Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry Defends Reverend Wright, Supports Obama

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 13, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Factor Follow-up" segment tonight: You may remember former Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry, a very flamboyant guy. He has been around the block a few times. The mayor called us and said he wanted to talk about Reverend Wright. He joins us now from Washington.

Now I want to make it clear, Mayor. I would not have brought the subject up. I would not have brought that up. I'm done with him. I may have to go back to Reverend Wright in the future, but I'm done with him. But I was surprised that even after Barack Obama threw Reverend Wright under the bus symbolically, you are still sticking up for the reverend. Why?

MARION BARRY, FORMER D.C. MAYOR: Let me say, Bill, I'm not speaking for the Obama campaign or for Senator Obama. Two, Reverend Wright was just a tiny bit of what I asked my director to talk about. I think the press has been more interested in making news rather than reporting news. I'm glad you said you were finished with it. I am, too. I think Senator Obama has been very brilliant and comprehensive in his answers and, therefore, you know — I would say this though: I did see you show Reverend Wright's home and cars and…

O'REILLY: You bet.

BARRY: …imply that this is what you get for being a hatemonger and unpatriotic, not saying that Reverend Wright is pastor of a 8,000-member church. More than likely he gets more than six figure salary and the church probably provides his home. That's besides the point.

O'REILLY: Put yourself in my position. I'm a Roman Catholic, OK? The priest that I deal with take vows of poverty and they live very modestly. And throughout my whole life that's the way the structure has been. Then I see Reverend Wright telling poor people in Chicago how bad the United States of America is and poor people are getting hosed. And he is using words that are offensive to me and most other Americans. He does not tell the truth in my opinion but, of course, you can debate that. Then I find out, Mayor, then I find out that Reverend Wright is moving into a multimillion-dollar home, has a $10 million line of credit, $10 million line of credit, and two Mercedes-Benzes worth $150,000. So don't you think I should be a little suspicious? Perhaps a little?

BARRY: No. Shame on you. What happens is Reverend Wright's congregation mostly moderate to middle income people. Not poor people.

O'REILLY: That south side of Chicago is all neighborhoods.

BARRY: Wait a minute, Bill. What's that got to do with Senator Obama?

O'REILLY: I didn't tie that to Senator Obama into that. I'm going after Reverend Wright as a hypocrite.

BARRY: We ought to be talking about the issues that Obama stands for. I support him very strongly: health care and the economy, and other kind of things. Also, you ought to be talking about how brilliant and how great a campaign he has run. Think about this. He is a freshman senator, didn't have a national organization. Up against what we call in the Bible Goliath, and David has begun to slay Goliath. That's what we ought to be talking about.

O'REILLY: I agree with you 100 percent that Barack Obama has run a brilliant campaign so far and he has taken down one of the most formidable machines in the United States history: the Clinton machine. There is no question about that. I will tell you what. And I think as a guy who has been around, and you watch this program. I'm a fair man. I'm a fair man.

BARRY: I won't go that far, but that's all right.

O'REILLY: You what?

BARRY: I won't say you are always fair, but you are straightforward. I like you.

O'REILLY: I try to be. And you have a beef with me. You called us up and you are on the air. That's the kind of guy I am.

BARRY: I appreciate that.

O'REILLY: But I tell you what. I don't know what Barack Obama believes, even after all this time. Now, when he comes in to sit here, which I think he will in the next two or three weeks, then I'll know. But right now I don't know the man. And most Americans don't know him either.

BARRY: That's not true.

O'REILLY: We know he is a brilliant campaigner. We know his rhetoric. We don't know him. All we know is his associations. That's why they are important.

BARRY: Bill, listen. Most people who read, who listen, know what he stands for. I know I do and millions of Americans do. Otherwise, they wouldn't vote for him. I think you just need to read more and talk more about it. But I understand your position because you are in the business of…

O'REILLY: I have got to see if he can back up the rhetoric, reverend. I have got to see if he can back it up.

BARRY: He is fantastic. He is going to be the next president. You know that, don't you?

O'REILLY: He may well be our next president.

BARRY: On another subject.

O'REILLY: Wait a minute. I respect the fact that you are on his team and that you believe in him. I would never run you down for that. But he has got to convince me. Barack Obama has — as a voter, he has got to convince me. He has got to sit here like Hillary Clinton did, like John McCain did, and answer my dopey questions.

BARRY: Bill, are you Republican or Democrat? What are you?

O'REILLY: I'm an independent.

BARRY: You are independent?

O'REILLY: Right.

BARRY: I think if Barack spent 40 hours with you, you would never vote for him.

O'REILLY: You think I'm a narrow-minded guy? I don't think so. I'm willing to hear what Barack Obama has to say. All of our polling says American people think I have been very fair to the man. And I have been.

BARRY: I think you have.

O'REILLY: Look, here is the deal I will make with you, Mr. Mayor.

BARRY: In the future, spend more time on what he stands for, not on his associations.

O'REILLY: We have got to hear it from him.

BARRY: That's McCarthyism.

O'REILLY: McCarthyism. We have to hear it from him. I'll make a deal with him. If you don't think I'm fair to him in my coverage between now and November, you call us up and you can come back on.

BARRY: I will call you up and come back on and have a great debate.

O'REILLY: Thanks, Mr. Mayor. Good to see you.

BARRY: As strange as it may seem, you are one of my heroes, too, Bill. As strange as it may seem.

O'REILLY: All right. Don't spread that around too much. I'll get in trouble.

BARRY: I can appreciate it.

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