Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thanks for watching us tonight.

O'REILLY:  Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thank you for watching us tonight.

In just a few moments, we'll have a Factor exclusive.  I have seen some of that Reagan movie. --  And I'll tell you what it's all about.  Here's a hint: CBS is in big, big trouble.

But first, the Talking Points Memo, the carnage continues in Iraq.  As you know over the weekend, 16 American soldiers were killed when a terrorist shot a helicopter out of the sky.  All the polls say the same thing.  Millions of Americans are losing faith in the Iraqi situation as they terrorists are doing what they do best, killing and scaring people.

But this is a complicated issue.  If America cuts and runs in Iraq, it'll be a huge defeat for us.  Terrorism will rise all over the world, as the bad guys realize the U.S.A. can be intimidated.  Last week on The Factor, I asked [Democratic Presidential Candidate] Al Sharpton (search) what he would do.


REV. AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We're going to correct a wrong, and would say I will participate in a multilateral correction of the   problem.

O'REILLY:  What does that mean?

SHARPTON:  That if we go and have Kofi Annan and the United Nations...

O'REILLY:  Right.

SHARPTON:  ...not Halliburton, not Cheney's friends, lead the redevelopment in Iraq, I think that you can repair Iraq and also bring...

O'REILLY:  All right.  So you're going to put the U.N. in charge of Iraq, all right?

SHARPTON:  Absolutely.


O'REILLY:  All right.  Well, handing things off to the U.N. would mean certain defeat in Iraq.  That group certainly couldn't handle the Ba'athist killers.  So the Bush administration must fight it out.  I mean, you think the U.N. can do that?  They failed in Rwanda (search).  They failed in Bosnia.  I mean, come on.

The question is are the Bush people employing the right strategies?  We'll discuss that in a moment.

But to be fair, most of Iraq is now pacified.  According to a joint  investigation by Time magazine and ABC News, certainly not pro-Bush partisans, 80 percent of Iraq is now making great strides towards stability.  It is on in the pro-Saddam areas in the heart of the country that chaos continues.

Now I was happy to see that investigation because it gives those of us who feel the Iraq action is justified hope.  And hope is badly needed right now.  Like him or not, President Bush is convinced the war on terror must be fought in Iraq.  And since retreat is not a responsible option, I think fair-minded Americans should be as patient as possible.

Six months from now, if helicopters are still being shot out of the sky, President Bush's political future will be in doubt.  But if we are able to break the back of terror in Iraq, and that country becomes an ally, the payoff for America is huge.  That's what at stake and that's The Memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"...

O'REILLY:  Time now for the "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day."

Last week, while promoting my new book Who's Looking Out for You? I had this exchange with [PBS talk show host] Charlie Rose (search).


CHARLIE ROSE, THE CHARLIE ROSE SHOW:  George Clooney was here on this program.

O'REILLY:  Yes.  He hates me, right?

ROSE:  Yes, he does.

O'REILLY:  Yes.  OK.  I have...

ROSE:  And I said to him...

O'REILLY:  And, by the way, I don't have anything against him.  I have nothing against him.

ROSE:  He's a good actor.

O'REILLY:  He's all right.  He's not...

ROSE:  Oh, you loved Oceans 11 (search).  You loved...

O'REILLY:  He's no Sean Penn.

ROSE:  Sean Penn you love?

O'REILLY:  He's a brilliant actor.

ROSE:  He's a brilliant -- he may be our best actor working today.

O'REILLY:  What else do you want?  Clooney doesn't like me.  What?

ROSE:  So Clooney says to me -- I said, "why don't you go on his show?" and he said I -- I want to talk to him, I want to debate him, but I don't want to do it on his show.  He said I want to do it on a neutral ground when O'Reilly...

O'REILLY:  Well, bring him here.  I'll come in with him.

ROSE:  Hello?  If I bring Clooney here, you'll be here?

O'REILLY:  Absolutely.  I'll be here with him.  Sure.


O'REILLY:  All right.  So it will be interesting to see if Mr. Clooney appears.  I do write about him in Who's Looking..., and I hope I was fair.  If I wasn't, it would be ridiculous, and perhaps he'll point it out to me.  So we'll keep you posted.

--You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points Memo and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com