Bigwigs at Big Oil Making Big Bucks

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 17, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In "Back of the Book" segment tonight, the former chairman and CEO Of Exxon Mobil, Lee Raymond, who retired in December, received $140 million in compensation last year, and his entire retirement deal is worth nearly $400 million, according to public reports.

This as gasoline prices are reaching record levels in the USA. — He can afford to fill up any time he wants. Here to explain, his pal, our pal, and FOX News vice president Neil Cavuto.

First of all, you are vice president of FOX news, so your retirement package, I'd say, about $300 million. Is that what you're going to walk away with?

NEIL CAVUTO, VICE PRESIDENT OF FOX NEWS: It's not what yours is, I'll tell you that, but it's a free market. That's what the market bears.

O'REILLY: Four hundred million dollars.

CAVUTO: First of all, it's not all cash, as you know.

O'REILLY: It's stock.

CAVUTO: A lot of it is stock. A lot of it is restricted grants that can't be exercised for many years...

O'REILLY: Massages.

CAVUTO: Foot massages. But keep in mind he's been there 43 years.

O'REILLY: So that's $10 million a year.

CAVUTO: But he's been there 43 years. He runs the most profitable company in the world.


CAVUTO: So it is what the market is. Do you want to start policing what CEOs make?

O'REILLY: Here's what I'm going to do. I'm not going to buy ever again a drop of gasoline from Exxon Mobil. I'll tell you why. And then you can tell me how misguided I am.

I, as you know — I, as you know, think the oil companies are gouging the American public, because every time the futures people bid the price of oil up, as they did today over $70 a gallon, because they're worried about Iran, they're worried about Nigeria, they're worried about "American Idol" being canceled, it doesn't matter, they just bid them up, the oil companies say now we have another excuse to raise prices. They don't have to raise them. They do.

And then they turn around and they pay one human being $400 million. That comes out of their bottom line. You know that. It comes out of their bottom line. So they have to charge more money to make the record profits.

I, as an American citizen, am going to exercise my right never to buy one drop of oil from Exxon Mobil again, because I think they're greedy. I don't think they're looking out for the folks.

CAVUTO: So of the CEOs paid tens of millions of dollars, you're going to draw the line there? Where are you going to get your gas, Bill?

O'REILLY: I'm going to get it at Sonny's Gasoline. I don't care.

CAVUTO: All the oil CEOs make a lot of money.

O'REILLY: Maybe they do, but I've got to draw the line here. If I feel a company, and there are American companies that are bad for the folks. You know that. There are American companies. If I feel they're bad for the folks, and I do feel that this is way over the line and this is rubbing our nose, or the working class people's nose in it, then I'm not going to buy. Where am I wrong?

CAVUTO: We live in a free country. We live in a capitalist society. We have a lot of problems, Bill. But you're free to make as much money as you can. I don't know where your sympathy and condolences were for the oil companies when we had $10 oil in 1998.

O'REILLY: Were they making a profit then?

CAVUTO: He [Lee Raymond] was not making nearly as much money as he is today.

O'REILLY: Were the oil companies making a healthy profit then?

CAVUTO: You know what he did with the profit? He took more than twice that amount, according to research and development. On a risky investment to analysts at the time criticized him, under the belief that oil prices would go up. In other words, he boosted refinery capacity at a time when no one would.

O'REILLY: Did he develop any ethanol like they did in Brazil?

CAVUTO: Is the money a lot? Yes, it is. But you know, it's a slippery slope Bill, when you start policing how much people make.

O'REILLY: I'm not policing. I'm just saying as an American citizen...

CAVUTO: There are a lot of people that would find it offensive that you make millions of dollars doing what you do. Do you bring an added value to society? I would say an entertainment value. But are you as important as the CEO of a major oil company? No.

O'REILLY: More important. Thank you.

CAVUTO: Slippery. Slippery...

O'REILLY: Lee Raymond is a greed head. This is terrible behavior. It sends the wrong message to the world. And if he were so good, he would have developed ethanol like they did in Brazil, because Brazil will be energy independent next year.

Now we're being held hostage by people who hate us, OPEC, and this guy is walking away with $400 million. I'm not buying it. But I'm going to give you the last word.

CAVUTO: We live in a booming global economy. We just got word today, Bill, that China grew at a better than 10 percent clip. China and India alone are accounting for as much oil usage as the world did a few years ago. If that's profiteering off the backs of the poor, then you've got to realize something. It's the improving global economy that's lifting these prices.

O'REILLY: All right. Maybe Raymond will move to China. I will pay your moving expenses.

CAVUTO: I would like to see you move to China.

O'REILLY: I know you would, Cavuto, but if I did, you'd be fired. There you go, right away. I would blame it on you. Because Cavuto was mean to me.

CAVUTO: I won't cap your salary. So you don't you cap CEOs salaries.

O'REILLY: All right, fair enough. He's a [FOX News] vice president, so I've got to listen to him.

CAVUTO: All right.

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