Democratic Political Ad Showdown

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 3, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight: we're going to show you three political ads so you can decide who's smart and who's not. First of all, director Rob Reiner put together a pro-Hillary ad starring Jack Nicholson.


JACK NICHOLSON, "BATMAN": And now, folks, it's time for who do you trust? Hubba, hubba, hubba. Money, money, money. Who do you trust?

JACK NICHOLSON, "THE SHINING": Things could be better, Lloyd. Things could be a whole lot better.

JACK NICHOLSON, "FIVE EASY PIECES": OK, I'll make it as easy for you as I can.

JACK NICHOLSON, "A FEW GOOD MEN": There is nothing on this earth sexier, believe me, gentlemen, than a woman that you have to salute in the morning.

JACK NICHOLSON: I'm Jack Nicholson, and I approve this message.


O'REILLY: Now, right after he said that in "A Few Good Men," he said a very obscene thing that they didn't have in the ad there, but those of you who saw the movie know what I'm talking about.

And then there's the 3:00 in the morning ads run by both Senators Clinton and Obama.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's 3:00 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. But there's a phone in the White House and it's ringing. Your vote will decide who answers that call. Who do you want answering the phone?

HILLARY CLINTON: I'm Hillary Clinton, and I approve this message.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's 3:00 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep, but there's a phone ringing in the White House. When that call gets answered, shouldn't the president be the one, the only one, who had judgment and courage to oppose the Iraq war from the start? In a dangerous world, it's judgment that matters.

BARACK OBAMA: I'm Barack Obama, and I approve this message.


O'REILLY: Now I don't really care who answers the phone as long as someone does. It's ringing, ringing, ringing. Joining us now from Atlanta with analysis, Laura Ries, co-author of the big book "The Origin of Brands."

All right, let's take the Nicholson ad first. This is an Internet play designed to, I guess, give some glamour to the Clinton campaign. How do you evaluate it?

LAURA RIES, MARKETING STRATEGIST: Well, I think it does great things for Jack Nicholson. I mean, it reminds everyone what a great actor he was, how cute he was when he was younger. I think it does nothing for the Clintons. I don't think there's really believability that he's a big Clinton supporter. He might like Bill. He might like to go get a drink with him. I mean, he's known as a big womanizer, like Bill is, but I don't buy the connection with Hillary. I don't think people and viewers see the connection. They just see a great actor: Jack Nicholson.

O'REILLY: Do you think that anybody cares that Jack Nicholson supports Hillary Clinton?

RIES: No, they couldn't care less. I mean, look, Jack Nicholson isn't even known as being a political guy. He's known for womanizing, watching the Lakers and attending the Oscars. As for politics, forget about it.

O'REILLY: OK, so you don't think that he does Hillary Clinton any good at all?

RIES: No, just Jack.

O'REILLY: The Hillary 3:00 in the morning ad...

RIES: Yes.

O'REILLY: ...that she gets the call at 3:00 a.m.

RIES: Yes.

O'REILLY: She has the experience to, I guess, do whatever the caller wants or whatever. And you say what?

RIES: I think this thing totally blows up in her face because, like you say, pick up the phone.


RIES: I want a president who answers the phone. There's no White House. There's just sleeping children. Nobody's doing anything. I want someone who does something. I think her ad falls totally flat.

First of all, she's obviously borrowing off the ad that was very famous for Walter
Mondale back in '84. But she doesn't do a good recreation of that ad.

O'REILLY: Well, you know what I thought it was, other than the Mondale ad, which is fairly obscure, it is 3:00 a.m. in America. It is morning in America.

RIES: Right.

O'REILLY: That was the big Reagan ad.

RIES: Well, yes.

O'REILLY: That's where I thought she started to, you know, to get the thing.

All right. Now Obama was suitably worried about that 3:00 a.m. in the morning ad to do one of his own and almost within hours he had it on the air in Texas. What did you think about Obama's ad?

RIES: Well, I think Obama did a good job. And I think that ad is very effective. First of all, we see the White House. We see the phone answered. And we see Barack Obama himself, his face, and very, very specific policies. He brilliantly turns it and spins it into I was against Iraq, and I made the right decision when that call came in and Hillary didn't.

O'REILLY: Without talking to you, because I haven't spoken to you today, I said the same thing on the radio when we played them on the radio today. I said, look, the problem with Hillary Clinton's ad is it's a one-shot deal. I'm the best commander, and then there's nothing else in play.

Whereas Obama brings in a number of things that he was right on Iraq and he thinks Hillary was wrong. That he's presidential because he does show the picture of the White House rather than the kids who are racked out. And so I did — I agree with you that if you have to evaluate both of them, Obama probably got more information into his ad than Hillary Clinton did.

But look, the bottom line on this is Hillary Clinton has been running in Texas and Ohio on one theme and one theme only: that from day one, she's the commander in chief and can handle a job. Now, I don't want to hear that anymore. It's driving me crazy.

RIES: It hasn't worked. It has not worked.

O'REILLY: Oh, no, no. I mean, she's certainly competitive in both states, probably in Ohio. How can you say it hasn't worked?

RIES: Well, it hasn't worked in giving her the nomination. I mean, she had a huge head start. And I think she peaked too early. She had Bill Clinton. But Bill Clinton, while he's an asset, he's also a problem.

O'REILLY: All right, but I think we have to give Hillary Clinton some credit. She stopped the bleeding now.

RIES: Yes.

O'REILLY: And she's competitive in Texas.

RIES: She has.

O'REILLY: And you know, Obama, according to the polls, and they may not know anything, Obama doesn't have the momentum he had even three or four days ago. So we'll see.

RIES: But he is a rock star, Bill.

O'REILLY: All right, he is and Jack Nicholson's a big star. But I don't know if people are going to want that in the White House. We will see. Laura, thank you.

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