This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 10, 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: I hope you got to see my piece in Parade magazine Sunday, entitled "What President Obama Can Teach America's Kids." All children should read this story. It's not political, but it contains very important messages for kids.
However, and I knew it would happen — I've been attacked on both the left and the right for writing the story. For example, a commentator on the far left Daily Kos wrote: "O'Reilly's putting on his really good face for all of America to see just to pull the rug from under Obama. I smell a foul rat in this." And there was this on my own Web site on BillOReilly.com: "I'm very disappointed that Bill would do this piece for Parade. No, Obama is not a mentor. He's destroying the country with his socialistic Marxist goals."
Joining us now from Los Angeles, radio talk show host Leslie Marshall, in for Juan Williams this evening. From Washington, FOX News analyst Mary Katharine Ham. So once again, I am misunderstood, Mary Katharine, on both sides. What say you?
MARY KATHARINE HAM, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It's true. Well, I don't have a particular problem with your piece. I think for me actually, maybe the only thing I like about this administration is that Barack Obama's example in having him talk about fatherhood from the White House and being able to do that in a Bill Cosby sort of style without being pilloried by certain folks for doing it. I think is really powerful. I think it's the cheapest and most effective thing he's probably done thus far in his presidency. So I'm with you there. I would say as far as being attacked, I'm just going to put this out there. Maybe the folks on the left and right who are partisans and don't know you like I and other contributors do as the teddy bear that you are see this very nice column, very fair column, and think to themselves, what is Bill O'Reilly up to? I would tell those folks that I think Bill, unlike folks at certain elements of NBC who can go for eight years and not say a nice thing about the president, I don't think you're that guy. And I think that's where this was headed.
O'REILLY: Well, I also think that there is a hatred for President Obama, as there was, Leslie, for President Bush. And once you get into the hate zone, then all thinking is clouded, correct?
LESLIE MARSHALL, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes. It's not like your spin zone, right? No spin zone. We're looking at, Bill, is you pointing out like you had said something that isn't political. You know, you look at a lot of Americans who are fed up with people blaming their parents. Sorry Sigmund Freud. You look at kids who aren't respectful to their parents or to adults. You're looking at a guy with the name Barack Hussein Obama and post-9/11, who was biracial, a black man running for president, and he's done it. I thinks it's admirable that you, even though we disagree ideologically, you're saying, look, I may not agree with the guy politically, but I got to give him props where props are due. And I commend him for this. And that's a good example for children. And I wholeheartedly agree with you. And I'm going to get a whole a lot of heck for this later.
O'REILLY: Why? Why would you get heck for that? See, what drives people who can take a nice article that everybody should clip out and hand to children, particularly children that are having trouble, and say look, these are lessons that you need to succeed. What drives, Leslie, somebody to try to destroy that concept? You say you're going to be criticized by your pals, whoever. Why would they bother to do that? It's got to be hatred. It's got to be hatred.
MARSHALL: I agree with you. You know, Bill, I'm very fortunate to be on your show enough, and people will say to me, why do you do that show? You're a liberal, you're a Democrat, you're a traitor. And I'll say honestly — and this is not kissing your butt — I like Bill. I respect Bill. We don't agree, but we don't disagree 100 percent of the time either. And I think that's where most Americans are. We have areas where we overlap, and I think that you are pointing out an area where most Americans do overlap.
O'REILLY: I hope so.
MARSHALL: I said come on, anybody looks at this guy and respects him.
O'REILLY: I think you're right that most Americans reading this article would say it's a positive article. Everything in it is absolutely true. There's not one word that isn't true and that would help kids. But Mary Katharine, what's the difference, Mary Katharine, between the Bush haters, and we put up with them for eight years as you pointed out, and the Obama haters? What's the difference?
HAM: Well, I think there's a difference of degree at this point. We'll see how things go. But I would say also that I look forward to seeing folks on the left applaud people like Bobby Jindal and Representative Cowell in Louisiana for their compelling personal narratives and immigrant stories as we move forward. And they perhaps have become more important figures. I don't think it happens as much going that way.
The second thing is I would say that some of the arguments with your piece may not be entirely hatred, but folks saying, listen, Obama does have great rhetoric on this issue. And I think that that actually is helpful in this case. But on policy, he actually ends up feeding the grievance politics that lead to people not being raised in the way that he was and not succeeding. Things like going immediately…
O'REILLY: But that doesn't have any effect on children and children's psyche. That may be true. It may be true, OK?
HAM: Well, I think on a policy basis, he can have an impact on kids.
O'REILLY: But it wasn't a policy based article. It wasn't about Barack Obama.
HAM: I understand.
O'REILLY: It was about the kids.
HAM: But I think that people take that ball and they run with it, and they make the argument that hey…
O'REILLY: Because they want to.
HAM: ...kids run.
O'REILLY: They don't want to ever say look, just…
HAM: But it's a fair argument.
O'REILLY: Look, just as…
HAM: It's a fair argument to say that he maybe undercuts his rhetoric in some of his policy choices…
O'REILLY: All right. Leslie.
HAM: …without being hateful.
O'REILLY: Just as the Bush haters would never say anything good about the president, even though he saved millions of lives in Africa and protected us from an Al Qaeda second attack, some on the right will never say anything good about Obama.
HAM: Right. Well, and I applaud the folks who do that with Bush. And I will applaud folks who do it with Obama.
O'REILLY: All right, last word, Leslie.
HAM: You got to be fair.
O'REILLY: Go ahead.
MARSHALL: I'll tell you with George W. Bush, I actually have said good things. And I got, you know, heck for that, too. I agree with the him on illegal immigration. But you know, it comes down to, you said it, what is the difference, Bill? The difference is the people hating Obama are doing so either because they're standing on a different side. They're on the right. The Bush haters were on the left. But with Obama, there is also a racial element that wasn't there with former president George W. Bush.
O'REILLY: All right, but there was that religious aspect with…
MARSHALL: How horrific it is, I think it's true.
O'REILLY: …was that religious aspect…
O'REILLY: …with President Bush. Ladies, thanks very much.
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