This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," Aug. 8, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, legendary anchorman Peter Jennings (search) passed from lung cancer last night. He was 67 years old.

I worked with Peter at ABC News in the late 1980's, as some of you know. We had a good relationship. I was lucky to know him.

Peter was an honest guy, much more politically correct than I am. Jennings would say that I'm a barbarian and did quite often, but he was not an ideologue, and some people don't know that. One of the journalists he admired most was John Leo (search), the conservative columnist. Mr. Leo, of course, is still alive.

Because I backed up Peter on some afternoon news briefs over at ABC, I learned a lot from him. Sometimes when he was in a snit, I'd get a last-minute call to read the afternoon cut-in. And he'd critique my performance, and I'd critique his snit.

He was a standup guy. And that's my highest compliment, as you know.

With us now, Barbara Walters, who knew Peter Jennings much longer than I did.

What do you think people should know about Peter Jennings?

BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: Well, we all know that he was a superb journalist. I mean, we know that.

O'REILLY: Obviously.

WALTERS: He did tons of homework. He — he knew more than any of us, but he also wanted to teach. Peter was a teacher. You know, when you said he critiqued you...

O'REILLY: Yes. He was.

WALTERS: ... he critiqued us all. I mean, he would — he would ask us questions that we couldn't answer.

O'REILLY: Yes. He loved to challenge.

WALTERS: He would make us do more homework than perhaps we wanted to do. -- And I am compulsive about doing homework. He was a very private man.

O'REILLY: Yes, he didn't give much of himself to the audience. And the audience would want to know, what's the biggest misconception about Peter Jennings, in your opinion?

WALTERS: Misconception. He always appeared so confident and composed and certainly, Bill, during 9/11, I think that that reassured this whole country. — Peter was on the air for 60 hours.


WALTERS: And his ease, his dignity, and so forth.

In private life, he wasn't quite that secure. You know, he left high school. He dropped out of high school. And if he had a message — and we talked about a bit today. -- If he had a message, it would be to kids stay in school. And so I think he felt insecure about that. And therefore, wanted to know as much as he possibly could about every possible aspect of the news.

O'REILLY: Yes. I thought he was a shy guy, you know?

WALTERS: Well, he could be very outspoken.

O'REILLY: No, I know that. To people in a business sense, but he never, never sought the limelight or any of that.

WALTERS: No. And there was that part of it.


WALTERS: I mean, there was that reticence.

He was married. It was a wonderful marriage to Kayce Freed (search), whose father had been a great producer at NBC, Fred Freed. And his two children were by a former wife. But everybody — it was a family that he just adored. And Kayce made him very happy.

The sad thing was that his son Christopher just graduated from college and Peter couldn't go to that graduation. And Elizabeth came back from Africa...

O'REILLY: Grad school, right, Christopher?

WALTERS: Yes. And Elizabeth came back from Africa to be with her father.

O'REILLY: And they were all together last night.

WALTERS: They were all there.

O'REILLY: Now you had a very turbulent relationship — and I can say this because I know Ms. Walters and Peter very well. You had a very turbulent relationship.

WALTERS: I wouldn't use that word!

O'REILLY: Turbulent. But I'll tell you — but he told me this, he liked you, because you didn't kiss his butt. And I think that's why he liked me, too, because almost everybody did, because he's Peter Jennings. But you would give him a raft of...

WALTERS: Listen, this is going to sound awful. And if it's taken out of context, I will feel just terrible. I didn't kiss his butt, but there were times I wanted to kick his butt!

O'REILLY: Yes, I know.

WALTERS: Because Peter and I covered more events we covered together. We covered Anwar Sadat when we went to Israel. We covered Anwar Sadat's funeral. We covered Princess Diana's...

O'REILLY: And there was a rivalry there.

WALTERS: There was. We went after some of the same interviews.

O'REILLY: That's right.

WALTERS: And we covered Princess Diana's wedding and then her funeral. And there were times when I would say to Peter, "But, but," you know, because Peter was so smooth. And Peter could just talk about anything.

So there would be times when I would be nudging him. And he would nudge me back. But we had such respect for each other. I cannot tell you how — how superb a newsman I think he is. You know, people say there will never be another quite like him.

O'REILLY: Well, he lived it. He lived it.

WALTERS: No one is irreplaceable, but I think Peter is.

O'REILLY: Right.

WALTERS: He traveled all over the world.

O'REILLY: He was — even when — even when he was No. 1 anchorman in the country, making $10 million a year, and everybody in the world knew who he was, he was still driven. He was still driven. You know, he wasn't like, well, these people can do it. And you're like that, too.

WALTERS: He wanted — he wanted people to understand what was going on in the world. He didn't like the sensationalism. He didn't like what he, I think, felt was kind of the gossip celebrity press, you know.

O'REILLY: No, he didn't like any of that.

WALTERS: He would talk to me sometimes and, you know, "Say to me why don't you do more of the hard news stories?"

O'REILLY: Yes. He didn't like you asking people if you were a tree what kind of a tree would you be?

WALTERS: I didn't ask one person — how did it get around to that? I asked Katharine Hepburn after she said she wanted to be a tree.

O'REILLY: And you know what he said to me, though — and he was good with his...

WALTERS: You know, you remind me a lot of Peter.

O'REILLY: Well, that's not a bad thing.


O'REILLY: That's not a bad thing, and I'll take that as a very high compliment.

But he'd always call me and say don't be so local. Don't go with such local news. You know, because I was kind of a scrappy guy and this and that.

WALTERS: But remember, he had lived all over the world.

O'REILLY: Absolutely.

WALTERS: He had lived in the Middle East. He had been our anchor in England. And part of what he wanted people to do was to understand how important world news was.

O'REILLY: He loved it, he loved it. You know, he got a bad rap by some conservatives who thought he was liberal. And as I said, John Leo is a very conservative columnist, one of his favorite journalists. He would always call me and go, "O'Reilly, you should be like John Leo," you know, after he watched “The Factor”," he'd watched something.

He wasn't an ideologue. What he was was a citizen of the world. You know, and he saw the world in a big vision. Whereas I'm, like, as American as you can get. He was this kind of world guy.

WALTERS: You know, there's something that, when I think about Peter, too, people don't realize how much he loved children. He used to do programs just for children. He would sit on the floor on Saturday afternoons. And we did — he did programs because he wanted kids to grow up and want to know what was going on in the world.

O'REILLY: And that's the teacher in him.

WALTERS: You know, when I said that he was, he wasn't just someone who came in, sat in front of the camera and wanted to be applauded.

But let me tell you something very touchable, because I talked about it. This afternoon at 3 p.m., David Westin, who's the president of ABC, said we should all get together. And I think that David Westin has handled this so elegantly.

You know, even tonight I think the program was, "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings," and there were no rumors of who was coming on and who wasn't and who would take his place. But anyway — and who would take his place.

So we all gathered there. And Dr. Timothy Johnson, who is very close to Peter, talked and gave a benediction, and then David said, "Oh, dear." David said, "I think we should all applaud Peter." And for three minutes we stood there and applauded.

O'REILLY: No finer tribute from a very demanding cast. And everybody respected Peter Jennings who worked with him. I mean, that's one thing I can say with certainty.

Thank you for coming in here, Barbara. I appreciate it. I know it's been a very difficult day for all.

WALTERS: Thank you for letting me talk about him.

O'REILLY: No, it's our privilege to have you here.

WALTERS: And — and I know how many — how much he appreciated all the e-mails and all the people he heard from. It meant a great deal to him.

O'REILLY: All right. Peter Jennings dead at 67, but he will never be forgotten in this country. And we will be right back.

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