Sen. Nelson: 'White House is involved' in freeing jailed Marine

Senator Ben Nelson is 'optimistic' about getting Corporal Hammar freed from a Mexican prison


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 19, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY: Now for the "Top Story" tonight. Joining us from Washington, Senator Bill Nelson from Florida who has been trying hard to secure the release of Corporal Hammar. So first of all am I making any mistakes here?

SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: Good evening, Bill. And, yes, we all want to get him out and we want him out by next week by Christmas. So he can be home. I would just point out that the White House is involved, the State Department is involved I have talked to both of them today. I have asked the State Department to have our general council -- our consul general in Matamoros and our consulate to get back in there again and see him.

The one thing that I think is a little different than your recitation of the facts is that it was when we found out about him being in the general prison population last August, when he was picked up that we asked because of the obvious threats to his life and attempted shakedowns to get him out of there. They complied after about four days got him into the same prison but an administrative facility and that's where you see the photograph of him in a room by himself and they've actually got cuff on his leg chained to the bed.

That has since been removed but I think it -- that didn't occur for some period of time and of course it's unacceptable. It's unacceptable.

O'REILLY: Senator. here is what bothers me.

NELSON: Yes that's right.

O'REILLY: You've got Jay Carney, you've got Jay Carney yesterday and said --


NELSON: It bothers me too. Bill.

O'REILLY: I know it does. And you have been doing good work. You and Congressman Ros-Lehtinen down there in Miami, excellent work. But when Jay Carney says to our guy Ed Henry we don't know anything about this. Don't you think that President Obama, with all the power that he has, could come out and say we're trying to get him released. You don't have to -- I expect him to threaten Mexico. I don't expect him to diminish the new president or lodge any charges. That's my job. I'll do that.

But certainly the President can say we are very concerned woe would like Mexico to do the humanitarian thing and release him. What would be wrong with that Senator?

NELSON: I hope that that happens by December 25th.

O'REILLY: Why hasn't it happened since August? It's now December. Come on. Why hasn't it happened?

NELSON: Well, Bill, you and I know that the President has got so much to attend to.


O'REILLY: That's why -- that's why I cited Abraham Lincoln.

NELSON: Yes well -- it was -- it was a different era.


O'REILLY: You know I mean, greatness is defined -- wait, greatness is defined and you know this, Senator.

NELSON: Let's -- let's get him out. Let's get him out. First of all, here's where the breakdown is. And by the way, I have talked to the Mexican ambassador to the United States now several times. Most recently today. He is -- and by the way he is a good guy -- he is working very hard to make sure that this happens.

Now here is -- here is the big travesty the fact that he was picked up in the first place when obviously he didn't have any mean, evil intent.

O'REILLY: Of course.

NELSON: But secondly that a justice system is so slow that a federal judge won't hear his case because you and I know there is always judicial discretion. And this guy was not a threat against the state even though it's against their law to bring a gun in to Mexico. He obviously wasn't a threat. And therefore there should been judicial discretion imposed in this long ago.

O'REILLY: Of course we all know that. But now we have to get the big boys. The President, Secretary Clinton.

NELSON: Well, that's why I have been on the phone.

O'REILLY: All right. Senator, you keep -- please keep in close touch with us.


O'REILLY: Because days are dwindling.

NELSON: Let me say this Bill. Bill, I am very optimistic this is going to be resolved very soon. And I hope it's before Christmas.

O'REILLY: And we appreciate your good work and we'll keep the folks posted every step of the way.

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