Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail

As you may know, Al Gore (search) has endorsed Howard Dean (search), saying he's the best chance to beat President Bush in 2004.

That may or may not be true. Certainly the polls are not conclusive, but Mr. Gore is entitled to his opinion and to his endorsement. However, he should have called Senator Lieberman to let him know. After all, Lieberman and Gore ran together in 2000. And Lieberman delayed this time around until Gore passed, Lieberman saying he didn't want to run against his former colleague.

But Al Gore did not extend the same courtesy to Lieberman. It was rude, it embarrassed Lieberman, and it was unnecessary. Lieberman's a man of dignity and respect. Gore's action was disrespectful. Real men and women deliver bad news in person.

As for Dr. Howard Dean, the polls show him well ahead in New Hampshire, slightly ahead in Iowa, and way behind in South Carolina. Now Talking Points predicted Governor Dean would not get the Democratic nomination, but Talking Points could be wrong. Of course, that would bring sadness to the entire nation.

The Al Gore endorsement will not last very long. Dean will have to prove himself in the South and the West. And that could be problematic, because the governor is running on a far left ticket.

A column in The New York Times Tuesday says that Dean has contradicted himself all over the place on important issues. We'll get to that in a moment. But sooner or later, the governor is going to have to define his core beliefs. Is he a radical? Is he a moderate? What exactly does the man believe?

So far, he has made his name by criticizing President Bush. And that's legitimate. The Bush administration has made major mistakes in Iraq, but Americans want solutions, not second-guessing. Does Dean have any solutions? We simply don't know.

Al Gore alienated millions of Americans because they felt he was not a straight shooter. Dean is a very straightforward guy, but he's changed his tune on a lot of important songs.

In this age of terror and social upheaval, politicians who sharply define themselves will succeed. For better or for worse, we all know what President Bush stands for. Right now, the same cannot be said about Howard Dean.

And that's The Memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

You may remember that when we started "The Radio Factor" a year and a half ago, some right-wing Web sites pounded us saying we'd fail, blah, blah, blah.

Well, this week, "The Radio Factor" picked up affiliate number 400, putting the program second only to Rush Limbaugh and clearances for news talk syndicated radio.

Not gloating, just reporting, and reminding you to be skeptical about what you read on the Net -- or in the newspapers -- for that matter. Much of the reporting is ridiculous.

By the way, a full list of our affiliates is posted on billoreilly.com.

--You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points Memo and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com