'The Obama Chronicles,' Part 4: People Who Helped Obama Rise in Power

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 18, 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: You don't get to be a presidential candidate without a lot of help. Barack Obama accumulated his power base in Chicago by allying himself with some very interesting characters, probably people you have never heard of.

Click here to watch Part 4 of "The Obama Chronicles."

Person No. 1: Bettylu Saltzman, a wealthy, committed left-wing philanthropist who can make or break a Chicago politician.

Person No. 2: Valerie Jarrett, currently a senior adviser to Barack Obama. She has been a close associate for 17 years.

Person No. 3: Penny Pritzker, whose grandfather founded the Hyatt Hotel chain. Another committed leftist. She is a top fund-raiser.

Joining us now from Chicago is a woman who knows all about Barack Obama's Chicago gang, Sugar Rautbord, who actually introduced the Senator to George Soros.

Wow. Why did you do that?

SUGAR RAUTBORD, OBAMA SUPPORTER: Well, because he was a Democrat, and he is rich, so that kind of makes sense. And when he was running, Barack, for the U.S. Senate, Paula and Jim Crown from the very important billionaire Chicago Crown family that owns Aspen, owns a lot of companies, very generous, very philanthropic, we were all working with Barack to run for the Senate, and I was going to host a dinner for George Soros, on a book tour here. And we persuaded him — and actually, George hosted...

O'REILLY: So you got them together. Soros, subsequently, became a big Barack Obama fan. But Soros is a far, far-left guy. And many people, I think, are very, very suspicious of George Soros for his past activities and his kind of crazy view on what the country should be. So if Barack Obama gets elected, we can blame you, Sugar, for putting the two together.


O'REILLY: All right. Let's go to Bettylu Saltzman. Bettylu Saltzman, big Chicago doyenne, correct?

RAUTBORD: Big Chicago doyenne. The daughter of Philip Klutznik, who was the secretary of Commerce, who was a major developer. And Bettylu, as we used to call them in my own Sarah Lawrence days, liberal — limousine liberals. Now we call them Lakeshore — after Lakeshore Drive — liberals.

O'REILLY: OK. She's loaded. And now, Bettylu Saltzman, I understand, was the one who said to Barack Obama, "You better — you better oppose the Iraq war. You better come out and say you're against it," and this was way back in 2002. Is that correct?

RAUTBORD: In October 2002, Betty was — Bettylu was the organizer for the anti-Iraq war that took place at Daley Federal Plaza, at which Obama made an important speech.

O'REILLY: Yes, and she said to him — he didn't want to — he was going, "I don't know whether I should do this." She said, "You'd better do it." And that's what I understand happened there.

RAUTBORD: That's true. And by a lot of the things — and I don't think a lot of people know this — Obama does a lot by consensus. He listens very closely to this circle of people that you mentioned.

O'REILLY: Well, he listened to Bettylu. Bettylu told him to get out there and be against the Iraq war, and that's what happened. Not to say that the senator wasn't against it, but Bettylu forced him to come out of the closet.

Valerie Jarrett, I understand she's a very tough lady and she travels with Senator Obama. What else about her?

RAUTBORD: She's scrappy. She's very scrappy. She is a lawyer. She actually hired Michelle Obama when she was working in Mayor Daley's office. She was actually born in Iran, where her father, an American, was doing medical work. And she remembers the days when her father was a doctor at Rush and remembered stories of him having to come in the back door and decide he was coming in the front door because he was African-American. And she is one scrappy person who they mentioned constantly could be his chief of staff.

O'REILLY: Yes, she could be the White House chief of staff. Is she a very liberal woman? A pragmatic woman? What?

RAUTBORD: Well, she's a tough woman, and the — it's hard to tell. You know, when you're saying "left," "liberal," because all of these people that are surrounding Obama, a lot of them have the same background: Harvard lawyers.

O'REILLY: Yes, but there's a degree. Look, George Soros is as far left as it gets. Bettylu Saltzman we know is very far left. But I'm not sure about Valerie Jarrett. I don't know where she is on the political spectrum.

I'm running out of time, and I want to get to Penny Pritzker. She is the Hyatt heiress.

RAUTBORD: That's right. Extraordinarily gifted...

O'REILLY: She's the money lady, right?

RAUTBORD: ...financially, She's the money lady. She's the finance chair. But interesting enough, her brother, J.B. Pritzker, was the finance chair for Hillary simultaneously.

O'REILLY: So a Democratic family, just split, like the Kennedys did.

Now, I've got to ask you about Michelle Obama, because Michelle Obama knows all of these women. And some viewers got mad at me the other day when I said, "Look, Michelle Obama sometimes comes across as an angry lady." You know her.

RAUTBORD: I saw you do that.

O'REILLY: Yes. Was that fair? Was that off-base?

RAUTBORD: It's not angry.


RAUTBORD: It's intense and it's focused. And I know a lot of people, including Barack, think of Michelle as Jackie. And also she's been on the cover of another girlfriend's here, Linda Johnson Rice, who owns Ebony and Jet. And she's had Barack and Michelle on a lot of the recent covers. And you see them on the newsstands constantly, and that's been one of her ways to support…

O'REILLY: OK. So you say — you know her much better. I don't know her at all. You said she's not angry. She's intense.

RAUTBORD: She's more like Nancy Reagan, who — and I knew that White House.

O'REILLY: Nancy Reagan?

RAUTBORD: I worked within that. Absolutely. Totally supportive of her husband, totally focused on him and much less than like a Jackie was...

O'REILLY: But Nancy Reagan never came across that intense to the American public. She does, Michelle Obama.

RAUTBORD: That may — that may be, and she, again, is a Harvard-trained lawyer. But she's a good mom and a great wife. But if anybody is thinking anyone has more input than Michelle Obama to Barack Obama, they're wrong.

O'REILLY: That's right. Michelle Obama makes everybody else...

RAUTBORD: She has tremendous input.

O'REILLY: ... insignificant, and you're absolutely right.

RAUTBORD: You are right, Bill.

O'REILLY: Mrs. Rautbord, very interesting. Thank you for taking the time.

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