What's Behind Oprah's Love of Denmark?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 14, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Culture Warrior" segment tonight, the happiest people in the world. Some researchers believe they are the Danes, and Denmark has been in the news recently. The global warming conference was held there, and Oprah visited trying to get the Olympics to come to Chicago. Now during Ms. Winfrey's stay in Denmark, she recorded this.


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Copenhagen is one of the world's most environmentally conscious cities. A third of the population rides bikes, many with groceries and kids in tow. Homelessness and poverty are extremely low here. If you lose your job, the government continues to pay up to 90 percent of your salary for four years. You're never going to be homeless on the street.


WINFREY: You don't need a man to take care of you.


WINFREY: And when you don't need a man to take care of you…


WINFREY: …you are with a man just because you…


WINFREY: ...want to be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And now you know why we're happy to have free health care. So if you have a healthy people and you have free education…


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: …then you have healthy, well-educated people, and what can beat that?

WINFREY: What can beat that?


O'REILLY: Excuse me for a moment. I'm doing a calculation on my salary, and if I get fired on "The Factor", if I go to Denmark they're going to pay 90 percent of it for four years.



O'REILLY: Here now, the "Culture Warriors," Fox News analyst Margaret Hoover and "Fox & Friends" co-anchor Gretchen Carlson.

OK, so Oprah looked positively giddy to be in Denmark. Now, she was there, it's 14 below zero now in January. She was there in the fall. And I'm going to myself, does she really understand the country? What say you?

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GRETCHEN CARLSON, "FOX & FRIENDS" CO-HOST: I would say, who wouldn't be giddy when you find out that you get free health care, free education, four years of payment at 90 percent even after you lose your job, until you read the fine print, which is at the bottom of the document, which says oh, by the way, Danes pay the highest income tax of anyone in the entire world.

O'REILLY: Do you know what the average is? It's about 75 percent if you're making good money, right?

CARLSON: It's definitely over 50 percent.

O'REILLY: OK. So you pay all your money to the government, and they give it — they kick it back to you, Hoover, in the term of entitlements. But that does provide security for the 5.5 million Danes.

HOOVER: Well, and that's exactly the point. You make a fabulous point. There are 5.5 million Danes.

O'REILLY: Right.

HOOVER: And that's it. We have 300 million people here, Bill.

O'REILLY: Right.

HOOVER: We're bankrupt on our Medicare program as it is. Do you think we could afford to pay 90 percent of people's salaries afterwards?

O'REILLY: No, I don't. But the Danes have managed their economy so that they can provide for 5.5 million people.

HOOVER: Look, I'm glad we are having this conversation because there's a debate going on in this country right now. Should America be more like Europe? Should we more like the European…

O'REILLY: Yeah, should we be more like the Danes?

HOOVER: ...or where we guarantee — here's what we do in the U.S. though. In the U.S., we guarantee — we strive to guarantee the equality of opportunity, not the equality of outcome.

O'REILLY: Right.

HOOVER: We have a thing here that we're quite proud of called American exceptionalism. And there is no better poster child for American exceptionalism…

O'REILLY: But let's use…

HOOVER: ...than Oprah Winfrey.

O'REILLY: ...that word better.

HOOVER: Is Oprah Winfrey's story possible in Denmark?


HOOVER: No way. No way.

O'REILLY: Oprah could be a big TV star.

HOOVER: You know what, but would she makes as much money? You know why she was giddy?

O'REILLY: No, they'd take more money away from Oprah.

HOOVER: She was giddy at the beginning of this video…

O'REILLY: But if she got fired, think about the calculation.

HOOVER: She was doing the same calculation that you were doing.

O'REILLY: Oprah? Yeah, she's making $100 million a year, whatever she's making, and she gets 90 percent of that.

CARLSON: Here's what Americans should be concerned about when they look at the Danes is that our taxes right now…

O'REILLY: Right.

CARLSON: ...apparently going to continue to keep going up…

O'REILLY: For the next few years.

CARLSON: For sure for the next few years.

O'REILLY: Right.

CARLSON: But do you think that Americans will get the same kind of service that the Danes are getting from their government if we pay 50 percent tax?

O'REILLY: No. I mean, as Hoover pointed out, it's 320 million people here.

CARLSON: I don't. No, I don't think we will.

O'REILLY: And I can't…

CARLSON: If you thought that you could get pretty good service, then you might not worry about paying that kind of a tax. But for 300 million people, you can't do it.

O'REILLY: OK, but I'm still not getting why Oprah, who is the ultimate capitalist by the way…

HOOVER: Right.

O'REILLY: Oprah's a brilliant money person. She has a literal empire, financial empire. She goes over there. And she seems to say hey, this is the country. That's why they're all happy. And I don't know if the Danes are so happy.

CARLSON: Well, it's subjective, but…

O'REILLY: I know when I heard that — I know subjective. But when I heard the Danes were the happiest people on earth, I thought back to my ancestors in Ireland, who were beheaded and raped by the Danish Vikings. And I don't know if that was a happy experience perpetuated by the Danes back then, do you know what I mean?

HOOVER: If you think Aristotle had anything good to say about happiness, you know…

O'REILLY: Aristotle? Is he Danish? I thought he was Greek?

HOOVER: No, but listen to me, because he had a few good nuggets that have lasted for a few thousand years.


HOOVER: He says happiness comes from satisfaction of four things: vocation, family, community and faith. And the more the government…

O'REILLY: Aristotle said that?

HOOVER: Yeah, he did. I'm distilling it down for you so you don't have to read the "Republic."

O'REILLY: Excellent.


HOOVER: Here's the deal. If the government starts to take over in any four of those areas, humans derive then less satisfaction.

O'REILLY: Yeah, but the Danes are happy.

HOOVER: Yeah, but that's…

O'REILLY: They're happy Danes.

HOOVER: They're taking over…

CARLSON: How is that subjective, Bill.

HOOVER: They take over family.

O'REILLY: Did you see them riding the bikes? They're all smiling.

CARLSON: Happiness is subjective. This is what the Danes know.

O'REILLY: Right.

HOOVER: No, no, no.

CARLSON: It's different from what the Americans know. You asked the question two minutes ago.

O'REILLY: Do you think the Vikings were happy when they were doing that to the Irish?

CARLSON: I'm from the land of the Vikings as well, so…

O'REILLY: I know, I was going to ask you that you're Swedish.


O'REILLY: And you guys are committing suicide at a record rate in Sweden. All you got to do is drive down the peninsula and you're the happiest people on earth. Why don't you just go south?

CARLSON: Here's the answer to your political question about why Oprah Winfrey is so happy in Copenhagen.

O'REILLY: Thank you. Bless you.

CARLSON: Because these are her political views. She supports Barack Obama. These are Barack Obama's political views.

O'REILLY: But she doesn't want to be taxed at 75 percent, Oprah.

CARLSON: How do we know that?

O'REILLY: Oh, come on. I can't believe that.

CARLSON: She wants people to have these types of services.

O'REILLY: Well, why doesn't she get it.

CARLSON: Right here in America.

O'REILLY: She's got $8 billion. She could set up her own…

CARLSON: I think she does give away a huge chunk of her money.

O'REILLY: She does. She's a charitable woman. All right, I'm going to give you the last word, Hoover. We've…

CARLSON: Aristotle.

O'REILLY: Yeah, we've covered Aristotle, we've covered Danish happiness and Swedish angst. Irish, we've covered that. Is there any other ethnic group we haven't…

HOOVER: Go to YouTube, watch the end of the clip. She looks at these people's apartments. She's wondering where they put their things. They're telling her they don't have things.

O'REILLY: They don't have things.

HOOVER: They've got three kids in one bedroom. And she's wondering how do people live like this?

O'REILLY: Yeah. So once she got inside…

HOOVER: I don't think she got into it.

O'REILLY: ...the house, she wasn't so thrilled, Oprah.

HOOVER: I don't think she got into it. I don't think so.


CARLSON: She liked the cleanliness.

O'REILLY: I love that line, where do you put your things? And they go, we don't have things. Would you like some herring?

HOOVER: Oprah's favorite things wouldn't happen in Denmark.

O'REILLY: Oprah would need all of Copenhagen just for her clothing. All right, ladies, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

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