The Most Admired People of the Year...

The most admired people of the year, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."

A new Gallup poll says that President Bush is the most admired man in America. Former President Bill Clinton is second. Former President Jimmy Carter, third.

For the ladies, it's Hillary Clinton first, Oprah right behind, and then Condoleezza Rice.

So let's analyze. Mr. Bush is a predictable choice. Admiration for him is down 20 percent in the past three years, but at 19 percent, the president still ranks higher than Bill Clinton did at any time in his second term.

Mr. Bush has made some mistakes, no question, but many Americans believe he's an honest man and an effective commander in the war on terror. He remains the dominant personality in America today.

Bill Clinton is remembered fondly by many Democrats and is also admired for his charitable work. He is also a dominant personality.

Jimmy Carter has emerged as the elder statesman on the left. And that is where his support lies. I read his book and it's fine in theory, but there's no way Mr. Carter could lead this nation against the war on terror. His criticism of the Bush administration is well intentioned, but naive in my opinion

On The Radio Factor today, I asked listeners why they might admire Hillary Clinton. I'd really like to sample opinion on that. Above all, the senator has a powerful image. And despite her support for the Iraq War, she remains the darling of the left.

Oprah is considered by many American women to be a person of compassion. Again, she's a very dominant personality.

Condoleezza Rice is smart and nice and honest and accomplished. It is no accident she is widely admired.

So there you have it, the six individuals who scored highest in the admiration poll in the USA. Congratulations to them. And that's "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

A bunch of media stuff.

First of all, your humble correspondent, me, will be appearing on the Letterman show this evening, as we mentioned. All I can say is, I taped it a few hours ago. Don't miss this. You don't have to stay up. TiVo, whatever. You've got to see it. It's very, very fascinating. It's fascinating.

Second, over the Christmas/winter/holiday break, a number of newspapers took cheap shots at us. Not that we're checking or anything.

The nation's worst newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times, continues to defend Florida prosecutor Brad King for failing to indict three people who allegedly helped the confessed killer of Jessica Lunsford, John Coey.

The newspaper called me, quote, "ill-informed blow hard" for those — for wanting those people prosecuted. The St. Petersburg Times remains on our "don't buy, don't advertise" list for being beyond ridiculous.

The very liberal Sacramento Bee printed my wise guy remarks about Al Qaeda in San Francisco as serious. Very dishonest for the Bee.

In theBoston Globe, committed liberal columnist Ellen Goodman called me a hedgehog. I'm not sure why, but hedgehogs all over the country are outraged.

And the Wichita Eagle — I can't even get a break in Wichita, Kansas — said I told Christmas to shut up, or something like that. It wasn't exactly clear. Ridiculous? Nah, just people really like me. They're just hiding it.

—You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel. Send your comments to:

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