Mother of Marine Corporal Killed in Iraq Talks with O'Reilly

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This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 10, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, a "Factor" exclusive: the opposite of Cindy Sheehan.

Last week in Chicago, President Bush praised Marine Corporal Ryan Cummings and his mother. The 22-year-old was killed in Iraq.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He served two tours of duty in Iraq. And then he volunteered for a third. Ryan understood the stakes. He understood we must win, and so he said, "I'd like to go back."

And he was killed in the Anbar Province last month. I marvel at the strength of his mother when she said he wanted to be doing something that made a difference. He was doing what he wanted to do.


O'REILLY: Joining us now from Chicago is Janis Cummings, Ryan's mother.

First of all, our condolences to you and your family. Your son is, of course, a hero and a patriot. Most Americans understand that very well. What kind of a man was Ryan?

JANIS CUMMINGS, SON KILLED IN IRAQ: Well, he was very loyal to his family and to his friends. He had strong beliefs, and he would stand up for what he believed in. If he believed something was right or wrong, he wouldn't hesitate to say so. And he didn't back down.

O'REILLY: When you corresponded with him when he was in Iraq, what did he say about the conflict there?

CUMMINGS: He never said very much about what was going on. I think he was trying to keep us from worrying about him, which, of course, we did anyway. I just know that he believed in what he was doing, but he did not get into any specifics.

O'REILLY: Were you aware the president was going to single Ryan out --and you out -- for praise?

CUMMINGS: Yes. The White House press office called us the day before to check some facts and to ask for permission to use a quote from the newspaper. So yes, we did know.

O'REILLY: And what did you think when you got that call?

CUMMINGS: Well, I was surprised and shocked a little bit. We were just sort of winding down from the funeral and everything that happened around that, and then to have the president recognize Ryan, well, I was just very surprised and happy.

O'REILLY: Now, your family is the opposite of Cindy Sheehan, who took her son's death in another way. Any thoughts on that?

CUMMINGS: Well, I can't speak for Cindy Sheehan, but I know that Ryan believed in what he was doing, and we backed him. We supported him. And I just know that if I was to protest against what he believed in, I would see it as a betrayal of all that he believed in. So I could never, even if I wanted to protest against the war, I would never do that because of Ryan's memory.

O'REILLY: When you say he believed in the conflict in Iraq, did you get a sense of what he wanted to accomplish there?

CUMMINGS: I think he felt that he was accomplishing good things for the Iraqi people. He felt strongly about bringing democracy to Iraq. [He] definitely wanted to stop the insurgents and all the violence that's going on there. And I thought that — I think that he believed that they were accomplishing that.

O'REILLY: Ms. Cummings, once again, we really admire you and your family. And we're glad the president recognized Ryan and yourself and our condolences to your family. If we can ever be of service to you in any way, please let us know, Madam. Thank you for appearing with us.

CUMMINGS: Thank you very much.

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