Is the White House losing credibility?

Ed Henry and Jay Carney's heated exchange


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 20, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: In the "Impact Segment" tonight, very entertaining exchange yesterday at the White House between Fox News Channel's Ed Henry and Obama spokesman, Jay Carney.


HENRY: Yesterday you and the President talked about how never in the history of America has the debt ceiling been used to extort a President. You probably saw the "The Washington Post" looked at that, looked at the facts and gave you four Pinocchios. So are you going to correct that today?

CARNEY: There is no question that prior to 2011 there has never been a case where one party with one ideological agenda has threatened to default on the United States obligation for the first time in the history.

HENRY: "The Washington Post" gave him four Pinocchio's.

CARNEY: You can ask "The Washington Post."

HENRY: You're going to continue to say this has never happened before?

CARNEY: Ed, why don't -- why don't we look at what Republicans have said. Threatening default is a bad idea --

HENRY: No. This is the "The Washington Post" you still haven't answered that "The Washington Post" says.

CARNEY: Does anybody else want to.

HENRY: Why won't you answer it?

CARNEY: Debate?


O'REILLY: All right joining us from the White House is Ed Henry. Now the Pinocchios is that I guess four is the biggest lie ever in the world?

HENRY: That's the biggest, yes.

O'REILLY: Ok all right so what exactly was the "The Washington Post" accusing the President of misleading the American public about?

HENRY: He basically had said that on this debt ceiling fight nobody had ever tied a non-budget bill to raising the nation's debt ceiling. The "The Washington Post" looked at it, found several examples, including one where Nixon was held up by Ted Kennedy and other Democrats who attached a campaign finance bill after Watergate.


O'REILLY: All right, so this is a little historical back and forth between you and Carney.

HENRY: Yes the Republicans have found more than 20 examples going back to Eisenhower. So the bottom line is they are girding for this major debate. And the rhetoric on each side is flying around and they are having their facts checked and they don't like that.

O'REILLY: Ok but it all comes back to Obamacare defunding because they put -- the Republicans put the defunding of Obamacare on the back of the budget bill. So saying we're not going to pass any money. You are not going to get any money. And we have to shut everything down unless you throw Obamacare under the bus which, of course, is not going to happen.

HENRY: Which he won't do. Right.

O'REILLY: As I told to Lou Dobbs. Now Lou is convinced that the fight is worth having because the American people will rally to the Republican's cause and I don't think so. What do you say?

HENRY: There are a certain number of Republicans in this country are frustrated that their last two presidential nominees didn't stand up for the principles they wanted to espouse. And they think this might be a fight to pick. Stand up for the President -- against the President's health care bill.

O'REILLY: Even though they know they're going to lose it's worth having the fight.

HENRY: And even if they lose they think it might be worth the principled fight. Here is the flip side to that is that the White House is sort of rubbing their hands together collectively at the thought that Republicans will do this because if you think about the last two or three weeks, the President has been completely on defense from Syria, to having to pull a Larry Summers nomination for the fed. He didn't officially do it but he was thinking about doing it because of not Republican but Democratic opposition. The Fed decides they are not going to stop buying the bonds because they feel like they can't take the training wheels off the economy. After almost five years in office the President still hasn't turned that around.

O'REILLY: Right.

HENRY: So he's been on defense for weeks. If all of a sudden the Republicans move forward with this there are a lot of people in this building who believe that they'll allow the President to go on offense and this is going to blow up in the Republican's base.

O'REILLY: On the offense and right, and then make it all about the Republicans won't cooperate with anything.

HENRY: They shut down the government.

O'REILLY: And -- now, on that note, how bad is it in the White House? How bad is President Obama's credibility been damaged by Syria and the bad economy?

HENRY: He is struggling. If you think about where we were just, you know, nine, 10 months ago, he's riding high at the inaugural address. Laid out all these things he was going to do -- immigration reform, grand bargain budget deal. It's been a rough year because he hasn't gotten virtually any of those accomplishments -- that's largely because of Republican opposition.

But now as he goes in, closing the first year, he was hoping to turn the page and get some of his other agenda items done. But as I noted on Syria, as you say, again, it was not just -- you know, some conservatives like Rand Paul standing up against him.


HENRY: No some house Democrats saying no we're not giving you that.

O'REILLY: Do you think -- do you think President Obama in his heart knows that he got his butt kicked on Syria?

HENRY: He does deep down. They are not going to admit that publicly.

O'REILLY: No I know that why do you believe he knows that?

HENRY: Because if you -- because he pulled back on the vote. He is the one who went forward and said look --


O'REILLY: Well he knew he was going to lose. But then he -- Putin pulled his chestnuts out.

HENRY: Sure.

O'REILLY: Do you think right now that the President know geez I got - - I got really hammered on that. Does he really believe that?

HENRY: He knows deep down that the signal from the Hill is that he doesn't have a lot of juice left on one hand.


HENRY: On the other hand what he has got to worry about is that while he's gotten some good news from the Syria situation and that look, everybody pulled back. There are some diplomacy moving forward. There's not a lot of people around the world know who think this deal in Geneva is going to stick -- that he knows Putin.

O'REILLY: All right so you believe that he knows that and he's not living in this bubble world where he think he's insensible.


HENRY: Deep down absolutely.

O'REILLY: Ok the final thing is that now the President we understand and you correct me if I'm wrong is that he may negotiate with Iran to get some kind of nuclear deal here which again if he could do that if Barack Obama could do that that would restore some of his foreign policy power, correct?

HENRY: It could because all -- that's something he got beat up on in the 2008 campaign for saying that he'd sit down with the leaders of Iran and other rogue nations. But if he will be able to sit down next week at the U.N. general assembly with the Iranian President which is a real possibility that will be the first time in decades that an American president did that.

If that opened the door to shutting down their nuclear program and getting allies like Israel on board and saying boy you really moved the ball forward that would be a major accomplishment for the President. But that's a big if, he could also be --


O'REILLY: But you guys assume they are working hard behind the scenes to make that happen.

HENRY: They are and -- and if but if he's played by the Iranians it's going to look like he's been played by the Iranians, by the Syrians and by the Russians. That's obviously --

O'REILLY: He should bring Putin over. Bring Putin over.

HENRY: Bring Putin to help out.

O'REILLY: Right.

HENRY: The other thing to watch is they want to make the U.N. thing all about this Iranian initiative because then that pushes Syria in the negativity there into much less focus. So that -- that also helps him.

O'REILLY: All right, Ed, thanks very much for taking the time. We appreciate it.

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