Florida Anchor Barbara West Responds to Controversial Biden Interview

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 27, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight: Barbara West, an anchor for WFTV in Orlando, Florida, conducted a very tough interview with Joe Biden last Thursday.


BARBARA WEST, WFTV ANCHOR: I know you're in North Carolina now, helping to get out the vote, but aren't you embarrassed by the blatant attempts to register phony voters by ACORN, an organization that Barack Obama has been tied to in the past?

JOE BIDEN, DEMOCRATIC VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am not embarrassed by it. We are not tied to it. We've not paid them one single penny to register a single solitary voter.

WEST: But in the past, Senator Obama was community organizer for ACORN. He was an attorney for ACORN. And certainly in the Senate, he has been a benefactor for ACORN.

BIDEN: How has he been a benefactor for ACORN? He was this organizer. John McCain stood before ACORN not long ago complimenting them on the great work they did.

WEST: You may recognize this famous quote: "From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs." That's from Karl Marx. How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?

BIDEN: Are you joking? Is this a joke?


BIDEN: Or is that a real question?

WEST: That's a question.

BIDEN: He is not spreading the wealth around. He's talking about giving the middle class an opportunity to get back the tax breaks they used to have.

WEST: What do you say to the people who are concerned that Barack Obama will want to turn America into a Socialist country much like Sweden?

BIDEN: I don't know anybody who thinks that, except the far right-wing of the Republican Party.


O'REILLY: Now after that interview, the Obama campaign complained to the station and Senator Biden said this:


BIDEN: I was on a television station the other day and doing a satellite feed to a major network in Florida, and the anchor quotes Karl Marx, and says in a sense isn't Barack Obama Karl Marx? You know, I mean, folks, this stuff you're hearing, this stuff you're hearing on this campaign, some of it's pretty ugly, and some of the innuendo is pretty ugly.


O'REILLY: And joining us now from Orlando, the very controversial Barbara West.

Did you go into the interview with a mindset like you're going to go after Biden?

Click here to watch Bill's interview with WFTV anchor Barbara West.

BARBARA WEST, WFTV ANCHOR: No, Bill, I didn't. I went into the interview with the mindset that we had some serious questions and serious issues in this country that need to be answered, and we're running out of time to getting the answers to those issues.

O'REILLY: But you used some buzzwords like Marxism. I thought your questions were fine. I don't know whether I would have phrased them quite that way because you gave him a little wiggle room to do a couple of things. There's no doubt that income redistribution is controversial, and I brought it up with Barack Obama myself. But he wanted to paint you as a far-right person just by the tone of your questions. Do you see what he wanted to do?

WEST: Yes, indeed. I mean, I think that he would like to still do that, but I am not. I am a reporter who works for a television station that asks probing, penetrating, straightforward, challenging questions. That is our job. And I'm very surprised if I'm the only reporter over Senator Biden's career who's asked such questions of him or of Barack Obama.

O'REILLY: Now did you get a chance to interview McCain? Has he come on?

WEST: Yes. In fact, today I interviewed Senator McCain again. And I think if people want to go on to our Web site and see the full interview, they will see that it is just as probing of Senator McCain as well.

O'REILLY: What was the toughest question, Barbara, you asked McCain today?

WEST: Actually, I think the toughest question that I asked him was asking him about his own campaign and his management of his own campaign. Obama's campaign is so organized and so well put together and such a well-oiled machine. And yet even now this late in the campaign, Senator McCain's campaign still seems to not have it together.

If we're looking for a person to hold the chief executive job in this nation, and this campaign is the audition for it, well then what we be thinking about Senator McCain's abilities?

O'REILLY: So when you told McCain his campaign was disorganized, what did he say to you?

WEST: Well, he kind of laughed a little bit about it and said that he did not believe that it was disorganized, and that, you know, things will happen in campaigns as you move through things.

O'REILLY: Right.

WEST: But they're working very hard to try to get their message out, and that sort of thing.

O'REILLY: OK. So you were equally as tough on McCain as you were on Biden, you say, right? You thought it was equally as tough?

WEST: I believe so. I also asked him if there was a riff now between himself and Sarah Palin, that she seems to be drifting away from the typical talking points, and is that indicative of her thinking that maybe this is already a lost cause and she really needs to think about her own future?

O'REILLY: And of course he denied that and said they're all together in simpatico. But good for you. I mean, good for you. That's what you should be doing.

Now the reaction of your viewers in Orlando, Florida, to the Biden situation? You must have taken a little heat on that?

WEST: I've taken some heat, but I would say I've received in the neighborhood of about 12,000 e-mails just today. And I, by far, haven't been able to read through them all, but just looking at the titles of the e-mails, they're generally supportive.

O'REILLY: Yes, the people…

WEST: In fact, I would say right now…

O'REILLY: Right, the people who support McCain are going to — trust me when I tell you, it will break down along party lines. But…

WEST: Of course.

O'REILLY: I think Biden overreacted to your questions and should have just answered them and then gone on his way and not brought you up later. You did your job. I didn't have any problem with it.

WEST: Well, thank you. I mean, I think that we should be doing our jobs, and it's important to get the answers from these candidates now rather than after the election.

O'REILLY: Absolutely.

WEST: This is the most important election, I believe, of our lifetime. Back in 1979, 1980, I worked in London for Peter Jennings when he was chief foreign correspondent. And Bill, if you'll remember, that's when 52 Americans were being held hostage for more than 400 days in Iran.

O'REILLY: Yes, no, this is — you're right, and you did the right thing. So we appreciate you. You got "The Factor" stamp of approval. Ms. West, thank you.

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