Part 2: Whoopi Goldberg on Helen Thomas Controversy

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 17, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight: part two of my interview with Whoopi Goldberg.

Our poll asked if I should apologize to Helen Thomas for making fun of her last week. Almost 80,000 folks voted. Ninety-three percent say no apology is necessary.

Well, Ms. Goldberg disagrees with that. However, we begin tonight with the high expectations some folks have of President Obama.

Click here to watch the interview!


O'REILLY: The expectations of Barack Obama, I think, are unrealistic. I don't think any human being on Earth can part the Red Sea and all the things that Barack Obama supporters want him to do.


O'REILLY: So therefore you set people up for disappointment.

GOLDBERG: Well, do you set them up or are they set up?

O'REILLY: I think the — I think the media did it, and I think Barack Obama went with it. Fair?

GOLDBERG: I don't know. I think more than anything, everybody just started feeling like maybe this is the one. And I think, like with all people we put on pedestals, we have to be prepared for him not to be able to walk on water.

O'REILLY: But wasn't the pedestal almost hysterical? Didn't it get to that point?

GOLDBERG: I mean, not to me. You have to realize that a lot of people took a different notion with this election, particularly because it was historic for half of the population. It was really huge.

O'REILLY: It was emotional.

GOLDBERG: Not just that, but people, you know, like my mom who said you know what, I always knew it was the American promise that anybody could be president. But now it's actually true.

O'REILLY: But that's emotional.

GOLDBERG: I don't know if it's emotional if you have lived a life where you got to vote in '68.

O'REILLY: Should I be bitter that there wasn't a Catholic president until JFK.

GOLDBERG: As an Irishman, I will tell you this: Your family, I bet — and I could be wrong — but I'll speak for the Irish part of my family, who when I sit and talk to them say you know, we were at the bottom of the heap.

O'REILLY: Every ethnic group was.

GOLDBERG: Not quite. But you all can vote and that's my — that's what I'm saying.

O'REILLY: I understand — I understand the Barack Obama phenomenon, I think, better than anybody else in this country, because I look at it outside, not inside. And I understand it. And I admire Barack Obama, and I've said it many, many times, from where he came from for what he did, what he's accomplished, it's amazing. But I admire you and I admire me.


O'REILLY: Because we came from the bottom, and we're big stars. And I'll tell you what. It doesn't happen in any other country in the world but here. And for people to de-emphasize that is wrong.

GOLDBERG: No, I emphasize the fact that it seemed to my mother and many people before her that there was not the possibility.

O'REILLY: Yes, it was the impossible dream.

GOLDBERG: Well, that's what I'm saying. That's why the fervor came.

O'REILLY: The fervor though in the African-American community is absolutely understandable. Where it's not understandable is in the mainstream media.

GOLDBERG: You don't like the media very much.


GOLDBERG: I can tell.

O'REILLY: It's flat out corrupt...


O'REILLY: this country and to all of us.


O'REILLY: Is there anything that could make you turn against Barack Obama? Say he doesn't do well, say the economy continues to decline?

GOLDBERG: I'm OK if he tries and fails. I'm all right with that but just try. Just try.

O'REILLY: Bush tried.

GOLDBERG: What did Bush try to do?

O'REILLY: He tried to keep us safe from the terrorists and he succeeded.

GOLDBERG: Yes, OK. He did do that, OK. So what did he do with the economy?

O'REILLY: The economy was good for six out of eight years. But it's on his resume, and he has to live with it.

GOLDBERG: You know, I know you are a Bush man, and I don't want to...

O'REILLY: I'm not a Bush fan. I'm a fair man.

GOLDBERG: I don't think it's fair to say that this man, the former president, is blameless here. I think that he ignored the real people of this country. I think he ignored the rules and regulations that our Founding Fathers set up for us. I think he ignored us.

O'REILLY: I disagree with you.

GOLDBERG: But that's all right. That's why we're friends.

O'REILLY: I disagree with you 100 percent. I think every American — and that's why he spent so much time and developed such an aggressive stance against worldwide terrorism to keep everybody safe.

Now, do you have a beef with me of some kind about Helen Thomas?

GOLDBERG: It's not a beef. But we were talking about the fact that you generally are — and I can say this. I thought that you doing the witch line...

O'REILLY: Right.

GOLDBERG: ...was so out — to me, out of character for you.


O'REILLY: Ah! Ah! It's like the wicked witch of the East.

ALAN COLMES, FOX NEWS: I didn't know you did impersonations.

O'REILLY: If I were Obama, I would have poured water on her, and she'd dissolve.


O'REILLY: It was a little humor. Just a little fun.

GOLDBERG: If you're going to do a little humor, learn how to do it.

O'REILLY: Well, that's opinion though. A lot of people thought that was very funny.

GOLDBERG: I'm sure they did. But I think a lot women really didn't.

O'REILLY: So you thought I was over the line by making fun of Helen Thomas?

GOLDBERG: I did. I did. Because you had a valid point...

O'REILLY: Right.

GOLDBERG: ...on what she was saying.

O'REILLY: Was I mean?

GOLDBERG: I thought you were a little out of character. Mean, yes.

O'REILLY: The whole thing is a joke. So I made a joke out of it.


O'REILLY: Do you accept that?


O'REILLY: OK. All right. Whoopi Goldberg, everybody. It's always good to see you and always fun to talk with you.


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