Is O'Reilly Right and Rove Wrong About Public Health Care Option?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 14, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: You may remember this exchange last week.


O'REILLY: I think the public option is gone. He threw it right out the window. So liberals aren't going to like that. It's gone. I think...

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KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Bill, I don't agree with you. I think tonight he had a tougher tone on it than before.


ROVE: I hope you're right. I thought his tone tonight was very tough.

O'REILLY: No, you heard him say, look, the progressives — this is just the way to get their — he's going to throw that out.


O'REILLY: Well, yesterday, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said this:


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Well, I think the public option is dead. It's probably been dead a long time, because the public is very afraid. Eighty-five percent of the people with private health insurance like what they've got.


O'REILLY: Here now, FOX News analyst Karl Rove. I don't understand this. It looks like I may have been right.

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS ANALYST: I hope you're right. With you and Lindsey Graham saying it's gone, it is Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and new chairman of the Senate Health and Education and Labor Committee, Tom Harkin, saying…

O'REILLY: Olympia Snowe, the Republican senator from Maine.

ROVE: Forty — 40-60, 40 to 60.

O'REILLY: But you know how much damage there will be if that gets in there.

ROVE: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: And so I...

ROVE: Which is why I'm hoping you're right.

O'REILLY: You're not going to bet me a lot of money.

ROVE: I will bet you.

O'REILLY: How much do you want to bet?

ROVE: Well, I'm not a gambler. I'm happy to make a modest bet with you. I hope you are right. Please.

O'REILLY: But you're still standing to your guns?

ROVE: Because look, it's a question of math. You have a huge Democrat majority in the House, and you have the speaker of the House…

O'REILLY: He — that could get it done. One-termers…

ROVE: Sure. But you know what? If they got that done, that would be one term worth having from the perspective of a lot of progressives.

O'REILLY: I don't think Obama wants a one term.

ROVE: In the Senate Democrats, you've got people who are flaking out, because they're looking for a way to get a soft public option. That is to say, well, we're not for the public option…

O'REILLY: Yes, they'll work for guys...

ROVE: We are the trader or the co-opt.

O'REILLY: The big federal insurance apparatus isn't going to happen.

All right, "60 Minutes," last night, President Obama went on there, and he basically said to the country, "Look, if I don't get this health care bill, we're all going to go bankrupt." Roll the tape.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The problem I've got is that the only way I can get medium and long-term federal spending under control is if we do something about health care. Ironically, health care reform is critical to deficit reduction.


O'REILLY: What do you say?

ROVE: I say that's bizarre. How can you say, "I'm going to bring federal health spending under control" when you add a program that is either, in the Senate version, nearly $900 billion, or in the House version, a $1.6 trillion addition to the federal budget over the next 10 years, and something that the Congressional Budget Office says we'll be in deficit in its first 10 years, and even worse…

O'REILLY: Worse its next phase.

ROVE: …and will not bend the health care cost curve down. Where is the president coming from?

O'REILLY: That's what — people, now I like Steve Croft, should have jumped on that and said the CBO says you're nuts. This is what's going on. However, the question becomes, is Barack Obama a true believer in what he said, or is he misleading the public consciously?

ROVE: Look, I think, unfortunately, I come down on the side of he's deliberately misleading the public.

O'REILLY: Really? You think the guy is a liar?

ROVE: Well, I don't want to use that term. That's a little loaded term.

O'REILLY: That's what the South Carolina senator said.

ROVE: Here, you cannot say that "I will not add to the deficit" when you have Congressional Budget Office letters saying this adds to the deficit.

O'REILLY: Maybe he just ignores that.

ROVE: Well, maybe he does. But in that instance, he's — he's not taking all the facts into consideration when he speaks. Let me give you an example. Remember Tuesday — Wednesday night the second item he discussed was how illegal aliens weren't going to be able to get health care, because...

O'REILLY: That's when Joe yelled out "liar."

ROVE: Well, on Friday night after everybody had gone to bed, the White House dumped out a new initiative where they said OK, the bill does say that illegal aliens will not get health care under this bill, but we now recognize there is no verification.

O'REILLY: They're not going to check IDs.

ROVE: Right. So we will now be in favor of checking IDs. Well, look, on Wednesday night, if the president had come out and said, you know what?

O'REILLY: We're going to check IDs.

ROVE: I know a lot of people have got this concern we are going to check IDs.

O'REILLY: Right.

ROVE: The problem would have gone away. Similarly on Wednesday night the five things he came out and said, you know, these were his words: bogus claims, laughable, false misunderstanding, false claims. Lie plain and simple. Among the things that he labeled that was "I will not add to the deficit." The Congressional Budget Office says he'll add to the deficit.

O'REILLY: Even George Stephanopoulos said he didn't believe that. They did say they are going to check IDs now. So everybody should know that. But at least some good things will happen. Do you watch Glenn Beck at all?

ROVE: OK. I do.

O'REILLY: What Glenn Beck has done very successfully on the FOX News Channel...

ROVE: I don't watch him as often as I do you, Bill.

O'REILLY: Nobody does. But Beck is — Beck is very brilliant at what he does. And people should understand exactly what Beck is doing. I want you to get your opinion on what he's doing. Glenn Beck believes — and he does believe that, all right? — that the Obama administration is setting up an alternative country based upon a vision that America has never seen. Heavily on socialistic, huge government, social engineering, all kinds of things that we have not had here in America. Beck believes that this is in play. It's a very well thought-out plan, and it's going to change America dramatically. Do you believe that?

ROVE: I look at the evidence and say that Barack Obama has a very distinctly, very liberal or very left-wing view of what American public policy ought to be about. When you lay out a budget that says "My goal is to at least double the debt in five years and nearly triple it in 10," that's a problem. When you set out to say, "Look, I want to construct a government health care program that is going to add dramatically to the ability of government to intrude into the decisions between patients and doctors," that's a problem. When you have a...

O'REILLY: You just think that he is a committed leftist, Obama?

ROVE: Yes. I think he is somebody who ran as a centrist and said, "You know what?" And then...

O'REILLY: Now he does. But you're not going to take it as far as Glenn Beck as saying, look, they're in bed with ACORN. They're in bed with the SEIU. They're in bed with all these radicals, and they are hell-bent on changing the capitalist America to point something else.

ROVE: I think he is in bed with them. Those are his constituents and his allies. Remember, he came up as a community organizer in Chicago.

O'REILLY: I know that, but all — but Bush had constituents that he was — that he...

ROVE: Sure.

O'REILLY: The conspiracy that Glenn is weaving, does that resonate with you?

ROVE: Look, we — it resonates with me that Barack Obama has political allies like the SEIU, organized labor, community organizations, left-wing causes. And then he has associations with sort of people on the far left of American politics that lead him in the direction he is, which is very much out of the mainstream of America.

O'REILLY: All right. Karl Rove, everybody. Thanks very much. Nice to see you in New York.

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