'The Obama Chronicles' Examines Association Between Barack and Father Pfleger

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 24, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In "The Obama Chronicles" segment tonight: There's no doubt Senator Obama's past associations continue to haunt him. As a senator in Illinois, Obama directed some big money to St. Sabina parish, headed by radical priest Michael Pfleger.

Click here to watch "The Obama Chronicles" about Barack's association with Father Pfleger.


FATHER MICHAEL PFLEGER: And I'll be damned if I'm going to sit back while you tear down Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright. How dare you! How dare you! How dare you seek to reduce Jeremiah Wright, who's one of the greatest Biblical scholars this nation has, to a 30-second sound beat and try to demonize him and criminalize him. You cannot do that!

And then out of nowhere came hey, I'm Barack Obama, and she said, "Oh, damn, where did you come from? I'm white! I'm entitled. There's a black man stealing my show!"


O'REILLY: Talking about Hillary Clinton. With us now, Father Edward Beck, a religion correspondent for ABC News. Father Beck has worked with Father Pfleger.

Look, I don't care what Father Pfleger says. That's up to the archbishop of Chicago. I don't give a hoot about what he says. The importance of this story is if Barack Obama feels comfortable with Pfleger. And the record shows a long association and a lot of money going to Father Pfleger. How do you feel about it?

FATHER EDWARD BECK, ABC NEWS RELIGION CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think he has a right to feel comfortable with him. He did a lot of good work with him, community organizing stuff. Father Pfleger is a good man. You get a sound bite there that's not the whole person. He's given his whole life to that African-American community. So Barack Obama knows that. So I think he feels good because he's helped him in his cause.

O'REILLY: How has Pfleger helped poor people in Chicago?

BECK: Pfleger has given his life there.

O'REILLY: OK. How has he helped them?

BECK: He demonstrates against tobacco industry there, against those who supply liquor ads that target African-Americans. He's adopted an African-American child to put kind of his voice where his belief is, really. He's done a great deal in that community.

O'REILLY: All right.

BECK: He has been arrested.

O'REILLY: So he, in your opinion, is helping the folks down at the street level, Pfleger is?

BECK: Most definitely. Most definitely.

O'REILLY: But there are a lot of good people who do good work who are radical people. There is no doubt in my mind that Father Pfleger believes America is a racist nation. I don't believe that. Do you?

BECK: I believe there are a lot of racist people in America.

O'REILLY: He believes America is a racist nation, that it's endemic in our society that black people are persecuted. That's what Pfleger believes.

Now, if you have a president of the United States who has a friend who thinks Louis Farrakhan, a horrible anti-Semite who also believes America is a racist nation, that association is troubling. That would be like President Bush hanging out with David Duke. There's no difference in the hatred that Louis Farrakhan brings to his presentation than what David Duke brings to his. It's just a different target of the hatred.

So that's the thing that Americans are saying, "Look, we want our president to have a perspective that we share." Do you see where I'm going here?

BECK: But Pfleger's point is that racism is endemic in the society.


BECK: Whites have it; blacks have it; other minority groups have it. It's not just whites who have it. And until that is seen as sinful, until you eradicate racism and confront it, white entitlement — we cannot deny there is white entitlement in this country.

O'REILLY: It doesn't make any difference if there's white entitlement. What the difference is is the country encouraging that. Does the country set up the structure to persecute black people? That's where Wright and Pfleger and Farrakhan live. They live there, Father. That the country itself, the laws, the people who run it, and the folks want to hurt black people.

BECK: I don't hear them saying that.

O'REILLY: Oh come on. Come on, come on, come on.

BECK: I hear them saying that the people themselves...

O'REILLY: Farrakhan says that all the time and so does Wright.

BECK: Twenty years ago, Farrakhan was a bit more extreme in his views with regards to this. And he said that, yes, there are a lot of white racists. But there are a lot of white racists. There are black racists, too.

O'REILLY: Do you see the point — last question — that some people are uneasy with the association of Pfleger and Obama?

BECK: I do see the point.


BECK: All I'm saying is that what you saw in that sound bite is not the full man.

O'REILLY: No, no, that's true. But every tyrant and every bigot in the history of this country and the world had a good side.

BECK: Well, I would not use the word tyrant or bigot for Michael Pfleger though.

O'REILLY: No, but you would for Farrakhan. And the association of the three is — but look, we wanted you to come in here. You know Pfleger. And I agree with you: I've seen him do good stuff, too. And we appreciate it.

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