Interviews

The transition from President Obama to President-elect Trump

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 20, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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O'REILLY: "Personal Story Segment" tonight, transitioning from President Obama to President-Elect Trump. In an interview that aired yesterday, Michelle Obama said this about her husband taking office in 2008.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF UNITED STATES: There were people in Congress, there were leaders in Congress who did not support his presidency, which was not something that was good for the country. It was good for politics. But it wasn't good for the country. And that wasn't the right way to approach it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: And joining us now from Austin, Texas, Karl Rove. So I thought it was a fairly smooth transition back in '08. Did I miss something, Mr. Rove?

KARL ROVE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, you left out the worst part of her quote. In the sentence before that she said, "You know, nobody helped us when we came in." And basically goes on then to say people were opposed to us. I'd like to quote to her the words of President Barack Obama upon being sworn in. "Throughout the current transition, President Bush and his administration have extended the hand of cooperation and provided invaluable assistance." The day after Donald Trump was elected, President Obama went out and said, "President Bush's team could not have been more professional or more gracious in making sure we had a smooth transition so we could hit the ground running. I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush's team set years ago." So, you know, yeah.

O'REILLY: Yeah, I remember all that and so that was surprised that Mrs. Obama and then when I looked at the polls, 70 percent of Americans supported Barack Obama when he took the oath of office and were rooting for him to do well. I didn't see any overt partisanship on a Republican side. I didn't see any bitterness about John McCain or calling for the Electoral College to be abolished or blaming the Taiwanese on subverting the election. I didn't see any of that.

ROVE: Yeah.

O'REILLY: So I don't know what she is basing it on.

ROVE: Well, and neither do I because remember, she came in, her husband came in with 60 Democrats in the senate to 40 Republicans, 255 democrats in the House to 178. The problem with that, he had too many. So he didn't think he needed to talk to the Republicans. You may remember in February of 2009, the Republican House Members come down to offer their suggestions to him about the Stimulus Bill. And this is the famous meeting in the cabinet room where Eric Cantor begins to lay out the Republican ideas and Obama cuts him off by saying, "I won."

I happen to have dinner later that year with one of his the top White House advisors, small dinner, four of us and he said, "You know, I've always been surprised we didn't get more support from the Republicans on the Stimulus Bill." I said, "Well, let me ask you something. Did you ever go up there and solicit their ideas and listen to them about what they would recommend?" Oh, no, no, no, we didn't do that. I said, "Did, you ever read about what they put out in the newspapers and publicly about what they would recommend? Did you ever think about swapping some of those -- your elements out for what they were suggesting?" Oh, no, no. We had the exact right plan. I said, "Were you in a room when Obama says to Eric Cantor, "I won," and cuts him off?" He said yeah. I said, "Did you se anything wrong with it?" He said, "No, no, we won." I said, "Well, then why should you be upset about not getting more support if you say to people, people you're furniture, you have no right to be involved."

And it wasn't just the House and it wasn't just once it was constantly. You may remember that in 2009, the Senate Republicans and the Senate Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee began to hold sessions to discuss the -- what they could contribute to health care reform and the Affordable Care Act and the White House let it be known that they -- neither they nor the Senate Democratic Leadership would be bound by any agreement reached by the committee members of the committee through which the bill had to go.

So, look, you know, right from the beginning, President Obama said, "You know what, I know there's a loyal opposition but I'm going to treat it like it's furniture." Think about what would have happened if George Bush had done that in 2001. We wouldn't have gotten the tax cut pass through the Democratic Senate where the quarter of the Democrats voting for the Bush tax cut because we sat down and negotiated with them and came to an agreement.

O'REILLY: All right. So Mrs. Obama to put it politely is practicing revisionistic history although as you pointed out there was some opposition but it was policy-based opposition. It wasn't because the president was a black man or that he was a liberal democrat. It was basically the Republicans wanted to be heard ...

ROVE: Yeah.

O'REILLY: And you say they weren't heard and that's pretty much the consensus.

ROVE: And not only that but, look, the Bush administration bent over backwards starting in June of 2008 to work with both the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates to make them ready. We asked for -- we got the FBI to agree to accept people from both presidential campaigns who could be cleared, given their security clearances at the time of the election. We set up a software system to help them manage the hundreds of thousands of resumes that they would get. As soon as Obama was elected and began to name his people, their office, a number in the Bush administration called particularly important in the national security and homeland security area.

In fact, in January, early January of 2009, White House Chief Of Staff Josh Bolton from Bush administration suggested to his Democratic counterparts that they have an exercise, a table top exercise it was called, about the potential of a terrorist attack on the day of the inauguration. And so they got them together. They went through this exercise to help them understand what the available mechanisms and responses would be. And as luck would have it, or as luck would not have it, there was a serious credible threat about an attack on the mall on inauguration day and literally there is the chief of staff under George W. Bush and the incoming chief of staff while Bush is still president are in the situation room on a video conference coordinating this together. It's a responsibility of the Bush chief of staff that he's drawn his opposite number in.

O'REILLY: All right. Well, I'm glad that you corrected the record there because when I heard that when, I heard Mrs. Obama say that, didn't -- it didn't just add up for me.

ROVE: Yeah. Either a slander or she's calling her husband a liar. I don't know which one it was.

O'REILLY: No, no, no. I just think she is misguided. I wouldn't assign any other motive here.

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