This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 6, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight: Are we overdoing the ACORN deal? Joining us from Los Angeles, FOX News analyst Tammy Bruce and radio talk show star Leslie Marshall.
All right, Leslie, am I overdoing it here?
LESLIE MARSHALL, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Just a bit. I wouldn't say you're overdoing it when it comes to trying to dig out and weed out corruption with any kind of an organization like ACORN. The overdoing it in my opinion, Bill, is that it's just ACORN. We need to look at organizations that help people register to vote, etc., on the left, on the right, and in the center. Technically, I mean, there should not be any kind of abuse or embezzlement of funds, especially when there's state and federal tax dollars.
O'REILLY: OK, so you…
O'REILLY: ...don't have any beef with me and Glenn Beck and others exposing what we know about ACORN, what we found out. But you'd like to expand the investigation to include some other groups. But I — you know, that's not my job. I don't have the ability to do that. We have — we rely on information that flows in here. We rely on people giving us tips. I don't have 30,000 employees like the FBI to go out and do that. Now, the other thing is, Tammy, there doesn't seem to be any evidence that any other organizations are cheating. So why go on a fishing expedition? But, again, I'm going to bring it back to my original question, Tammy, am I overdoing the ACORN story?
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TAMMY BRUCE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, no, any more than we continue to overdo Watergate. I mean, there are issues that occur, cover-ups that occur. We're interested in what government is doing. And as we know, government does not act unless the lights are turned on. The moment you turn out the lights or dim them, then they start running out from under the refrigerator again. The truth of the matter is justice only occurs when people are looking.
Now the question becomes — you're right about ACORN. But now the question is what did the Democrats know and when did they know it? The same question Nixon had to deal with, and these are fair questions. You're looking at millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars. You're looking at an impact within our entire electoral system. And this only occurred when we realized that Mary Poppins and Mickey Mouse were being registered to vote a couple of cycles ago in Ohio. And I would take Leslie to task here, because really, if we're going to just investigate everyone, you know, ACORN brought this on themselves. And I suppose we should investigate every member of Congress because Larry Craig had a bathroom issue. Maybe we should follow every person to the bathroom, or Charlie Rangel's issues when it comes to taxes. Maybe we should investigate everyone who doesn't have a tax issue. You know, evidence and corruption becomes apparent. And ACORN's got a lot of work to do. And the fact of the matter is, vigilance, when it comes to media is key.
O'REILLY: All right. Now…
BRUCE: Government has always been responsible only when the media is looking.
O'REILLY: ...I want Leslie — I thought that was good, Tammy. I thought, look, Leslie, you can't — Rangel's got tax issues. So what do you do, audit all the House of Representatives? You know, Tammy made some good points. What do you say to them?
MARSHALL: Well, I don't think we can compare Watergate to this. Certainly one involved a president, and I haven't seen any involvement by President Barack Obama when it comes to ACORN. Let's be honest. Before President Barack Obama, the first African-American president, was elected by an overwhelming majority of white people, although more African-Americans, more minorities came out to vote for him than ever before, we didn't know ACORN anything other than little nuts that fell off of trees that squirrels ate. Ten percent of the funding of ACORN comes from tax dollars. Ninety percent comes from the private sector.
O'REILLY: Well, some of that's block grants though, the private sector block grants. Block grants are basically federal money goes to the state and then the state says we'll give it to — but your point then is that you believe this is racially motivated or politically motivated?
MARSHALL: I believe if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck.
O'REILLY: Well, what's walking like a duck though: race or politics? Or what's walking like a duck?
MARSHALL: Why didn't anyone care about ACORN or look into ACORN or any other left, you know, community organization?
O'REILLY: Because the evidence didn't surface. The evidence hadn't surfaced.
MARSHALL: Before Barack Obama was running an elected president.
O'REILLY: It didn't surface.
O'REILLY: The evidence wasn't there until the last couple of years.
MARSHALL: (INAUDIBLE) organization without.
BRUCE: Let me just say, Leslie, Ms. Lewis has said there's demonization without due process here.
O'REILLY: All right. Well, that's what she says. And that's — all right, go ahead, Tammy.
MARSHALL: And I agree with that.
BRUCE: Well, there's going to be due process. They're being investigated in 15 states. And now the Louisiana attorney general's looking into it. There's going to be a lot of due process. It's George W. Bush's issue. It wasn't just 2008, Leslie. It was also 2004. I wish George W. Bush had been more aggressive on this point, and he wasn't, and now we have this result. And now the Democrats, which they thought was going to be a boon for them, which was ACORN, now may in fact be their Watergate.
O'REILLY: Do you know what I'm worried about here? I'm worrying that Al Franken got elected senator from Minnesota because of ACORN.
O'REILLY: Because and I can't…
BRUCE: I think we (INAUDBILE).
O'REILLY: And I have to tell the audience that I don't have any evidence that that took place, but a 312 vote margin for Franken when you had thousands and thousands and thousands of questionable ballots by ACORN in Minnesota. And we're going to have a report on this tomorrow. That, Leslie, gets to be real serious. You know what I'm talking about?
MARSHALL: I do, Bill. But I have to say I think everybody here is giving ACORN more power than perhaps they even deserve.
O'REILLY: Well, if you're registering tens of thousands of people to vote, and a guy wins by 312. And you know every voter that ACORN registers votes Democrat. Every one, OK.
MARSHALL: I don't want Franken…
O'REILLY: I think you got to look at that. I think you got to look at it.
MARSHALL: ...in the Senate if he wasn't elected legally.
MARSHALL: I agree. But I'm a liberal Democrat. And I certainly want him there, but I only want him there if he got there fair and square.
O'REILLY: That's right.
MARSHALL: And it was legal.
O'REILLY: So I think Pawlenty in Minnesota…
MARSHALL: …but I don't think ACORN's responsible.
O'REILLY: Well, I think the feds have got it. That's ground zero Minnesota for me. I'll give you the last word, Tammy.
BRUCE: Well, that's the entire point why FOX can't stop and why media should be vigilant. Because the only way we are going to learn when we have seemingly some serious issues is if media forces the government to do the right thing. The fact as you noted that Holder is looking at the CIA and not this situation is absurd. And I think that this is a new way of making the government face up to its responsibilities.
O'REILLY: All right.
BRUCE: And it's got to continue.
O'REILLY: Ladies, thanks very much for a good debate.
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