Did Al Gore Go Too Far in Saudi Arabia?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 13, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Did Al Gore go too far in Saudi Arabia? He said Arabs in America have been put into unforgivable conditions. What's he talking about?

Joining us from Washington, former counsel to President Clinton, Lanny Davis. Here in the studio, FOX News political analyst Kirsten Powers.

All right, Ms. Powers, where am I going wrong?

KIRSTEN POWERS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I would say it's interesting, the analogy you gave about going to Japan and how that would be perceived, but we're not actually at war with Muslims.

O'REILLY: I see. We're not in the middle of World War III, in your opinion?

POWERS: But not with all Muslims. So, you know, we're at war with terrorists who are radical, you know, but that doesn't mean all Muslims. And so what Al Gore was saying is he was apologizing for some things that the U.S. government did after 9/11, which the U.S. government has actually apologized for.

O'REILLY: Which were what?

POWERS: Which was rounding up about 70, all but one were Muslim, and, you know, keeping them in not very good conditions, not allowing them access to lawyers.

O'REILLY: OK. This is according to Human Rights Watch, the far-left organization.

POWERS: Right. It was also pretty widely covered at the time in major newspapers.

O'REILLY: OK. How many of those 70 did the United States feel were...

POWERS: Very few. Very few of them were ever charged.

O'REILLY: Do you know how many? Do you know how many?

POWERS: I don't know the exact number, but I know it was very few.

O'REILLY: The exact number is 13. And they apologized to the 13.

POWERS: Right.

O'REILLY: So you're going to tell me, after 9/11, after 3,000 Americans are killed, that the United States made 13 mistakes — 13 — and this should be the theme of an Al Gore speech in Saudi Arabia? Are you going to sit here and tell me that?

POWERS: Well, I am, because I don't think, just because the United States government said that there were only 13...

O'REILLY: Thirteen mistakes.

POWERS: No, but they didn't charge. But there were 70 people there, and they didn't — none of those people...

O'REILLY: Thirteen was proven, because they were material witness cases. Thirteen were proven that they didn't know anything, 13.

All right, Lanny, am I crazy or what?

LANNY DAVIS, FORMER COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, I don't think you're crazy. And I also don't think this is a Democratic or Republican panel issue that we're talking about tonight.

My friend Lindsey Graham, who happens to be Republican, reminds me that terrorists don't know the difference between Democrats and Republicans, nor is there a difference between Democrats and Republicans about our war against terrorism.

My problem with Vice President Gore's remarks is the location and the judgment that he should make such a speech in Saudi Arabia, of all places.

There's an awful lot of criticism that can be made about profiling and injustices that have been done to people who have darker skins, who look like they're from the Middle East, and I think there is some value in our focusing on the few instances where we've made mistakes to apologize. But I don't think a former vice president of the United States ought to be in Saudi Arabia, of all places, to make such a speech.

O'REILLY: So you're actually agreeing with me, Lanny? Is that what you're doing tonight, ruining your career and reputation all over the world? Is that what you're doing?

DAVIS: First of all, your ratings have plunged if this gets out too fast. I do agree with Kirsten that the issue of profiling is an injustice to people who are Arab.

O'REILLY: Oh, come on. Come on. There's 13.

DAVIS: But I don't think it's in a large number. I agree with you on that.

O'REILLY: I mean, come on.

DAVIS: I also think it's inappropriate for a former vice president of the United States to be making such a speech in Saudi Arabia.

O'REILLY: Now, Kirsten, don't you feel that, by doing this, Al Gore hands anti-American elements and terrorists more propaganda, more power? Doesn't he just hand it to them?

POWERS: I could not disagree with you more. It wouldn't be possible.

O'REILLY: OK. So you don't believe that this is going to be used to help fuel their hatred of the USA?

POWERS: They already think that we're doing all sorts of horrible things to Arabs for a variety of reasons, because of Abu Ghraib, because of Guantanamo...

O'REILLY: He just enforced that.

POWERS: No. What he is doing is he's saying there were some things that happened and we're sorry, and this is not what our country stands for and this is not how we see the Arab world.

O'REILLY: Where are the unforgivable locations, do you know where they are, the unforgivable...

POWERS: Well, I think that he was talking about Guantanamo, but I know you don't share that view.

O'REILLY: Well, he clearly said the United States.

POWERS: Or the secret prisons. So I think...

O'REILLY: Are there secret prisons in the United States?

POWERS: Well, people were, you know, rounded up and, you know, sent off somewhere.

O'REILLY: And, what, 762 were arrested on visa violations after 9/11. Surely you would have supported that action. Surely you would have. The 9/11 killers were all here on overextended visas. You wouldn't have said, thrown these people out?

POWERS: No, I would support that. What I don't support is necessarily the way it was handled, which is what happened...

O'REILLY: The way it was handled?

POWERS: Now, listen, there were people who just happened to be landing in the United States on 9/11. And next thing you know, they were being detained for months on end.

O'REILLY: Yes, because if they didn't have the proper paperwork, of course, they were.

POWERS: No, but that's no reason to mistreat somebody.

O'REILLY: Who is mistreated?

POWERS: In this Human Rights Watch report, there is all sorts of...

O'REILLY: In the Human Rights Watch report?

POWERS: Oh, I think they're a reputable organization.

O'REILLY: You do? They're not far-left?

POWERS: Oh, I'm sorry, far-left can't be reputable? I mean...

O'REILLY: Well, that's a god point. Maybe they can.

All right, Lanny, I'm going to give you the last word on this. I just think right now, where we are in the middle of World War III, that Al Gore just gave comfort and aid to the enemy. I'll give you the last word.

DAVIS: Well, I hate that, "comfort and aid to the enemy." I think that's really — I'll now get your ratings back up — I completely disagree with that type of inflammatory expression, Bill.

But I do think that Al Gore should use better judgment. President Bush has Karen Hughes talking to the Islamic world. This country does not stand for racial profiling. We do not blame Islam for 9/11; we blame terrorists. We're in a war against terrorism.

O'REILLY: Would you say we were restrained so far in our activities here inside the United States in fighting this war? I would say we're restrained.


O'REILLY: You would agree with that?

DAVIS: I think, compared to World War II, where we interned the Japanese...

O'REILLY: You bet.

DAVIS: ... which we all regret, we have been restrained. I'd like to see more acknowledgment to the Islamic world that we have to be concerned about profiling people.

O'REILLY: We've been very respectful here to Islam.

DAVIS: But I think we have been respectful.

O'REILLY: We have been very respectful.

DAVIS: And I think President Bush's appointment of Karen Hughes to speak to this issue is a very important decision.

O'REILLY: All right. Well, if you talk to Al Gore, tell him we're very disappointed with him.

Kirsten, as always, thank you, Lanny.

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