press here totally misreported them. Your fault, because Krauthammer thinks he's a dummy, and so they used you because of that stupid Olympic thing which didn't amount to anything.

KRAUTHAMMER: Krauthammer said he made a mistake where he did. And they ran with it. I'm not responsible.

O'REILLY: That's right.

KRAUTHAMMER: I'm not responsible for the misinterpretations, which you are now amplifying and repeating, Bill.

O'REILLY: Of course I am.

KRAUTHAMMER: I demand an -- I demand an apology.

O'REILLY: All right, Krauthammer. I'll give to you, I think, about February.

Charles, as always.

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