Jon Voight on Backlash After Anti-Obama Op-Ed

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 11, 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: Last week, actor Jon Voight wrote an op-ed in The Washington Times saying that he did not trust Barack Obama on terrorism issues, among other things.

In response, Hollywood blogger Jeffrey Wells wrote, "If I were a producer and had to make a casting decision, I might very well say to myself, 'Voight? Let him eat cake.'"

Now we talked to Mr. Wells a few days ago, and he denied that was a threat, but it sure sounded like one.

Joining us now from Los Angeles is Jon Voight.

You know, I told Mr. Wells this is exactly the same thing that happened in the '50s, when people who were left-leaning were called communist and blacklisted from the entertainment industry. And now what he wrote and what I've heard others say is that conservative actors run the risk of not being hired. Do you believe that?

JON VOIGHT, ACTOR: Well, let's hope not, Bill. Of course, I had many friends among those people who were blacklisted, and it was a very dark time for Hollywood. I mean, I don't think anybody wants to go back to that. Just, you know, all I can think of is that this fellow is a little out of line, and hopefully he will recover his senses.

O'REILLY: OK, but you know by putting yourself out there as a McCain supporter and criticizing Barack Obama that this isn't going to play very well in Hollywood. You're outnumbered about 100 to one out there.

VOIGHT: Well, I was doing an interview a couple of days ago, and somebody was just very surprised that they had a conservative in Hollywood. And which is really, of course, it's quite — it's humorous on the one hand because obviously this is a democracy. We require dialogue and interaction. And you need to have free speech and competing ideas in order for us to be healthy and grow.

But I would suggest that if they, you know, if they didn't have conservatives in Hollywood, they should import them so that there would be proper dialogue and everybody would get balanced. But anyway, I'm only one of a number of conservatives, and I'm just a little bit more in the fore at the moment.

O'REILLY: Yes, you're a little bit more outspoken. But it is an emotional situation with Barack Obama. It isn't like Kerry or Gore. It's very emotional. And that's what I saw from Mr. Wells, the Hollywood blogger. And he admitted he got mad that you were criticizing his guy because so many Hollywood people, the artistic community, the sensitive community, which I can't identify with that, but the sensitivity — but they have so much emotion tied into Barack Obama. And in your Washington Times article you pretty much said hey, look, I don't believe the guy has got the chops to go up against the terrorists who want to kill us. That's not an emotional argument. That takes it out of the emotional range.

VOIGHT: Yes, I agree. I think — I'm just raising questions, you know. And it's unfortunate that there was no substantive dialogue in return from the other side. I'd like to have it. I think it's very important for us, as I said.

But you know, I'm just raising questions. How can I trust, for instance, how can I trust a man to be president who has associations with people like William Ayers, who has been a terrorist against our government on our country and has said — and says that he's sorry he didn't do more to bring destruction to our government? How can — another question — how can Hamas, how is it that Hamas, the worst killer of innocent human lives, want this man for president? You know, raising questions like this sheds light on some of the important issues of this campaign.

O'REILLY: No, absolutely. Robust debate is the best thing that we can have in a democracy. I'm not sure Hamas, you know, what they want. I don't know if there's anybody speaking with any authority for that organization.

Now your daughter, the famous Angelina Jolie, said that she wants to vote for a candidate who is compassionate. And how did you take that?

VOIGHT: Well, I — obviously she's concerned about — she has advocated for children, refugees and families of refugees throughout the world. And that's her concern. And it's quite appropriate.

I would like to respond to Angie, actually. Take this time to respond. You know, Cindy McCain is somebody I just did a little bit of work for, went to a few — introduced her at a few fund-raisers. And I found her to be tremendously impressive.

And one of the reasons is because she's dedicated her life to improving the lives of the unfortunate in the United States and around the world. And she started an organization called American Volunteer Medical Team, which went around the world and addressed the needs of people — the medical and the surgical needs of children in third world countries. And in that — this was in 1988. She just came back from Darfur, by the way, in a similar humanitarian approach. So that problem and she and her husband have dedicated themselves to solving that problem to addressing it.

O'REILLY: Yes, compassion cuts both ways.

VOIGHT: Now let me just finish this thing, because she founded this organization in 1988. She went around, 55 missions, and she met Mother Teresa. And mother Theresa gave her two children. She said please take these back, Cindy, and give them medical attention. They are going to die if they don't get it in the United States. So she took the babies back. One baby clung to her and really chose her, as she says. And when she came off the plane, John was there. And John said, who is this little one? And she says this is our new daughter. And John said isn't that a wonderful surprise.

O'REILLY: Yes, so that your daughter and Cindy McCain would have a lot in common.

VOIGHT: They're the same — they're cut from the same cloth.

O'REILLY: All right. Mr. Voight, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

And by the way, Jon Voight and I are in a movie together which opens in October. And you play George Washington. You're very good in that.

VOIGHT: I heard the word is that you're fantastic in it.

O'REILLY: I made a complete fool of myself. And everybody — we're going to do a preview of this movie on Thursday right here on "The Factor." That will be great. We'll talk to you down the road.

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